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Cat Keeps Jumping On Dinner Table

Discussion in 'Cat Behavior' started by smosmosmo, Sep 10, 2019.

  1. smosmosmo

    smosmosmo Thread Starter TCS Member Adult Cat

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    This is not really a problem for me, but I live with people who do NOT want her jumping on the dinner table. They will be livid if they catch her doing it.

    Up until today she's been very good about not getting on the table - she does it maybe once every month or so, not often at all. She's typically not interested in being up there. This afternoon though I was lint-rolling a sweater I used to wear to my boyfriend's house on the table. It had a lot of cat hair on it from his three kitties, and I'm sure the table still smells like them. I suspect she's jumping on the table because she smells other cats on it.

    The only thing I could think of to remove the smell and deter her was spraying Nature's Miracle on it, because it's orange scented - I've read that cats don't like the smell of citrus. Would this be enough to remove the cat smell? And is there anything unpleasant smelling that I can buy at the store that I can rub on the table if the Nature's Miracle doesn't work?
     
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  2. Furballsmom

    Furballsmom Cat Fan especially Black Cats Staff Member Forum Helper

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  3. maggie101

    maggie101 3 cats Top Cat

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    My table is covered with stuff so she has no where to jump
     
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  4. smosmosmo

    smosmosmo Thread Starter TCS Member Adult Cat

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    Covering the table would lead to a lot of complaining, so unfortunately that's not something I can do. I have noticed though that Smo avoids the table whenever I'm sat there painting my nails or if someone is eating something strong-smelling there - if it stinks around that vicinity she usually avoids it. The Nature's Miracle seems to be working so far but if she starts doing it again I'm going to start rubbing lemon peels all over the table, lol.
     
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  5. smosmosmo

    smosmosmo Thread Starter TCS Member Adult Cat

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    So I just ended up eating on the couch because Smo started lingering by the table the way she does when she's about to jump up on it. The table doesn't smell so strongly of Nature's Miracle anymore so that may have something to do with it.

    Are there any deterrents I can use that won't hurt her or scare her? I'm limited in what I can do because I can't tape up the dining table, and I don't want to scare her when she jumps up there. Negative enforcement doesn't work on her anyway - I have tried chasing her away when she scratches the couch but she still continues to do it, only now she gets very startled if she sees me rushing toward her when she's scratching. I think a scent deterrent would be the way to go but need something that would smell particularly bad to her. Googling is mostly turning up poorly-reviewed sprays or methods of frightening a cat into not jumping on a surface.

    Really frustrated with the whole situation right now, I feel like it could have been avoided entirely had I just cleaned the sweater somewhere else. It didn't occur to me that she'd start hopping on the table because of something simple as that, since I can count on two hands how many times I've seen her jump on there since May. She's never been interested in being on there before until today. One of the people I live with hates her, and I'm afraid he'll start insisting I get rid of her if he catches her on the table - he's already extremely resentful that she's allowed in the living room and has ruined the couch. He is absolutely going to lose his mind if he sees her on there, he already thinks she's "dirty."
     

  6. Rhall

    Rhall Momma cat to 3 fur babies! Adult Cat

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    So I'm sort of in the same boat. My cats jump on the table and counters and my husband says how do you expect them to know where they can go when they can go on coffee tables, tv stand etc but not those. I just consistently tell them know and remove them. I've never had too much trouble in the past with other cats. Fortunately it's just my family and everyone loves them so we all lovingly remove them. My one loves butter - so we have to make sure we don't leave the butter out or uncovered or we have lick marks on the butter!
     
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  7. di and bob

    di and bob TCS Member Top Cat

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    I feed mine right when we are sitting down to keep them satisfied and to avoid jumping on the table. I guess what i am trying to say is distraction works great. Get a new toy and give it to her right before supper, treats, anything to keep her busy. If all else fails lock her in a different room and she will learn quickly to associate being alone with jumping on the table.
     
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  8. Furballsmom

    Furballsmom Cat Fan especially Black Cats Staff Member Forum Helper

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    Hi!
    What if you tried putting a cloth in a small open container on the table, (unobtrusive, easily removed when the table is in use, and no residue on the surface of the table for her if she does jump up) ... that is soaked with nature's miracle, or lemon scented furniture polish?
     
