My cat jumps onto our kitchen counters frequently, sometimes causing major accidents. What is the best way to break that habit? Would I need one of those electric shocker things?
One option for "punishing" cats that works with some of them is to get a water spray bottle. You then spray them with it when they jump up on something you don't want them on.
Please be sure to use a bottle that is just for water and never had any chemicals in it (could be harmful to them since it could get into their eyes and cats lick themselves a lot)
Two methods that I have found my cats respond to quite well:
Some sort of loud noise:
- Clapping your hands
- Snapping your fingers (if you can do it loud enough)
Placing some tin foil on the counter. I would make strips of foil and bend them in the middle so that they stand up (something like this) and place them on the edges of the counter. I placed them like that so that it was possible to see the reflective foil even from the cat's eye level.
I noticed that my cats didn't really like the sound or the touch of the foil so they learned pretty fast that up there lies the noisy shiny stuff monster. After ~1 week I didn't have to set out the foil any more.
The first option is a pretty much generic method that I use for any sort of bad behavior and is really only an option when I'm around. If you do catch the feline in-the-act of jumping up, your reaction should be immediate and consistent. If you have more people living with this cat, make sure you are all enforcing the same boundaries.
The tin foil however is great for when you're not at home. If you come back, and the foil is in exactly the same place, you'll know that the cat hasn't been up there.
Oh and please, no "electric shocker thing"
Also, since you're not going to be in the kitchen all the time, you could consider getting one of the movement-activated hissing cans (sorry, I'm not at home and can't look up the brand information). That way, you can avoid the cat thinking that the only time it needs to avoid the counters is when you're there.
The cans are about the size of a soda can, with a motion sensor that will trigger and spray a jet of air that makes a hissing noise when it detects anything (It works. Startles the heck out of you if you set it off accidentally).
One caveat - try not to laugh at the cat when it gets startled by the hissing can. They don't like that.
Kyle is right, Negative reinforcement is probably the best solution to a problem like this, since you cant really reward them for not going on the counter and expect them to understand. If your finding it hard to always keep a spray bottle near the counter cats usually respond to yelling as well
also make sure your cats are'nt doing it because they know it gets your attention, check their food and water after each time, and make sure to pet them regurlarly
Never use a spray bottle...all that does is make your cat afraid of you!
According to behaviorist Pam Johnson Bennett,
The squirt bottle technique only accomplishes three things:
- It creates frustration in the cat
- It causes the cat to become afraid of you
- The cat learns to wait until you aren’t around before engaging in the behavior
Additionally, behaviorist Jackson Galaxy (of the television show My Cat From Hell) states:
What is the cat actually learning in this scenario? Is he learning that the counter is a bad place to be be? No. What Tigger is learning is that, first, the counter is a bad place to be when you are present and holding the squirt bottle, and second, he is learning to be afraid of you. The bottle appears to him as an extension of your arm, and it is you, not the bottle, that is getting him wet.
Other training techniques can be found in the question: How should I discipline my cat for bad behavior?
If saying no in a stern voice and picking them up and putting them down doesn’t work, then try putting tin foil on your counter tops. The noise will scare them and eventually they won’t even want to attempt it anymore. Whatever you do, don’t spray them. It’s cruel and cats don’t understand why you're doing it.