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Why Do Cats Jump on Counters? Plus, How to Keep Them Off


If you’ve ever entered your kitchen to find your cat hanging out on your countertops, you’re not alone. Cats seem to enjoy jumping on things and reaching for high places. But why do cats jump on counters? We did some digging into this question, and here’s what we found.

Why do cats jump on counters?

Cats have strong back muscles that make them able to jump up to high places like counters, tabletops, shelves, and the like. They also have sharp claws that allow them to easily grab onto surfaces and climb.

According to an ASPCA Pet Behaviorist on WebMD, jumping and climbing gives a cat a high vantage point to survey his/her territory. “They can leap onto bookshelves or scale drapes to escape from another household pet or from something that scares them.”

Not only that, but countertops may also be enticing to cats because they are sunny spots and give them a warm place to relax — or peruse for leftover food. “Cats can learn to patrol or ‘surf’ countertops, stovetops, and tables in search of tasty tidbits left behind,” they said.

Ways to Keep Cats Off Counters

Cats are cute and all, but if you’re wondering how to keep your cats off of your counters, we can’t say we blame you. We don’t always want our fully feline friends lurking where the food is laying out or wagging their tails and knocking down our valuables. According to the ASPCA experts, you can use a few preventative measures to keep your cat off of your counters.

Depending on why your cat likes to roam your countertops, there are different ways to keep them off. If your tabby is up there in search of tasty treats because he/she is hungry, your best bet is to feed them more often, or leave some food out for them on the ground. That being said, try not to store treats in cabinets above the counters, either. Keep those low to the ground.

If you suspect that your cat is jumping onto the countertops because he/she just needs an outlet for climbing, jumping, escaping, resting, and inspecting the environment, you’ll need to provide a new one. “Indoor cat tree furniture with natural bark or carpeting and comfortable platforms is an ideal substitute,” says the ASPCA. “Kitty condos (another type of indoor vertical furniture designed for cats), with abundant comfortable perching and sleeping areas, are very appealing to most cats. Offer plenty of comfortable nesting beds in warm areas or with burrowing material for extra warmth.”

Other ways of dissuading your cat from jumping on the countertops include keeping something, like a cookie tray, on the edge of the counter so that when the cat tries to jump on, the object falls to the ground and makes an unpleasant noise, the ASPCA says. There are also training products you can put on your counters like the Snappy Trainer (Buy on Amazon, $15.78), which is a mousetrap-looking device that when touched, will snap into the air and startle your cat — without hurting them! Eventually, the animal will learn not to jump onto the counters, and the best part is, you don’t have to be there to reprimand your pet each time they’re up there.

The ASPCA behaviorist says that there are certain things you should not do to keep your cat off of your counters, including spraying them with a spray bottle (this will just make them afraid of you), scolding your cat verbally or physically, or using devices that could be harmful, like a real mousetrap.

We hope these tips help you keep your counters tidy and your pet happy!

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