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How to Train Your Pet Not to Get on the Counter

How to keep cats off the kitchen counters is one of the most frequently requested topics by new cat owners. Certain individuals have just chosen to put up with it (cats will be cats!). But for a few reasons, it’s a good idea to try to wean your cat from this behavior.

In the litter box, your cat spends a lot of time scratching. Do you want those same paws on your food preparation area? Additionally, cats may attempt to steal food from the counter, which is not only bothersome and untidy but also dangerous for cats because many “human foods” are! A cat who frequently jumps on the counter has no idea when he might be jumping directly onto a hot stove, thus it does present a safety risk.

Felines on a counter

Cats frequently engage in the practice of counter surfing, which can be challenging to break.

Cats are designed to jump and climb. Cats in the wild climb trees and make great leaps to traverse their habitat, avoid danger, and locate food. It shouldn’t be surprising that many domesticated cats still make an effort to use these instincts even when they reside indoors.

Cats may consequently hop onto items in your home that you’d prefer them to avoid. You’ll need to think of ways to keep your pet off of tables, countertops, and other surfaces.

Why Cats Enjoy Climbing

Prior to taking any action to prevent your cat from climbing the counters, you should comprehend why they enjoy doing so. Consider this: cats enjoy hunting birds, and the majority of birds are found in trees. Small rodents and other ground-based prey, however, are simpler to capture from above. Cats can also avoid potential predators by climbing.

Your cat will frequently look for high places in your home to satisfy these desires. They will have the finest view of the room from tall bookcases. Your cat might gravitate toward your counters in order to avoid contact with little people or other animals who spend a lot of time on the floor.

Additionally, they can discover that food crumbs and scraps are frequently left on your table and counter, encouraging “counter-surfing” activity.

Almost all cats will try to climb, so the goal here is to redirect them rather than fully stop them.

Alternatives to Scaling Tables and Countertops

Giving your cat another place to climb or jump is the simplest approach to deter them from using your counters. Your cat will be happy if it has multiple authorized places to climb and jump.

Cat “trees,” or pieces of furniture designed for indoor cats to scratch, climb, and investigate, are wonderful options for keeping your cat occupied. These “trees” frequently provide resting areas for your cat, as well as fun poles and columns to scale. They provide your cat with a method of climbing that is acceptable to humans.

Similar to cat trees, kitty condominiums concentrate more of a focus on concealing and resting areas. You may provide your cat a sunny area to observe the world go by placing either near a window.


Give your cat another means to obtain special “treats” if they are jumping on your counters in search of food. Healthy-weight cats can be free-fed to reduce this tendency, whereas overweight cats may be given multiple smaller meals throughout the day.

In order to encourage your cat to use natural behaviors to find additional food, you may also use “hunting” toys that have tiny bits of kibble inside. In order to prevent encouraging their counter-surfing tendency, you’ll also need to keep your counters clear of enticing food and clean.

How to Stop Cats from Jumping on Tables and Countertops

Alternatives might not completely stop your cat from landing on your tables and surfaces. You might need to add deterrents in some situations to make prohibited locations frightful and unwelcoming for your pet.

Things that your cat dislikes but won’t damage them are environmental deterrents. You may deter your cat from certain areas by using things like unpleasant smells or textures, without punishing them. They are also less stressful than yelling or using spray bottles. Your cat will just hop up when you’re not around if you solely remove them from the counters by hand. Your cat may decide that you are scarier than the counters if you intentionally scare them away. They learn that the counters themselves are the dangerous and unwelcome objects through the use of environmental deterrents.

What Not to Do

Cats don’t react well to discipline. They relate the punishment to the person administering it rather than to an act. Never smack or scold at your cat for climbing on the counter. They’ll start to fear you instead of the counter.

Keep your cat from being pushed off counters and tables. They could cause oneself harm.

Any deterrent that can harm your cat should not be used.

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