Preventing Cats from Jumping on Counters and Tables

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Cats are built to climb and jump. In the wild, cats climb trees and leap long distances to move through their territory, avoid danger, and find food. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that many domesticated cats try to engage these instincts even when they live indoors.

That can mean cats jump onto things in your house you’d like them to avoid. You’ll need to come up with strategies to keep your pet off countertops and tables and other places.

Why Cats Like to Climb

Before you can take steps to keep your cat off the counters, you should understand why they like to climb. Think of it this way: cats love to hunt birds, and most birds are found in trees. Meanwhile, small rodents and ground-based prey are easier to catch from above. Climbing also helps cats keep away from potential predators.

In your home, your cat will often seek out high spaces to act on these instincts. Tall bookshelves will give them the best vantage point in the room. If other pets or small humans spend a lot of time on the floor, your cat may seek out your counters to avoid interaction with them.

They may also find out that food scraps and crumbs are often left on your table and counter, leading to “counter-surfing” behavior. 

Almost every cat will want to climb, so this is a matter of redirection, not stopping them completely. 

Alternatives to Climbing on Countertops and Tables

The simplest way to keep your cat off your counters is to give them another outlet for their normal climbing or jumping behavior. Both you and your cat will be happier when they have several approved places to jump and climb. 

Cat “trees,” or furniture made for indoor cats to scratch, climb, and explore, are excellent ways to keep your cat entertained. These “trees” often include platforms for your cat to rest on, along with interesting poles and columns to climb. They offer a human-approved way for your cat to get in high places.

Kitty condos are similar to cat trees, but with a greater emphasis on resting and hiding places. Placing either near a window gives your cat a sunny spot to watch the world pass by. 

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