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  9. smosmosmo

    smosmosmo Thread Starter TCS Member Adult Cat

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    @Furballsmom Thank you for your great advice as usual - this never even occurred to me. Or maybe even lemon scented air freshener? It shouldn't stress her out too much, right? She hangs out on the couch which is about 5 feet away from the table, but maybe getting her off the couch wouldn't be such a bad thing. What I did last night was soak a paper towel in vinegar and rub it over the table - it smelled pretty bad but seemed to do the trick. What I've noticed so far is that she has no interest in being up there for its own sake, but will get poised to jump when she sees me sitting at the table. Hopefully the scent deterrents work, and I was thinking I could also cover something like a plastic tablecloth with double-sided tape and lay that on the table when it's not in use.

    @Rhall You're so lucky to have family members who love cats. Personally it's not a big deal to me because Smo doesn't try to steal food or anything like that, and tables can always be wiped down later. Some people just like getting angry over the most inconsequential things, though.

    @di and bob Smo's a tricky one - she free feeds kibble and gets one serving of wet food per day which I have to cajole her into finishing. She also only likes this mouse & wand toy that I need to operate for her. The locking her in the room thing is a great idea though - do you think she'll get the message if I lock her in while I'm having a meal? She only seems to want to be up there when I'm eating something. She haaates being locked out of the bedroom/living room so it would definitely send a clear message. We locked her out for 2 minutes the other day to get food delivery and she ran around nipping at me to show me how mad she was, lol.
     
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  10. 1 bruce 1

    1 bruce 1 TCS Member Top Cat

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    I wonder if this isn't part of the problem, just plain stress on her part knowing that this man doesn't like her, and wanting higher (safer) places to be. I certainly hope this man who hates her would never be stupid enough to hurt her. (Also, if he can't stand a little mess in the living room and possible dirt on the table, tell him to please never have children.)
     
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  11. smosmosmo

    smosmosmo Thread Starter TCS Member Adult Cat

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    @1 bruce 1 He's a miserable person but I don't think he'd try to hurt her, he's very passive aggressive but not very confrontational. She does pick up on his energy though for sure - he was eating at the table after me and Smo didn't even approach him. She doesn't seem afraid of him but doesn't like being near him, I think she can sense he hates her. Also if it tells you anything, he has two kids he never speaks to and one has pretty much disowned him. Not surprising at all to me.

    Your speculation's a good one but I think it's less about feeling safe and more about doing something she knows I don't want her to do - even now she doesn't bother getting on the table unless I'm doing something on it, like eating or sorting mail. She's been allowed in the living/dining areas since May and never made a habit of being on the table until it started smelling like other cats. The behavior just started yesterday afternoon so I'm hoping that training her out of it ASAP will work. Right now I'm sitting on the couch to eat and that seems to be helping.
     
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  12. 1 bruce 1

    1 bruce 1 TCS Member Top Cat

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    When you lint rolled the sweater, did you wash it? I'm wondering if putting that shirt in her bed or where you want her to lay would make the scent strongest there and maybe she'd want to be there instead of on the table. Even if you did wash it, the scent might linger enough, and along with letting her know you don't want her to be on the table, maybe it would be a good start.
    We discourage the cats from being on the counters but don't kid ourselves because they do it. One of them will only jump up there if we leave the room. If he hears footsteps or the door, we hear the sound of a cat jumping down and he goes slinking across our paths into another room :flail:
    If Smo likes human food, it's possible she found a crumb or two on the table that she liked, and now she revisits it hoping for another hand out. I think this is where our counter cat started, although he didn't simply eat some crumbs. He ate half a stick of butter and was dragging a loaf of bread around when we found out what he had done :rolleyes3::lol:
     
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  13. Furballsmom

    Furballsmom Cat Fan especially Black Cats Staff Member Forum Helper

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    You're very welcome!
    I'm admittedly not a fan of air fresheners, but whichever method you decide to use, let us know how things go :)
     
