Have you ever wondered why cats love climbing and jumping on furniture or anything high that can support their weight? If you’re a cat owner, this isn’t something new. You probably see your cat climbing up, observing the surroundings, and lounging from above your furniture several times a day.

The truth is, climbing is actually a part of a cat’s natural instinct. In the wild, they climb for several reasons. It may be to avoid danger, keep away from predators, hunt for birds, have a good vantage point for observation, and prelude to catching prey on the ground.

As this behavior, alongside pouncing and stalking, is just natural for them, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that cats also act on these instincts in a domestic setting even if there are no predators or prey around.

Meanwhile, your cat may express these instincts by jumping on things and furniture, even those you don’t want them to hop on. Case in point, you might have noticed them knocking things off the table or jumping on kitchen countertops.

While you can’t keep your cat from climbing, you can redirect this behavior to prevent them from climbing on your countertop tables or other high areas in the house that you want them to keep away from. So, what are the ways to keep cats off counters?

How to Keep Cats Off Counters

how to keep cat off counter

A viable solution to keep your cat off the counter is to remove the sources of temptation, or in other words - make your countertop less appealing for them. Meanwhile, it would also be best to provide access to alternatives. So without further ado, below are some of the ways on how to keep cats off the counter.

Remove the sources of temptation

how to keep your cat off the counters

Some cats jump on counters because something is too tempting to resist. A common reason why cats like climbing countertops and tables is food left there. To address this, make sure that food is kept away and not left in the open. If you can’t put the food away, secure it in sealed containers so that your cat can’t take a whiff.

Not to mention, it’s best to make it a habit to clean up food scraps that may be left on the table and do the dishes as soon as you finish eating. Also, put a lid on your garbage bin and keep it in a place where your cat can’t see. These steps will make your kitchen less tempting while keeping your it tidy too.

Keep cupboards and cabinets securely closed

To prevent your cat from climbing and sneaking in your cupboards and cabinets, secure it with child-proof latches that can be easily closed when not in use.

Close the doors

If you’re away and nobody is available to supervise your cat, what you can do is to close the door of your kitchen, dining room, or any other room of your house that you don’t want your cat to explore.

Set up “booby traps”

One efficient way to prevent cats from jumping over countertops or specific areas of the house is using “booby traps.” While the term may come off as sly or malicious, “boobytrapping” won’t harm your cat. Instead, it will only discourage the unwanted behavior. In this case, boobytrapping will make countertops and tables unappealing for your cats. So, how to keep a cat off a counter with booby traps? Below are some recommendations.

  • Aluminum Foil

Keep your cat off a counter with foil. Putting aluminum foil on your countertop or other furniture is a simple hack to prevent your cat from climbing on top of it. Cats don’t seem to like how aluminum foil feels on their feet, so they try to avoid it. Some cats, however, may be clever enough to toss it out, but many pet parents have had great success using it.

  • Double-Sided Tape

Having something that sticks to their paws tends to annoy cats. Therefore, placing the double-sided tape on your counter might work to keep them away from climbing it.

  • Non-Electric Pet Training Mat

Another option is to get a non-electric pet training mat that serves as a deterrent to keep your cat off certain furniture. In choosing which ones, pick safe pain-free mats not to cause any harm to your cat.

Use scents

If setting up booby traps on the surface of your counter didn’t work, another option is to spray some essential oils mixed with water to keep your cats off counters and other surfaces. A list of the essential oils that deter cats includes citrus-based ones (lemon, orange, etc.), lavender, and peppermint.

Provide alternatives

Another strategy you should consider is providing an alternative to jumping on kitchen surfaces. Below you can find some of the other approaches to redirect your cat’s attention.

Food-finding alternatives

If your cat is jumping on your counters because they are searching for food, what you can do is provide them with other ways to get treats. For example, if your cat has a healthy weight, free-feeding may help so that they won’t feel the need to look for food anymore.

Otherwise, you can try using a pet camera with a treat dispenser to distract your cat from counter surfing. Other options include a lick mat, puzzle feeder, and interactive toys.

Alternative elevated surfaces

Suppose the reason why your cat is jumping on your counter or other furniture is driven by curiosity and having a great vantage point. In that case, there are wonderful alternatives to redirect this behavior.

  • Cat Trees

A cat tree is an excellent alternative because it mimics real trees cats love climbing in the wild. Your cat may instantly climb it, or it may take some time for their curiosity to build up.

  • Cat Condos

Cat condos is also a great alternative. Not only do they provide your cat with something high to climb up, but they also serve as your cat’s personal lounging area. Not to mention, a cat condos can also include toys that your cats can play with for hours on end.

  • Cat Hammocks

Another option is hanging an elevated cat hammock where your cat can lie on. Not only will it offer a great view of the surroundings, but it’s pretty comfy too.

  • Windows and Bookshelves

Cats love windows as they like observing things outside. They also enjoy sunshine, making it a great place to relax. However, don’t forget to cat-proof your windows.

Bookshelves are also great as they provide a good vantage point. To entice your cat even more, you can place cat grass or catnip on top of it. A pillow and blanket would make it extra comfy.


It is important to note that it’s natural for cats to jump on counters, tables and furniture, so you shouldn’t punish them for this behavior. When it comes to keeping your cat off the counter, remember that using physical punishment won’t be beneficial in helping your cat.

Keeping cats off the counter sometimes just takes a bit of training. It's similar to keeping cats away from the fireplace, it just takes time for them to learn the rules. As responsible cat parents, we should be patient with them and redirect these behaviors instead through the aforementioned ways.

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