Keeping Cats from Jumping on Places Like Counters and Tables

It’s part of your cat’s inherent nature to seek out elevated vantage points from which to observe their surroundings. Counters, tables and the tops of cabinets are ideal and common places to survey their territory, and they provide adequate protection from enemies (e.g. other pets and the vacuum cleaner). Cats might also be drawn to kitchen counters and dinner tables because they’ve learned that they run a good chance at finding a tasty crumb or two from your most recent meal.

Cat on the Table - Nashville TN - 5 Points Animal

Why should I worry with keeping my cat off the counter?

There are many good reasons why your cat should stay off the counter. Cats spend a fair amount of time each day in their litter box, scratching around and covering up their waste. Although they frequently “wash” their paws with their tongues, it’s likely that some traces of urine and feces will remain on their paws, ultimately to be deposited on your countertops and tabletops in molecular concentrations. This is certainly an unpleasant thought if you’re about to prepare or serve food.

While on your counters and tables, cats may pause to lick the butter or steal nibbles (or whole pieces) of food that you may have left lying around. It can be pretty annoying to come into the kitchen to find that your cooling thick-sliced bacon strips have been dragged to the floor as fodder for your cat. In addition, not everything your cat steals will be good for him or her (some things—like chicken bones—could be out-and-out harmful).

How can I get my cat to stay off the counter without resorting to cruel and unusual punishment?

There are several things you can do to keep your beloved cat where you feel he or she belongs:

  • Make sure your cat has other places to climb, thereby making your counters a little less attractive. A climbing frame stationed near a window may divert some attention from the counters (hanging a bird feeder somewhere outside the same window is a sure-fire way to keep your cat watching for hours).
  • Avoid leaving food items lying around on the counter. Always clean up properly by putting unused food away (a clean counter is a less enticing location for your cat). A cat that finds even the smallest morsel of food on your counter once will seemingly always return to this same location for what might seem like forever.
  • Make the surface uncomfortable for your cat to walk on. This sounds simple enough, right? This can be done by using plastic carpet runners with the points up, or using some double-sided tape (you can attach the tape to a thick plastic sheet cut to the size and shape you want to prevent you from having to stick it directly to the countertop). The end result is a surface that isn’t appealing to your cat.

Regardless of the method(s) you choose to employ, always remember that your cat’s safety is your #1 priority. Always try to provide your cat with plenty of space, including appropriate vertical space for climbing and jumping. Be consistent with your chosen method and give it time. Some cats can take up to three weeks to fully get the message! It can be a tough journey (especially for you), but 5 Points Animal Hospital is always here for you. Please feel free to contact us whenever questions or concerns arise. We’re just a phone call away!

By Dr. Janet Grace | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Comments Off on Keeping Cats from Jumping on Places Like Counters and Tables

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