How to Keep Cat Off Counter: Reasons Why Cats Jump off the Counter and Tips to Deal With It

Cats love to climb and perch, so providing them with alternative surfaces can help redirect their attention away from the counters. Also, several types of deterrents can be used to discourage cats from jumping on counters. These include double-sided tape, aluminum foil, and citrus sprays. Finally, ensure no items on the counter, such as food or cooking utensils, might attract your cat’s attention.

Reasons Why Cats Like to Jump on the Counter


Curiosity is one reason why cats like to jump on counters. Cats are naturally curious animals who like exploring their surroundings, including high places like counters. They are also drawn to interesting smells, and counters often have food or cooking ingredients that can be tempting for them to investigate. Additionally, cats are agile and like to jump and climb, so jumping on counters can be fun.


Height can also be a factor in why cats like to jump on counters. Cats are natural climbers and enjoy being up high to observe their surroundings. Countertops can provide a vantage point for them to survey the area and feel more secure in their environment. Additionally, being up high can give cats a sense of ownership and territory over their surroundings, which can comfort them.


Smells can also be a reason why cats like to jump on counters. According to PAWS Chicago, cats have a highly developed sense of smell and are attracted to the scent of food, especially if they like it. 

If you frequently prepare food on the counter, the smells can be too tempting for your cat to resist. They may also be attracted to the smells of cleaning products, so it’s important to keep these items out of reach of your cat to avoid any potential health issues.


Habit can also be why cats like to jump on the counter. If a cat has been allowed to jump on the counter, it may have developed a habit. Cats are creatures of habit, often repeating behaviors that have been reinforced in the past. 

If the behavior of jumping on the counter has been rewarded with food or attention in the past, the cat is likely to continue doing it. Similarly, if the behavior has not been discouraged, the cat may see no reason to stop.

Tips to Keep Cats off Counters

Use Double-Sided Tape or Aluminum Foil

Double-sided tape or aluminum foil is a common method to discourage cats from jumping on the counter. Place the tape or foil on the edges of the counter or the areas where the cat usually jumps, as cats do not like the texture and stickiness of these materials on their paws. However, remember that this method may not work for all cats, and some may ignore the tape or foil.

It’s also important to note that this method should be used temporarily, as it can damage the surface of your counters or leave residue behind. For example, consider using this method while training your cat to stay off the counters and remove the tape or foil once they have learned to stay down.

Provide an Alternative Space

Providing an alternative space for your cat to jump on is a great way to redirect their behavior away from the counters. For example, you can place a cat tree or a shelf near the counter and encourage your cat to jump on it instead. You can make the alternative space more enticing by placing toys or treats or rubbing catnip.

Additionally, you can create a designated space for your cat to climb and play in the kitchen, such as a cat tree or a cat shelf. This will give your cat a place to hang out while you cook and reduce their desire to jump on the counter.

Keep Counters Clear

Keeping counters clear can help prevent cats from jumping on them. Cats are attracted to high places and may jump on counters if they see something interesting or tempting. By keeping counters free of clutter and food, there is less incentive for them to jump up. You can also store tempting items, like bread or fruit, in sealed containers or in the refrigerator.

Block Access to the Kitchen

Blocking access to the kitchen is another effective way to keep your cat off the counters. You can do this by closing doors or using baby gates to limit their access to the area. For example, if your kitchen is open plan, you may need to use physical barriers such as placing boxes or furniture to create a barrier. Alternatively, you can train your cat to stay off the counters using positive reinforcement techniques.

Make Noise

Making noise is another effective way to discourage cats from jumping on the counter. You can use a can filled with coins or a small air horn to create a loud noise when you catch your cat on the counter. This will startle them and create a negative association with being on the counter. However, it’s important to use this method sparingly and only when you catch your cat in the act, as excessive noise can cause stress and anxiety for your cat.

Be Consistent

Consistency is important when trying to keep your cat off the counter. If you consistently use your training or counter-blocking methods, your cat may become clear and revert to its old behavior. 

Establishing clear boundaries and sticking to them consistently is essential, using the same methods every time to deter your cat from jumping on the counter. This will help your cat understand what is and isn’t allowed, and eventually, it will stop jumping on the counter altogether.