How to Keep a Kitten Off of a Kitchen Counter

  Ragdoll cat on counter top A curious Ragdoll kitten jumping up on a counter to see what you are doing at all times can be an adorable thing…until you start to think about how you eat food prepared on that counter and wonder where those paws have been. Some pet owners are content to just frequently wipe down their counters whenever they cook, but some want to break their kitty of the counter-jumping habit altogether. While it is easier to prevent your cat from jumping on counters to begin with instead of correcting it after the fact, there are some tips and tricks you can use to keep your cat off the kitchen counter.

Why Does my Ragdoll Kitty Jump on the Counter?

It’s helpful to first understand why your kitten keeps jumping on the counter. For one thing, they might just enjoy being around you and seeing what you are doing. Ragdoll cats in particular are social creatures who like to follow their owners around. Another reason cats jump on counters is because they are naturally drawn to high perches; they like to have a view of their world from above and feel a sense of protection from enemies. So while it is possible that cats might be interested in the food you leave out or be attracted to the running water from the faucet, it is also likely that they are acting based on these other natural urges: curiosity and a love of high places.

Provide Alternatives

Since cats want to be up high and see what you are doing, you can start to break them of the counter habit by providing alternatives that satisfy the same impulses. Here are a few things you could put in your kitchen to achieve that end:
  • Cat trees or perches
  • Cat toys
  • A TV tray or tall stool for them to sit on
You can make these alternatives more attractive to your cat initially by rubbing them with catnip.


Providing alternatives is a good first step, but you might also want to use some deterrents to reinforce the no-counter rule until they get used to hanging out elsewhere or for while you’re not there to watch them. The key to a good deterrent is doing something that doesn’t damage the relationship and bond of trust with your cat, such as yelling, swatting, or even spraying. The Ragdoll cat temperament in particular is sensitive, and Ragdolls can become neurotic with too much punishment. Ideally, you want to the deterrent to appear to have nothing to do with you. Here are a few ideas to try on your kitchen counter:
  • tin foil
  • double stick tape on cardboard (this could be messy with fur though!)
  • soda cans filled with rocks or coins on the edge of the counter – this will make a noise should scare the cat
  • Vicks VapoRub
  • shelf liner
  • PetSafe Ssscat Cat Spray Control System – motion-activated unscented spray Bottle of Ssscat
  • devices that make a noise when triggered, like a pressure pad or electronic eye
  • chair mats for carpets – cut it to counter size and put it spikey side up (check before using this, as it might be too painful!)
Other deterrents you personally could use are throwing a crinkled paper, using an air horn, or simply repeatedly picking your cat up and putting them back on the floor – just make sure you watch your cat’s reaction to confirm that your deterrent isn’t harmful to them or eroding their trust in you. Some cat owners say that this is a phase kitties grow out of, others have had success training their cat to stay off the counter, and still others say clean your counter often and just get used to it. Try a few different methods with your cat to see what works, and try to correct the behavior early or prevent it in the first place. What suggestions do you have for keeping a kitten off a kitchen counter? Do you know of methods for how to keep cats off counters naturally?
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Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,

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  1. Cinde Shields says:

    Well, if you ever end up getting an IP and try my recipe, I hope will love it as much as my family does.❤️

  2. Cinde Shields says:

    Hey Jenny, one last thing about the IP (Instant Pot). I was terrified of pressure cookers before buying my IP. We’ve all heard the explosion horror stories! But the IP is the safest electric pressure cooker on the market – it has multiple safety features in place, so even if one safety feature fails there are many others in place to back it up. It has a very small learning curve and honestly isn’t scary to use. This is not your Grandmas pressure cooker!

    That is saying a lot coming from me, I am extremely safety conscious (understatement!). Once you try it you will love it! I learned a ton by joining the Instant Pot FB groups and reading the posts/asking questions.

