cat sat on kitchen counter

How To Keep Cats Off Kitchen Counters: 7 Essential Tips

Cats love walking on kitchen counters but this is both dangerous and unhygienic behaviour.

There is a risk that they may burn themselves on the oven, or they may get cleaning products on their paws which they could later ingest when they clean themselves.

They may also spread bacteria from their litterbox on your worktop which is very unhygienic and could potentially cause serious illness.

If your cat loves walking on your kitchen counter then here are 7 steps you can take to discourage them:

1. Put Doubled Sided Sellotape Around The Edge Of Your Counters And Tables

Cats hate things sticking to them, in fact cats can react very unusually to having tape stuck to their fur with some of them freezing to the spot, others backing away endlessly until it is removed.

Cats also have a strong aversion to getting tape stuck to their paws as this removes all sensation from their paws, something the rely on for their balance and agility.

Sticking double-sided sellotape to the edges of your kitchen worktops and tables will quickly teach your cat that those surfaces are best avoided.

The downsides to using sticky tape are that it will need reapplying regularly (until your cat gives up trying) and you may get your clothes stuck to it, don’t worry though we have plenty more methods you can try..

2. Remove Distractions

One of the reasons cat’s like climbing up on your kitchen worktop is to enjoy the smells and sights and see if there is anything new or interesting up there.

cat on kitchen counter

If you make an effort to keep your worktops clear of clutter it suddenly becomes a far less interesting place for your cat to visit as there are no tempting treats, crumbs or things to knock onto the floor left for them up there.

3. Use Foil

Most cats hate aluminium foil due to the strange sound it makes when they walk on it and how it’s texture feels under their paws when they walk on it.

The noise combined with the unfamiliar texture is often enough to startle most cats off the counter.

Simply tape some it over the edges of your counter and your cat should soon get the idea.

Ideally you should leave it on for up to a week until your cat realises that it is in their best interest not to climb onto th ecounter anymore.

4. Use A Clicker

Cats can be very receptive to positive reinforcement, especially if they have a particular cat treat that they really enjoy.

You can use clicker training as follows:

  1. When your cat is on the counter, offer them a treat or toy on the floor.
  2. When they jump off and eat the treat use the clicker.
  3. Keep repeating this process, eventually the clicker’s noise will become synonymous with the treat in your cat’s mind.
  4. You will then be able to just click the clicker and your cat will jump off the counter as they will associate that noise with good things happening when they leave the worktop.

5. Use A Cat Tree

Cats enjoy being on kitchen counters because it elevates them giving them a better view of the surroudings.

Get a large cat tree (one that is taller than the kitchen counter) and put it in your kitchen, far enough away from the counter for it not to be a temptation for them to jump from one to the other.

cat tree in kitchen

This will provide your cat with a place to sit and view their surroundings which is superior to the kitchen worktop, for some cats this will be enough to stop them climbing on the worktop altogether.

You can make the tree a more attractive option by leaving treats on there from time to time to encourage them to use it more.

6. Deal With Their Water Bowl

Often one of the main reasons cats may jump up onto the kitchen worktop is to drink from the tap.

cat drinking from kitchen sink

If this is the case with your cat then this can indicate that there are issues with their water bowl which discourage them from drinking there.

Here are a few things things to try if your cat regularly drinks from the sink:

  • If their source of water is in a busy part of the house move it to somewhere quieter and out of the way.
  • If their water is close to their litter box move it elsewhere.
  • Cats may choose to drink from the sink because they prefer cooler water, try changing their water several times a day or get a cat water fountain instead, these both cool and filter your cat’s water.
  • Avoid leaving the tap on as the sound of running water may tempt them onto the worktop.

7. Make It Hard For Them

Senior cats who have spent a lifetime walking on kitchen counters and tables will be more resistant to change.

However senior cats are also far less agile than their younger counterparts so you may notice that they use a chair, bin or shelves to help themselves get up onto the counter.

If this is the case then move your kitchen furniture around so that there is nothing near the counter that they can use to help them get up.

Why Cats Love Climbing On Kitchen Counters

cat sat on oven hood

Cats love kitchen counters for a number of reasons:

  1. They are packed full of interesting smells – this is where you prepare your food, so there is no end of new, unusual and (most importantly for your cat) tasty smells. If they’re lucky they may even find some left over crumbs that they can snack on.
  2. They are high – cats love heights, this is because being somewhere which is high gives them a great vantage point. Cat’s instinctively want to protect themselves so high places help them feel secure as it gives them an advantage when it comes to spotting danger.
  3. They like cool water – the water in your sink is fresh and cool so your cat will often make a bee-line for it, particularly if the water in their own bowl is warm.

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