Pet Tips: How To Teach A Cat To Stay Off Counters

Cats are a little more difficult to train than dogs, but you can have some measure of success with keeping them off counters by following these tips.

Even if you love cats more than anything else in the world, you still don't want them on your counters and table. Most people think they just have to put up with improper behavior from animals, but that's simply not true. Of course, it's much easier to teach a cat when it's very young than to try to teach a cat that's been sleeping on your kitchen table for years, but there are techniques you can use to teach even a stubborn cat that it's not a good idea to jump up on the counters. Try to teach very young kittens from birth, since you'll have the largest success rate with young cats.

It's a fact that most cats don't like water. Fill a squirt gun with water and keep it handy from the time the kitten is old enough to begin jumping up on the table. There's no way you can keep an eye on the cat 24 hours a day, but when you see the cat on the table, don't speak to it, just get close enough to give it a squirt, then say "No". After the cat has jumped down, do not continue to squirt it. This will prevent the cat from making the connection between the water and the table.

Water doesn't hurt cats, but most of them jump when they get wet, and the squirt gun method will teach the cat that if it jumps up, it will get very wet. Try to be vigilant about teaching the cat. It won't do much good to squirt it once out of every ten times it jumps up on the counter. Once the cat gets the idea, it usually isn't necessary to continue the water treatment. Some cats are stubborn, though, and will stay off the table for awhile, then go back to trying it again. Be ready to go round 2, 3 or 4, if necessary. Eventually the cat will get the idea. Older cats could take more time to learn, and are usually the most stubborn. New kittens learn much more quickly, so start early with the training.

To keep the cat from jumping on surfaces while you sleep, spray tables and counters with ammonia. Most animals hate the smell of ammonia, and cats are no different. The ammonia will dry throughout the night and won't hurt most surfaces, but will keep cats from jumping up. Bleach is another chemical that cats don't appreciate. Bleach can be sprayed safely on most surfaces.

Spray ammonia water on other surfaces where you don't want the cat, like outside trash bags, indoor trash containers, but not on furniture or cloth. Don't use the bleach water on anything but tables and counters, never the furniture. To keep cats from jumping on the furniture, use the squirt gun, and if the cat is particularly stubborn, try placing a drop of ammonia in the squirt gun. Just the smell of ammonia will send most animals fleeing. Be careful to only use a drop or two, and never aim the gun, with ammonia, at the cat's face.

The squirt gun technique also works for teaching cats not to do other things, like claw the furniture or spray on the walls.

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