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 on 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.