Flickr: Lisa Brewster
Why do Cats Love Kitchen Counters:
Cats love surfing on kitchen counters because of their innate preferences of higher grounds and surveying from a safe and elevated place. What makes kitchen counters very attractive, besides the height, is the smell left from cooking. Even though you have cleaned and scrubbed the areas, it does not get the smell out completely. Cats are sensory creatures that have a remarkable sense of smell. A clean counter to humans may still smell like grilled chicken, tuna casserole or seared salmon to cats. Cats are very good at finding little bits of leftover food. If they realize that kitchen counters are places where they can rummage for food, they will learn to go back in hopes of getting more food.
Why are Kitchen Counters an Undesirable Place for Cats:
The biggest reason why kitchen counters are not the most desirable place for cats to hang out is because they can jump on a hot stove or accidentally land on a sharp knife. There are also other kitchen tools that could be dangerous to your cats.
What You can do to Deter this Behavior:
The trick is to make kitchen counters look and feel undesirable to your cats. You will need to do a little redecorating to your kitchen counters temporarily until your cats learn to stay off them. At the same time, redirect them to a fun place to fulfill their desire of surveying and perching on a higher place.
Flickr: Jacob Davies
Use double-sided tape to cover the edges of the kitchen counters. Cats dislike sticky tape because it adheres to their paws and makes it difficult to walk. You can try to use placemats or anything similar to put the double-sided tape on and distribute them all over your kitchen counters.
Use a little water
If your cats are trying to bypass the double-sided tape, you can prepare a few cookie sheets and fill them with water. Position them next to the tape, so if your cats walk pass the tape, they will land on the water. Since you are placing the tape and the cookie sheets on the counters above ground level, it is hard for your cats to foresee what may happen should they leap on the counters. The surprise element will get them to learn that kitchen counters are not the most desirable place to be on.
Citrus scented natural cleaners
If you have a citrus scented cleaner that is completely harmless to cats, you can use it on the kitchen counters. Cats detest anything that contains citric aroma.
Purchase a cat deterrent
There are motion detectors on the market that can help you dissuade your cats from jumping on the kitchen counters. A cat deterrent works as an alarm which sets off when the cat is in the vicinity of the product. The product also squirts out air at the cat along with the loud sounds. This will startle the cat from leaping on the counters.
What You can do to Rechannel Your Cats to Safer Places in Your Home:
It is very important to provide an alternative area that is enticing to your cats. Find a place where they can jump on, perch in and survey around. Find a comfortable spot where your cats can check out everyone and all the activities in the household. You can try to place a sturdy cat tree in a high-traffic area of your house or right next to the windows where your cats can enjoy the view from the outdoors.
When you first introduce a cat tree to your cats, you can use catnip and treats to encourage them to find the tree. Reward your cats with their favorite treats when they finally get on the tree by themselves.
the Cat Behavior Answer Book by Arden Moore