Regardless of species, even the most well-mannered pets have a bad habit or two. However, while it’s true that many bad behaviors in pets are due to natural instincts that are virtually impossible to break, you may not be as helpless as you may think.
Jumping on kitchen counters happens to be one of the most common complaints made by people who share their home with cats. Tons of cat owners will tell you that keeping their cat off the kitchen counter is absolutely impossible. For most, this simply amounts to a lifetime of shooing the cat away when he or she jumps up. It’s something that is so common that most cat owners don’t even think about it anymore.
The habit can be attributed to a number of reasons. Namely, cats are built for jumping and climbing. Specifically for indoor cats, this satisfies an innate need. The counter is also, quite obviously, where delicious treats and scraps of human food may be found. Finally, it brings your cat to eye level. Have you noticed more of this behavior when your cat is feeling particularly social? The head butts, extra purring, and outpouring of affection – you’re not imagining that.
While everyone loves a friendly feline, the kitchen counter just isn’t the place for it (think of how those paws move straight from the litter box to the counter… where you prepare food!) So, here are some suggestions that might help you curb the behavior:
Offer suitable climbing surfaces – A cat tree or wall-mount cat shelves may be the answer. As we mentioned, your cat loves to slink around the house, jumping from the floor to the counter to the top of the fridge. Provide a suitable alternative, instead.
Never store treats on the countertop – We totally agree: those countertop cookie jars with the paws all over them are adorable. However, every time your cat sees you pull a treat from that jar, it reinforces the (mis)understanding that the countertop was make for strutting around on. Store them in a pantry or lower level cabinet, instead. Better yet, store them away from the kitchen entirely.
Clean countertops thoroughly after meal preparation – This goes along the same lines as the previous point. Food left on the countertop makes it even more inviting for your feline friend. After preparing meals, be sure to wipe counters down thoroughly and stash any leftovers right away.
It’s also worth mentioning that many of the ingredients that you use in your own meals are unsafe for your pets, and the same can be said for most kitchen cleaners. So, generally speaking, your cat’s tendency to hang out on your counters in not a good idea for his health OR yours.
Like any unwanted behavior, it’s best to start discouraging this when they’re still tiny, but it’s never too late. Give it a shot!