- Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 


cats on counters

November 6th, 2006, 11:39 AM
I have been having a problem with my 3 cats getting up on the counters. It wouldn't be a huge deal except they get into everything and are breaking things. I have tried eveything I can think of I have put upside down duct tape on the counters magizine on the counters. I have spayed them with water so now they get up there when I am not around. Nothing seems to work. I don't leave food out so they break things. I don't want to get rid of them because I love them very much and have had them for over 4 years, but what they are doing is ruining my relationship. My boyfriend wants me to choose between them or him and I won't give the cats up. please help

November 6th, 2006, 12:04 PM
Hmm... good luck, my cats are all over the counters, but luckily don't break things ever. I try and keep the breakables off the counter. Maybe try empty cans on the counter, so when they jump up, they fall over, scaring the cat? If they are getting into cupboards, those can be fixed easily. Just go get those things people use to child-proof their cupboards. Please don't get rid of them because of a boyfriend, though. Seems like he could be more tolerant, although that's just my opinion. If my boyfriend ever said that, well, it would be an easy choice (he would be the one out the door!).

November 6th, 2006, 12:13 PM
I don't want to get rid of them because I love them very much and have had them for over 4 years, but what they are doing is ruining my relationship. My boyfriend wants me to choose between them or him and I won't give the cats up. please help

if cats on counters is ruining your relationship, then I'd venture to say it's not worth saving. any guy who ever asked me to chose between my cats or him, would soon find his bags packed and waiting for him on the curb.

Sorry, but this guy doesn't sound like a very caring person to ask you to choose, and to let something as trivial as being on a counter ruin a relationship. IMO, dump him, keep the cats, and move the breakables.

November 6th, 2006, 12:20 PM
i agree with Jessi get rid of the guy and keep the cats, how long have you been with this guy? he doesnt understand your love for your cats? he also seems like a very controlling/demanding guy, a few things break and its the cats or him? but anyways to save all your stuff from breakingjust remove the breakables from the counters, and child guard the cupboards. maybe your kitties want something to climb, get them one of those cat trees with treats and cat nip on it.....
jessi you are much nicer than i would be too, i wouldnt even pack his things it would be a fun experiment of what breaks when thrown off the 4th floor balcony

November 6th, 2006, 01:34 PM
This looks like it might solve your problem.

November 6th, 2006, 03:05 PM
The thing with cats is even if they are trained not to go on counters they will still instinctually want to get up there sometimes (they like to be in high places), so there should be nothing valuable or messy on the counters that could be knocked down. Put these things AWAY, it is not the cats fault if you leave things out to be broken or knocked on the floor. Just like with a toddler - if you leave them unsupervised with interesting things that can be broken, eatin, dumped out, etc. whose fault is it?
You would also benefit from either making something they can climb on, or buying one. A very tall scratching post with plenty of holes for them to go in, and plenty of things for them to climb on would probably deter them from getting on your counters quite a bit. If you put treats in it and catnip on it every day they'll learn to play on that instead.
HOWEVER, if the reason they're getting on counters is because you're leaving something edible out or something that smells good, nothing is going to deter them. You need to put all foods they may see as treats away, seal your garbage can, etc.
There should be no need for a squirt bottle, and at this point since they've already seen you use it it's useless. Squirt bottles only work if the cat doesn't know where it is coming from. All I ever have to do with my cats if I don't want them somewhere anymore is pick them up and put them on the floor while saying "down". After a few times they learn to stay off. This also teaches them the "down" command which will help if you see them on things they shouldn't be on. Just because cats aren't dogs doesn't mean they can't learn words and behaviors, not EVERYTHING should be negative reinforcement like squirting them.
Like I said though, they DO need proper outlets to keep them from finding the counters interesting. Scratching posts, things to climb on, and toys. You should also be playing with them yourself, it's a good way to bond and let them know that you're not just there to scold them. When you say down and they get down they can be rewarded with treats and play, which is one of the best methods to actually teach cats. Cats are smart, so when you only use negative reinforcement there's no incentive for them to behave when you're not there.

November 6th, 2006, 03:35 PM
My ex's cat had no desire to play on the table or the counter tops.. but she had a three 'floor' cat tree that he occasionally put catnip mice on, or would leave some treats there for her, and she could also leap from the top of the tree onto the top of the china hutch for need to watch the world from the highest position possible.

