How To Keep Cats Off Counters Like A Pro!

Knowing how to keep cats off counters is a vital skill for any pet parent. As much as you love your kitty, getting involved with rolling pastry, or batting tomatoes on the floor isn’t desirable.
Coming home to find your cat munching her way through the remains of last night’s dinner is the last thing you want!

Accidentally leaving out food is a huge temptation for your cat! In this post you’ll learn how to keep cats off counters so you can prepare food in peace! You’ll discover why your cat loves to sit close up and watch your every move, and how tin foil can deter her from jumping up.

Why counter tops are so attractive to your cat

Have you ever wondered why shelves, tables, and counter tops are so attractive to your cat? You’d think the floor would be the safest option, but a cat’s natural instinct is to perch up high. Sitting on high perches gives protection from predators. It also allows your cat to survey her territory from a safe vantage point.

Surfing across counter tops is something most cats love to do. Jumping from the the fridge to the sink, or stove top is highly entertaining to your kitty! She doesn’t understand why you get so annoyed. Your cat may want extra cuddles, and positioning herself right in front of you while you’re preparing dinner is her way of making sure she’s not ignored!

Is your cat a thief?

cat stealing food

Most cats will steal food given half the chance. Your cat will see a plate of chicken or roast beef as being there for the taking. Turning your back even for a few minutes can prove too much of a temptation for your kitty. The Thought of sharing dinner with your cat may not be a pleasant one though!

Keep everywhere clean

It may sound obvious but keeping your counter tops clean removes any temptation. Always put left over foods in the fridge as soon as they’re cool enough. Cover any exposed foods, even foods your cat would never eat. I certainly wouldn’t want to eat anything my cats licked. Even crumbs on your work surface should be cleaned up as cats will try and eat anything they see as food.

A good idea is to use vinegar for cleaning. Dilute it with water and wipe over counters and work surfaces. It not only acts as a great anti-bacterial cleaner, but cats hate the smell. Add a few drops of fresh lemon as well. Cats hate the smell of citrus fruit as it’s too overpowering for their sensitive noses. As a result, Your kitchen will smell lemon fresh, and you’ll have lovely clean cat free counter tops!

How to keep cats off counters with tin foil.

You may think tin foil is only good for wrapping food, but you’d be surprised to learn it can also be used to keep cats off counter tops. Cats hate the feel of tin foil on their paws as well as the noise it makes. Take a roll of foil and cut into strips. Then, using tape stick them onto the edges of your counter tops.

Your cat will soon give up on the idea of jumping up. It may not look good, but at least it will act as a deterrent. Once your kitty has become conditioned not to jump, you can remove them.

Some people advise keeping a water spray handy as a deterrent. Cats hate water and a few squirts will soon have your kitty leaping down again.

Risks from chemicals and a hot stove

stop cats jumping on counters

Apart from the annoyance of your cat jumping on kitchen surfaces, there’s also the danger of her being injured by chemicals or heat from the stove. Kitchens are dangerous enough places for humans, so you can imagine the hazards your cat would face. Saucepans of boiling water or naked flames from a gas hob can be accidents waiting to happen for a curious cat.

The lure of the kitchen tap

One of the reasons your cat may love jumping up on counters is drinking fresh water from the kitchen sink. Many felines prefer this to drinking out of a water bowl, and is why water fountains are so popular.

Providing alternative perches for great viewing

As I’ve already mentioned, cats love high perches. Anything that’s within their reach is a prime target. This of course includes your kitchen worktops. A good solution would be to install a cat tree in your home. If it’s interesting enough your kitty may decide it’s more fun than your counter. Most are easy to put together and provide a place to play and rest.

Try placing a few tasty treats somewhere on the tree to encourage your kitty to explore. You could also include a few toys as well. Whether your cat spends most of her time outdoors or prefers lounging around indoors, a tree or condo provides an essential private space.

There’s no guarantee your cat will stop jumping up on the counter, or use the cat tree, but it’s worth a try. Most cats get used to a tree after a while, with a little help from a treat or two!

Can you train your cat to stop jumping on work surfaces?

Many people falsely believe you can’t train a cat. We all know it’s easy to train dogs, but few attempt to train their kitty. The secret in getting your cat to do something you want is by using treats.

Dogs are easy to train as they’re programmed to please. Throw a stick and your cat will stare at you blankly! Your cat couldn’t care less even if she understood your request! Though I’m not expecting you to teach your cat fancy tricks, it is possible to train her not to jump on the counter and steal food.

Always reward with treats and lots of praise. Never shout at your cat, no matter how frustrated you feel. You could end up making her scared of you. Train your cat by rewarding good behaviour. If she jumps up on the tree to observe what you’re doing instead of on the counter, give her a treat.

