Jumping On The Counters

EmmyGirl99

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Hi everyone,

I adopted a rescue cat about 7 months ago and have been attempting to train her to not jump on the counters in my apartment. She is a spayed female and is a little over 2 years old. For the first several months I had her, I lined both my kitchen and bathroom counter tops with foil that also had double sided sticky tape on it. This seemed to work well as she hated the feeling of the combination on her paws.

After maybe 4 months of having the foil on my counters, I slowly started to remove them (over the course of a couple of weeks). She seemed to keep off the counters for about three months, but then she randomly started back up again. I'm pretty sure she knows that she is not allowed on the counters because she only ever jumps up there when I'm sleeping or not home. I'm not 100% positive, but I think that she only jumps on my bathroom counters. I can always tell because I have a vase with dried flowers in it, and leaves always end up crumpled up on the floor.

She has several places throughout my apartment where she can climb and jump. I have two cat towers, one in the living room and one in my bedroom, and she is allowed to jump on my couches and my bed. So I don't think it's an issue of her not having enough places to climb. I wonder if the flowers alone are a reason why she jumps up there, but if I get rid of them, I'll stop knowing when she jumps up there. Although, ignorance may be a little bliss :)

I do play with her several times a day, in the morning, afternoon, and at night. Some days she is more active than others. Last night, she was very hyper, so I played with her more. Although now that she is over 2, she doesn't like to play hard for very long. Our play sessions usually only last 5-10 minutes before she loses interest.

Last night when this happened, I had a friend over, and we were in my room with the door closed (and the cat on the other side of the door). She was meowing a lot for attention, probably upset that we wouldn't let her into my room, but sometimes I just can't have her in there. When I came out of the room, that's when I saw the leaves on the floor. I put some foil down on the counters and went to bed only to awake to more leaves on the floor this morning. She is not allowed in my room while I'm sleeping at night.

So now I have fully lined counter tops with foil and double sided sticky tape. I suppose I could continue to keep this on my counters until the end of time, but it is pretty annoying having them on there all the time and doesn't seem like a great long-term solution.

Does anyone have any other suggestions for keeping your cats off the counters? I would greatly appreciate your suggestions!
 

margd

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:hellosmiley:and :welcomesign: to TCS! Your cat is certainly determined to be on those counter tops. Usually, everything you've done would have put an end to her counter-surfing by now - reading your post, I would think of something and the next sentence would show you'd already done it! You may be right about the dried flowers serving as a lure so it might be worth finding something less intriguing that she'll still knock to the floor when she jumps up. That way you'd know if she stopped jumping up once the flowers were gone. I'm wracking my brain trying to think of something that would work and I keep coming up with marbles. They would have the added advantage of making a noise when they hit the floor, which might make the counter top seem less hospitable. The disadvantage would be stepping on one, losing your balance and possibly injuring yourself when you landed. Maybe feathers? I'm really just thinking out loud here - I'm sure you can come up with something that does the job.

There are devices on the market that are supposed to help with determined counter-surfers - I've never used these so can't give you any feed back on them but one of these might be worth checking out.

Tattle Tale is a vibration alarm. It detects the vibration when cat paws land on the surface of the counter and lets out a 2 second alarm. Cost is about $23.00.

SSSCAT Spray deterrent has a motion detector that, when activated, causes the device to emit a harmless, odorless gas. Cost is about $32.00.

The Catscram Electronic Cat Repellent emits an ultrasonic squeal when its motion detector goes off. Cost is about $51.00.

Good luck! Please let us know how it goes. I agree with you; the aluminum-foil-sticky-tape look is not the most attractive decor for your bathroom!
 

susanm9006

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I would start by removing the dried flowers since she is obviously attracted to them. You want your counters to be as boring as possible, with nothing there for her to play with or eat. That means np food out, no dirty dishes in the sink etc. If you have a window, you want the blinds or shade closed so she can’t see out.

I think if you are meticulous with keeping the kitchen cleaned up and counters bare she will lose interest but you can try something motion activated like the singing Billy Bass Wall hanging to scare her off.
 

