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Leaping Leopards: How to Stop Your Cat From Getting on Your Counters

Cats love to climb and jump— it’s a bit of the wild left over in them from their large cat counterparts. But what do you do when that jumping and leaping (not to mention curiosity) gets in the way of your life? If you are noticing a sharp increase in the number of broken tchotchkes or the amount of food on your kitchen counters licked, read on for some tips and tricks.

Set boundaries

The first rule is also the hardest. Have you pet your cat when she jumps up on the dining room table when it’s just you and her at home but gotten angry when she jumps up and interrupts a dinner party? Or is she allowed on one counter but you’re trying to keep her off another? Cats will not understand these arbitrary rules and won’t ever learn to stay away. Set solid boundaries and keep them strict.

Make the space unattractive

The best way to prevent your cat from jumping onto things is to take his favorite spot and suddenly make it somewhere he doesn’t want to be. You might do this by putting sticking tape on the space (cats don’t like getting their paws stuck) or lining it with aluminum foil (cats hate that sound and feel). You can also try getting a cat deterrent spray or making your own with orange oil. Be sure that any chemical deterrent you use is nontoxic and safe for pets and humans.

Play with your kitty

The most common reason your cat is jumping all over the place is that she is bored. Cats require a lot of stimulation and an apartment or house may not be enough to hold their attention. Make sure to give your kitty plenty of toys to play with, including scratching posts with many levels. You can make the cat climber the most attractive place to climb by spraying it with catnip or tucking treats on the higher levels.

If you take these pieces of advice and stick to them, pretty soon you’ll be able to have your cat and keep your sanity. But in the meantime, maybe hide the delicate china.