How to Keep Cats Off Counters

It’s in a cat’s nature to seek out high vantage points like kitchen countertops. Counters, tables and the tops of cabinets are an ideal place to survey territory, and they provide protection from enemies like roughhousing dogs and the vacuum cleaner. Felines might also be drawn to kitchen counters because they’ve learned that they’re good places to find tasty crumbs.

If you want your kitty to keep her paws off the counter, here’s what to do.

Provide another place to lounge
Because jumping and climbing are part of cats’ normal behavior, you’ll have to offer a suitable alternative or your feline friend will likely continue to leap onto countertops. Carpeted cat tree furniture or kitty shelves attached to windowsills are two options that can replace a favorite counter.

Make the counter unappealing
If your cat prowls the kitchen counter looking for a snack, be sure to clean counters thoroughly and don’t leave food sitting out. If she enjoys staring out the window or napping in the sunshine, close the blinds or pull the shades down.

There are also many simple ways you can make the counter unappealing. Try placing baking sheets on the edge of the counter so that when your cat jumps up, she’ll land on them. The sheets will move and possibly fall, making noise that the cat will learn to associate with the counter. Lining countertops with tinfoil, upside-down plastic rug protectors, or placemats covered in double-sided tape can also act as a deterrent. After a few weeks, when the cat has learned that the counter is no longer a comfortable place to lounge, you can remove the items.

The ASPCA also suggests using an “environmental punisher,” such as The Snappy Trainer or the ScatMat. These devices deter cats from jumping on counters even when you’re not home, so your pet won’t learn to simply wait until you’re not around.

What not to do
Don’t shove, physically harm, shoo away or spray a cat with water. You could harm your pet, and often the cat will learn to be afraid of you — not the counter. Also, don’t use an environmental punisher if your kitty is especially skittish. The cat may become reluctant to even enter the room and this could lead to anxiety issues.

Article by Laura Moss

Photo by helenadagmar


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Carrie-Anne Brown
Carrie-Anne Brown10 months ago

thanks for sharing :)

Panchali Yapa
Panchali Yapaabout a year ago

Thank you

Diane L.
Diane L.1 years ago

Aluminum foil DOES work. Cats don't like the feel of it or the noise it makes when they try to walk across it.

Melania Padilla
Melania Padilla1 years ago

Thanks I don´t have this problem... Yet! Thanks :)

Vicky B.
Vicky B.1 years ago

I love cats but I cannot stand them on the kitchen counter tops, especially if it is a cat prone to loose a great deal of fur. I just cant deal with seeing a layer of animal hair on a place that I also share to prepare food on. Thank you for the tips.

Janet Bradley
Janet Bradley1 years ago

too late! :)

Tanya Selth
Tanya Selth1 years ago

I find an immediate yell of just "NO" worked rather well at training the cat not to get up on the counters. She knows her doing that causes me great displeasure.

Alexandra G.
Alexandra G.1 years ago


Jennifer H.
Jennifer H.1 years ago

Every so often my cats go on a counter binge but most of the time they mind their manners!

Joanne M.
Joanne M.1 years ago

A good article - if you want your cats off of the counter you have to provide them with someplace they like more. Even then they will get up there occasionally just to make sure the other place is better.