    1. Thanks – maybe when I am in a relationship again and actually making meals for two =)

  3. Cinde Shields says:

    I forgot to mention that there are many recipes available on the internet (try Pinterest) for more “traditional” Instant Pot Mac n Cheese recipes calling for regular pasta, cheese, milk, butter, etc. I cant vouch for the taste as I have never tried them, but I’m sure there are plenty of good ones to choose from (if my gluten free goat cheese version isn’t a match for your taste). I’ve got to say though, it is fabulous. I serve it to guests regularly and they say it is like something from a restaurant.

      1. Cinde Shields says:

        Anytime you’re in the Seattle area you are welcome here!❤️

        1. Thank you – my mom told us never to invite ourselves…but it did sound good. You might have read about my experience with boxed Kraft Mac-N-Cheese below. So when I was little, i went to a friend’s house to spend the night and she told me we were having mac-n-cheese for dinner. I was disappointed and dreading dinner. Her mom, though, made homemade mac-n-cheese – I will never forget how good it tasted!! I just loved it. I asked her mom for that recipe about 10 years ago. I made it and it wasn’t the same for me. So I am still on the hunt for a mac-n-cheese recipe I’ll love.

  4. Cinde Shields says:

    To clarify on the recipe, it calls for a brick of Colby (or cheddar) goat cheese, which you will need to shred yourself at home. I have never seen it sold pre-shredded.

    After my daughter was diagnosed with Celiac Disease she was still having symptoms even after being gluten free for nearly a year. I learned that many people who cannot digest gluten cannot digest cow dairy either, as the protein structures are very similar. We removed all cow dairy and her symptoms improved. Years later I learned that some people who can’t tolerate cow dairy can successfully tolerate goat dairy as it is easier to digest. My daughter had success with the goat dairy, and eats it regularly with no problems.

  5. Cinde Shields says:

    I can’t resist commenting, you are talking about some of my favorite topics: My cats, the Instant Pot and Vitamix!

    My kittens (especially Mitzi) were obsessed with jumping on the kitchen counter once they discovered it existed. I don’t want them near the hot stove or my pressure cooker so I tried to train them by saying no and taking them off the counter. That wasn’t working. At all. So I bought a can of Quit It after watching you review it. Guess what? It works! After a few days of training with the Quit It they reduced their attempts at getting on the counter to almost zero. Now, if it looks like they are going to try it, all I have to do is pick up the can (no spraying necessary) and that is enough for them to change their minds.

    About the Instant Pot… I use mine nearly every day for something or another. I adore it.❤️ If you ever want to make perfect risotto in minutes without stirring until your arm falls off, the Instant Pot has you covered. Also makes effortless no stir steel cut oats and perfect Mac & Cheese (plus tons of other things). It retains all of the nutrients in every day staple foods like veggies too!

    My admiration for the Vitamix is equal to the Instant Pot. I have had to send it in for servicing 2 times in the last 7 years, each time I felt lost in the kitchen for the few weeks I couldn’t use it. Love, love, LOVE it!❤️ By the way if you haven’t tried the whole fruit margarita recipe in the Vitamix, you should!

    Enough raving about small appliances… on to making dinner!


    1. Hooray for QuitIt! I haven’t had to use ours in some time. It’s sort of sad to see them that scared, but man, it works and keeps them safe.

      1. Cinde Shields says:

        Precisely why I only use it when absolutely necessary.❤️

    2. WAIT! How do you make Mac n’ Cheese in the Instant Pot? Do you make it from scratch or do you buy a boxed version?

      1. Cinde Shields says:

        My daughter is gluten and cow dairy free, so I make it with gluten free pasta and goat cheese. I can’t promise this recipe will work with other types of ingredients/brands, but this method with these specific ingredients produces a very decadent, delicious from scratch one pot Mac n Cheese.

