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Cat gets on the kitchen counter....please help

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hi, one of my cats constantly jumps up on my kitchen counter and licks the dirty dishes and she gets on the stove top too and licks the dinner pans. She is well fed and always has fresh water. This a very irritating behavior as sometimes she knock things off. Even when there is nothing on the counter and all the dishes are done she gets up there are "searches" for something to get into.

It's virtually impossible to catch her in the act as she hears me comming and gets down then looks at me like " You didn't catch me, you can't do anything about it." On the slim chance I do catch her I've tried squirting her with water, yelling at her and I even put contact paper on the counter to discourage her from doing it all to no evail.

Do you have any suggestions? I would like to curb this behavior. Please help.


post #2 of 10
Several things you can do here. Right before you sit down for dinner, fill your sink up with hot water on the garbabge disposal side. Have all the dirty dishes put there afterwards. Clean off your counters with a lemon based cleaner. There are lots of them out there, just DO NOT use Lysol (toxic to kitties) I use PineSol Lemon Fresh.

Go to the grocery store and buy those mini mylar balloons that are filled with helium. Bring them home and take a long piece of string big enough to follow the line of your counter and attach the balloons to the string. Tape the balloon string to your counter so they free float around the edge. Just a few days of these aliens, and you kitty will stay clear of the counter.
post #3 of 10
There are several things you can try, and I'm sure you'll get some other great ideas as well.

Try stacking empty soft drink cans on the counter, when she leaps up she will knock them off which will make a scary sound. She will want to avoid the sound so she'll stay off the counter in the future.

Cover a piece of cardboard with double sided tape. Put the cardboard on the counter whenever you aren't in the kitchen (tape side up). Cats hate sticky stuff and will stay off the counter to avoid being stuck.

Keep dirty dishes off the counter. Immediately rinse everything...once there is nothing to find, she'll stop getting up there so often.
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone. Thanks for the suggestions. I will most certainly try them and let you know if they work. I really hope they do. I forgot to mention that this particular cat I took in as a feral kitten when she was @ 6 wks old. She is 4 years old and still displays some feral behavior such as trying to bury her food dish when she's done eating and scratching the surface of her water dish. Could she be trying to "stock up" by getting on the counter? I know this is common in feral colonies.

Thanks again,

post #5 of 10
If your cat knows what the squirt bottle is, try keeping it on the counter, facing out. It will fool most cats... for a while. Into thinking they can't get up there, or the bottle will spray them.

Cats aren't dumb, if you hear her, or see her jump down from the counter tell her "No counter!" Cats can learn commands/words just like dogs.
I don't know if you have a dishwasher, but I just put everything straight in there. Have you tried rinsing off all the dish's at least, so that there's no food substance on there to really attract her.
If I rinse out my bowl of cereal, Tage wont go after it, but if I forget, he's right on it.

Also, again with the empty soda cans, only put coins in them, just a little, so when the cat jumps on them or knocks them down it makes A LOT of noise and will really scare her.
The cat will ALSO know, that YOU heard the sound, and she will know that you know what she did, so you can once again disipline her, or tell her no, after you come into the kitchen.

Some people say the sound of tinfoil is a turn off to cats, maybe you could put some of that on the edges of the counter, for a while. But mind you, that trick doesn't work on my cats, they could care less about the tin foil.

I've basically just given up honestly, my cats are allowed pretty much everywhere, sept my computer area. I trained 2 of my cats once to stop dead in their tracks to the entrance of my bedroom and would not enter. Don't give up hope, just be persistant and hard on her.


Oh, about the feral comment, a lot of ferals or strays will maintain some of their behavior even once they become indoor pets. Runts of the litter can also display this 'food' behavior as well. It's the despiration, and it's hard to break them of it. So yes, it is normal.
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hello, I do rinse off the dishes but it's like she can still smell what used to be on it and still tries to lick it off. Even when the counter is clean (which is most of the time) she stills gets up there so I think if there are dirty dishes on it it's just an added bonus for her. As for the spray bottle she could care less. She actually likes water.

I don't mind the feral behavior she has retained but I do wonder could it be some kind of motivation for her wanting on the counter? I have only rescued two feral kittens and their transaction from feral to housecat were pretty smooth.

I think I will try the soda can trick first I have plenty of them around.

You guys are great...thanks!!
post #7 of 10
There's a couple more drastic things you can try if you really, really want to keep her off of the counters. You can put traditional mousetraps up there, unbaited of course. Set the trap and up them upside-down on the counter. Her movement up there will trigger them, which makes a loud noise and they jump at her. Should scare the pants off of her. :tounge2: As long as they are upside down there is little or no chance of her getting her paw or tail caught in the trap. I've also read of something called a "Skat Pad" which you put on your counter and it emits a very, very low voltage electrical charge through the mat. It doesn't shock, but tingles on thier paws which they hate.

I would try the other things mentioned on here before those two ideas, though. But I have heard that they work. The key to training a cat to do or not do anything is consistency. She needs to have a bad thing happen (bad in her mind) every time she goes up there, or she will learn that it's OK as long as Mommy isn't there. Even with squirting water, you are supposed to hide when you do it so they don't associate you with the punishement, and so they think that when they do *whatever* (getting on the counter, scratching the couch), that something bad magically happens.
post #8 of 10
valan: =0 =0 =0 mouse traps?!?! never heard that one.

I'd be too afraid to use them, even if they were upside down. Sometimes I yell their name, clap really hard, and that's all that they need. Now I just have to say "Asim!" And he stops whatever he's doing and comes running out of the kitchen. Even if I'm not there, and he can't see me when I call him, he knows. LOL.

So if your far away, but if you can hear your cats on the counter, just yell their name in a mean voice, eventually they will probably catch on.
Like I can hear their tongues licking, and the spoons moving on the dishs, so I don't even have to move from what I'm doing, just say their name, and they get out of the kitchen.

They don't like the water, but I have had cats who DO like it.
post #9 of 10
I was surprised at the mouse traps idea, too. Read it in Cats for Dummies. I can definitely see where it would scare the bejeebers out of a kitty, and you would definitely know if they had been on the counter. I wonder if you could rig something up with bags or something so that there was no chance of kitty getting caught in the traps?
post #10 of 10
Another idea is to buy some Contact paper and set it up so that the sticky side is face up all over your counter when you leave. This is supposed to be offensive to cats when they jump on it.
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