Cats are agile creatures. God, Cat God, or whatever deity you believe in have bestowed upon cats some of the greatest talents known to mankind. They are ferocious little killing machines that are capable of pouncing and jumping in order to catch their prey.
These incredible jumping skills are quite the remarkable talent in the wild. Indoors, however, it could either be the most dazzling thing you ever saw or a living terror. You see, cats will often jump to new places in order to satiate their curiosity or to gaze upon their kingdom below. Cats love being high (with catnip hahaha!) and they just love to lounge about in high places.
While this could be cute when you see your little feline overlord peering at you from atop a cabinet or shelves and ever so gingerly slow blinking at you, it could also be the cause of a lot of problems around your household.
If your cat is not properly trained on their boundaries, they will simply jump atop anywhere they see fit… whether it be kitchen counters with human food or maybe on top of a hot stove, jump atop shelves with priceless family heirlooms, or just being on top of curtains like my cat Diba did when I first adopted her from her feral lifestyle!
Cats may even become more and more adventurous as they leap about in their homes. This could cause your feline companions to take bigger risks and end up getting hurt by jumping to unsafe locations. This could even lead to potential broken bones, internal bleeding, and high vet bills. Just because cats always land on their feet doesn’t mean they always land uninjured.
This article has been written to help arm you with the knowledge needed to curb your cat’s natural behaviors in order to appease both humans and cats alike. Here are some ways in order to prevent your cat from jumping onto unwanted places and how to keep your cats off counters naturally.
What To Do – Cat Trees Galore
Cats have a natural desire to jump to tall places. They just can’t help it! Resting on high places allow cats to survey their area for both prey and predators alike. Being able to climb up trees and other high place gave cats the ability to run away from potential danger or to catch unaware prey.
This natural instinct of climbing tall places has been so ingrained into cats that all domestic cats have this urge as well from time to time. That is why it is one of the best ideas to enrich your cat’s life by getting a cat tree. This will allow your cat to jump, play, and exert their energies in a positive way. You may even find your cats teasingly chasing each other up cat trees as well.
You will find that if your cat is not given a place to rest, they will find their own. That is why we must give offerings to our cat lords. Remember, once you adopt your cat… it is no longer your household. It is your cat’s. They own everything. Including you!
>>On a quick side note, you can read up on some cat tree reviews and why cats scratch at my article here!<<
Once you offer your cat overlord some cat tree and other furniture to have their feline adventures in, your cats will be more tempted to utilize the cat furniture than to go on top of shelves and other dangerously high places.
Also be sure to give your cats plenty of treats when they are on their cat trees. This will help your cat to positively associate their cat trees with good times. This will aid in curbing your cat’s behavior from jumping onto other places. Your cat will think, “why should I jump over there when this place has treats!”
What To Do – Catify Your Home!
As Jackson Galaxy would say, you could even catify your home to enrich your cat’s life! It’s actually heavily recommended!
Cat trees are always a great addition to any cat household… but if you were to provide hiding places, cat walkways, or maybe a cat condo made of boxes… this may just intrigue your cats with other things that they would find countertops simply boring.
You don’t necessarily have to buy anything in order to catify your home either. A simple cardboard box could entertain your cats for hours or even days. Or perhaps you’re more of the hands-on crafting type. In that case, you could even build a Do-It-Yourself shirt cat shelter.
The idea is to enrich your cat’s life so much that they always have things to look at, things to play with, things to sleep on, and things to satiate their intense curiosity. By providing many things to take away their attention, cats will tend to not throw tantrums, run wild, or cause unnecessary trouble. It will most certainly help you to prevent them from going on your countertops!
What To Do – Use Double Sided Sticky Icky Tape
Double sided sticky tape can truly be your best friend when you have a troublesome kitty at home. Cats absolutely hate the feeling of their paws sticking to things. Something about it just turns cats off and makes them want to jet immediately.
Humans! We use this to our advantage.
Sticky tape can be used on multitudes of surfaces in order to train your cats to not go on something. It can be used on countertops to stop your cat from eating your human food or maybe to prevent your cat from going near your cooking area. It could be used on curtains to stop your cat from climbing and clawing at your wonderful tapestry. It could also be used on furniture to prevent your cat from being on certain furniture to minimize fur shedding on it.
All you have to do is just tape a bit of the double-sided tape onto the edges of the countertops or in locations where your cat enjoys touching and being on. This stickiness will leave them with an uncomfortable feeling. Your cat will begin to associate bad feelings with this sensation and over time change their behavior. You will find that just a little bit of tape can teach your cats to leave your expensive curtains alone!
