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Behavior Mod.

Keeping the Cat Off of the Counters

Some people think that letting their kitties counter-surf or thieve for food on the table or kitchen counters is fine. Or, maybe they’ve just given up trying to stop it. Nevertheless, many owners would agree that such practice poses several potential dangers to their cats. Because you don’t want your pet to accidentally jump on a hot stove or ingest residue of cleaning products that have remained in the sink, keeping her off the countertops is a necessity.

How to Keep the Cat off the Counters

Cats are drawn to work surfaces because they generally love heights and are curious by nature. To prevent your cat from climbing on your countertops, try the following techniques.

1. Sticky tape/aluminum foil. Because cats don’t like how the sticky tape feels on their toes, try applying some to the edge of the counter. This way, you can discourage kitty after a couple of attempts. The only problem here is that you may need to keep on applying the tape indefinitely; or, the sticky mess may be difficult to remove afterwards. You can also use the aluminum foil to deter your cat. Both the feel of it and the noise it makes when stepped on put off kitty.

2. Can trick. This is an old-fashioned yet proven technique to discourage cats from many kinds of unpleasant behavior. Drop some pennies or pebbles in an empty can and then tape the opening. The moment you see your cat starting to jump onto the counter, vigorously shake the can to startle her. Unfortunately, this method only works when you’re around. Many cats will learn that it’s safe to jump on counters when you’re not at home!

3. Spray bottle. When your cat counter-surfs, try to give her a really quick spray of the water bottle, giving off only a fine mist. Do not get carried away and end up soaking kitty with water. You don’t want her to associate you with any unpleasant consequence so be careful about using this for discipline.

These techniques are only meant to startle your cat, not to frighten or traumatize her. Use them only when necessary and sparingly. While they may not be entirely pleasant for kitty, the alternative – jumping onto a hot stove or into harmful chemicals – could be much worse for her.

Finally, provide your cat some appropriate spots for jumping and being up high. Give kitty her own cat tower or climbing tree which is interesting enough for her to keep her attention. You can try hiding some delicious food treat at the top once in a while. Always lavish her with lots of praises and petting each time she makes use of the tower. This way, kitty will connect climbing on it with positive feelings and will, hopefully, give up on the kitchen counters for good.

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