Veterinary & Aquatic Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith, Inc.
Cats jumping up on counters in the kitchen can be very dangerous for the cat if he happens to jump on a hot stove versus a counter. Several methods have been used to prevent or change this behavior.
We generally want to use what is called 'remote correction,' meaning the cat will not know where the correction came from. This will help prevent the cat from displaying the behavior simply to get attention, or waiting until we are not around to correct them.
If we see the cat starting to jump up on the counter, we can startle him so he stops what he is doing. This works fine if we are in the kitchen waiting for him, but how do we correct him when we are not around? This is where imagination comes in.
Placing cookie sheets filled with water on the counter will give the cat a very unpleasant experience the next time she tries jumping up there.
Certain noises can be used as deterrents - the sound of a popping balloon, as an example. Blow up a balloon. While your cat is watching, pop it. If this is done several times, the cat will soon start to detest balloons, at which time you can place balloons along the edges of your counter. There may be other items your particular cat does not like because of the sound they make, e.g., cans of air used to clean computer keyboards. Placing several of these on the counter within visual range of the cat, may also persuade your cat to stop jumping up.
Finally, why does your cat jump up on the counter? If it is food that is enticing him, keep food off of the counter and put it in cupboards unless you are in the kitchen. If 'fun things' are often on the counter - pens, paper bags, pieces of paper, etc., clear these off the counter as well. If the counter is near a window, close the curtains or pull down the shade so the cat can not use the counter as a vantage point for surveying his outside kingdom. Bottom line: if the counter is empty and boring, there will be no positive reinforcements (food, toys, view) for getting up on the counter. Simultaneously, increase the interest on ground level. Buy some new toys, but do not put them out all at once. Rotate which toys are out so they will seem more interesting and not the 'same old thing.' Set up some paper bags, cardboard boxes, etc, to allow a good game of hide and seek. Your imagination is the only limiting factor.
To help keep your cat off the computer keyboard, you can use the same startling method and Hard plastic keyboard covers are also available. The cover simply goes over your keyboard when it is not in use.
Remember, though, by keeping your cat off the keyboard, you will never know if she has some hidden literary talent!