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.
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:
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- 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
- 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?