7 Easy, Effective Ways to Keep Cats Off Your Kitchen Counters

published Aug 24, 2022
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(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)

An all-too-familiar dinner party scenario: At the home of friends, you’re sipping a glass of wine while your hosts put the finishing touches on dinner. Soon later, their beloved cat does its business in the litter box, licks itself a bit, and proceeds to hop up on the kitchen counters right where your dinner is being made.

The cat wanders all over the counters, pausing now and then to lick and paw particularly interesting spots, perhaps even nosing the ingredients. Particularly bold and limber cats will step over the prepared food, forcing you to imagine the hair and kitty litter they’re leaving behind.

You as a guest are eternally grateful for your hosts’ generosity and good company, but you’re no longer psyched about the dinner aspect of the dinner party. Sound familiar? There might be moments when you might want to allow your furball to have free rein of the countertops, but there are also some instances when it’s best to set up the kitty equivalent of a “keep off” sign. When that time comes, here are some tips and tricks for keeping your cat off the counters.

Create a cookie sheet contraption.

Let’s start out with an excellent quote from the ASPCA: Rather than spraying your cat with water when they jump on a forbidden counter, “arrange for the environment to punish your cat directly.” “Balance some lightweight cookie sheets on the edge of the counter. When your cat jumps up, she’ll land on the sheets. They’ll move and possibly topple over, making some unpleasant noise while she leaps back onto the floor.”

Roll out some aluminum foil.

If you don’t want your cats on your cookie sheets and your cookie sheets on the floor (or if you only own one cookie sheet), Huffington Post recommends using cheap, recyclable aluminum foil.

Get sticky with it.

The Humane Society advises making your counters unpleasantly sticky, either DIY-style using double-sided tape, or using readymade products.

Lay down some sandpaper.

This Old House notes that cats hate the feel of sandpaper underfoot, so you could lay it on your counters when you’re not cooking.

Pull down the blinds.

If your counters are your cat’s idea of a little piece of heaven, Petfinder recommends simple ways to make them less enjoyable, like pulling down the blinds to block the basking sun — and the view of the bird feeder.

Freshen up the counters.

According to The Nest’s Pet column, a peppermint solution can be sprayed on countertops to deter cats — and to make your kitchen minty fresh. WikiHow has similar advice involving black pepper, lemon, eucalyptus, cinnamon, rosemary, and lavender — delicious.

Apply some positive reinforcement.

One of my favorite solutions comes from Pawnation: “Some experts recommend clicker training. This method involves training your cat to jump off the counter on a cue word, like ‘off’. When the cat follows your cue, click the clicker, then reward your cat with a treat.” Positive reinforcement!

And don’t forget to clean.

If your cats do occasionally traipse around your countertops, VetStreet wants you to protect your health — and the health of your guests — by cleaning the surfaces thoroughly before preparing food. Hot water, soap, and an antibacterial agent should do the trick.

This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: 7 Simple Ways to Keep Cats Off Your Kitchen Counters