This is a common question asked of cat owners. Most people assume that a stern "off" will stop your cat jumping onto kitchen benches. What is likely to happen by doing this is that your cat will learn not to jump up when you are around, but may continue with this behaviour when you're not home.
- Many cat owners are happy for their cat to jump onto kitchen benches, but there are good reasons why this practice shouldn't be allowed.
- Safety: There is the chance that your cat could jump onto the hot stove top either burning itself by direct contact with the hot plates or knocking over a pan with boiling liquids. It may ingest cleaning products you have used in the kitchen such as bleach in the sink.
- Hygiene: Tiny particles of cat urine and faeces will be on the paws from using the litter tray. These will be transferred to the counter top. This may cause no illness in humans but why take the chance? What if your cat has been infected with toxoplasmosis or has a parasitic infection which you are not aware of?
- Food: Another safety concern is if your cat eats food from the bench which is dangerous, for example, cooked chicken bones. Do you really want your feline tucking into Sunday's roast which is thawing?
There are several methods which can be used to discourage this behaviour using what is known as "remote punishment". This means the environment is responsible for creating a deterrent to jumping onto the benches, and not you. The focus is to make countertops an unattractive area to cats.
- The first point is obvious but needs to be reiterated. Ensure you don't leave food lying around on counters. Once your cat is rewarded with a tasty morsel from the countertop it will be encouraged to try again.
- Place some double sided tape to the edge of your countertop. Cats dislike the sticky feel of the tape on their paws.
- Place shallow pans of water on the countertop. I would recommend using the disposable aluminium foil ones rather than metal ones, so if the cat is hit as the pan falls it won't be hurt.
- Place a strip of aluminium foil to the edge of the counter. As with the double sided tape, cats don't like the feel of this.
- Fill some empty soft drink bottles with dried beans and leave close to the edge of the countertop
- Place some upside down mouse traps on paper. When the cat jumps up the mouse traps will snap.
- Provide your cat with an alternative high spot such as a scratching post or cat tree. Place it near a window so it can watch the goings on outside.