How To Keep Cats Off Counters: 7 Tips and Tricks

Russell Cargill

Allowing your cat to jump up and explore your kitchen countertops presents a real hazard for both you and your cat. 

This bad habit that your cat might have could present them with an opportunity to eat foods that are potentially toxic to them. Not to mention the potential to knock objects such as sharp knives off the counter. 

For us, there is also a health risk as cats can easily track their litter and feces in their paws infecting your benchtops with harmful bacteria. 

It’s easy to see why it’s important to keep your cat off the kitchen counter. 

In this article, I’ll give you specific tips and tricks to help you keep your cat off the kitchen counter.

But first, let’s touch base on why cats love to climb. No, it’s not just to drive you mad, or is it?

Why Do Cats Love Jumping on the Kitchen Counter?

cat on kitchen counter

Your guess is as good as mine. But seriously, the kitchen countertop can attract your cat like a moth drawn to a flame. 

Below are the likely reasons your little fluff ball loves jumping on your kitchen counter. You should use the below to observe your cat’s behavior allowing you to modify and redirect their attention elsewhere. 

  1. Cats love being up high

It’s no secret cats love being as high as possible. Heck, if they could they’d perch at ceiling height all day long. It just so happens that our kitchen countertops are at a perfect height that is easily accessible for a healthy cat. One leap is all it takes and boom, they have the perfect vantage point. 

  1. You’re a master chef and your counter smells good

Into your food prep? Everything from raw chicken, turkey, beef, and tuna they have seen and smelt is being prepared on the kitchen counter. Cats are opportunists and who knows, maybe they could snag some leftover food from the counter.

  1. They’re thirsty

Perhaps your cat is attracted to running fresh water from the tap. You’d be surprised how many cats use the kitchen sink as their main source of fresh water. Luckily this one is an easy fix and you could simply purchase a cat water fountain to stop them from using your kitchen sink.

7 Tips On How To Keep Cats Off Counters

Despite what dog people will tell you, cats are able to be trained. And it’s entirely possible to train them to stay off your countertops by using the following techniques.

As with any pet training, you must remain consistent and patient for this to work. 

The Sticky Tape Method 

In general, cats don’t like sticky tape. A good starting point is to apply some double-sided tape to the edge of your kitchen countertops. If they attempt to jump up and one of their paws land on the sticky tape they should be discouraged from jumping up a second time.

The biggest disadvantage of this is that you may have to reapply the tape over and over again and the adhesive can be difficult to remove. 

It’s also possible that your kitty is smarter than we think and she just avoids the edges when jumping. I didn’t say it would be easy. 

Aluminum Foil

I’ve met some cats that go nuts for aluminum foil if it’s rolled up into a ball and tossed around the room. 

However, there’s something about the feeling of it under their paws and the noise it makes when walking on that could deter your cat from jumping on the counter. Obviously, this method is intrusive to the way you can use your kitchen counter and is quite wasteful. 

Clicker Training

A personal favorite of mine. It’s important to know that cats learn from positive reinforcement training as opposed to punishment. So, it will do you no good giving your cat a little bum whack if you see them on the counter. 

Instead, you should redirect them with food or a toy to get them off. Once they have jumped off the counter give them their reward and at the same time use the clicker.

With time, your cat will understand that the clicker means they will get a treat or it’s playtime. 

Remove Any Chairs

If you notice your cat using any bar stools as step ladders onto your bench then it’s best to remove them. Slowly introduce one chair at a time back and if you notice your cat attempting to use the chair, revert back to the clicker training.

Or you can place some aluminum foil on the chair to discourage them from jumping up. 

Invest in a Cat Tree

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Having a cat tree in your home is in my opinion essential. It allows your cat to have a place to call home. 

It should give them the highest vantage point in the home to oversee everything that is going on in their environment. 

Of course, you can’t just buy a cat tree and call it a day. You have to encourage your cat to use it. One way to do this is using catnip or their favorite toy and encouraging interactive play with your new cat tree.

I know some cat trees can fetch a big sum so if you want to tackle making one on your own, you can check out this article on how to build a DIY cat perch

Clean Regularly

Remove any temptations by cleaning up any food scraps, crumbs, or other treats on the counter. If your cat gets the slightest whiff that there might be food up there you can bet they will do anything they can to get up there. 

Fix Any Leaking Faucet

If your cat is drawn to drinking water from faucets then you first need to address why.

Take a look around your current cat’s drinking bowl, is there anything that could be causing them to look elsewhere for drinking water? 

If you are placing their water near their litter box, I’d suggest relocating it. 

Another reason your cat might be drawn to the kitchen sink for drinking water is that they prefer cold water. If you suspect that could be the case then replace your cat’s water at least three times a day and if you live in a hot climate add some ice to their water bowl. 

Finally, you can look at buying a cat water fountain. These are great for any cat especially if they seem to love running water.

Final Thoughts

Prevention is always the best solution for any unwanted behavior. If you have just bought a new kitten home, make sure to instill good habits right away. 

Don’t pick them up and place them on any countertops. It’s never too early to start clicker training and try to make sure they have a space they can call their own early on such as a cat tree. 

Cats do have bad habits and can be notoriously difficult to train. The key is patience, consistency, and rewarding good behavior. 

Never spray your cat with water in an attempt to discourage any bad behavior. All you’ll end up doing is teaching your cat to avoid you and they won’t understand why they are getting sprayed.

Whichever method you choose from the above, be sure to keep an eye on your cat and make sure they aren’t trying to jump up on the counters anyway.

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