Crazycatlady1129

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You could try one of those motion activated things that blows out air. You can find one on chewy.com that's pretty affordable...
I'd get rid of the flowers. But feathers might not be a good idea either- they are just as attractive to our kitty friends! Maybe use coins? They will move when kitty jumps up, and make a noise when they hit the floor- but they won't be dangerous if you accidently step on one.
You could also try spraying the counters with no scratch spray every three days or so. Every time we respray the furniture, that's how long none of the cats will sit on the couches.
 
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EmmyGirl99

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Thank you everyone for your replies! I definitely do think that she may be jumping up there because of the dried flowers. I have not noticed her jumping on the kitchen counters (the flowers are on the bathroom counter), but it's possible that she jumps up there too without my knowledge. The kitchen counters are also higher than the bathroom counter, which may be a reason why I don't notice any signs of her up there. When I first brought her home, I watched her jump on the kitchen counters once, and it looked like she had to mentally prep herself for the height (if cats do that?). She is small, only about 8 pounds with short legs!

If I were to use something like marbles or coins on the counter to see if she still jumps up, would those be loose on the counter or would they be in two empty cans with a string connecting them? My only concern with this idea is if she tries to eat the marbles or coins. I would hope she wouldn't do that, but I also wouldn't put it past her!

I've considered using some type of motion-activated deterrent, but the only thing I wonder is how the device can distinguish between motion caused by me vs. motion caused by the cat. I suppose that I would maybe turn it off when I'm at the counter top and only turn it on when I walk away? My counter top is also very long (maybe 5 or 6 feet), so I wonder if the spray deterrent would actually reach her if she jumps up on the other end of the counter.

I agree that she is certainly one determined little kitty! I just find it so odd that she stopped jumping up there for a few months and then one day started up again. Maybe she got bored, remembered that the flowers were up there, and had forgotten about the negative experience of the tape/foil only to be surprised to find that the tape/foil had been removed. She must really love those flowers! :)
 

gareth

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I'm trying to imagine a world where I have any control of what my cats do or where they go. There's no way my determination would outweigh their determination. When I last tried keeping them out of the kitchen Loki simply pulled up the carpet outside until I gave up trying.
 

margd

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When I first brought her home, I watched her jump on the kitchen counters once, and it looked like she had to mentally prep herself for the height (if cats do that?).
Oh, yes, cats definitely do that. My Paul used to jump on the bathroom counter top to keep me company on occasion but that was before he gained weight. Now he looks up at the counter, moves like he's going to jump and then changes his mind. It's kind of interesting because it shows that he has an awareness of himself and his change in size. The difference is that your girl can actually make it up there!

If I were to use something like marbles or coins on the counter to see if she still jumps up, would those be loose on the counter or would they be in two empty cans with a string connecting them? My only concern with this idea is if she tries to eat the marbles or coins.
I'd been thinking the marbles would be loose, although I also wondered if she might eat them. I know you can get large ones (shooters?) that might be too big for her to eat. I guess I hoped that it would only take a couple of times before she gave up (ha ha ha! That shows how naive I am!) so you wouldn't have to use them for that long. The trick would be to find something that wouldn't attract her (like feathers might - good point, C Crazycatlady1129 !) and that she wouldn't try eating but that would be easily knocked off if she jumped up so you'd know she'd been there. In retrospect, is there anything (other than actual cat repellents) that isn't attractive to one cat or another?

You're right about the motion sensor devices being too sensitive and picking up everything or not sensitive enough for the size of your counter. I think the idea here is that you'd only have to use it for a short period of time and then the lesson would be learned. Well, maybe it would be learned. :lol:
 

margd

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I keep meaning to ask, what is this little sweetie pie named? :lovecat: Also, please consider introducing her and yourself in the New Cats on the Block forum. You'll get a warm welcome - this is a friendly community. And...include photos! We can never have too many photos! :camera::camera::camera::camera::camera:
 
