Off the Counter Techniques for Your Sneaky Cat
EEEEK! There he goes again, up on the counter, the fridge, the table, the top of the cupboards and no matter what you've tried so far, nothing works. Don't you just love cats? I mean seriously, they can go wherever they want to, jump as high as they need and can give you that "HA on YOU" look when they're up where they're not supposed to be. You've seen that look, the one that says clearly you've lost your marbles because you're having a fit about them being up on things. The cat on the other hand doesn't see it as being a problem.
What can you do? There are a variety of things you can try, but to be honest, many of them work for the short term only and you have to keep reinforcing them. This isn't to say you shouldn't do them, it's a flag saying, you will have to do this more than just once. Cats are not only smart, they're very persistent and if they hopped up on the counter just once and found a treat, they will keep doing it because it paid off for them the first time. Now if you also have a Jack Russell Terrier who likes to climb on the counters - yes ON the counters via the large dog kennel for the Weimaraner, to do the same thing the cats do, then you have a doggedly different problem. However, the solutions may be the same.
The first thing to keep in mind is that cats don't understand punishment of any sort from you the same way a dog does. It just makes them shy of you and smart enough to do the offending behavior when you're not around. How clever is that anyhow? So you want to actually condition the cat by using the environment around them. That will mean doing things that the cat doesn't associate with you.
Keep the counters clean. If you have empty bowls of yesterday's supper (chicken and rice with sauce) left on the top, guess who will be sticking their nose into it and licking the bowl. Well it won't be your children. So the lesson here is remove all temptations from out of reach of sneaky feet. If it means stashing the goodies in plastic containers, the fridge and in cupboards they can't open or in heavy metal containers, do it. That refers to their goodies. Your goodies you can keep the usual way, but out of the reach of curious paws.
Now speaking of training through the environment. You want something you can use that the cat will not associate with you right? Well, find yourself a squirt gun. Not the big ones that shoot out streams like Victoria Falls, but a light stream. Shoot from a distance and refrain from saying anything like "Ha, got cha!" Most cats don't associate a stream of water with the owner having this weird object in their hands. Will this keep them off the table when you are not home? Maybe yes, maybe no, but you won't know since you aren't there. So this calls for different measures.
Try booby-trapping your counter, and there are several ways to do this as well. One involves loud pop cans with pennies in them. Line them up on the edge of the counter. When your cat jumps up, the cans clatter down around them. Cats hate loud noises and this will keep their feet on the ground for a few days. For this method of be effective you need to do this consistently. Of course there is always the odd puss or two who could care less that they just knocked 6 or 7 noisy objects off the counter. In fact, some just snicker at the prospect of the owner coming home to - 6 cans on the floor and all the pennies scattered under the fridge. (Kidding - you actually tape the holes shut!) At best this crashing clatter will startle them, but will it deter them in the long run? Only time and consistency will tell.
There is a unique contraption on the market called the Jumpo, it's a small wing like contraption that when triggered, jumps up making a clattering noise as it flies into the air.
Try double sided sticky tape on your counters and table. But first make sure it won't stick too badly to your table surface or leave too much glue on the counters. Cats really despise walking on things that grab and stick. Running across this tape would really make them unhappy. Would it keep them off the counter permanently? Depends on how long you want to keep tape on your counters and table.
Tin foil has been known to work because felines they don't like the sound of the crinkling when they land on it. Mind you, we've seen smarty-pants cats go UNDER the foil and explore like it was a tunnel.
There is also a spray you put on your furniture. It's called "No Stay", made by a company called Pet Organics. It's got garlic oil and clove oil in it, but has no smell to humans. As soon as your cat gets on the furniture they would jump right down again. This isn't a smell they like. Usually after about a week they quit jumping up at all.
The best method we could find that will work while you are at home and when you are gone is the SSSCAT. This is a great little device that sprays a harmless, odorless gas from a small container when the cat is within 1 meter of it. The cat's motion triggers the battery operated spray container. It's economical and non-staining, and you can get about 150 sprays out of one can. It usually doesn't take that long for the cat to "get it" though.
And don't forget to try out the ScatMat. It lets go with a harmless static pulse when your cat touches it. All your cat does is walks across it and small pulses of electricity move emitting a little "zap". Your cat will learn to stay away from those areas.
I hope you have enjoyed this article, for many more articles and lots of free information, including a free book, please visit my blog at http://www.world-of-maine-coon-cats.blogspot.com