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How to Keep a Cat or Kitten off Counter Tops and Furniture

Kitten on Counter TopHi John,

We have a new cat about 7 months old. Is their anyway of discouraging, train or controlling his jumping up on counter tops. Nothing seems to work. To no avail we’ve tried water spraying, lifting down quickly with a stern “No!” etc. It is amazing how fast he can jump from the floor to any table or counter top with little effort. Are we wasting our time trying to control this?

Ken – Ottawa

Dear Ken,

Many years ago, my wife at the time complained that my German Shepherd Beau was getting up on the couch while we were out of the house. Somehow it had slipped her mind that I was a professional dog trainer so I assured her that she was mistaken and furthermore she was confusing her two cats’ hair with my dog’s hair. I confidently added that I had been with Beau longer than I’d been with her and therefore I knew him better then she did and there was no way, no how, that he was spending a moment of his day on the couch.

She was unmoved by my loyalty or my credentials and countered that as she was the one doing the vacuuming she had first hand experience and I was to rest assured that he was indeed finding a place to rest his head in our absence and it was on the couch.

In order to clear my dog’s name I proposed an experiment that I was sure would reveal where the real blame should rightfully lay, that being on her two cats, Timmy and Rufus. Both shed hair like Charlie Sheen burns bridges and besides I wouldn’t put it past them to plant evidence to malign my dog’s impeccable reputation.

I bought some sticky on both sides tape similar to what is used to keep carpets in place. I cut lengths and laid strips on the couch and couch pillows. My wife agreed that if there was no dog hair on the tape Beau would be exonerated. We went out for a coffee. To this day I have no idea how the cats managed it, but upon our return Beau greeted us at the front door with a pillow clinging to his backside.

Two-way tape actually works pretty well at deterring cats from certain areas, Stick it to some cardboard cut to shape the areas you want the cat to stay off of and when you’re going to be out of the area put it in place. After a while, most cats decide the area is not worth the trouble. Another trick is to set mousetraps upside down and lay a sheet of newspaper over them. Don’t use this if you’re as absent minded as I am as I haven’t been near the toaster in years so

Yet another is to buy carpet protector mats, either the ones that roll out for stairs or hallways, or the stiff ones you put under an office chair. They both have little pointy things to keep them in place. Again, cut to shape and put it upside down in the designated areas. I’ve seen a version of these sold in pet retail stores specifically for this purpose but they are way more money. The little pointy things come in different stiffness’s, shapes, lengths and spacing so see if you can have a look at one of the pet-specific designs and look for a close match.

Pawsitively yours,

John Wade

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