Perhaps, every cat owner has wondered how to stop a cat from jumping on the counter at some point.
Cats are famous for their love of climbing and jumping on elevated places, which often causes inconvenience to the owners.
Before you begin to discipline your furry friend, you should understand why cats jump on counters and which training methods work the best.
The reasons for your cat jumping on the counter are solely instinctive. The cat sees nothing wrong with its actions, which is the main issue with disciplining a cat.
Fortunately, there are numerous life hacks and products to deter a cat off the kitchen counter that can help you keep the cooking area clean.
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Choose The Right Punishment
Punishment is an essential element of discipline. Unfortunately, despite claims of cats being able to memorize up to 100 commands, every cat owner knows they don’t respond to training well. Often, the problem lies in incorrectly chosen punishment.
Cats can rarely draw connections between their actions and physical punishment. Yelling or beating typically causes the cat to avoid or be aggressive toward the owner. In other words, harsh punishment is counterproductive.
As for using a spray bottle to discipline a cat, opinions vary. On the one hand, it’s an effective yet safe way to deter a cat from some areas in your house. On the other hand, it’s still an unpleasant experience for your pet.
You may use a spray bottle to make your cat get off the counter while cooking, but be careful – don’t let the cat see who’s spraying it.
Your cat’s punishment should be instant but adequate, not causing your four-legged friend to resent you because it feels pain or fear. Consider your cat’s unique personality traits, main likes, and dislikes.
For example, you may take away something the cat loves for a short time after it jumps on the counter. Suppose your cat jumps on the counter expecting to get treats – you can show your cat the treats, then put them away.
Ignoring the cat is another powerful discipline tool. However, the most effective way to discipline a cat is by rewarding it for desired behavior instead of punishing it for discouraged actions.
For instance, if your cat jumps on the counter because it’s elevated, give your cat a treat every time it jumps on a cat tree instead. Or, assuming the cat does it to get noticed, encourage other methods of seeking your attention.
Of course, you should also take your cat off the counter as soon as it jumps there. Afterward, bring your cat to a different elevated place and give it a treat.
Consider combining the reward with clicker training. Make a clicking sound every time you reward your cat, helping it draw connections quicker.
Maintain The Reaction Consistent
One of the most common mistakes in training a cat is changing the responses to specific actions. Suppose a cat jumps on the counter.
Sometimes, the owner sprays it from a water bottle, and in other cases, they yell at the cat or close it in the bathroom for five minutes.
The cat in our example will be unable to draw connections between action and reaction because the latter is different every time.
Positive reactions can also confuse a cat. For instance, if the owner sometimes gives the cat a treat and sometimes pets it, the cat will perceive the reaction as a given rather than a reward.
In other words, pick one training strategy and stick with it. Maintaining your reactions to the cat’s actions consistent is the only effective way to discipline it.
Provide Another Elevated Place
The most likely reason your cat jumps on the kitchen counter is that it likes the elevation. Consider whether you have sufficient elevations around the house where your cat is allowed to be.
Cats are natural-born predators and gravitate to high perches because they can see more. A cat may also want to get higher when it feels anxious or scared.
Assuming you don’t have any other elevated places for your cat to jump, buy a cat tree. Such constructions with platforms, scratch posts, condos, and toys provide cats with legal, human-approved jumping targets.
Unfortunately, not every owner knows how to choose a cat tree that would appeal to their pet, and the gift often remains without the cat’s attention.
If your cat is shy, get it a tree with a condo it can hide in. For an active cat, you can buy a tree with hanging toys and multiple levels to jump.
If you have multiple cats, get a large cat tree, at least 62 inches high, with several condos and platforms.
A cat tree is also an excellent replacement for scratch posts that cats often find boring and refuse to use. A tip – try to find a cat tree with removable cushion covers for easy cleaning.
Always Clean The Counter
Another common cause for a cat jumping on the counter is interest in something to eat or plain curiosity. Kitchen counters are often loaded with temptation for cats, be it raw meat, tuna casserole, or pancake dough.
Even if you think that your cat won’t eat food you’ve left on the counter, don’t leave it without supervision. Your cat will jump on the counter anyway just to sniff the food.
The truth is that cats may be curious about a kitchen counter even if no food lies on it. A cat’s sense of smell is significantly stronger than ours.
A bit of tuna juice spilled on the counter or a tiny piece of cheese won’t be left unnoticed. Therefore, always clean the counter carefully after using it. Leave no breadcrumbs, food juices, or any other evidence of cooking.
Remember to also clean the counter carefully every time before cooking for hygiene reasons. Regardless of how persistently you train your cat not to jump on the counter, it will likely do it anyway as soon as you step out of the house.
Sticky Tape or Crinkled Aluminum Foil
Suppose you have a cat tree, keep the counter clean, and discourage your cat from jumping on it, but your four-legged friend is way too stubborn. In this case, you may apply sticky tape or crinkled aluminum foil on the counter’s edge.
Cats can’t stand walking on sticky tape or aluminum foil. However, a cat can’t jump on the counter without touching the edge, so it will likely give up after a few tries.
The main disadvantage of this method is that adhesive may leave a mark, and cleaning it up can be difficult. Furthermore, a counter with a sticky tape isn’t an example of sophisticated interior design. The good news is that the solution is temporary.
Another idea is to hang tea towels off the counter’s edge. When the cat jumps on the counter, it will slide off together with the towels. The drawback is that you’ll have to hang the towels every time your cat attempts its crime.
Another lifehack for keeping a cat off the counter is spritzing the surface with a cat deterrent spray. You can find an array of sprays for warding off cats in any pet store or online.
The problem with products to keep cats off counters is finding one that actually works. Practice shows that cats will ignore most deterrent sprays, regardless of the brand and price – and they are rarely cheap.
In other words, you may waste a lot of money to find an effective deterrent spray. Thankfully, you can make a DIY cat deterrent spray from common ingredients like vinegar, liquid hand soap, garlic, pepper, and lemon.
The first recipe is to mix vinegar, liquid hand soap, and water in equal parts in a spray bottle. Then, spritz your counter with the mixture and watch your cat’s reaction to the odor.
Alternatively, mix garlic, pepper, lemon, and water. Don’t use hot pepper because it may harm your cat. One pitfall of this recipe is the strong garlic smell that will fill your kitchen. Lastly, you may use a mix of water and citronella oil.
Eliminate The Chair
If you’re looking for a quick and simple solution to how to keep a cat off the counter, eliminate a chair standing next to it or any other objects that may serve as platforms.
Of course, this method isn’t always effective – otherwise, a pet owner’s life would be much easier. However, it works with very high counters or cats that can’t jump well.
Address The Faucet
Some cats jump on the kitchen counter because they’re interested in the faucet. If your cat likes to drink from the tap, ensure that it always has fresh water in a bowl. The bowl should be convenient, not too shallow or narrow.
If the faucet is leaking, fix it to prevent your cat from drinking from it. But how to deal with a cat that likes to drink from the tap and refuses to drink from a bowl? Get a cat water fountain.
Lastly, always clean the sink from food remains and never leave dirty dishes. Dirty dishes seem nasty to people, but they’re pretty appealing to cats.
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