Cats are natural climbers, and their instinctual drive to go upwards may lead them to your kitchen table or on countertops. If you’d prefer your cat leave her paws off those surfaces, try these tips from your Rapid City veterinarian.
Provide an Alternative
Some cats might be climbing on your kitchen table and countertops because there’s no good alternative. She needs to get her climbing drive out somehow! The best way to allow her to do this without hampering her natural instincts is to provide other options. Cat furniture and indoor tree structures allow cats to climb, scratch, and maintain their preferred high vantage point without going anywhere near surfaces you don’t want her on.
High shelves or windowsills that you don’t mind your cat getting onto are other good options. You could even consider placing a blanket or warm cat bed there to promote her spending time there, instead of on your kitchen table.
Don’t Accidentally Reward the Behavior
If cats jump up on the counter or table and find a tasty treat of some kind, they have a reason to continue getting up there. Put all cat treats or tasty human food away in cabinets or the refrigerator so your cat isn’t motivated to search the counters. Also make sure your cat is fed properly—some cats might go in search of food because they’re not getting enough of their own! Ask your veterinary professional about your cat’s nutritional needs and how often you should feed her.
Use Discouraging Methods
If your cat is still leaping up on countertops and the table, you can try conditioning her against getting to those areas. Environmental discouragers will frighten your cat just enough to stop the behavior, and you don’t even have to be present. Try a homemade discouraging device—put some cookie sheets on the very edge of the counter or table your cat likes to get onto. When she leaps up, she’ll knock over the cookie sheets, which will rattle and scare your cat into avoiding the area.
Commercially-available deterrent devices can also work. Some make a loud noise, some blow a short blast of air to startle your cat—ask your Rapid City veterinarian about these options.
Never punish your cat yourself with hitting, yelling, or physical punishing. Your cat will only become frightened of you, which you don’t want.