It is a well known fact that cats are more independent than dogs. They believe that they are equal to you so they should be treated as such if you want them to love you. They are also extremely defensive of their territory – it’s their house, not just your own! So in knowing this, how can you keep your cat happy at the same time as ensuring it obeys the rules about walking on the kitchen counter?

When your cat is walking and staying on the counters you prepare your food on, especially when it has just stepped out of its litter tray, you can’t help but feel a bit disgusted at the thought of eating something prepared there again. You need to make sure your cat knows that counters are a no-go zone in a way they will remember.

First of all, you need to realize that if you scream and yell at your cat once it jumps on the counter, it will probably decide to avoid you, not the counter. That is why you need to consider so-called ‘remote punishers’ – ways to train your cat to stay off the counter that work even when you’re not there.

Think about what kind of rewards the surface presents to the cat. Are there any food leftovers there; is it warm and cosy; does it allow the cat to spy on the neighbour’s bird cage; does it give a great view of a busy street with many people walking by? When you figure this out, making the counter unwelcoming will become a more simple task.

Always keep your counters clean and store your food in the fridge. Better yet, as cats are not great fans of citrus smells, you could clean your counters with a lemon cleaning compound. Soaking in such a smell for a few days will help to achieve the desired effect.

If the surface attracts your cat because it feels nice to its paws, there are plenty of tricks you can use to make it undesirable. For example (though this will require you to give up the counter for a while), you can cover the entire surface with double-sided tape – cats really hate it when their paws stick to something. You will only need to do this for a few days before the cat learns that it is not a good idea any more.

If you need your counter daily, however, you will require a more temporary solution; something that you put there only when you are not using the surface and that you can easily take off. Whether it is the crackling noise, or the feel of it, cats really hate stepping on aluminum foil. So craft a ‘counter hat’ that you can put on, or take off as often as you like.

Never forget to provide an alternative, though. You can’t just forbid your cat to go somewhere and expect it to oblige if it has not been presented with an equally or more rewarding idea. When it comes to heights, you simply cannot expect your cat to stop climbing and jumping on things. It is in their basic nature to stay on top. It gives them a feeling of superiority and allows them to keep an eye on their territory. So put a blanket on a counter you are not using; craft or buy a cat tree; remove all the things from a shelf – anything that would give your pet a viable option. You need to give in order to receive, don’t forget that where your cat is concerned.

About the author

Ross Davies

Ross is a UK Siamese & Oriental Cat Breeder breeding and showing his cats and kittens under the prefix Burnthwaites . He is the author on various cat related websites and blogs including 'Siamese Cat Breeder' and ''.

Ross is the creator of this website and has lived with cats since being a very young child. He started breeding cats in 2001 and has showed them successfully breeding many best in show cats.

Ross is a GCCF cat judge and also sits on cat club committees and both the Oriental and Siamese Cat Joint Advisory Committees. He holds certification in both feline behaviour & psychology and also cat anxiety and stress.

Ross writes extensively about cats and has been featured in magazines such as Your Cat and Our Cats and also guest authored on newsletters for various cat organisations. He is also a guest speaker at cat seminars.


Cat Training

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