Though feline affection is often comforting and absolute purr-fection, sometimes their need to be around you at all times isn’t always convenient, especially when you’re trying to cook. Ah yes, cats love the kitchen countertop! but Why?
Naturally, kitchen counters can be tempting because there’s food up there and it plays into a cat’s natural love of the hunt. If your cats are hopping up on the counter to sneak a few nibbles…or gorge themselves on a fresh tray of muffins, be sure to remove the temptation and clean up crumbs. It’s also important that, if your cat scavenges for food, all toxic human food items are put away in safe places. When chopping onion and garlic, be sure scraps or pieces aren’t left out for your cat’s consumption. Other items that cats need to steer clear of include chocolate, ethanol, and bread dough.
When Is This A Cause for Concern?
A cat’s love of high places is natural, but when it comes to the kitchen counter, it can be dangerous. Kitchen counters are often storage spaces for sharp objects that can harm cats. Burning-hot trays, fresh out of the oven, can also pose potential risks.
In additon, cats on the counter may be a sign of other feline health issues. “Some cats are attracted to running water from faucets. Be aware of any excessive urge for your cat to get to water,” says Simpson. “Increased thirst (polydipsia) is a sign of many diseases in cats including diabetes, hyperthyroidism and kidney disease.”
How Can I Change Or Train This Behavior?
For the more curious cats, there are a few ways to change their feelings toward the countertop. You can give the cats the high vantage points they desire in other parts of the house. Provide vertical living space for your cat with a cat tree or condo, place it near a window, which makes ii even more entertaining for your cat.
If the kitty condos and cat trees don’t work for your feline friend, you may need to make your kitchen counter an unpleasant or unattractive place for them to be. Try covering the area with double-sided tape or aluminum foil to make it texturally undesirable. There are some commercially available products that deliver static charges or a loud tones when the cat jumps onto the area you’re trying to protect.
Positive reinforcement is key — when your cat jumps on a chair or a cat tree instead of the counter, reward them with a treat or loving pet rather than shooing them away with your hands or using a spray bottle to scare them off.