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Keeping Kitty Off the Table (and the Countertop and…)

catCats like high places. Tabletops, kitchen counters, bookshelves, window sills, even fireplace mantles — all make ideal places for Fluffy to keep watch over her territory from a secure vantage point.

According to cat experts, perching in these spots is an instinctive behavior and not just your cat’s way of annoying you.

Yelling and chasing your pet may solve the immediate problem, but probably won’t help over the long term. Some trainers suggest using a squirt bottle filled with water to spray Fluffy when she jumps up on the table or kitchen counter. While this approach may work, your cat may also associate that sudden rain with you – especially if she sees you grabbing for the water bottle every time she’s jumps on the counter. Before long, she’ll decide she needs to stay away – when you’re around. When you aren’t home, of course, that’s another story!

The veterinarians with the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) say that a better way to keep your cat off a forbidden surface is to "bobby trap" it by covering it with two-sided tape. Cats don’t like the stickiness on their paws.

The benefit of this approach is that they will have an unpleasant experience every time they jump up — whether or not you’re in the room or in at home. Aluminum foil or a carpet runner turned nubby-side-up also work. It won’t take long for Fluffy to decide that the dining room table is not his favorite place to be.

The AAHA also suggests providing an alternate perch for your favorite feline. A tall cat tree or a perch that attaches to a windowsill may meet his need for climbing and perching.

Once kitty adjusts to her new perching spot, don’t undermine your success by leaving food on countertops or tables. That just might prove too tempting for the resident climber.