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  14. DreamerRose

    DreamerRose TCS Member Top Cat

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    Ssscat is probably the best way to keep cats off where you don't want them. It's a can of air with a motion detector, and when you turn it on, you point it in the direction of what you don't want them on. When the cat jumps up, it lets out a puff of air that sounds like a cat hissing. A few times of that, and the cat will stop jumping.
    https://www.chewy.com/s?query=Ssscat&rh=c:325
     
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  15. sabian

    sabian TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    I kind of read through this quickly but I didn't see any mention of cat trees. That could eliminate both problems. Getting on the table and scratching the couch. Also maybe an air freshener that sprays every so often on the table may help. They may make something that's motion activated that's scented like what @DreamerRose mentioned. I think I've seen Jackson Galaxy use Ssscat or something similar on his show to run off strays from peoples house. Maybe google cat deterrent and see what comes up.
     
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  16. 5starcathotel

    5starcathotel TCS Member Adult Cat

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    @sabian, yes 1 million times, yes!

    In my experience, the *easiest* way to convince a cat to NOT be on a horizontal surface that you don't want them on, is to provide a more attractive place nearby. Whether that means just putting some old towels down (every cat recognizes a towel as a "lay here" location), or cat trees, or specially-made cat-shelves mounted to the walls, that provide access to the windows or the tops of the cabinets.
    Jackson Galaxy calls this a "cat super-highway".
     
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  17. di and bob

    di and bob TCS Member Top Cat

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    Cats are smart, she would associate being locked out of the room at that time of day very quickly to avoiding that area. Just don't do it for very long, they quickly lose association if it drags on too long. When my cats come beggging at dinner time, I keep special treats, like shaved deli turkey to give them to keep them away from the table. I think most cats are hungry at dinnertime, just like us!
     
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  18. smosmosmo

    smosmosmo Thread Starter TCS Member Adult Cat

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    @1 bruce 1 No, the sweater hadn't been washed. Unfortunately I no longer have it; it was only being lint rolled because I sold it online. Your suggestion is a good one though - I may not have the sweater but I can ask my boyfriend to rub a shirt all over his cats and bring that over, lol. His babies do the same thing, where they sneak onto the table and pretend they weren't on it when people approach. Like "oh us? we were just...hanging out on the floor." I'm hoping the shirt solution works because I don't think it's a food thing - Smo seems repulsed by human food smells apart from Spam (which, disgustingly enough, smells exactly like cat food). I'm lucky in that way I guess, my boyfriend's old cat used to try to steal everything were eating including Indian food.

    @Furballsmom I didn't think of air fresheners being chemical-y - I'll look for something more natural. Since I made this post I've been avoiding the table like the plague, and Smo seems more interested in following me to the couch than exploring that area. I think it must have been a power play like, "mommy, how DARE you bring other cats' smells into my house???"

    @DreamerRose SSScat looks like it'd be effective, but my only qualm is that it would scare her...she startles very easily these days. I'll have to look into it if scent deterrents don't work on her though.

    @sabian She has many comfortable places to hang out in both my bedroom and living room, but she will keep doing "bad" things when she realizes it gets a reaction out of me. I think it's her way of engaging me and getting me to play with her, which is why I've just been avoiding the table altogether. She's kind of a difficult cat, harder than usual to train - we have four scratchers covered in catnip in the living room right now, all around the couch, but she'll still stare me dead in the eye and scratch up the couch every day. She never does it when no one's watching. We've been hesitant to get her a cat condo after trying one out last Christmas - she was allergic to the plush material that most condos are covered in and started grooming herself bald on her stomach and legs. I do think the best solution for her restlessness would be a really good "cat TV" location - right now I'm saving up to build her a nice one.
     
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  19. Furballsmom

    Furballsmom Cat Fan especially Black Cats Staff Member Forum Helper

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    :vibes::thumbsup:
     
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  20. IronHippo

    IronHippo TCS Member Adult Cat

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    Have you tried positive reinforcement of the behavior you want to encourage? It takes a little bit more concentration (or at least it does for me, because it just doesn't come naturally to me :(), but basically what you do is if you see her looking up at the table and then she looks away or walks away rather than jumping, that's when you reward her. Maybe that in combination with the ssscat or aluminum foil or nature's miracle will get her to lose interest/stop a habit before it develops!
     
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