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How to Keep Cats Off the Counter? Counter Conundrum Solved

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Cats are naturally curious animals. their curiosity sometimes takes them to places that are not safe for them, Just like your kitchen counter.

How to Keep Cats Off the Counter

This behavior can potentially lead to issues. Keeping your counter clean is essential for a clean and safe house environment.

In this article, we will jump into what influences cats to do and how can we prevent this behavior and keep cats off the counter and keep your house environment safe and the question of how to keep cats off the counter?

Why Do Cats Jump on the Counter?

Cats are known for their natural curiosity and desire to imitate their human companions. Cats are drawn to places they perceive as off-limits.

Cats are natural climbers and they love to survey their surroundings from high points. Countertops offer a bird’s-eye view of the kitchen.

Cats also possess a fine sense of smell, and they’re always on the lookout for irresistible aromas. Countertops often have the scent of delicious meals, arousing cats’ curiosity and turning them into the next Gordon Meowsey!

How to Keep Cats Off the Counter

According to Dr. Simpson at VCA hospitals, “Cats also seek higher grounds when they are stressed. Countertops, especially if near appliances, can release heat, providing a cozy spot for cats seeking comfort and relaxation. They instinctively gravitate towards these warm surfaces, enjoying the soothing atmosphere.”

Additionally, “It takes just a fraction of a second (150ms) for a cat to take off. This explains why you go to grab the eggs, and by the time you turn around, the cat has already burrowed its face into a bag of groceries”, says Dr. Simpson.

How to Keep Cats Off the Counter?

The followings are some tips on how to keep cats off the counter:

1. Physical Barriers

Physical barriers can be a practical way to prevent cats from hopping on counters. Use double-sided tape, aluminum foil, or a motion-activated device to create an unpleasant or startling experience.

These barriers disrupt their footing or trigger their senses, discouraging them from accessing the countertop.

2. Scent and Noise-Based Deterrents

Scent and noise-based barriers are effective tools to prevent cats from counter-exploration. Cats dislike the smell of rue, lavender, marigolds, pennyroyal, Coleus canina, and lemon thyme[1].

By placing cotton balls soaked in these scents on the counter, you can create an environment that cats find unpleasant. Additionally, motion-activated devices talking sudden noises startle them and discourage countertop access.

How to Keep Cats Off the Counter

These deterrents help establish a clear boundary and make the counter an uninviting space for feline adventures.

3. Positive Reinforcement Techniques

Positive reinforcement is the key. When your cat jumps onto a chair or cat tree instead of the counter, reward him with a treat or loving pet rather than shooing him away with your hands or using a spray bottle to scare him off[2].

4. Establish Clear Rules and Boundaries

Setting clear rules and boundaries is vital in keeping cats off the counter. Consistently reinforce the “no counter” rule through vocal commands and redirection.

Reward desired behaviors when they choose appropriate areas instead. With consistent reinforcement, cats will learn to respect the designated boundaries and stay off the counter.

5. Avoid Punishment-Based Methods

When aiming to keep cats off the counter, it’s important to avoid punishment-based methods. Cats don’t respond to punishment well.

Instead of connecting the punishment to an action, they connect it to the punishing person. Do not yell at your cat or hit them for going on the counter. They’ll become scared of you, not the counter“, suggests the expert from WebMD.

Reward and praise your cat when they choose to stay off the counter or redirect their attention to appropriate areas. This will encourage more healthy equations between you and your cat.

How to Keep Cats Off the Counter

6. Clean Counters Thoroughly

To keep cats off the counter, start by thoroughly cleaning counters to remove enticing food smells. Additionally, store food securely and use covers or lids for items that may attract their attention.

Eliminating tempting scents and making access to enticing items hard will prevent cats from jumping onto the counter.

7. Keep Food Securely Stored and Inaccessible to Cats

It’s crucial to keep food securely stored and out of their reach. Store food items in sealed containers or cabinets, making sure they are inaccessible to your feline companion.