If she tries to jump on the counter, just gently push her away, or lift her on to the floor. The more you do this the lesser chance of her repeating bad behaviour. Cats quickly get into bad habits, especially if there’s a reward in it for them.

If your kitty knows that jumping on the counter means she gets to eat some of your dinner she’ll keep doing it. If however, she’s confronted by the nasty smell of vinegar, or the unpleasant feel of scratchy foil, she’ll stop!

Keep your kitchen counters a cat free zone!

keep your cat off the counter and on the floor

Whether you’re a cat parent to one or even five cats, you’ll want to keep your kitchen a cat free zone. Apart from feeding bowls on the floor, work surfaces should definitely be cat free. As well as the threat of stolen food, you also need to consider hygiene. Though cats are meticulously clean, they can carry nasty bacteria.

Toxoplasmosis is especially dangerous to pregnant women, and as well as that your kitty may have parasites including tapeworm. Whether your cat goes outside or uses a litterbox, she will get tiny debris of dirt or feces between her toes.

If your cat has jumped on the counter you need to use an anti-bacterial disinfectant before preparing any food.

Now you know how to keep cats off counters I hope you use some of the tips suggested here. We’ve discussed using vinegar as well as tin foil to stop your cat jumping. Plus. of course water sprays! You’ve discovered the dangers to both you and your cat from allowing her on kitchen work surfaces. You’ve also learned surprisingly that you can train your cat!!

If you’ve enjoyed reading this post, please share 🙂 I’d also love you to share your thoughts on keeping cats off counters. Please leave your comments below

Wishing you a purrfect day
Kathy 🙂

10 thoughts on “How To Keep Cats Off Counters Like A Pro!”

  1. This is really a great article, Cats in general act just like some wild cats. They love to climb on trees or high places for many reasons. That’s why as you said we need to provide alternative perches for great viewing to limit their unwanted jumping all over the kitchen.

    Keeping the cat away from the kitchen is a must. Not because they may cause problems or a mess for you but because it is a dangerous place for pets and kids alike. So, it is necessary to take good measurements as you suggested to keep them away from the kitchen or at least limit their movement inside the kitchen.

    • Thank you Mohammad. Yes, it’s a cats natural instinct to climb trees and find high places to perch. Providing cat trees is a great and far safer alternative! Kitchens are dangerous places and most accidents in the home tend to happen in kitchens. Pets don’t understand the dangers and it’s up to us to protect them. 🙂

  2. So much helpful advice!
    I didn’t realize that tin foil could be so effective for keeping cats off counters.
    I also like the cleaning everything with vinegar.
    Thanks for an informative post!

    • Thank you Jesse 🙂 Yes, cats hate the feel of tin foil on their paws, and the noise it makes. I’ve never had to use it but heard good reports of those who have. Anything that keeps your cat off the kitchen counter is good!! Vinegar is an an amazing cleaner. It’s much nicer to use than many shop bought cleaners as you’re not exposing yourself or your family to harmful chemicals. 🙂

  3. Great article! I’ve had cats my whole life, and only when they get old and arthritic do they give up on counters. I used baking soda when we first got our kitten, but he got used to it. Next, I went to double-sided tape. It worked like a champ but had all sorts of things stick to it. I had never considered aluminum foil. New to me. I shall keep that in mind. Thanks for sharing the tip!

    • Thank you Cathy, yes old and arthritic cats are the only ones deterred from counters! Baking soda sounds a good idea, but as you said, cats soon get used to deterrents! Foil works, but can get in the way when you’re preparing food! Glad you found the tips useful 🙂

  4. Gosh, I wish I knew this information when I had my kitty many years ago. I haven’t had one since, because I struggle with not feeling like I can manage their not so ideal behaviours. Jumping on kitchen benches was my pet hate. I had no idea what to do to keep ours off. Even though I’d keep the benches clean, it was while I was preparing meals that he would jump up and I found it so hard. I love the idea of using aluminium foil as a deterrent. Once they come across it a few times, they wouldn’t dream of jumping up. I also love the idea of using vinegar and water. This is brilliant. Thanks so much for such a valuable post!

    • Thank you Kat. It never ceases to amaze me how cats just seem to know when you’re preparing food! Mine appears from nowhere as soon I start getting pots and pans out of the cupboard! Aluminium foil can help, as cats hate walking on it. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant, and as well as that, our feline friends dislike the smell:)

    • Hi Sondra, I’m glad sscat deterrent worked for you and kept your cat away from the counters and table. It’s always trial and error with our crafty feline friends, but once you find something that works, stick with it! Thanks for your input and for stopping by:)


Leave a Comment

Join Our Cat Loving Community!

Get Cat Care 101, Plus regular blog post updates...

We respect your privacy.