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Train Your Cats to Keep Off Counters

Updated by Amy Granger on Nov 29, 2021

Cats bring joy into our lives. Learning about your cat's personality and interests is part of the fun of being a pet owner. However, we all know cats sometimes get into trouble. They are curious creatures, prompting them to explore every nook and corner of your home. While it's fun to play with your cat and help them explore, you probably don't want the cat all over your counters. You want to keep your countertops and surfaces clean, so how can you keep your cat off the counters?

  • Why do cats like to jump on the counter?
  • How to keep cats off the counter and other spaces?
  • Are there any alternatives for cats to climb or jump?
  • FAQs
how to keep cats off counters

Curious cats love jumping around and experimenting with anything and everything around your home. Cats especially love climbing up on counters.

Cats love to leap and pounce since they naturally prey on rodents and birds. Their predatory nature makes perching in higher places more desirable. Seeking out higher ground gives them an advantage. Even if your cat is fully domesticated and couldn't be bothered to lift a paw, let alone hunt for food, seeking out high places is an instinctual behavior.

Your cat might love the view from the counter. Many counters are placed right in front of windows, providing the perfect perch for your kitten. Cats often enjoy looking out the window or looking down around them to survey their surroundings.

Another reason your cat jumps on the counters is the enticing smells. You prepare food on your counters, often leaving scraps behind. Your cat might jump up to sniff out the prospects of a tasty treat.

cat jump off counter

If you're hoping to deter your kitty from jumping onto your countertops, there are a few tactics you can try. Try the suggestions below to keep your kitty off the counter, desk, table, or shelf.

De-clutter your counters

Because cats are so curious, eliminating any enticing objects from your counters makes it a less appealing space. Wrap up food tightly and store it in the pantry or the fridge. Remove small trinkets, such as keys or rubber bands, with which cats might like to play. If nothing is interesting on the counters, your cat is less likely to want to explore there.

cat stay on counter

Positive reinforcement

Cats, like many animals, respond poorly to negative reinforcement. You should avoid getting angry and shooing your cat away when she leaps onto the counter. Reward her with a treat when she jumps onto a different space. A designated windowsill or tower for your cat to climb on can help keep her off the counters. Praise her when she chooses this over the counters.

Use sticky tape

If your cat isn't responding well to other methods, consider lining your counters with double-sided tape. The sticky surface is incredibly uncomfortable for cats. If they continue to jump up on your countertops or tables, use sticky tape. They will eventually stop jumping up thanks to the unpleasant feeling.

Clear out a designated space

Once your cat realizes the counters are off-limits or become disinterested, you'll need to provide an alternative space. Try clearing out a windowsill where they can lounge without disturbing you. You can even install a shelf specially for your cat to jump up on and explore.

cat tree

There are many alternatives you can provide your cat with to keep them off your counters. Make your cat happy by creating a special place. You can choose from a variety of cat furniture that provides endless entertainment.

  • Cat tree tower: A cat tree tower provides vertical space for your cat to climb up and down.
  • Cat tree with leaves: Like a simple cat tree tower, a cat tree with leaves provides the same vertical space with the added benefit of a natural feeling
  • Cat condo: Cat condos provide various platforms and perches for your cat to play on.
  • Cat wall: A cat wall is like a playground that you mount to the wall. It creates a complex environment, allowing your cat to jump and climb against the wall.
  • Window perch: Clear out the window sill and make it into a call oasis.
Does aluminum foil keep cats off counters?
It might not work for all cats, but using aluminum foil on your counters can help keep them away. The sound and texture of aluminum foil are uncomfortable for cats. When your kitten feels the foil underneath her paws, she will jump off immediately. Give it a try by securing a few strips of aluminum foil around the edges of your counters.
Can you train your cat to stay off counters?
The whole process of teaching your cat to stay off counters involves training. It can take some time to teach your cat to stay down, so remember to be patient. As mentioned above, avoid negative reinforcement when training. Cats respond best to positive affirmation, so be sure to give rewards while training instead of punishments.
Are there any essential oils that help keep cats off counters?
Essential oils have many purposes. There are even some that could help you keep your cat off the counter. Here are a few oils you should consider trying: Citronella, Eucalyptus, Citrus, Lavender, Peppermint, Thyme, Rosemary, and more.
Eucalyptus oil has a strong scent that cats find unpleasant. They typically avoid places where they can smell eucalyptus. Try soaking a washcloth in the oil and leave it on the counter or rub it along the surface.
Most essential oils have strong smells that cats can't handle. See what oils you have on hand and observe how your cat reacts.


Ultimately, you want both your cat and your family to stay healthy. Keeping cats off the counters will help you maintain clean surfaces. Providing your cat with her own space to jump and climb on stimulates her brain and gives her an outlet to climb and scratch. Remember each cat is different, so try out these methods to see which works best to keep your cat off the counters for good.

Amy Granger
Amy is an editor from iPetor, owns a 4-year experience in writing tips and tutorial for users. As a pet owner, she will share more pets care methods and recommend more useful products for all pet owners.
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