        Cinde’s Instant Pot Gluten Free Macaroni & Goat Cheese Recipe


        1 box Barilla brand gluten free Penne pasta (cooking time only relevant the penne shaped pasta – the other shapes are not recommended for this recipe)

        I block Colby Jack or Cheddar goat cheese, shredded

        1 soft goat cheese log (chèvre) broken into chunks

        1/4 cup Earth balance buttery spread (can sub with butter)

        Franks Red Hot powdered seasoning to taste (optional)

        Salt to taste

        Sliced scallions or chives as garnish (optional)


        Put the uncooked gluten free penne in the liner of the Instant Pot. Add water until it comes about 1/2 inch higher than the top of the dry pasta.

        Put the lid on the Instant Pot in locked position. Turn vent to seal position. Cook on manual high pressure setting for 4 minutes. When time is up do a quick pressure release. Remove the lid when pressure has fully released and pin has dropped.

        Turn the pot off, then turn on again and reset to medium sauté mode. Stir the pasta to combine it with the starchy cooking water it was cooked in.

        Add the soft goat cheese log, crumbled or cut into chunks to facilitate faster melting. Also add buttery spread. Stir constantly until melted.

        Stir in Franks Red Hot Seasoning powder to taste (if using).

        Add handfuls of shredded Colby goat cheese, stirring to melt in between adding additional handfuls of cheese.

        After the cheese has melted, taste and add salt to taste, stirring to combine.

        Serve immediately, topping individual servings with thinly sliced scallions or chives if desired (optional).

        Serves 4 people as an entree.


        1. Oh, I love it – so kind of you to share and how interesting without cow’s milk cheese! How did you guys discover that your daughter was cow diary free?

          I’ve never looked for shredded Colby goat cheese… I will have to see if my grocery store carries it.

      2. Hi, Jenny! I make a “tuna casserole” in the IP using Kraft Boxed Mac-N-Cheese for my hubby as he just adores Kraft Boxed Mac-N-Cheese. The IP takes the boxed mac-n-cheese to a whole new, creamier level thanks to the pressurized environment. Like Cinde’s recipe, you only have to set the IP to cook for 4 minutes. But it takes about 20 minutes or more (sometimes) for the IP to come up to pressure to do the 4 minute cooking and then when that’s done I turn the IP off and let it release the pressure naturally for about 35 minutes. It makes a very creamy mac-n-cheese but I think Cinde’s homemade version is better! Lurve the goat cheese use! Mmmmm. Sounds so good! 🙂 <3

        1. Thanks, Patti! So interesting on how it works. I think I would need to see one in person in action to be confident to use one in my house…and on a side note, the idea of Kraft Boxes Mac-N-Cheese with tuna makes me gag because my mom used to make that for us and I absolutely hate tuna! So I do not like Kraft Mac N Cheese either because she never made it without tuna and we ALWAYS had to finish our dinner. YUCK!

      3. I know what you mean. I like to cook from scratch and not from boxes or bags. But my hubby lurves the boxed schtuff (his palate is destroyed from eating so much processed food when we was a young adult, I think). I’m with you on the boxed mac-n-cheese skeeviness. I do love tuna, though. But I prefer the yellow-fin tuna filets you can get at the store rather than the canned schtuff. But, the Wild Planet canned tuna is pretty tasty! 🙂 <3

        1. phew. i worried that i was rude in my response about kraft mac-n-cheese and tuna – it’s just a personal opinion!

      4. Nothing wrong with being honest about your tastes, Jenny. I’m with you, there. I lurve pasta but can’t eat it because it’s so carby and makes my blood sugar spike like mad (diabetic schtuff!). However, I do get my pasta fix my eating Miracle Noodles. Not quite the same but zero carbs so I’m on board no matter what! They are full of pre-biotic fiber (good for our gut) so it’s a win-win for me. 🙂 <3

        1. Interesting – where do you buy your miracle noodles?

      5. I buy my Miracle Noodles at my local Hy-Vee. They carry both the Fettucine (my fave!) and Angle Hair. They don’t carry the Miracle Noodle Rice, though. Sometimes, I will order directly from the Miracle Noodle website because the variety of the items they have are increasing all the time. They now have some shelf-stable pre-packaged meals that sound delicious…especially that Veggie Spaghetti Bolognese (made with jackfruit for the meat replacement). Yummy!

