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I'm beyond frustrated at Tristan and Logan with the kitchen counters. At least Tristan jumps down when I yell his name. Logan is oblivious. She usually jumps down when I stand up or walk toward the kitchen. Occasionally if she's really distracted I can actually get to her and give her bottom a firm tap before she runs away.

I've tried to lock her up in another room immediately after she's been on the counters as sort of a punishment (and mostly to give myself a break) but now its turned into a game of cats getting up there, me getting up and going toward the kitchen, cats getting down and then running back and forth around the furniture so I can't get them and put them up. Again, its mostly Logan that is the problem.

One obvious solution is to keep tidy. There are often dirty dishes in the sink they eat off of or small things on the counters that they bat around and play with. But I'll admit, I'm just no good at keeping up with it. Plus, I have my dogs on a raw diet and generally thaw meat in the sink for them to eat. Countless times the cats have gotten to it first. Often they just eat their fill. Once I had half a turkey (mind you, this is probably well over 10lb of meat) thawing in a sink full of water. I assumed the water would keep them away. I woke up in the morning to find the floor and counter soaked and the turkey in the middle of the counter. They managed to get something that weighs more than they do out of a sink full of water to feast on. It was a mess! Tonight, I had two baggies of chicken thawing that I forgot about. As mad as I was, I still couldn't help but laugh at the sight of Tristan plucking up a bag full of chicken and taking off across the house with his prize.

They are both locked up in the cat room screaming their heads off because they want out. But I don't care. I've had at least 20 trips off the couch in the last few hours. I'm sick, don't feel well and just when I get myself comfortable and covered up with a blanket, I'm yelling, yelling, then throwing the blanket off, getting up and chasing cats off the counters.

So as a last resort, I'm looking into trying the Ssscat system. I assume I would have to get at least two, if not three to completely cover the counter tops. I've done a search and found a few posts that mention it, but didn't really find specific experiences with them. Who has tried them and what did you think?
 

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It's food. You can't blame them at all. And food AND water? Jackpot!

I've heard some people say ssscat works for them great, and others, the cats get used to it just like spraying them with a water bottle.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I know the food is the biggest reason, but even when there is nothing up there they still make several trips up trying to find something. Logan is up again just MINUTES after a smacked bottom and chasing her out of the kitchen.

Another more important reason I want to keep them off is I have a cabinet above that has all the pet medications in it. I take them down at meal time and occasionally leave one on the counter for a while after I feed them. Not on purpose, just slips my mind (meal times can be a bit chaotic!)

They play with everything... knock down pens and other small objects. Then the dogs chew them up. Coming home to a chewed up pen is annoying but not so bad. The other night I came home and found a steak knife chewed up on the floor (thankfully just the handle was chewed on and no sign of injury to anyone). That was bad. I'm very much afraid that one day I will leave a bottle of medication out and the dogs will end up with a belly full of pills. My bulldog eats ANYTHING she finds on the floor. She wouldn't hesitate to eat medication.
 

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I had two bad counter jumpers and as soon as I was out of the room they would jump up. I used the Ssscat! and it worked for me. The beauty is that they don't associate it with you as the punisher. I found the propellent lasted for about a year. I'm out of it now, and occasionally my cats test the counter, but I've been diligent about keeping stuff off it, like any food. If I think they may have been on the counter while I was out, I wipe it with an anti-bacterial wipe before any food prep.
 

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I saw on a show once, where they talked about using double sided tape. Cats hate sticky! I think they actually put double sided tape on tin foil, and taped it down to the counter. You would have to make sure your counter can handle it, and also use like a painters tape or something. Something that will come up easily, and not do any damage.

Another suggestion was to fill some aluminum cans with pennies, or pebbles, tape the hole shut, and place them by the edge of the counter. When the kitty jumps up, and knocks it over, it makes a loud noise, which they hate, and will most likely jump down.

I've heard the tape one works, but I'm not sure about the can thing. Just some suggestions of things to try.

I have the same thing here, except mine at least wait until we are gone, or go to bed. Lately I've caught Patches being bold enough to go up when we are sitting in the living room, and we've had to scold her. Nothing phases the queen though.
 