This eliminates the temptation and reduces their motivation to jump on the counter in search of a tasty treat.

Alternative Spaces for Cats

When your cat keeps jumping on and off countertops then it is an effective way to divert their attention towards alternative spaces. Here are some tips:

1. Designated Areas

Imagine a world where a super tall cat tree stands next to the counter. It’s like a skyscraper for cats! And this tree has special scratching bars that make them go wild with joy.

Cats can climb, scratch, and play there, forgetting all about the counter’s tempting treats. It’s a silly and delightful place where cats have their own exciting adventures and leave the counter alone.

How to Keep Cats Off the Counter

2. Comfortable Resting Spots

A cozy and comfortable resting spot for cats. Plush cushions, soft beds, and cozy hammocks invite cats to relax and unwind. With these delightful havens, cats can find restful bliss, choosing peaceful lounging over the excitement of the counter.

3. Regular Exercise Sessions

Make way for playful experiences! Engage your cat with regular exercise sessions, ensuring they have plenty of opportunities to expend their energy.

Introduce interactive toys that captivate their attention Play with interactive toys that fetch out their playful side, like a cat version of Joey’s dear “Hugsy” from Friends.

Encourage their natural instincts, redirecting their focus from the counter to these exciting playtime experiences.

4. Seek Professional Advice if Necessary

If you’re facing challenges in keeping your cat off the counter, don’t hesitate to seek professional advice at any point.

They can provide specialized guidance according to your unique situation, ensuring you have the right tools and techniques to train your cat and maintain a counter-free zone.

How to Keep Cats Off the Counter


How to Keep Cats Off High Places?

Balancing cookie sheets on your counter so they make a scary noise when your cat jumps on them. Placing tape sticky-side up on the edge of the counter or table. Placing plastic carpet running “nubs-up” to make the counter surface unpleasant.

How to Keep Cats Off Tables and Furniture and on Top of Cabinets?

Balancing cookie sheets on your counter so they make a scary noise when your cat jumps on them. Placing tape sticky-side up on the edge of the counter or table. Cover your counters with foil. Make noise and startling sounds. Use various scents. Keep food stored away. Fix your faucet leak. Move chairs away. Block sun rays. Build or purchase an entertaining cat tower.

Do Cats Grow Out of Jumping on Counters?

It may take time for your cat to learn to stay off the counters, especially if she’s already in the habit of climbing them, but she’ll eventually learn that climbing on the counter is a no-go, and you’ll be able to reclaim the kitchen table and countertops for yourself.

How to Keep Cats Off the Couch?

Lay down aluminum foil. Use double-sided tape. Place plastic carpets. Spray the couch. Utilize a motion-activated noisemaker. Get a scratching post. Implement clicker training. Play with your cat.

How Do I Train My Cat to Stay Off the Counter?

Eliminate Temptation. Make the Counter Unappealing for Your Cat To Walk On. Give Your Cat an Acceptable Alternative To Meet Their Needs. Stop Your Cat From Jumping on the Counter. Redirect Them to the Appropriate Alternative.

What Smell Do Cats Hate?

As a general rule, cats are sensitive when it comes to smells, but there are a few scents they hate that might just surprise you. They can’t stand citrus and as much as you might love the smell of fresh herbs, cats hate rosemary and thyme. Bananas and mustard are a big no-no too, as well as lavender and eucalyptus.

It’s a Wrap

So, to answer the question of how to keep cats off the counter? Try different methods on the counter and some off the counter like creating specific areas for them to play, relax and enjoy.

With these alternatives and consistent training, cats will surely learn how to not raid the forbidden kingdom of counter and play around in other areas.

By understanding their motivations, you can redirect their natural tendencies and promote a balanced coexistence in the kitchen.


  1. PetMD Editorial. (2018, January 31). How to Get Your Cat to Stay Off the Kitchen CounterPetMD.
  2. The New Zealand Cat Foundation. (n.d.). How to deter cats from gardens- The New Zealand Cat Foundation.

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