Thump, thump, thump! Sound familiar? All cat owners have heard it—the sound of their cat jumping up onto the countertop, which is usually one of the few places they aren’t allowed.
As cat owners, we know that they live by their own rules, but is there anything we can do to stop them from jumping on our counters and furniture?
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3 Ideas to Try to Keep Your Cats Off of Counters & Furniture
The answer is it varies between different cats. While one method might work perfectly to keep your feline friend off of the counters and furniture, it might not be effective for others. However, out of these three options, one of them is sure to work for you and your cat!
Put Something on the Counter They Don’t Like
One of the first things we like to try is—rather than preventing the jump—add deterrents to areas that are off-limits so they become an unwelcoming place for your cat. Unfamiliar textures, unpleasant smells, and things that make loud noises are all great ways to help keep your cat off of your counters and furniture without hurting or punishing them.
These methods are also less stressful for your cat than using spray bottles or raising your voice.
- Aluminum foil: Many cats don’t like how aluminum foil feels or the sound it makes when they land on it. Even more, cats are actually afraid of it. Taping some strips of aluminum foil on your counters or placing it on the furniture you want your cat to avoid might do the trick.
However, some cats don’t care about the foil at all—you’ll have to try it and see how yours reacts.
- Double-sided tape: Like aluminum foil, many cats dislike anything sticky, which makes double-sided tape another fantastic option. However, while it’s an affordable option, there are some downsides.
You’ll likely have to replace it frequently, and it can be challenging to get all of the residue left from the tape off of your counters. All in all, it’s a good option to try on hard surfaces to see if your cat reacts to it; however, don’t use it on soft surfaces like your couch.
- Plastic carpets: Specifically, the ones with little plastic nubs on top. Most cats jump up on the plastic carpet and have an unpleasant experience, quickly teaching them that that area is a no-go.
You can use them on any counter, table, couch, or chair to deter your cat from jumping on them without causing them any harm—it will simply be an annoyance for them.
These deterrents have something important in common—you’re not the one actively scaring your cat. The problem with you scaring them is that they might start to think that you are the scary thing, not the furniture or counters. These environmental deterrents teach them that the counters are scary, so (hopefully) they’ll learn to avoid jumping on them.
Give Them Something to Climb & Scratch
Your cat likely seeks out high spaces out of instinct. Before they lived with us, cats climbed to escape predators and hunt birds and rodents. The instincts to be up high are still there. Almost every cat will climb, and sometimes it’s easy to give them a better outlet for their climbing than it is to try and stop them completely.
Cat trees and other furniture designed for indoor cats to climb, explore, and scratch are great ways to help keep your cat entertained—and off of your counters and furniture. We love cat trees; they typically include columns to climb up and scratch on as well as platforms for your cat to relax. They’re a great human-approved way to let your cat get to the high ground.
However, some cats climb on counters looking for food. They’re thinking, “Yum! Special treats!”. Well, that’s what we choose to believe, anyway. If your cat is at a healthy weight, free-feeding them might help this behavior. But you don’t want to free-feed an overweight cat, so you could try feeding them a few small meals throughout the day rather than one or two large ones.
Hunting toys can also help your cats get out their energy while being rewarded with small amounts of food or treats. To avoid reinforcing your kitty’s counter-surfing adventures, you’ll also want to ensure that you keep food off of your counters.
Spray Them With Water or a Homemade Solution
Spraying your cat when they get into trouble can work great for some. However, this action will stress out some cats too much—you’ll have to see how your pet reacts. Water is a great thing to start with, and a gentle squirt might be enough to deter them.
A homemade spray is better, though—you can spray it on your counters and furniture to keep your kitties off of them instead of squirting your pet directly. Most cats don’t like vinegar or citrus; you can try mixing citrus oil or apple cider vinegar with water and spray it on the areas you want your cat to avoid. You should, however, test the spray before coating your furniture to ensure it doesn’t cause any spots or damage.
Peppermint oil works, too. An easy way we found to keep our cats off of the counter was adding a little bit of peppermint oil into our cleaner. The result? We then cleaned our counters like normal and the “thump, thump, thump!” went away!
Keep Your Cats Off of the Counters and Furniture for Good
Even if they don’t act like it all the time, cats are intelligent pets, and they need lots of toys, playtime, and engagement to stay happy and healthy. Sometimes, giving them a new cat tree and scratching posts can be enough to deter their destructive or annoying behavior. If not, one of the other two options will likely work for you and your cat.
If you have a unique way to keep your cats off of your counters and furniture, we’d love to hear it!