Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tips to Keep Your Cat Off Your Counters

My kitten, Attila, is OBSESSED with my kitchen counter.  And who could blame him?  I live in a small one bedroom  apartment with not a lot of space for him to jump, climb, and play, so it's only natural he find this to be an excellent spot for exploration.  Unfortunately, I eat off those counters and rather prefer to not find cat hair in my food.  As such, I've been doing some research to try to find solutions to these problems.  Here is an excerpt from an article I found helpful:

"Cats jumping up on counters or tables in the kitchen can be a nuisance, plus very dangerous for the cat if he happens to jump on a hot stove versus a counter. Cats love to jump.  It is in their nature.  They love being in high places and they are also naturally curious about the unknown.  This is a common behavior problem that many cat owners seem to face.  Fortunately, there are some things you can try to help rid your cat of this undesirable behavior.  

One of the first things you can use to deter your cat is noise.  It is important however, that you disassociate yourself from the noise so the cat doesn't know it is coming from you.  If the cat cannot determine where the noise is coming from, it should quickly learn to stay away from the area whether the owner is present or not. Cats do not like loud noises and will associate the noise with the behavior and avoid it. Throwing or shaking a metal can full of pennies or popping a balloon are two of the most common noise deterrents used.
Another method you can try (that doesn't require you to be there to catch your cat in the act) is to place various items on the counter or table that your cat will dislike.  You can place double sided tape along the edges of the counter.  Cats hate the feeling of sticky tape, and will be discouraged after one or two tries.  You can also place aluminum foil along your countertops.  Not only do cats dislike the feeling of the aluminum but they also hate the noise as well.     

You can also try a combination of the two methods.  This is done by popping a balloon if front of your cat a couple of times.  Your cat will soon learn that he dislikes balloons a lot.  Then you can tape some filled balloons along your countertop.  The cat will associate the balloons with the noise they heard previously and will want to avoid them.  There may be other items your cat does not like because of the sound they make. Placing several of these on the counter within visual range of the cat, may also persuade your cat to stop jumping up.
It is also important to try to redirect your cat's attention away from the areas by giving him areas he is aloud to jump on.  You may want to invest in a climbing tree or cat tower to help satisfy your cat's urge to jump and climb.  Make the tree more desirable by placing toys on it or rubbing catnip on the posts.  Window seats may also help deter your cat by allowing them to jump up to the window and being able to explore what is outside.  Make sure to praise your cat when he uses the designated jumping areas.

There are also several commercial products specifically designed for this type of behavior problem.  One type of product is motion detectors, these products detect your cats movements and emit an alarm.  There is also a product called X-mat which  has hundreds of raised bumps, creating passive discomfort that teaches your cat to steer clear of kitchen counters without the use of alarms or electricity."

(The above was taken from this website: http://www.best-cat-tips.com/catbehaviorproblems.htm.  There are plenty of other helpful tips that can be found their as well.)

In addition to what's mentioned above, there are a couple of other products I've read about that might be worth trying if you have this problem - I have not yet tried either so I can only share with you what I've read from customer reviews.

Two Products to Keep Cat's Off Counters:

1. Ssscram - This is a motion sensor that detects when your cat is in range and emits a puff of odorless, colorless, and completely harmless gas in the cats direction that scares them so they leave the area.  All the customer reviews I've read say that it works.  The downside is, you have to keep replacing the cartridges and they're expensive.

2.  CatScram - This device also has a motion sensor and supposedly emits a sound that cats don't like, but that is inaudible to humans.  About 50% of the reviews I read said it worked, the others said it was bogus.  I like the idea that the only thing you need to replace are the batteries, but it's $35 on amazon.com and I'm not confident that it actually works - seems like it depends on the cat.

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