We’ve all been there. Sitting on your couch and you hear an unfamiliar clanging in the kitchen. It almost sounds like some of the jars on the countertop are moving, but there’s no one in the kitchen…
And you remember your cats newest trick, jumping up on the countertop.
It’s a frustrating experience - and it’s probably recurring. You cat loves to explore, and that’s what they are doing. But how do you communicate with your kitty that they aren’t allowed on the stovetop, or your desk, or the kitchen table?
4 Tips To Keeping Your Cats Off Your Countertops and Furniture
If your life has turned miserable as a result of your cat climbing on everything, try these tips to see if you can’t convince them life on the ground is a bit better.
Spray Them With Some Water
It’s a classic technique for a reason. Cats hate water, and they really hate getting sprayed by water. It makes them wet, alerted, and uncomfortable. It’s a very cheap and effective way to tell your cat they did something bad.
One really important note here is that spraying your cat when they hop on the furniture only works if you spray them once they get on there. That means if you find your cat napping on a countertop, don’t bother spraying them. They aren’t going to understand why they are getting hit with water, and they definitely aren’t going to associate it with being on the countertop. They might, however, start to view you as a really mean person who is waking them up from a nap with water.
So if you have a spray gun handy, what you need to do is wait for the first moment your cat gets on the furniture you don’t want them on. Then you need to yell at them “get down” or “get off that” Then spray them.
This allows your cat to associate your phrase with water, so hopefully after a few times they respond directly to your phrase (“get down” or “get off that”) without the need for water.
This tactic works half the time. For our home, one of our cats doesn’t care if he gets soaked by the spray gun, he just keeps doing whatever he wants. Another one of our cats responds to the water very well, but continues to repeat the same misstep and climbs back on the counter. One of our cats responds exactly as planned to this.
Block Their Access To The Furniture
This one is probably the best long term solution you have for preventing cats from climbing on your furniture. Fill the empty space up with something.
Yaki loves to climb onto an empty part of one of our shelves. He gets jammed in there and lays down, it’s like a cat paradise for him. And no matter how much we spray him with water, he goes right back - presumably he’s there all night too.
So the easiest long term solution for us is not to keep spraying him, it’s to fill the empty space with objects (it’s a bookshelf after all) so he doesn’t have anywhere to lay down. You can use pictures, books, or various objects - just make sure they aren’t easy to break.
Line It With Things They Hate
As an evil cat father, this one is actually my favorite. But keep in mind, it’s not pretty.
A few common household items that most cats hate:
- Aluminum Foil
- Plastic Carpets
- Double Sided Tape
- Special Formulas
We’ve always used aluminum foil because I feel it terrifies the cats. Plastic carpets is kind of hard, double sided tape is extra cruel if they end up getting their fur ripped off, and we’re not big on formulas.
So take your aluminum foil and line whatever area you don’t want your cat to go on. They will jump up, hit the aluminum foil, and take off because they hate the sound and feel of it.
We had to do this for our record player, for example. It has to constantly be opened up to change the record so we couldn’t prevent our cat from sitting on it by placing books or anything, and it’s electric so we can’t spray him when he’s on it. So we simply leave a piece of aluminum foil over the top of the record player and he has no interest in climbing up there any more.
Disclaimer: this option looks awful.
If you want to try another option that's not so ugly, you can line a cotton pouch with a smell they hate. You usually only have to replace it weekly or biweekly depending on your choice of the smell. You can read our post about smells that cats hate here.
Give Them Better Things To Climb On
Our last and most permanent solution. The best way to keep cats off the furniture is to give them somewhere they would rather be. Most likely, if your cat is climbing higher and higher that means they want to be situated somewhere higher. Cat’s love this, it’s a hunting tactic.
So, get your cat a tall cat tree or cat shelves. These help to give your cats specific places they can climb too that are designed just for them. They will appreciate it more than the countertop you always seem to be using. And you will appreciate not having to remove cat hair from your countertop before cooking.
In particular, cat shelves can be extremely stylish for a house, so they also prevent the negative workarounds like lining your record player with aluminum foil.
This is your best long term solution - give them a dedicated area to climb on rather than yelling at them all day.
In summary, it’s not your cats fault if they are climbing on everything. It’s yours. You didn’t give them enough space or freedom to live their lives. Go out and buy some cat shelves and make them happy. Or you can line your house with aluminum foil and your guests will think you are certifiable. You can also run around like a crazy person with a spray gun yelling at your cats (this is usually how I handle it).