How to Keep a Cat Off the Kitchen Counters and Table: Show Him Who is Boss!

Cats love to jump to higher ground to get a better view of their surroundings, and unfortunately they don’t know the difference between a cat shelf especially designed for felines and a dining table or the kitchen counters where food is prepared. It’s all the same to a cat, and this type of behavior makes some cat owners very unhappy to say the least. No one wants to find pet hair on the table or on the kitchen counters let alone bits of kitty litter that were formerly stuck between to the toes of their furry family member. Unlike people, cats must step into their toilets, and unfortunately they can’t wash their paws with antibacterial soap and warm water.

I’ve had a few cats in my lifetime, and all but one regularly jumped up on the kitchen counters as well as the dining room table. If it weren’t for the fact that this particular cat was considerably overweight, I’m sure she would have been up on the kitchen counter and table just like the others. Even still, I occasionally caught my calico butterball running across the kitchen counter as she heard footsteps approaching the kitchen, and the look on her face said it all. She knew she wasn’t suppose to be up on the kitchen counter, but you know what they say about cats and curiosity. Every now and then she just had to see what was in that mysterious area that was suppose to be off limits.

The Power of a Spray Bottle

My black cat Ginger loved to jump up on the kitchen table and counters, and she didn’t care if I was watching. Matter of fact she went out of her way to put her furry little butt in my face. One morning in particular while I was trying to read the morning paper, Ginger jumped up on the table, put her rear in my face, and proceeded to plop down right on my morning newspaper. I loved my cat, but I had finally had enough!

I purchased an empty spray bottle used for misting plants, and I filled it with water. Each time Ginger jumped up on the kitchen table or counter, I proceeded to blast her furry behind. She finally began associating the water she didn’t like with the activity I didn’t approve of, and she stopped jumping here, there, and everywhere. She even became nervous when I had the glass cleaner in hand. Although I would never spray her with anything but water, she rapidly blinked and backed up at the mere sight of the window cleaner.

The cat I currently own, or who currently owns me, doesn’t mind water. He’s an unusual cat to say the least, and upon misting him with water, he merely flinches and crouches back. He gives me the dirtiest looks he can come up with, but he still doesn’t budge. I could spray him until he was literally soaked to the skin and he wouldn’t move. Once he claims an area, he practically glues his body to that spot and refuses to give it up. I’ve had to take more drastic steps with my black and white male cat who thinks he’s the king of my little castle.

Stay Away Spray

Most cats absolutely hate the scent of animal repellent. I have a can of Hartz spray, and my cat immediately runs when I pop the lid. I think it smells somewhat foul, but not too bad to use inside the house. It reminds me of the scent of a stinkbug that has been squashed, and this unusual scent quickly dissipates in the room. I’ve used it to keep my cat off the dining room table. The scent isn’t long-lasting, and it doesn’t stink up my entire house.

When using any type of animal repellent indoors, it’s best to spray it on a rag, and strategically place the rag in the area you want the cat to avoid. Keep in mind, this method works for some, but not for others. The real key to keeping cats off a table or counters is consistency in training.


If you sometimes ignore your cat as he lays upon your kitchen table or counters, don’t expect him to listen when company arrives. When training a cat to stay off of kitchen counters and the dining room table, consistency is of the utmost importance. The cat must always be shooed off the table and counters – not just when it’s convenient. Just like a child, your cat won’t take you seriously if you’re the least bit wishy-washy. Show your cat who the boss really is, and gently but sternly remove him from undesirable locations each and every time. Cats aren’t stupid, but they can be stubborn, and your cat will finally understand which areas are completely off limits.

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