How to Get Your Cat to Stay Off of the Counter

So you want to stop your beloved, or not so beloved cat from getting on your kitchen counters.  It’s annoying and unsanitary!  I have two cats.  One is too large (some might even go so far as to call him obese) to get on anything higher than a chair or the sofa.  The other is smaller and loves the counter.  More specifically, the counter on the bar beside the kitchen sink.  Other counters are acceptable if her’s is messy.

We have tried for years to keep her off.  She is about to turn 13 on St. Patty’s Day and our only success has come from having constantly messy counter tops.

We found some crazy ideas in books and on the internet.  Yes, there is a ton of advice out there!  Here are the ones we thought might be just crazy enough to work.

Foil on the counter tops.  Okay this was VERY expensive and guess what!  Our cat loved it.  She enjoyed making the crinklie noise that the book assured readers would frighten cats.  She would lay there and roll and pat at it.  The noise drove us nuts and replacing the stuff was expensive.  We only did it for a few days.  It was obvious to us that it wasn’t going to work.

Next was honey.  It was messy but the article insisted that the stickiness was very yucky to cats and she would hate it so much she would stay away from the counter.  Well….she kept getting up there and bathed herself.  She also got it on her paws and then spread it all over my kitchen!  Everything was sticky!  This lasted one day in our house.  I would rather wash the counter than the entire kitchen!

Then we tried the spray bottle thing.  Honestly I was against this one because I believe it’s mean to purposely scare or cause pain to someone that loves and trusts you.  Spraying her every time she jumped up there didn’t deter her either.

We didn’t leave food or drinks on the counters and we even fed her in a totally different room.  Nothing worked!

Then I found a book about cats and was reminded why my cat got up on that counter in the first place, safety.  It talked about wild cats and their natural instincts.  They are natural jumpers and love heights.  Being up high gives them a natural feeling of safety.

That’s when I decided that I loved this crazy cat that loved to lay on my counter.  She is a member of our family.  We stopped fighting her and gave her a special place on a counter we seldom used for food.  Now she doesn’t walk around on the counters and she loves just laying there in her “spot.”

So, my advice to everyone trying to teach their cats to stay off of the counter:  Embrace your cat as it is.  Give it a high place to hide and rest.  Remember that cats love to jump and climb and it’s good for them to do it.  Most of all, please remember that you chose a cat because cats are special and unique.  Love them, enjoy them and they will love you right back!