In October 2014 we adopted a kitten who is now 5 months old. She keeps jumping onto the table and kitchen counters. There is no food or 'interesting' objects on the surfaces ~ we think she is simply curious. We have provided cat towers for her and plenty of play toys.

We have employed the following training methods: Water Spray-Bottle while saying 'NO', objects on the edge of the surfaces that have vinyl spikes in them for discomfort when she jumps onto them, tin cans lined up at the edge to make noise. NOTHING has worked, and she turns right around and repeats her behavior almost immediately. We are aware of noise-making devices that can be purchased, but we have employed methods that make a lot of clatter when she jumps up ~ it only scares her for the moment. (Most of the methods I have used I read about online ~ There are no Cat Behaviorists in our immediate area).

3 Answers 3


There's a very similar question: How can I train my cat to not jump on the kitchen counters?, but as you mention, you've tried common methods.

Cats are more likely to go on the counters when they are hungry or bored. Make sure those are taken care of- it's more difficult when you put the cat on a diet, but that usually isn't a problem in the kitten/young cat stage.

I've brought up several cats. One was.. problematic. I love him partly because he has a strong personality. With that cat, we tried:

  • double-sided tape on the counters. would jump past several rows of tape (or directly on it) and lick it. He still loves the taste of packing tape.
  • foil on the counters. Would jump past it or onto it and then saunter past. Covering the entire counter was problematic for us humans.
  • fishing line, in many rows, as a "fence". Would jump through 1" (20mm) gaps or jump over 5-6 rows (6" / 12cm).
  • coins in an aluminum soda can. We shook it until the aluminum was weakening and splitting from the coins. He'd jump down whenever we reached for the can but would jump up, especially if none of us were monitoring him.
  • "motion alarms" on the countertops. These were super-sensitive- they would scream when we were walking near the counter, but he was able to jump onto the counters lightly enough to avoid tripping them.
  • spray bottle. Similar to the above.
  • throwing things at him. I tried to keep small objects nearby, but it was based on me being in the room to observe him and on the accuracy of my throw. So it was a big fail.
  • yelling/clapping. I still use this ("HEY!" in a stern voice) and it brings instant shame to a somewhat-trained cat. But it didn't "set" the behavior in this young and headstrong cat.

Our last resort was to use an electric training collar, like the "invisible fence" dog collars. I think we used the Pawz Away barrier collar. It had little radios that look like a smoke detector- two, on a low setting, covered our counters without affecting the normal path of the cat. We used the collar on ourselves before on the cat- when you got near, it would beep and then zap.

It took perhaps a month for the cat to learn. We had to adjust the radio levels and the tightness of the collar, as a too-loose collar wouldn't contact him for the zap. But after a month he quit going on the counter several times during the day and night. We had to do a retraining session perhaps two months later. He is eight now and still behaves that rule (with a few exceptions per year.. we've learned not to leave cream cheese frosting out!).

I don't feel great about using a training collar on a cat, especially an indoor cat. I'm a little ashamed about it. However, it worked after trying many different options.

(in retrospect, naming him "A Boy Named Sue" might have been my first mistake)

  • 1
    I'd like to add one other method I'd heard works pretty well. It's a motion sensor that snaps onto the top of a compressed air can. It puffs them when they trip it. It won't make a mess, it has noise but isn't loud, it's physical but not violent, and it associates the discouraging behavior with the place and not you.
    – Dalton
    Feb 26, 2015 at 20:26
  • What is the motion sensor range?
    – RET
    Mar 2, 2015 at 15:54
  • the motion alarms were activated by vibration. There was a "low" and a "high" setting. Mar 2, 2015 at 16:18

Cats are natural climbers and looking for taller vantage points is a normal part of their lives.

If you don't want them climbing on certain surfaces, you need to provide alternate surfaces (such as cat trees and/or wall shelves) that offer similar sight lines.

Otherwise, you're going to continue punishing your cat for exhibiting her natural instincts, and that will inevitably harm your relationship.

  • She has multiple cat trees ~ different heights, multiple toys and has plenty of playtime attention.
    – RET
    Feb 27, 2015 at 1:39
  • @RET are the trees in the kitchen or dining room? That's where she wants to climb.
    – Zaralynda
    Feb 27, 2015 at 2:21
  • The cat towers are in the living room. However, she has a table (not used by humans to eat on) that is in the kitchen, allowing her to look out the window. We have had cats for 35 years and have never had this issue for so long. All other cats were easily trained within a month or two, with no repeat offenses. I just tried using the double-sided tape and she doesn't seem to mind it ~ still jumping onto counters. I think she has figured out how to avoid it (I lined it up along the outside edge of the entire kitchen counters).
    – RET
    Mar 2, 2015 at 15:51

Persistence and consistency will mostly work with most cats. Do expect them to test once or twice a year to see if the rule is still in place. And you may have to settle for "don't let me catch you".

It can also help if you can figure out what the attraction is. The table may be a sunny spot. Or the cat may feel neglected and be doing this to get your attention. Or they may be curious about what you are doing/eating. Or...

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