There are many aspects of cat behavior that have attracted people who own cats to become cat owners in the first place. Their cute purring and playful nature are just some of the elements that make these creatures so appealing as pets. However, one aspect of natural cat behavior that people find a little more difficult to cope with is their climbing as this means they can get into places where cat owners do not necessarily want them to access, such as on kitchen countertops. If you have a cat that is climbing on your countertops and you want to prevent them from doing so, then there are various steps that you can take.
Why Do Cats Climb on Countertops?
According to The Spruce Pets, there are three main reasons why cats love to walk on the countertops. The first reason is that cats love heights and climbing is natural cat behavior. A cat is not aware that the surface they are walking on is your kitchen countertop where you prepare food, they simply see it as a raised surface onto which they can climb to explore the house at a different level. Second, cats are sometimes attracted to countertops because they can smell food. This tempts them to investigate where the smell is coming from and see if there is something they can steal. The third reason for cats walking on countertops is that they can access running fresh water form the taps.
Why Is Having Cats on the Kitchen Countertops a Bad Thing?
Keeping your cats off the kitchen countertops is important as this is unhygienic. When a cat uses its litter tray or relieves itself outdoors, it stands in its own urine and fecal matter. If they then walk on the countertops, some of this urine and fecal matter is transferred to the surfaces. Even if you cannot see it, the bacteria is there. Similarly, a cat sheds cat hair when it is walking around your home, and the hair will land on your countertops if this is where they are walking. As the countertops are your main area for food preparation, you do not want hair or bacteria on the surfaces.
How to Keep Cats Off the Counter
There are some measures that you can take to stop cats from climbing on the countertops that do not require the use of chemical products. First, you can take preventative steps, such as not leaving food out to tempt them and making sure they have a good supply of freshwater at floor level so they do not need to drink from the taps. Pet Happy recommends using distraction as a way of stopping your cat from climbing on the countertops. Every time you see your cat heading for the countertop, call them over to you and give them a lot of affection. A further way to distract them is to give them their own cat tree in the kitchen so that they can climb in this room without feeling the need to go on the countertops.
You can also add things to the worktops that can act as a deterrent. A natural method of preventing cats from going in different areas of your home is to add fresh citrus peel. The downside to this is that the peel will dry up quickly and become ineffective. Alternatively, you can put aluminum foil on the worktops as cats don’t like this, or line one end of the counters with double-sided tape because cats can’t stand the sensation on their feet. Finally, you can fill tins with dry beans and balance them on the edge of the counters. If the cat jumps up, they will knock off the tins and they will make a noise that scares the cat. You will not need to use these measures forever. Once the cat associates the countertops with something negative, it will become an area of the home that they avoid.
If none of these methods work, then you might want to try a product that is manufactured specifically for the purpose of stopping cats from getting on kitchen countertops. One example is a motion-activated deterrent. These are devices that are activated every time your cat attempts to jump on the countertops and they act to deter the cat from visiting that area. There are different variations of these products available. Some of these will release a burst of air, while others create noise in a pitch that humans cannot hear. Both methods deter the cat by scaring them. These are a consistent way of stopping cats from waling on the countertops, and you do not need to be at home for them to work.
Methods to Avoid
Catster says that there are some methods that people use to deter cats from climbing on the countertops that you should avoid. The first point they make is that you should not punish the cat as they are only displaying normal cat behavior. Another measure they say that you should avoid using is spraying the cat with water from a spray bottle. This can cause the cat to create a negative association between you and the water bottle rather than between the water bottle and climbing on the countertop. Therefore, it is not an effective solution. Also, you cannot use the water spray when you are not at home, so the cat will probably just continue to climb on the countertops in your absence.
Cats and Countertops – The Bottom Line
Although walking on kitchen countertops is completely normal cat behavior, it is an undesirable behavior for hygiene reasons. Therefore, it important to try and deter the cat from doing this. You should avoid punishing your cat, but there are many other steps you can take to stop cats from climbing in the kitchen. This includes buying products that are specifically designed for this purpose or using a variety of natural methods.