The first step in keeping your cat off countertops and tables is to remove any opportunity or temptation. As responsible pet owners, we want to give our pets the best chance possible to behave well. 

Make sure all your food items are put away or stored in cat-proof containers such as Tupperware or a bread bin.

Put a lid on your garbage can and place it somewhere your cat cannot reach it, such as a closed cupboard. 

Install child-proof latches on cabinets.

Close doors to keep your cat out of certain areas when you are not around to supervise.

Provide an alternative elevated space for your cat. Cat trees are great for this, or you can simply clear off a top shelf of a bookcase. Windows and windowsills are also a great place for a cat to perch.

Use bits of catnip or cat food to encourage your cat to choose the alternative location. Make sure to praise your cat whenever they are sitting in the preferred location. If the surface is hard, make it more cozy by placing a towel or a blanket down to soften it up.

Make counters and other “off-limits” areas unattractive to your cat by removing all food and “booby-trapping” the area. 

We recommend use of the following pet-safe “booby traps”:
Sticky Paws double-sided tape
X-Mat Original Pet Mat
Coir welcome mats
Premier Spray Sentry
Ssscat

None of these will harm your cat but they should be annoying enough that your cat chooses to avoid them. 

The use of physical punishment will NOT help in training your feline friend, but rather will make her fear you. Make sure to avoid yelling at, hitting, or spraying your cat with water. This will not solve the problem. Instead, be sure to use these positive tactics to teach your feline friend about the cozy, awesome alternatives to the counter or table.

If you would like information from an Anti-Cruelty Society Behavior Specialist regarding this behavior topic, please call 312-645-8253 or email behavior@anticruelty.org.

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