We love our furry friends, but having tiny paws on our countertops is less than savory around mealtime. No matter how much pruning and toe bean licking your fluffy friend does, little feet should stay off the counter for sanitary purposes. Additionally, if you are in the process of cooking, safety concerns for your cats are also a key reason why your cat should stay out of the kitchen and leave the food prep to the humans.
As many cat owners know, countertop time can be a reality of owning a cat, but it doesn’t have to be! This article will detail how you can keep curious noses and paw pads off surfaces they shouldn’t be on, maintaining harmony in your cat-friendly home.
However, if you are anything like me, you gave up on this the moment your first feline landed its paws in your home. My cat(s) do not necessarily like countertops (hardly ever on the counters) however, everything else is a magnet for them. For those of you who cannot take a few paws on the counters from time to time; or are kidding yourself……. Well, here you go.
These tips will actually help a lot.
Establishing a feline-proof kitchen can be tricky, depending on your furry friend’s personality, age, and habits. If your cats are used to strutting on your surfaces, it may take longer to dissuade them from using the kitchen as a playground. But fear not! One of these tips or a combination of them will help to restore your kitchen to a cat-free zone.
How to Keep Cats Off the Counter
Cats jump on counters for various reasons, and our list addresses each of the most common reasons a cat will want to jump on a kitchen counter. You will notice a difference in your cat’s behavior once you get to the bottom of why your cat is so interested in the kitchen!
Keep Kitchen Counters Clutter-Free
We know that we said “easy tips,” and this one can be a difficult habit to implement, but cats are curious creatures! Put simply, the kitchen can be a haven for feline enrichment with exciting smells, plenty of objects to knock over mischievously, and things to explore.
Think about your kitchen from your cat’s perspective: What’s that smell? What is this? Can I move this with my paw?… The options are seemingly endless for them. From beef to tuna, tomato to cilantro, there are so many sniffing and engagement options in this otherwise forbidden area of your home.
By keeping your countertops free from exploration activities, your furry friends might find that their time is better spent in another area of your home instead of the kitchen. Instead of arriving in your kitchen poised for some enrichment time, they will find clean countertops that are otherwise uninteresting.
Give Them a Space More Interesting to Climb On
For some cats, most of the intrigue in a kitchen countertop is a bird’s eye view of the home. This appeal is especially enticing if there is no other place to get some height in this area of your home, and keeping this space clean might actually encourage a furball to use your counters more often.
Cat experts describe this need for levels of access in a cat-friendly home, with some even coining unique phrases and strategies for “catification,” like Jackson Galaxy. Your cats might be using other surfaces to gain access to height in your home, such as the fridge, decorative shelves, or even bookshelves to peer at humans from up above.
Installing some shelves and levels that are specific to cats can help to fulfill this need without encroaching on your kitchen space. You might even find success with a simple cat tree addition near the kitchen!
Booby Trap Your Kitchen to Dissuade Counter Lounging
For those who aren’t sure why their cat is obsessed with the kitchen, you can simply discourage them from accessing the counter! Adding obstacles can easily prevent your cat from wanting to leap from the ground to your counters or from another surface to your counters. However, this strategy can be less than ideal for maintaining a neat kitchen.
Common tactics for booby trapping your kitchen include adding aluminum foil to the “landing zone” for your cats, which can spook cats away from making a loud crinkle sound when they crash land. Similarly, double-sided sticky tape on your counters can add an unpleasant but not harmful feeling to the bottoms of your cats’ feet that they will learn to avoid.
RELEVANT: 5 Ways To Fix Your Cat’s Aggression
Other strategies are a bit more advanced and pricey, including special anti-cat mats or other poky mats that will make your cats avoid jumping there. We aren’t crazy about these options, however, due to their higher cost and risk of poking sensitive paw pads.
Do Not Punish Your Cats for Countertop Exploration
People tend to stop their cats from being on the counters by giving them a quick push on the bottom to get off the counter, raising their voices, or scolding them. These tactics may work on children, but cats are creatures that do not respond well to punishment. Think of your cat like a toddler – they don’t know that the counter is an off-limits zone, especially if they have never received any pushback on their exploring.
Your feline friend might instead associate you with the punishment rather than the space they are forbidden from exploring. Using alternative methods will instead teach your cat that counters aren’t safe to jump on, aren’t interesting to jump on, or fulfills their need to hop on counters in some other way.
The key to feline-proofing your counters is not to respond with anger or frustration but rather an understanding of your cats’ needs and how you can meet them. This sentiment applies to many other aspects of cat care! Avoiding punishing your cat is essential to promoting cat wellness and happiness overall in a feline-friendly home.
Whether you decide to clear your countertops of all interesting surprises or install some cool cat shelves in an adjacent space in your home, your cat should respond well to our non-punitive methods of dissuading kitchen exploration! Cats are simply curious creatures who want to know more about their environment.
For designing with cat shelf ideas, check out our suggested reading list:
Providing alternatives, making the kitchen disinteresting, and even discouraging the action of hopping through unpleasant textures are safe and effective methods for avoiding countertop roaming in your kitchen.
We wish you the best of success in cat-proofing your kitchen in the New Year. If you have any additional questions about keeping your cats off your counters, don’t hesitate to reach out!