5 ways to prevent cats from jumping on counters

Posted by Argos, 31 July 2018, last updated 16 August 2023.

Is your cat constantly jumping on your kitchen counter? Or are they sneakily jumping up on an evening or when you are not in the house? Sometimes you may not see your cat physically jumping up, but they may leave some evidence such as paw prints or fur. If you’re wondering how to stop a cat from jumping on a counter then we have everything you need to know.

Trying to stop cats jumping on kitchen worktops and tables can be a difficult task. As naturally curious animals, cats will attempt to explore every bit of your home. It’s important to firstly understand why letting your cat jump up on the counter can cause more harm than good.

Why does my cat jump up on the counter?

Your cat is most likely jumping up on the counter for a number of reasons. These are:

  • They know that there is food on the counter or in the cupboard
  • They like the smell of your cooking and they want to eat it
  • They are trying to reach a high up place to sleep or relax
  • They may be trying to escape from another pet such as a dog or another feline

Why should I stop my cat jumping on the counter?

It is up to you if you want to let your cat jump up on the counter. However, it can certainly cause more trouble than it is worth.

  • Your cat may break a valuable item if they jump up on the counter and knock something over
  • It can be dangerous if your cat knocks over a glass object, causing it to smash and cause injury
  • They may contaminate your food, especially if they partially eat something or put their paws in food
  • They may eat something that is poisonous to them. Some human food is poisonous to cats, but they may eat it anyway causing them to be very ill.

Black and white cat laid on a counter top

How to stop cats jumping on counters

  1. Use deterrents
  2. Offer alternative places to jump in high places
  3. Make counters less tempting
  4. Reconsider your cat’s feeding routine
  5. Keep your cat away from your cooking

1. Use deterrents

If you have a curious cat that likes to jump and climb, consider a simple deterrent. Sticking foil or baking paper on counters will make a sound when your cat lands. This will startle them slightly, but not enough to physically harm them. They will eventually associate the startling sound with jumping on the counter and it will deter them from jumping in the future.

You can also use deterrents such as citrus-scented cleaning products. Consider using a citrus-scented spray or anti-bacterial wipes on your counters as this is a natural deterrent for cats.

2. Offer alternatives in high places

A great way to keep cats off counters and tables is to give them something else to climb. As natural climbers, cats crave vertical challenges and will be drawn to the high locations. A cat tower will satisfy their need to climb up high.

To make their own vertical space more appealing, place it near a window. As well as getting a good spot to snooze in the sun, your cat will be able to see outside. This will allow them to watch natural prey, such as birds, to entertain their natural curiosity and instincts.

If your cat likes to jump on the counter to get away from something or someone on the ground, a nice high cat tower will make them feel much more comfortable as well as giving them a full view of the room below.

3. Make counters less tempting

Cats climb out of curiosity. If there’s nothing to explore, they will quickly lose interest in their surroundings and before you know it, they are on your kitchen counters.

Make sure there’s nothing to tempt them onto counters and tables by never leaving food out. Always wipe down surfaces to remove food odours; this will help to remove their temptation.

As well as food, make sure there is nothing else to tempt your cat to climb up high. This can include toys, cat nip, moving objects or windows. Consider getting blinds or curtains for windows near counters so that your cat can’t see outside.

Tortoise shell cat stood on a kitchen counter top

4. Reconsider their feeding schedule

If your cat seems to be jumping on counters to scavenge food, it may be because they are hungry. You can find out if this is the case by simply offering them more cat food, or changing up their type of cat food. If the behaviour stops, adjust your cat’s feeding schedule.

However, you should be prepared for the possibility that your cat is happy to overeat. Keep a close eye on your cat’s weight and speak to your vet for advice if you think your pet is overweight.

You could also change the times that you usually feed your cat. If you feed them the same time that you eat, this may make them less tempted to jump up on the counters and beg for your food. To stop your cat jumping up on the kitchen counters while you are cooking, make sure to put their food out at this time.

5. Keep your cat away from the cooking

A cat’s sense of smell is 40 times stronger than that of a human. This means that any delicious-smelling food you’re cooking is extra appealing to your cat. The smells can excite their sense of curiosity, making them want to explore and find the source of the smell. While liking your food can be a compliment, you may not appreciate the fur and dirty paws near, or sometimes in, your meal. There is also a danger that your cat could eat something that is bad for their health, as well as burning themselves on hot pieces of cooking utensils.

Keep your cat in another room while you’re cooking to help minimise the risk of injury or contaminating your food while you are cooking. Make sure they have somewhere to sleep and toys to keep them comfortable and stimulated.

However, this may not be suited to all cats. If your little feline scratches or whines to leave the location they are confined to, try not to leave them in there for too long to minimise stress. But some cats do appreciate some time alone, so they may enjoy their own company or time to sleep undisturbed.

The ‘don’ts’ of how to prevent cats from jumping on counters

While cats climbing can be frustrating, you shouldn’t ever:

  • Push or shoo your cat from a high location. This could lead to physical injury.
  • Leave out harmful foods that curious cats can get to. You can learn about the types of food you can’t feed your cat on our We Talk Cat blog.
  • Verbally scold or hit your cat to discipline them for jumping. This is more likely to make them frightened of you than prevent jumping.

Cats can be mischievous pets, but remember it’s important to protect yourself from unexpected vet bills with Argos Pet Insurance provided by Pinnacle Insurance plc. Explore our cat insurance policies today.

Argos Limited is an Appointed Representative of Home Retail Group Insurance Services Limited (HIS). HIS is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (register number 314050). Registered office: 489-499 Avebury Boulevard, Milton Keynes, MK9 2NW (registered in England and Wales, no 04109436). HIS act as an introducer to Pinnacle Insurance plc, who sell, administer and underwrite the policy and who are authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (register number 110866). Registered office: Pinnacle House, A1 Barnet Way, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, WD6 2XX (registered in England and Wales, no 01007798). HIS and Pinnacle Insurance plc are not part of the same corporate group.

Share this with your friends Apple download app image Apple download app image