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I'm beyond frustrated ... with the kitchen counters.
... its mostly Logan that is the problem.
Really? How certain are you that the problem lies with the cats? I disagree and I think you understand where the real problem lies.
I am sorry you are feeling unwell, but you need to hear this. :patback


One obvious solution is to keep tidy. There are often dirty dishes in the sink they eat off of or small things on the counters that they bat around and play with. But I'll admit, I'm just no good at keeping up with it.
... thaw meat [unattended] in the sink ... Countless times the cats have gotten to it first. Often they just eat their fill.
... turkey ... thawing [unattended] in a sink full of water. I assumed ... I woke up in the morning to find the floor and counter soaked and the turkey in the middle of the counter.
... I had two baggies of chicken thawing that I forgot [unintentional unattended] about.
I know the food is the biggest reason, but even when there is nothing up there they still make several trips up trying to find something.
... pet medications. I take [meds] down at meal time and occasionally leave one on the counter for a while after I feed them. Not on purpose, just slips my mind ...
They play with everything... knock down pens and other small objects. Then the dogs chew them up.
I'm very much afraid that one day I will leave a bottle of medication out and the dogs will end up with a belly full of pills.
You are the problem. I apologize, I do not make this reply to be snarky or judgmental, it is simply my response to the information you provided in your posts.

Our pets are governed by instinctual, hormonal and habitual behavior. We can often modify these behaviors but never fully eliminate them. Inviting these pets into our homes places the responsibility of their welfare completely on our shoulders. We also accept them for who/what they are and make allowances and compromises with ourselves because we understand the need. We have placed them into an environment that we control completely.
So control it.

How difficult is it to:
Scrape food off plates/bowls and into the garbage?
Rinse food residue off dishware and stack in the sink or dishwasher?
Ziplock bones and place in the fridge or freezer until the garbage has to go out?
Keep small/dangerous items put away and out of reach?
Defrost meat in the fridge, microwave or oven so a door is between the food and the cats?

If you are leaving these things out then you cannot blame them for counter surfing, especially when their past expeditions have been highly successful and rewarding with food-stuff and play-things.
That is not their fault.
You cannot blame them because you made those items available.

If you change your habits to make their environment safer and less frustrating for you then when they are no longer rewarded with 'treasure-on-the-counter' they would not be able to annoy you. If there is nothing on the counter for you to worry over, all you need to concern yourself with if they *do* hop up there, is bleach-wiping counters before food-prep and keeping them off the counter while you are actively IN the kitchen and able to control the situation with your immediate presence.

If you do not change your habits and instead wish to use the Sssscat system to punish them for trying to reach tempting items you continually and deliberately leave out and know they would enjoy reaching ... IMO, I think that would be the height of teasing behavior.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I have already admitting my lack of housekeeping is to blame. So I completely understand all of what you have said. However, I do not feel I am in the wrong for wanting just ONE place in my house that is off limits to the cats.

Skylar also jumps on the counters, but generally ignores anything up there. She uses them as aid in getting on top of the kitchen cabinets. I don't like the habit, but it wasn't something that was causing problems. Until Christmas Eve.

My mom and brother came to my house to do our Christmas dinner and presents. While making dinner, I had a cookie sheet with sweet potato gnocchi on it on the counter. Skylar decided she wanted up, landed on top of the gnocchi tray and almost sent it flying to the floor.

This of course made for a great conversation about the rest of the food I had prepared - who wants to eat something made in a kitchen where cats roam where they please? For the most part they do stay away while I'm in there but there are moments like that one that really make me wish the entire area was completely off limits to all of the cats. If Tristan and Logan were not confined downstairs it would have been a disaster.

As for the dishes - I'm not talking half a chicken and a side of mashed potatoes in the sink. I'm talking about dishes that have already been scraped and often rinsed that are generally left to soak to loosen up any bits that might want to be stuck. Or something like a lasagna pan left to soak to loosen up the baked on food before it goes in the dishwasher. I don't like to put caked on food into the dishwasher as it tends to still be there when I take them out.

If the dishwasher is full and I haven't put away the dishes yet, there will be the occasional dish in the sink. Or the occasional cat food lid or can waiting to be rinsed before put in the recycling. I am a very easily distracted person. So in the case of this morning the dry food container was empty. I fed everyone, went to the garage to get the big container to refill it, came back to find Tristan in the sink already licking the lid from the canned food.

I am trying to break all sorts of bad habits with the two young cats and their obsession with food. They scream and pace and scream and pace whenever I am in the kitchen. Even after they have just been fed. I have started putting Tristan's pill pocket on top of his food because handing it to him developed the habit of ANY time I am in the kitchen doing anything and my hand happens to drop to my side he jumps up, clasps on with his claws and bites at it hoping it contains a treat.

All things aside, the point is I want the cats away from the counters. I want to be able to cook and prepare food without them jumping up on top of what I am making. I don't want to risk them being burned on the stove, eating something unsafe for them to eat, licking dish soap out of the dispenser (which Logan has done twice now), and dropping things on the floor for the dogs to chew and eat.