I think if your kitties had an outlet like everyone else has mentioned you should be all good. Though the boyfriend think skeazes me out a bit.. Doesn't sound like anyone I'd want in my life. My dog has been here through thick and thin, but boys keep coming and going. Taught me that she comes first.

November 6th, 2006, 04:40 PM
If your B/F does not like your cats now,he never will,not a good relationship..either for you or your cats.
I'd pack his bags in no time at all!!

November 6th, 2006, 04:50 PM
but what they are doing is ruining my relationship.

I didn't even read that part the first time around.
That's really worrysome. Animals don't do things to ruin relationships PEOPLE ruin relationships. Relationships are between 2 people not 2 people and however many animals - the animals are innocents. If your b/f can't handle the cats, or he's trying to use them as leverage on your relationship you have a lot more problems than the cats.
What would your b/f do if a small child got into something and broke it? Just think about it, the answer could be scary.

November 6th, 2006, 05:16 PM
My boyfriend and I have been living together for about a year and a half and he has been VERY tolerant of my cats so far. He says he doesn't like cats but I have snuck in the house to see him snuggled up with Friday, the manx and he will pet them(sparingly) if they come up to see him. I know he is just frustrated with them last night we came home to a kitchen floor covered in glass from a bowl they knocked out of the dish strainer and a framed ink scratch drawing of him and his grandfather laying broken and ruined on the floor. They had to open the glass cabinet door on the entertainment center to get near it. I have no idea if the opened the door on purpose or if it happened when they were trying to get at the lizards on top of the entertainment center.
My BF gets upset when his stuff gets broken and I don't blame him. That picture of his grandfather, who is recently deceased, was very important to him since they were extremely close. I take full responsibility for what happened because they are my cats and I feel bad because he is so frustrated and fed up. He is not a cat person and hasn't had to deal with this before so I can understand and sympathize with him. I would like to find a way we could all live together and I don't want the cats breaking all of my things either.
I don't mind the fact that they get on the counters I know better than to leave food out where they can get it, but putting breakable stuff away is going to be a lot harder since we don't have much storage area in the apartment. I will have to try the ozone spray by the entertainment center maybe that will keep Bucky the "evil genius" away from the lizards. and I will try the cat jungle gym... I have a long back hallway that we use for storage and cat boxes... hopefully that will work.

Don't worry I already told the BF not to make me choose between him or the cats, cause he won't like my decision.

November 6th, 2006, 06:02 PM
I understand about the picture being broken. My b/f's dad passed away a little over a year ago and he had some pictures in a frame behind a piece of glass. One of our cats knocked it down and broke the glass part and frame. He was really angry about it, but in the end it was our fault because we should have hung it somewhere where it couldn't be damaged by the cats.

There's absolutely no way to keep cats from breaking stuff that is in places they can get to, and it is not the cats fault. If you have lots of glass items you either have to put them away or put them in a cabinet behind glass to display them where the cats can't get to them. That's part of having cats, if you have them you must cat proof your home or else things will get broken. Just like with an infant, they don't know any better and they have no idea what the value of the items are, so if things get broken it isn't their fault.

November 6th, 2006, 06:31 PM
I have no idea if the opened the door on purpose or if it happened when they were trying to get at the lizards on top of the entertainment center.

although cats can be very smart, they do not open doors on purpose to break things. if you have lizards on top of the entertainment center, I suggest you move them to a new location, OR move breakables away from them. the cats are most definately more interested in the lizards than breaking your belongings.

I don't mind the fact that they get on the counters I know better than to leave food out where they can get it, but putting breakable stuff away is going to be a lot harder since we don't have much storage area in the apartment.

There are MANY storage systems and solutions available for small spaces these days. most are simple to put together and install, and you can get storage that is temporary, which is perfect when you are renting an apartment and can't make permanent changes.

November 7th, 2006, 06:01 AM
I've had cats for a zillion years and I can honestly say,they have not broken anything,ever.
They gracefully tip-toe between things,but I am almost positive,if I had a lizard in a cage,they'd do anything to get a closer look at him:D
Solution:Put the lizard in another room and close the door.

November 7th, 2006, 08:09 AM
Try lining the kitchen counters with tin foil for a few weeks. Cats hate the feel of tin foil under their paws and will soon learn that it's not worth it to jump on the counter.