        Here’s the link to their website (lots of cool healthy schtuff to find there…just wish it wasn’t so pricey. Got my eye on some of that Kanten Pasta, too!):

        Have fun!

    3. Hey, Cinde! So nice to met another IP fan!!! YAY! Thanks for the awesome recipe for the mac-n-cheese. 🙂 <3

      1. Cinde Shields says:

        Hi Patti,

        Nice to meet another “Pot Head” … this is actually what members of the IP FB group call ourselves! I really need to get a life!

      2. OMG! Potheads! Lurve THAT!!!! And you live in Seattle! How lovely. One of my very fave places I’ve ever visited. I so wish I could go back there and live…I just lurve the Pacific Northwest! 🙂 <3

  6. yes all 3 have been on the counter. but only Beatrix comes up when her food is being prepared. After she inspects the food fare, she sits until ask to get down with a “please”. At which time she jumps down. The same for Bentley and Bella on the table. If asked to get down, just say please and they all comply. When they were younger, now going on 6, they were told when plates were on the table it was off limits period. They seem to love to asked to please leave the table and they respect that. If you do not say please , you may get the cat stink eye first, then a “please” and they get down. Hey they are Ragdolls, very smart cats.

  7. Wonderful post, Jenny! Thank you for all the great information! This is one time where having a small apartment with a fairly small kitchen works in my favor! lol 🙂

    I have very little free counter space (because I adore small kitchen appliances). Just a small 30 x 30 inches really that contains a cutting board and easy access to my favorite spices (in sealed containers). When Miss PSB was a kitten we walked her around the apartment and showed her everything out of her reach each day for a long time (probably a few months at least). I paid particular attention to the kitchen and laundry room (since they are right next to each other). She has never once tried to jump up on the kitchen counter while we’ve been awake. I think she knows there’s not much room there. Whenever I find her in the kitchen to “help” me, I pick her up and show her the different areas and then put her back down. That seems to satisfy her curiosity. Now, at night, she may be up there all the time (but I kinda doubt it as she stays pretty close to us in the bedroom or sleeps on the top back cushion of the love seat in the living room). Now one thing she does enjoy doing (which started a few years ago) is jumping on the available free space on top of our dryer and then peeping around the corner to watch me in the kitchen. She also likes to sit on our dining room table and watch me in the kitchen, too. (And that’s okay, because I keep her water dishes on our dining room table. I know it’s awful but we rarely eat at the table. We eat on our TV trays in front of our computers. My hubby’s bad back won’t let him sit at the table long enough to eat and I hate to sit there and eat alone so we developed a work around with the TV trays.) 🙂 <3

    Big hugs and lots of love!

    Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle 🙂 <3

    1. thanks for sharing, patti. what are some of your favorite small kitchen appliances?

      1. You are most welcome! Well, so happy you asked? Let’s see….where to start….Here are a list of my favorite small kitchen appliances I use:

        1. Instant Pot (pressure cooker/slow cooker/yogurt maker and can even saute! LURVE THIS THING SO MUCH!)
        2. NuWave Oven (countertop oven that is very versatile with cooking abilities and so much nicer than using the big efficient, too)
        3. Breville Juicer (wish I used it more…lol)
        4. Breville Blender (awesome!)
        5. Microwave
        6. Breville Jaffle Maker (to make home made hot stuffed sandwiches)
        7. Mini Black & Decker food processor
        8. Livart LV-982 Electric Barbecue Grill (indoor hibachi, really)

        How about you? Do you adore small kitchen appliances, too? 🙂 <3

        1. oh, i love that you have a nuwave – have always wondered if those are any good.

          i, too, have a breville juicer. which model do you have? i am thinking of getting my brother one. i have the Breville JE98XL Juice Fountain Plus 850-Watt Juice Extractor.

          i recently learned about the instant pot from a blog i follow. i don’t eat a lot of cooked food – so i don’t have an immediate need, but what do you like to use it for?

          i have a vitamix for a blender and a Cuisinart for my food processor. i will have to look up the jaffle maker! i also have a rice cooker that i swear by.