As you can see, sticky tape is a wonderful thing that can help assist you with asserting firm boundaries for your cat. You will find that the use of sticky tape alone will solve the problem of your cat being on top of unwanted places.
Some humans will even advocate that aluminum foil will work just as well… and this may be true! But I have tried this for one of my kittens and all it did was increase her curiosity in it even more as she continued to stay on the countertop while sniffing away at this new shiny material.
What To Do – Positive Reinforcement, Baby!
Another great way to train your cat to behave somewhat to the way you want it to is through the use of positive reinforcement. I touched upon this briefly before when helping your cat to associate cat trees and other cat furniture with good feelings and good times.
We should continue this at all times! Positive reinforcement means that you give your cat a treat or something desirable whenever they do something good. Giving treats is your leverage to teaching your cat to behave a certain way whether it is through persistent training or when you catch them doing a good act.
Like any animal, cats love treats! Cats will most likely change their behavior in order to increase their likelihood of getting treats.
Whenever you see your cat on the countertop… simply remove them from their perch, place them on the ground, and give a firm no. They don’t understand the “no” per se, but they will certainly feel the tone of your voice. Then you have to ignore them. Just keep placing them on the ground and voicing your boundaries if they go on the countertops again.
Be sure to give your cats plenty of treats when you find them on the ground or other non-restricted zones. Again, catch them when they are doing good. This will help your cat to associate being in certain areas with getting treats. Then when they think back on their countertop experience and how they got scolded and no treats… they will begin to dissuade themselves from doing so.
Positive reinforcement is the same exact experience for humans too. If you yell at your child to correct their behavior or change something, they might listen to you but it will be out of resentment. But if you catch them doing good and appreciate them for efforts, they will do more of that action but it will be out of love. And love is a much more powerful emotion than any other feeling.
You will be teaching your cat how to correct its behavior naturally in order for your cat to get what it wants.
What Not To Do – Negative Reinforcement Is A No No
On the other side of the spectrum, be sure to never use negative reinforcement to train your cat or to prevent your cat from acting in a certain fashion. Negative reinforcement just does that: promotes negativity.
Many humans believe that yelling, hitting, throwing, or other forms of emotion and physical abuse is a good way to trains their cats. They will hit their cat to move off the countertop or maybe yell at them for scratching at curtains or furniture.
Here’s the thing: when you use negative reinforcement to teach your cat not to do something, you are only teaching your cat to associate negative feelings with you. Your cat will begin to not like you.
Using negative reinforcement can cause damaging results to your cat-human relationship and could further increase the chasm between you both. This will be an unhealthy and toxic relationship for you both.
Just as I mentioned before, the emotion of love is stronger than the emotion of fear. When you yell at your cat or try to force your cat to learn something, they may do so, but they will do it out of hatred and bad feelings. This is why I heavily encourage humans to utilize positive reinforcement to train your cat to behave in a certain way.
This also includes the use of squirt bottles!
All cat owners have their own opinions and preferences, and mine is that squirt bottles are the epitome of negative reinforcement. It will definitely stop your cat from scratching the curtains or the carpet and get them off the countertops. However, it will definitely leave your cat with feelings of animosity towards you.
Most cats do not like the feeling of being wet. They will try their best to avoid situations that get them wet. So squirt bottles will work as a deterrence.
But at what cost?
Your cat will begin to have mixed feelings about you as you begin to assert your newfound powers. You will continue to spray your cat each time your cat jumps on top of the kitchen counter. Then eventually… you will succumb to that very power… driven mad! Now each time your cat does something bad or acts in a way that is not to your liking, you are forcibly trying to change your cat’s behavior with the spray bottle.
Now your cat will begin to resent the bottle and ultimately you. No Bueno.
As you can see, there are multitudes of ways that assist with modifying your feline’s behavior. To prevent your cat from jumping onto countertops is an achievable goal and you may have to persist and continue to try.
Just know that cats have the urge to jump, pounce, and climb. So it is in your best interest to supply your feline lord with places to jump onto, rest, and frolic to their little kitty’s desire. By enriching your cat’s life with cat trees, places to hide, places to perch, and places to rest, you will find that your cat will naturally gravitate towards those areas and slowly stop going on your countertops.
Remember not to yell, scream, or threaten your cats. They do not know what you are saying. But they do understand the hostility. Treat them with love and kindness and you will find that it will be easy to curb their wild behaviors with just a little bit of knowledge. I wish you and your feline companions all the best!