"Get Down!" – Your Cats and Your Counter-Tops

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Cats are climbing machines. This is primarily instinctual: in the wild, cats are able to hunt prey and evade predators with their abilities to climb, jump, and scurry. They have strong backs, long legs, and sharp claws that are ideal for this kind of activity. While your house is clearly not a forest, and your cat may have absolutely nothing chasing her (other than Fido, maybe), she’s still going to pretend whenever she can. Tables, counter-tops, cabinets, and other furniture are all prime territory for your cat to get out some of her pent-up climbing and jumping energy, until you train her otherwise.

Climbing Dynamos

In the house, your cat’s main reasons for jumping and climbing likely have nothing to do with capturing prey or hiding from something that’s chasing her. Cats simply like to be up high; it allows them to look down at the world and see what’s going on.

The top of a refrigerator or dresser can often be a warm, sunny, comfortable place for a nap, something your cat will never turn down. Indoor cats need some exposure to sunshine, so try to find a warm and sunny place that’s a bit safer for your cat to take her afternoon snooze.

Another reason cats love to climb is to search for food, even if it’s just tiny delectable crumbs left behind in the kitchen. Once she figures out she’s likely to find these hidden rewards as a countertop scavenger, it’s going to be more difficult to keep her away. Make sure your cat gets plenty to eat and that human food is not left out in the kitchen where your cat can access it.

Healthy Climbing Alternatives

Since climbing and jumping is perfectly natural, it’s best not to punish your cat for doing it. Instead, provide plenty of safe, healthy, and acceptable alternatives for climbing, sleeping, and watching the world. A cat that is always climbing up to find a warm and sunny spot may simply be cold, in which case, a cat bed with plenty of extra warm blankets placed near a window that gets a lot of sunshine during the day may do the trick.

If your cat likes to sit and watch the world go by, there are many commercially available perches for your cat that could provide her with the optimal space for people watching. A trip to your local pet supply store will unearth a number of potential solutions, such as sills that attach to your window. Some are even heated to help keep your cat comfortable in the cold winter months.

A cat that likes to watch everything from a slightly higher position might like a cat condo. Make sure the top of the tower is level with a window that allows your cat to watch the world. This gives her the natural sensation that she’s in the trees looking down on everything.

If your cat doesn’t stay off the kitchen counters, make sure to get in the habit of not leaving any potentially desirable food out in the kitchen, not even little crumbs that might appeal to your cat. For cats that don’t have weight issues, leaving out a bowl of kibble to munch on. This might deter them from looking for food in the kitchen.

Training No-No’s

When teaching your cat to stay off of things, never use any sort of violent gesture, such as striking your cat or hitting her with an object. It’s also important to avoid telling your cat to leave the area by waving your hands around; most cats become extremely aggressive and agitated when it comes to hands. Combine these gestures with an annoyed or aggressive tone of voice, and your cat will be on guard and ready to attack.

If positive alternatives and gentle removal of the cat from off-limits areas are not successful, there are alternatives designed to scare a cat from approaching the area. Anything that’s motion-responsive and likely to make a sound or emit a blast of air when your cat approaches will usually be enough to keep her away.

write by Magnus

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