Keeping Cats off Counters

Cats love countertops. They provide a high vantage point from which a cat can observe goings-on in the kitchen, they often have tasty crumbs or good smells onΒ  them, and it drives their owners nuts when they get on the counter, which makes it an easy ploy for attention. Pet parents, on the other hand, don’t love cats on countertops quite as much. Nothing puts me off my food quite like knowing a cat butt is planted right where the meal was prepared! If you need to keep cats off your countertops, get ready to put away the squirt bottle and stop yelling yourself hoarse– there are better ways.

Making Counters Unappealing

It’s not entirely fair to tell your cat to keep off the counters if you insist on making your countertops exciting and appealing to the cat. If you want your cat to stay off the countertops, start by making a point of removing all food crumbs and debris, and never leaving food or beverages uncovered and unattended on the counter. If you spill something on the counter, wipe it up immediately, and always wipe the counter down at least once a day. Don’t put tasty-looking potted plants there, either, or boxes, paper bags, and anything else cats might feel like they need to climb into and investigate.

The Mousetrap Method

No, I’m not going to tell you to trap some mice and use them to distract your cat from getting on the counter! You don’t need any mice to use the mousetrap trick to keep your cat off the counter. Here’s what you do need:

  • Several of the plain, old-fashioned mousetraps you can find at any grocery store. No bait necessary.
  • A couple of large towels.
  • A few days where you won’t need to use your countertops for much of anything.
  • Spray bottle full of water.

Now, set the traps, and set them upside down, gently, on your counter. Cover them with the towels, making sure to let the towels hang off the side of the counter enough to be visible from the cat’s perspective on the floor. Now, spritz the towels enough with the spray bottle to wet them noticeably, and walk away.

When your cat jumps on the counter, several things will happen at once: The traps will snap, which since they are upside-down will not hurt the cat, but will make a loud noise and feel as if the counter surface has decided to move in a frightening way. The cat’s paws will get wet, which most cats hate. And as they scramble off the counter, the towels will slip (though not as much as they would if dry– making them damp helps them stick a little better) which is also a little scary to cats.

Reset the traps and repeat until the cat is staying off the counter. Then, you can forget the mousetraps and bottle, and just leave the towels in place– they’ll serve as a signal to your cat that the counter is still a scary place where the floor moves, makes noises, and gets their paws wet.

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13 Responses

  1. jelenawoehr
    | Reply

    @PetLvr PetLvr [Blog] \\ Keeping Cats off Counters

  2. HART (1-800-HART)
    | Reply

    (new PetLvr post ).. Keeping Cats off Counters: Cats love countertops. They provide a high v..

  3. HART (1-800-HART)
    | Reply

    RT @SpendLessTV: #FollowFriday @PetLvr for posts that keep the peace: Keep Cats off Countertops: /thx for RT!

  4. Frank J
    | Reply

    It’s funny, I had this cat that would always jump up on the microwave and never knew why, and I still don’t.

    Nice article Hart!~

  5. pam/pixtrose
    | Reply

    If the cats have claws sheets of bubble wrap spooks them…No claws duct tape or masking tape doubled over with sticky side up freaks them out too..I like the mousetrap idea I will have to try that πŸ˜€

  6. HART (1-800-HART)
    | Reply

    For our Zeussie Pussy Cat .. when he was little, we tried the water bottle, but stopped almost immediately and went for the masked tape on the edge of the counters. Cats are inherently scared of water anyway, and we didn’t want to make it worse – in case of bathing (little did we know lol) .

    That stopped the jumping on counters almost immediately. A side note, is that the spray bottle scared the heck out of the dogs – which, in a way is a good thing, because whenever there is squirting of any spray (or bath shower spray etc) they run out of harm’s way from their eyes! I guess that’s good.

  7. Susie
    | Reply

    Yet sometimes, there are ones that won’t respond to any of this.. we had kitty-vicious who never responded to anything! Sadly he is no longer with us! The mousetrap idea is about the closest we came to a solution

  8. John Sullivan
    | Reply

    Another excellent method is commonly known as a 12 gauge πŸ™‚
    Just joking I just did a LITTLE battle with the JIDF I don’t need Peta on me πŸ™‚

  9. HART (1-800-HART)
    | Reply

    haha .. 12 gauge // I used to take those larger elastic bands and shoot it at our cat, but he enjoyed that and my success rate was maybe 20% in hitting him. Zeussie the Pussy cat would chew on the elastics and push them all around the house under the fridge, under the couch, etc .. Mrs. PetLvr didn’t like that…

  10. John Sullivan
    | Reply

    Your cool people Hart I don’t care what all those lamers on Blogcatalog say about you πŸ™‚
    Double lame humor attempt
    2 strikes I’m OUT
    enjoy the weekend TAKE A BRAKE already
    I should talk πŸ™‚
    I’d stumble you but I already did πŸ˜‰

  11. Kikolani
    | Reply

    The one thing we never can leave on the counter unattended is bread. It takes my cats just minutes to realize there is some kind of bread on the counter, and seconds once they get to it to destroy it with a few nibbles here and there. πŸ™‚

    ~ Kristi

  12. Evelyn
    | Reply

    My advice? Give it up! Make sure you leave a pan of water on any burners recently used so they don’t step on it (that’s my own fear — that they’ll step on a hot burner) and double-stick tape your breakables. We did the tape thing and they haven’t broken anything since. πŸ™‚ I have one little girl who likes to steal the milk from my glass as soon as I walk away from it. I try to pour and take off with my cup/glass but sometimes I get distracted. When I remember I tear back to the kitchen and there she is! “Hey!” There she goes — tearing off to who knows where! She knows she’s bad, but she just so damn cute!

  13. top
    | Reply

    I guess we shouldn’t understand why cats like countertops that much, just accept…

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