Too Much Counter-top Time?

Too Much Counter-top Time?

Too Much Counter-top Time?

Here's a topic that divides cat owners...are your cats allowed on the counters? There's the crowd that says, sure, my cats have free roam of the house, we see no problem with them on the counters. In fact, kitchen counters are popular place to feed your cat. This is especially true when there are dogs in the house and you need to keep the dogs out of the cat food! And when cooking, washing the counter tops and ousting the cat away is normal routine.

Then there's the group of cat-parents that have a strict, no-counter policy. Admittedly, it can be a challenge to keep cats from jumping up, especially changing the fixed behavior once it's started. The best approach if you are in this school-of-thought is to start young and shape the behavior you want.

Here's a few ideas to train your cat to stay off counters and other forbidden places.

1. By turning the location into a place cats don't want to be, you are letting them choose to jump down.  Put foil, sticky, two-sided tape or a lemon-scented cleaning spray.  This doesn't have to be permanent, once the cats encounter it a few times, they'll learn it's not the place they want to sit.

2. Create a rich, cat-friendly environment away from the kitchen.  Cat grass, small catnip toys, cat trees, perhaps even a CatWheel are great ways to keep your cats active.  Provide lots of interactive play, wand toys, treats, scratching posts, these add interest and excitement to your cats life.  It may not keep her off the counter, but provide alternatives once she learn counters are off-limits. Give your cat plenty of attention.  A cat on the counter often means they want your attention, and the counter top is the meeting place. 

3. Finally, give your cat some of their own vertical space in the house, places just for them. Experts say that seeking high vantage points are instinctive behavior from their tree-dwelling wildcat ancestors.  So be sure to create vertical play areas, such as with CatsWalls, Climbing steps and shelves, even a Cat Spiral Staircase. This will allow your cat to have their own alternatives to jumping up on the counter.


  • If you provide that vertical space in the kitchen in the same general area as the counters, your kitty will likely choose their own shelves over the kitchen counters anyway…especially if the shelves are made attractive with catnip and scent soakers (like some kind of fabric that can serve double duty of comfort AND scent-soaking).

    Crystal Rector on

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