Your cat may have a mind of its own, but that doesn't mean you can't change it ... especially when it comes to keeping your cat off the counter.
One of the biggest frustrations of living with a cat is getting them to keep their paws off the counter. Whether they are jumping up to scrounge for extra food, take in the view or just be part of the social scene that is the kitchen counter, it can be frustrating to forever be pushing them back down.
However, the cat versus counter battle doesn't have to be ongoing. Here are a few tips to help teach your cat that there are better places to be.
While it's tempting to yell and wave your arms or break out the squirt bottle to scare your cat off the counter, it's really just a wasted effort.
Most cats don't make the connection between their actions and what they are being punished for, and, to top it off, now you have a scared cat on your hands.
Reward removal and alternatives.
What you should do is figure out what your cat gains from being on the counter, remove it, and provide it for the cat somewhere more appropriate. For example, if your cat jumps onto the counter to scrounge for food, make sure the counters are always clean and free of food, and make sure food and treats are accessible for your cat elsewhere.
If your cat enjoys being on the counter to gaze out the kitchen window, set up a more appropriate hang out spot -- a window seat, or an indoor climbing tree that provides a great view.
To reinforce the idea that there are better places to be than the kitchen counter, consider utilizing something called an "unwelcome mat." Unwelcome mats are simply cheap placemats covered in double-sided tape.
Most cats don't like sticky surfaces, so setting these all around the counter, particularly at the spots where your cat jumps up, can serve as a great deterrent. Once your cat begins to understand that there are better places to be than the counter, you may be able to begin slowly removing the mats.
As always, the most important part of training is retaining a great relationship with your cat. If you follow these steps, you are heading in the right direction.