keep cat off counters, bookshelves, tables - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 50 (permalink) Old 02-02-2015, 12:49 PM Thread Starter
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How to keep cats off of counters?

We have 5 kittens. Yup you heard me FIVE kittens, who are now about 5 months old. On top of that we have 2 adult cats. The adult cats have never been an issue, but the kittens are testing their boundaries now. We constantly find them on the kitchen counters, tables and the sink. We keep a water bottle on hand to spray them when they do this or just hiss at them and clap our hands. Well no matter how many times we spray or hiss or clap they go right back up and are now not even that eager to get down. we also can't eat anything without them getting in our faces.

I am starting to go a little crazy with the situation. Is there any way anybody here has found to keep cats off certain things?
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post #2 of 50 (permalink) Old 02-02-2015, 12:54 PM
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Tons of threads on this subject.

https://www.catforum.com/forum/37-beh...nter-tops.html

Most of us have given up.

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post #3 of 50 (permalink) Old 02-02-2015, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by marie73 View Post
Most of us have given up.
This. The bigger deal you make of it the more enticing the counters are. Keep the area clean of anything that might remotely interest them and ignore them. I shoo my guys back to the back section when I cook. They know they are allowed there and NO where else while I' m working.

Well, except Neelix... we're still working on that with him.
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post #4 of 50 (permalink) Old 02-02-2015, 01:16 PM
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I was actually making progress with my foster kittens or so I thought - but I decided to test that theory so I cleaned my stove top really well and went to bed. Sure enough the next morning the entire top was covered in little paw prints. Ugh. I think if I was really serious I would get one of these and set it up at night. It might do a good enough job of working at night that it might keep them off the counters during the day too. Be sure and watch the video down near the bottom by the reviews:




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post #5 of 50 (permalink) Old 02-02-2015, 01:39 PM
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The best you can honestly expect is for them to get off the counter when you're in the room. You can encourage them not to be up on the counters, but you can't prevent it - not really.

Basics of counter training: (seems I'm in a list mood today, lol)
-Never keep ANYTHING that MIGHT be edible on the counters/stove area. (Pots/pans, bread, fruit, nothing! That's what microwaves are for )
-Skip the punishment, as you mentioned it doesn't work.
-Give them a high-up place where they CAN go (stools, chairs, cupboards, etc.)
-Praise and reward them for choosing the acceptable place, and if you catch them on the counter remove them to the floor or their acceptable place.

After that, it's all about consistency. The first time you forget and leave a chicken or roast unattended on the counter you've just taught them to ALWAYS check and see if yummy food will be there and you'll never get them off of it, lol.

As an added bonus I taught my kitties 'Up' and 'Off' - which I always teach as a set. Both are useful.

-Get some yummy treats, a stool or chair and ONE kitten! (don't try training with more than one at a time. It'll be a gong show! lol - if you do train them all at once I demand a video )
-Show the kitten the treat and then hold it above the chair. They should jump up.
-Say "Yes!" (or click if you're using a clicker), then feed them the treat.
-Then, show another treat and throw it on the floor as you say "Off". Always use a happy voice!
-Repeat a bunch of times until the kitten clearly has the basics of this game, then take a step back and - with the kitten on the floor - move towards the stool and say "Up!" I also use a hand gesture as an added tip for the kitten. If they jump up to the stool say "Yes!" and reward them. If they don't just pause and let them think it through - it might take a second but most kittens will guess 'jump onto the stool?', reward.
If they don't jump on the stool but instead sit down and look confused try again, this time tossing the treat gently onto the top of the stool.
-With the kitten on the stool say "Off" and don't throw a treat this time, if they jump off, or think a second and then jump off say "Yes!" and give them the goody (This time the goal is for them to do the behavior without the lure of seeing the food BEFORE the jump. It's a big step!)
Repeat a bunch of times until the kitten is doing up and off with no hesitation - without seeing the food first. Then move the stool or chair a few inches and start over. You'll move through the steps quicker, but start right from step one. Moving the stool can confuse the kitten, so you have to begin again.

Repeat this, moving the stool all over your home, over the course of many days, until they clearly 'get it'. Then you've got two ways to go: you can teach 'wait' and you can expand the up and off cues to other surfaces and areas.

To teach wait you ask the kitten to 'up' then pause a few seconds (not staring at the kitten!) before rewarding. If they choose to stay on the stool longer reward every 30 seconds or so. After a few treats ask for an 'off', then reward. Repeat over and over, varying the wait time, until the kitten will patiently sit while you move around and do other things.

I'm doing a refresher on this with Muffin atm, he's getting a bit of spring fever (awfully early, since we're only 1/2 through winter here), so we're going to get his 'wait' and 'place' (go to the stool) back to the point where he'll chill out there rather than be a pain. It's slow, but steady and the extra brain work wears out his naughtiness pretty quick.

To expand up and off to other surfaces you just repeat the same procedure, but with other chairs, counters etc. I do practice with my counters, mostly only rewarding after the 'off' (1 reward about 1 'up' for every 3-4 'offs') because I want them jumping down from the counter to be way more fun than jumping up onto it.

As an added bonus this makes picture taking easier, and it's something you can do at the vets while waiting to see the vet. Doing things they know when they're in unfamiliar areas will encourage them to feel more comfortable and confident.
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post #6 of 50 (permalink) Old 02-02-2015, 03:35 PM
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My cats know "GET DOWN!" I point and snap my fingers and they are good about it but KEEPING them from going up in the first place is challenging.

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post #7 of 50 (permalink) Old 02-02-2015, 04:04 PM
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Like everyone else said. Do your best to make the counters uninteresting! Leave nothing up there that might smell or taste good- or even just be fun to swat at/ roll around.

Do your best to provide an alternate elevated place in the kitchen where the cats can go. I have a cabinet we use to store pots in that is near a window (cat trees are good too). My cats go up there and watch me cooking. When I have breaks I can pet them and give them attention. They love it and they don't find the counter by the stove so interesting.
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post #8 of 50 (permalink) Old 02-03-2015, 08:46 PM
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Sharpstick,
LOL! I wipe my counters down a lot! They don't bother me when I'm using the kitchen...but when I'm not...all bets are off!!
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post #9 of 50 (permalink) Old 02-03-2015, 08:55 PM
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10cats, you really live up to your username! What a gang!

I'd weigh in but Jasper has such a stout little build he can barely clear our couches let alone make it onto a countertop. Himalayans/Persians are GREAT floor cats if you don't want to worry about this too much.


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post #10 of 50 (permalink) Old 02-03-2015, 09:19 PM
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Himalayans/Persians are GREAT floor cats if you don't want to worry about this too much.
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