November 7th, 2006, 09:31 AM
My cats are horribly trained but my cats are almost NEVER up on the counters without a reason.

Right now they get up on the counters because I'm having minor issues finding food for them (and myself). Don't worry I'm not starving them but I think they're sick of tuna in cans. Or they want the water dish filled again (but don't tell me pssh). Or we're idiots and leave food out (for them of course! :p).

Pawz only gets up on the counters to lie in the sink. He likes the sink. I don't want him in the sink. But he likes the sink.

Leo does it cuz he's a pain :p lol but he's my pain and knows the treats are up in the top cupboards. :D He probably really just wants to be up high though.

Dart can't get up on the counters because he's too small. I think he was the runt of the litter so he'll probably never get up there.

I haven't tried tinfoil. I tried squirting and I tried yelling and both are now ignored. I tried treats too (until they all got eaten anyway).


November 7th, 2006, 09:59 AM
I know the cats would not get into the cabinet in the entertainment center just to break something, however I know they would get in there just to "check it out" The absolutely love getting into places they know we don't want them to be. If we lock them out of an area they go nuts trying to get into it and usually Bucky has no trouble getting into what ever she wants seeing how she can turn door knobs, flip latches, open the oven, and pull things out of the cupboards even with the child proof latches. Between her and my other cat that can jump eight feet in the air they can reach just about everything. I have scrapped the child resistant contraptions on the cupboards and cabinets to the heavy duty twit style latch and have had to put a carabineer in them to lock them because one of the cats could open it otherwise. Itís almost as though they see it as a challenge. We have pretty much had to bear/raccoon proof the house but apparently we have to put locks on every door in the house.

November 7th, 2006, 03:47 PM
I've had cats for a zillion years and I can honestly say,they have not broken anything,ever

I've had cats that would knock things down on purpose, lol.
I used to have a cat that would walk along the kitchen counter smacking things off with his paw one by one just to watch them fall.Of course there was nothing breakable up there though because me and my parents always had kittens.
I actually ended up teaching him to knock things down on command. I'd make it into a game and tell him what to knock down and eventually he stopped getting on the counters and doing it to unwanted items.

Itís almost as though they see it as a challenge.

Are all your cats from the same litter? It's unusual to have 3 cats that all have an affinity to opening cabinets and getting into things. If they're not from the same litter, it's likely that only one of your cats is doing it, or maybe your other cats caught on to it from watching the one.
Either way, they sound bored. Cats get into cabinets to find interesting things out of boredom. It would help to find toys that they'll stay interested in and get them something to climb around in. You could actually build a little tower out of cardboard boxes and cut holes in it for them to go in. You could hide toys and treats in there and make it fun.
If they don't have any outlets they will remain bored and continue getting into cabinets and other stuff.

November 7th, 2006, 04:16 PM
Well,MBIE,my cats are not angels,they do know how to open cabinets etc..including bathroom-doors just to watch the toalettpaper unroll.
Here is Chico on top of my computerdesk and every so often,he'll knock down a stuffie on my head:D

November 7th, 2006, 06:02 PM
I really like the black stuffie with yellow eyes.:)

My kitty was a cupboard opener, sometimes it was like that scene from the Sixth Sense if anyone recalls, i'd come home and every cupboard in the kitchen would be wide open, it was kind of spooky. Sometimes he slammed them shut somehow.:shrug: It was never a problem though because I didn't have any possessions or food in them (poverty). Other activities might distract from the cupboards for a while but in my experience they eventually come back to them. Your kitty's sound very intelligent, I would be so proud and bragging to everyone if I had a cat or cat's that could open doors and ovens!!! Maybe moving the lizard will help?

November 7th, 2006, 06:17 PM
i have two cats and once had an aquarium ( lost that in a break up). but when it was up high the cats went bonkers to see in the aquarium ( i had a fish but was not a good fish person, and then we also had a lizard after, boyfriend too him with the aquarium) they would open the cabinet doors to get a foot hold up to the top. I moved the tank down and the breakage stopped andd the cats had a reality t.v. All they did was watch and soon tired of that too. Now they never climb on things

November 7th, 2006, 07:17 PM
All my cats can open the kitchen cabinets, but only one of them is obsessed with it.
He'll stand there in the middle of the night opening and slamming cabinet doors and meowing, lol.
Scared the heck out of us the first time, we thought someone had broken in.

