Cats love to jump up on to things. If you’re having trouble keeping your cats off certain places, you have to train them by positively reinforcing a “yes” area for every “no” area.
Emma Christensen at The Kitchn spoke with the cat whisperer Jackson Galaxy — host of Animal Planet’s My Cat From Hell — about a common problem many cat owners encounter. Cats always seem to want to be up on the kitchen counter. Galaxy explains why they want to be up there and what you can do:
…cats see our countertops as socially significant places. You’re there, you’re doing interesting things, and cats want to know what’s going on. Plus, of course, that’s where their food comes from!
…For every “no,” you also need a “yes.” If you say “no” to your cat being on the counter while you’re making dinner (or any time!), you need to make sure to also give them a safe “yes” place… designate a specific spot in your kitchen, like a nearby chair or a cat tree, where it’s ok for your cat to be. Give them treats when they are there so there’s positive reinforcement for the new behaviour.
For some negative reinforcement, you can try double-sided sticky tape on the counter spots they jump up to most, or — my personal favourite for handling my own cats — a spray bottle filled with a cat’s arch nemesis: water. Remember, it’s incredibly important that everyone in the household is on board with what areas are “yes” and what areas are “no”. Otherwise your cats will find a way to just do it when you’re not around. Over time, if you’re consistent, your furry friends will understand the rules.