I also want them to stay away from doors. I don't want them running out of the house because it took me an extra second or two to bring in a large object or while waiting on the dogs to come in. I don't think that is uncalled for either.

I keep toilet lids down and often bathroom doors closed because I don't want anyone drinking out of the toilet because of any sort of chemicals and cleaners that are in the water.

I am also looking for a heavier trash can as Logan (my smallest cat) has knocked my current can over SEVERAL times in search of food.

I keep litter boxes behind baby gates because I don't want the dogs to go in search of snacks.

Lately, I have had to close the young cats into another room any time I try to eat as I can not keep them off of me. That is not behavior I have any desire to have in my house.

This is my way of saying there are going to be temptations around the house and I am doing my part at trying to keep them away. My house is not necessarily clean, but it is not a disaster. It is not a danger to my pets. It does however have potential for accidents that I am trying my best to avoid. It is all part of living with pets.

I don't think wanting boundaries in my house is a bad thing. I don'[t think wanting to keep my pets safe is a bad thing. I also don't think using a blast of air to scare them away from the kitchen counters is a bad thing. Clearly, all of my scolding is doing nothing to deter them. So I am looking to try other options.
 

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Jessie - Probably not what you want to hear but growing up, and looking back at all the cats my family and I have had, some just tend to be "counter jumpers" while other's couldn't care less about what's up there. I know I had some where it didn't matter if the counter was absouluetly cleared off, they still jumped up there. So, while I can't give you much advice, I do sympathize with you. It can get very frustrating.:patback Have you tried screaming really loud at them to kinda freak them out when you see it happen?
 

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I understand your frustrations, and I also leave items to soak in the sink so no food particles go in my d'washer.
I guess what I'm trying to say is we cannot change our pets from what they intrinsically are, and that goes hand-in-paw with what Heather commented regarding some cats do and some cats don't. For company and holiday meals our cats are closed into the master bedroom until the meal is done. Doing that is much easier than us fighting them.

As a relaxing hobby, I like to draw houseplans. I've noticed over the last several years ... every houseplan I come up with has some way to keep the cats OUT of the formal living room, dining room and kitchen while allowing them free-roam to the rest of the casual living areas. I recognize it is a problem ... but I cannot do anything about that in my current home so I choose to close them into a room when I require containment.
 

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Jessie, you've basically created a playground for your cats with all sorts of attractive toys and interesting scents, not to mention food, water, and the mental stimulation of separating the two. This is basically paradise to a cat!

My thought is that anything you use to discourage your cats from reaching this paradise is going to end up causing them stress - and that includes your yelling, spanking and chasing them around. Your only true, non-stress solution is to start putting things away. *shrug*

I feel for you, especially since you're ill, but, truly, the only effective way to change this behavior is to remove the temptations.

As for thawing meat out - put the meat in a bowl or pan of water and put it in your oven overnight / for the afternoon / however long you need. Problem solved. :wink

Good luck!

AC
 

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Strangely enough, my cats get on the counter MORE when it's totally clean! The only time we can keep them off of them is when they're completely covered with dishes, papers, and cereal boxes! :)

We drive ourselves crazy trying to keep them off, too, and nothing works. I have a flat stovetop and I'm always afraid that one of them is going to jump on it while it's still hot. They always jump off when they see us coming, so we can't get them with the squirtbottle in time.

Last night we had company over, and they kept jumping up onto the perfectly clean and bare counters. Allegro was trying to get to the top of the fridge and he succeeded. I totally empathize with you, because I had just fed everyone food that I'd made from those countertops, and I was in the awkward position of having to give a disclaimer: "I sanitize the countertops before cooking, and the cats don't usually act like this." Luckily my company was only my siblings, but I still wish I didn't have to be in that position!
 

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also want them to stay away from doors. I don't want them running out of the house because it took me an extra second or two to bring in a large object or while waiting on the dogs to come in. I don't think that is uncalled for either.
When I bring my groceries inside or need to have the door open for more than a couple seconds, I put the twins in their bedroom. It saves a lot of hassles and worry.

I keep the soap, and other dangerous items, under the sink.

I realized soon after they took over my life that it was time for an attitude adjustment, but the attitude that needed adjusting was mine. They're curious little Calibratz and I have to do what's necessary to keep them safe. And it's not like they don't have boundaries, but I've found the counter issue is a losing battle and I'm less stressed just keeping it clean and safe.

I even had to take my painting off the wall because they could reach it when they stand on the back of the sofa.
 
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