Some cat breeds are so sociable, that they like to be a part of whatever you are doing. If you are reading, they like to snuggle on your lap; if you are cooking, they like to sit on the counter with you. What may have begun as a sweet display of devotion quickly becomes an annoyance when you are chopping vegetables for dinner, and the cat won’t stop pacing on the counters. Annoyance turns to embarrassment when your kitty starts to repeat this offense while you have company over – since we all know where cat paws have been! It is fairly disgusting to think that the same furry toes that gingerly tread on soiled cat litter are leaving paw prints where you are making dinner. Here are some helpful tips on how to break the bad habit

Why Cats Jump On Counters

To correct the habit, you must first understand what motivates your kitty to climb up by the stove and sink. First of all, cats like to have high perspectives. This is why you often find them perched on shelves, or at the top of the stairs; they like to survey what’s going on. Secondly, the kitchen smells delicious! When you quickly wipe the counters down with water, the smell of cooked turkey or chicken, or linger fish oils still remain potent to sensitive kitten noses. Help them redirect the counter-prowling practice by sending them elsewhere.

Keeping Cats Off Counters

  • Make the counters less appealing. Cats hate the smell of citrus, while we humans find it fresh and invigorating. Mix some apple cider vinegar with lemon oil or lime juice, and spray the counters clean every time after you cook.   (Reinforce the lack of appeal by added a potted plant or a bouquet to the emptier corners of the counter. The less space there is to roam, the more difficulty your kitty will have in finding room to walk up there!)
  • Discourage jumping up. Cats are dainty creatures that do not like their feet meddled with. By sticking some double sided strips of tape along the counter edges, your feline will find jumping to be unpleasant and irritating to his feet. (If this only teaches your cat to jump further, add double sided tape to some place mats that you can lay across the whole counter. That way you will be able to remove these easily without permanently taping your whole counter, and any adventurous kitty-prowling would be discouraged by the ubiquitous stickiness!)
  • Offer an alternative perch. If your cat simply wants a new vantage point, consider getting him a new cat tree, or some tall feline furniture to climb on. With a little catnip rubbed on the book shelf or cat tree to sweeten the deal, your kitty might find he prefers his own space, to sharing a lemon-scented counter with you!
  • Play with your cat beforehand. Maybe he is prancing around under your nose because he is lonely and simply wants your undivided attention; so make sure he gets this crucial time with you before dinner.
  • Keep the cat in a different room during meal prep. Confining the kitty to a quiet, comfortable space while you make dinner is a helpful way to avoid this problem. Feed him during the confinement, and your cat will be happy and will have a full tummy by the time the family sits down to dinner. This will help you avoid kitchen counter jumping and begging at the table – taking care of two birds with one stone!