How to Keep Cats Off of Counters

Your feline friend has been jumping up on your countertops, but you aren’t sure how to curb this typical cat behavior. Along with figuring out the best way to put a stop to it, you’re wondering: Why do cats do this in the first place? And what are the dangers of letting your cat do this?

Learn more about keeping your cat off your counters while still ensuring that your cat gets all the love and attention she needs. 

Why Your Cat Shouldn’t Jump on Your Counters

how to keep cats off of counters

It’s a good idea to keep cats off counters for a number of different reasons – and it’s especially critical to make sure your cat doesn’t jump on your kitchen countertops.

Even if your cat is constantly grooming herself, she can still carry parasites like tapeworm, fleas, and heartworm, as well as bacteria.

Toxoplasmosis, which lives in a cat’s feces, can be very harmful to you. You need to keep your cat off your kitchen counter so that these parasites and bacteria don’t get into your food and make you sick.

Additionally, if your cat is counter-surfing, she could find and eat food that is dangerous to her. Some of the most dangerous human food for cats includes onions and garlic, which people tend to use a lot when cooking, along with raw eggs, bones, raw meat, chocolate, grapes, raisins, and raw dough.

If your stovetop or other appliances are on when your cat jumps up high, it could get hurt if she accidentally touches them. For instance, she could burn her paw if the stove is on while you’re cooking, or she could spill hot water from a pot on herself.

There’s a chance that your cat could get hurt when she jumps off of the countertop, too. Keeping her away from high places in general – aside from pet products like a cat tree – is a good idea.

Why Cats Like to Jump on Countertops 

how to keep cats off of counters

Outdoor and indoor cats alike enjoy jumping on counters because it is natural for them. They evolved from Proailurus, the first cat, and, at their heart, they are tree-climbing mammals.

The first cats in existence were hunters, many of whom lived in the rainforest, so they would climb up trees and jump from tree to tree to search for prey. This gave them a great vantage point to look for food and to protect themselves at the same time. Even though your cat doesn’t have to hunt for her food, that instinct to jump high has not gone away.

Your cat may also jump on your countertops because she smells or sees food or wants to drink from your kitchen faucet. Cats like fresh running water as opposed to sitting water, which they usually drink from their bowls. 

Another reason your cat might be climbing on your countertops is that she’s running away from an animal in your house, like another cat or a dog. Or, she may just want to relax on your counters.

No matter what’s going on, here are some ways for cat owners to keep their cat off of the counter, bookshelves, and everything in between.

Use Positive Reinforcement

why do cats put their butt in your face

You may have heard that you can squirt your cat with a spray bottle to keep her off the counter. However, it’s better to use positive reinforcement to train your cat not to jump up.

Not only is it more humane – but it’s also more effective. Utilize clicker training and give your cat her favorite treat or catnip when she jumps off the counter. Over time, she should learn to jump off instinctively and eventually not go up there at all. You can find a cat clicker on Amazon or in your local pet store. 

Get Her a Cat Tree or Cat Condo

Since your cat loves to be in high places, invest in a cat tower (or tree) where she can climb up and relax. You can place your cat’s bed in the condo so that she’s comfortable in it. Try the Original Calming Donut Lux Cat & Dog Bed by Best Friends By Sheri, which allows your cat to curl up and feel cozy as she takes a nap during the day or goes to sleep for the night.

Find Her a Scratching Post and Toys

cat on scratcher

Your cat may be bored, which is why she’s perusing your countertops. Get your feline friend a scratching post as well as toys she can play with throughout the day. You can get her catnip toys to drive her wild and ensure she gets enough of her energy out.

Your cat will certainly love the Tower of Tracks Cat Toy, which has three levels of tracks and bright moving balls to capture her attention. She will love tapping into her natural instincts and swatting at the balls all day long. 

Try Aluminum Foil or Sticky Tape

Cats don’t like how aluminum foil feels on their feet or the sound of lightly crumpled foil. You can line your counters with aluminum foil and, hopefully, your cat that this surface is off-limits.

Another DIY idea is to put double-sided tape on the edge of the counter. Your cat won’t like how the sticky tape feels on her paws. 

Get Some Essential Oils

pet safe essential oils for diffuser

Essential oils can be toxic to cats if you spray your cat with them or your cat ingests them. However, you can create a DIY solution with cat-friendly essential oils like citronella and eucalyptus to ensure your cat stays off the counters.

You’ll need to dilute them and make sure your cat can’t lick or otherwise get into the oils. Never use peppermint oil, which is very dangerous to cats. Ask your vet how to properly use essential oils before trying this option. 

How to Keep Cats Off of Counters

By following these steps, you can keep your cat off of your counters. Remember to always ask your vet for advice, and to never use negative reinforcement, which could damage your relationship with your feline friend. Once your cat stays off the counters, you’ll rest assured that she – as well as you and your family – are safe.