Second Chance: Countering Counter Cats

Second Chance: Countering Counter Cats

Second Chance Humane Society Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops service San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties. Call the SCHS Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, Feral Cat, or other Programs. View our shelter pets and services online:


Many cats naturally aspire to great heights. And yes, that often leads to kitty kitchen counter cruising. Some feline inclusive families just accept this as part of the agreement they make with their cats while others wonder if there’s an actual solution to keeping their counters paw and butt free. Today I will enlighten you on the secrets to countering the counter cat…

I have surveyed all the cats here at Second Chance and found that the top reasons why we felines like to counter catwalk are: counters hold desirable items like food; they are a “roadway” to an enticing spot like a windowsill; and they access fresh, running/dripping water available from a sink. Additionally counters fulfill our innate desire to perch from higher elevations and, when bored, jumping on the counter often gets us the attention we are craving.

Thus, to remove the counter surfing from your cats repertoire you have some adjustments to make. To start, you will want to keep your counter space clear of alluring objects. That means placing food in cabinets and re-homing bag clips and other toy-like objects.

Other minor home adjustments could include adding a tall cat condo or tree to your home to satisfy your cat’s need for height and, if possible, place it by a favorite window so your kitty has easy, “legal” access to the spot. If a chair is being utilized to grant your kitty counter access, remove it. And for dripping faucet seekers you might invest in a water fountain that provides fresh, moving refreshment, on the floor.

To address the boredom factor of counter creepers I recommend increasing your playtime with your cat who might just be seeking your attention and need for a little exercise. Show your kitty how fun playing on the floor can really be.

Additionally, as cats don’t like sticky surfaces, you can add double-sided tape to one side of cheap, plastic placemats and line your counter space with them. After a few attempts that can often curb the behavior.

And remember to reward positive behavior. If your kitty jumps onto the cat tree instead of the counter, praise her with extra pets and attention or an occasional treat. Animals repeat what benefits them.

As with any training, be consistent and don’t punish your cat. Our brains do not make the connection between the punishment and the behavior that resulted in the punishment. Verbal and physical punishment can create fear of the human and even cause your cat to act out.

That means do not rely on a spray bottle as a deterrent. This only creates a negative association between person and spray bottle, not bottle and behavior. Thus your cat will continue counter surfing when you are not around, solving nothing.

My name is Butterfly. I am a lovely 3-year-young Tabby here at Second Chance awaiting my new forever home. I was living behind a dumpster and suffering from severe malnourishment and poor health. Since being rescued, I have almost doubled my weight and have beautifully transformed into a healthy, loving feline. I have discovered the delights of cuddles and am learning that other dogs and cats no longer pose a threat to me. I am looking forward to the opportunity to continue my transformation as some lucky person’s new best friend.

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