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EmmyGirl99

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I'd been thinking the marbles would be loose, although I also wondered if she might eat them. I know you can get large ones (shooters?) that might be too big for her to eat. I guess I hoped that it would only take a couple of times before she gave up (ha ha ha! That shows how naive I am!) so you wouldn't have to use them for that long. The trick would be to find something that wouldn't attract her (like feathers might - good point, C Crazycatlady1129 !) and that she wouldn't try eating but that would be easily knocked off if she jumped up so you'd know she'd been there. In retrospect, is there anything (other than actual cat repellents) that isn't attractive to one cat or another?
That is definitely true. I could try to find something that is too big to fit in her mouth. I almost wonder though if doing something like this might actually help her discover her newfound love of items on my counters!
I keep meaning to ask, what is this little sweetie pie named? :lovecat: Also, please consider introducing her and yourself in the New Cats on the Block forum. You'll get a warm welcome - this is a friendly community. And...include photos! We can never have too many photos! :camera::camera::camera::camera::camera:
And her name is Emmylou :) Since I only joined TCS yesterday, I haven't gotten the opportunity to explore around a lot. I've been reading posts online from TCS pretty much since day 1 of adopting her but only decided to join as an official member yesterday. I will definitely check out the New Cats on the Block forum!
 

danteshuman

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Why not let her sleep with you? Cats love to co sleep with their family. I wake up every day to my boys next to me or on the reading chair right next to my bed. :catlove:Half of Dante's bad behavior disappeared when I let that hyper adorable little fluff ball sleep with me. Apparently he is real insecure and being locked out at night made him more insecure. :angelcat:

I would not add feathers because cats LOVE feathers. How about a plant and some nice citrus oil ? Also you can give her her own garden greens on the floor. I fought my cats off the kitchen table & kitchen counters with penny cans and squirt bottles. However I just gave up in the bathroom & gave them their own water bowl on counter. You have to pick your battles ;) A quick clorox wipe down in the morning and who cares if she counter surfed while you slept? ;)
 
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EmmyGirl99

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She is adorable! And she looks a lot like my Serenity.
She definitely does! Although Serenity looks smaller. Is she still a kitten?

Why not let her sleep with you? Cats love to co sleep with their family. I wake up every day to my boys next to me or on the reading chair right next to my bed. :catlove:Half of Dante's bad behavior disappeared when I let that hyper adorable little fluff ball sleep with me. Apparently he is real insecure and being locked out at night made him more insecure. :angelcat:

I would not add feathers because cats LOVE feathers. How about a plant and some nice citrus oil ? Also you can give her her own garden greens on the floor. I fought my cats off the kitchen table & kitchen counters with penny cans and squirt bottles. However I just gave up in the bathroom & gave them their own water bowl on counter. You have to pick your battles ;) A quick clorox wipe down in the morning and who cares if she counter surfed while you slept? ;)
I do not let her sleep with me at night because all she would try to do was head butt me every couple of hours to wake me up. I let her sleep with me the first few nights after bringing her home (since I didn't want to leave her alone), and this is what she did all night long. So annoying!

I have a stand-alone shower in my bathroom that is right up against the counter. It doesn't have a top on it, and I know that she's tried to jump up on it. I drape my bath mat over the glass door to the shower, and I've woken up several times with the mat on the floor. I'm 100% positive that it didn't fall off on its own! It's just a pretty hard fall if she tries to jump up there and misses. It's about 7 feet tall and she could easily get trapped in the shower if she manages to jump up there and then realizes that there's really nothing to stand on! I've also woken up to my toothbrush moved from where I left it...it now has a cover over it :)

I've considered getting her some pet grass but haven't tried it yet. I mostly haven't done it because I live in a tiny apartment and don't know where I'd put it. I'm also curious to try fresh catnip with her. She isn't a responder to the mainstream catnip I've tried :(
 

danteshuman

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Grass is always appreciated :) You can try bringing in some blades of grass you rinse off to see if she likes it? I would suggest putting things (stuffed animals? Large basket?) on the counter you don't want her jumping on to block her access. Head butted you? LOL My punk used to jump on my x-hubby's back from a 5 foot dresser, claw our feet & walk all over us meowing. We had to teach him to leave us alone. How? The first time he woke us up, he was kicked out for the night. They learn. Just like kids..... they can play all they want out of your bedroom (leave toys on the floor you rotate.) It might pay off :)
 

Crazycatlady1129

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Lol, Serenity is still a kitty, yes, but those photos are about 4 months old. My little sister is the only one able to take pics of my 3 wild little kitties that aren't entirely blurred!
 

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She's sweet! I'd let her do what she wants. I figure it like this -- I'm at work 9 hours a day. They are probably on the counters anyway when I'm not home, so no one is fooling anyone else.
 
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