      2. I lurve my NuWave! I haven’t used my stove in almost 2 years. 🙂

        We are Breville Juicer Twins! I have the same Breville Juicer! YAY!

        I used to have a Vita Clay Multi-Cooker but I replaced that with my Instant Pot! I used my Instant Pot for making homemade chicken broth, soups, rice, quinoa, beans, lentiles, whole chicken, roasts, stir-fries (using the saute function), eggs (hard, medium & soft boiled type), steaming fresh veggies, steaming seafood, etc… It’s supposed to make a killer cheesecake with the proper accessories but I’m not much on sweets or anything loaded with sugars since I’m diabetic. 🙂

        Oooooh, I envy you your Vitamix! I want one so bad! My Breville Blender is awesome but those Vitamixes are AMAZING! Just wish they had the stainless steel carafes like they did when they first hit the market years and years ago. I don’t like using plastic and I understand they can’t use glass because of the high speed that the blender gets up to can shatter a glass carafe. Teresa has a Vitamix, too! 🙂 <3

        Here's the link to the Breville Jaffle Maker I have: (I bought mine directly from BrevilleUSA online as Amazon doesn't really offer these at a reasonable price.)

        Big hugs & lots of love!

        Patti 🙂 <3

        1. oh, i didn’t know that vitamix used to come with metal carafes – i would love that. i drink my tea from a metal cup every day. i love metal and agree with you on plastic.

          thanks for the tip on the breville!

      3. You are most welcome, Jenny! (A lot of Vitamix users in the past were complaining about not being able to see what was happening inside the blender so that’s when they developed the high impact plastic carafe. Not sure if they even manufacture the metal carafe anymore. You might be able to find one on e-bay or something but I would imagine they aren’t universal with the fit based on so many different Vitamix models that are out there today. I hope one day Vitamix will bring back the old school look of the original Vitamix with that metal carafe.) Ooops! I did find this article, though, with some very interesting info about a Waring metal jar/carafe that will fit the standard Vitamix drive shaft:

        🙂 <3

        1. thanks, patti! that metal carafe costs almost as much as the vitamix! i appreciate the background and the article – thank you!

      4. I know, right? But, it would probably outlive the Vitamix as far as durability goes. Basically it should last forever (if it’s made well and it better be for THAT PRICE!)! 🙂

        You are most welcome, honey! 🙂 <3

  8. it’s my cats house as much as it is mine, i feel so my cats can go wherever they want . sure they have dirty feet but i wipe the counters. only one of my three jump on the counter. he likes to watch me wash the dishes and head bunts me and gives me kisses while i’m doing that. he’ll jump up there in the morning too to see where his cans of cat food are coming from. he likes to watch me open them. if they were jumping near the stove i would probably be more concerned but it wold be for their safety.

    1. ha ha ha – i feel the same way – but if i am ever dating someone and they are grossed out by them on the counters, then i will have to stop charlie getting on the counter. trigg has no interest. i have only “caught” him on the counter once and he thought he was in trouble. i have no idea why he thought that as ihave never gotten mad at him for being on the counter. i have only gotten mad if they are near the stove top – when bill lived with me and charlie was a kitten, bill was cooking dinner. he picked up charlie for him to smell it and the next thing i knew, charlie had run downstairs to me in the basement. i picked him up and it smelled like burnt hair. i looked at his face and one side of his whiskers were burnt off – in a split second, charlie’s kitten whiskers had caught fire and burned. i have a gas stove top. so never again.

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