November 7th, 2006, 07:42 PM
Scared the heck out of us the first time, we thought someone had broken in. I know that's what I thought too!! Then I got used to it, and now I miss it.:sad:

I've only known one cat that could actually open closed doors, he'd jump up hold on and try to turn the knob. He was quite young, his owner's sent him to the spca.:mad:

November 8th, 2006, 12:02 AM
There used to be a product advertised in Cat Fancy magazine called "Scat Mat." I've never tried them personally, but they are little mats that are staticky, so when the cat tries to walk on it, it gets a little static shock--this does not hurt the cat, just makes it an unpleasant place to perch. It was advertised specifically to owners trying to keep their cats off of counters. If you go to and do a search you can find lots of sites for them, but here's one:

hope this helps!

November 8th, 2006, 09:57 AM
I know that most of the destruction probably comes from Bucky. Believe me I am proud of Bucky, my evil genius and her two minions. Unfortunatly the other two are quite bright as well and they like to teach eachother new tricks. Friday the manx showed the other two that if you want to see what is inside of an object and can't get it open all you have to do is push it off something that is high enough so that it breaks and if that doesnt work you need to smash it against the wall repeatedly until it opens. now I have to lock them in a dog kennel while I am cooking or they would be on the hot stove pushing a hot pot/pan off of it when I left the kitchen for more than a minute. By the way did you know that cats will eat a whole jar of saurkrout? I have indeed tried the Scat Mat and it worked wonderful for my two other cats and it might work for Bucky when I am not in the room. When I am in the room, However, she will sit on it an glare at me. You can see her ear twitch as the mat snaps away under her.

November 8th, 2006, 11:09 AM
Are you sure they are evil? I think sometimes we give them more credit than they deserve, I mean cat's are "smart" but not the most intelligent creatures, bless their little heart's of course. The only time I witnessed a great deal of mischief was when my horrible mother had 7 cat's (long story) and didn't feed them properly. They were always hungry and trying to get into things and breaking things. Do they have snacks available to them? How often do they eat? maybe they are restless in part because of some deficiency. I don't think it's very normal for cat's to eat something like sauerkraut unless they are quite hungry.:confused: What are you feeding them now?

Were the cat's allowed to do more things like sleep on your bed before your boyfriend came into the picture?

November 8th, 2006, 11:28 AM
I think Maya made some good points, except I do think cats (at least some of them) possess a fair amount of intelligence, although some seem to be somewhat lacking in that area (not mine, of course!) :) Found this interesting link regarding intelligence of cats:

Yes, I agree about the sauerkraut, amazing they would eat that! maybe they liked the saltiness? Were they ok after that? Also, my Annie cat is quite destructive (and also seems hungry all the time). Could just be me, but she seems to do destructive things just to get my attention. But if yours are doing this when home alone, that would not be it.

November 8th, 2006, 01:14 PM
I feed the cats three times a day. They each get just shy of a 1/4 cup of dry food (Felidae) in the AM and PM and 1/2 a can of moist food for lunch. As for the Kraut.... they are just freaks that way. Friday likes green olives so I am sure she was the driving force behind it and of course the other two couldn't possibly allow Friday to eat all by herself. Since the BF moved in they have been kicked out of the bedroom (he's allergic to them) but in trade I try to spend more time lying on the couch so they get to all pile on me and the dog and take a long nap, while I relax and read. They time and attention they get works out to be about the same, but they absolutely HATE being kept out to the bedroom. Although I am sure they would feel the same way if I blocked off the Bathroom.... How dare someone keep them out of some place! They can be such indignant little creatures at times

November 8th, 2006, 01:48 PM
Sounds like your evil Bucky is teaching your other cats to misbehave :evil:

You may just have to put locks on all your cabinets and figure out a way to put any breakables away, some cats are just extremely persistant, and they're feeding off each others behavior.
They may be smart, but they can't learn how to work a key. (If they can, you have other problems)

November 8th, 2006, 03:33 PM
Hmm well I guess you have some naughty kitty's on your hands. Maybe if you bought some hard core catnip (health food store quality) and or treats put them in non breakable container's some that can be opened some that can't and place them as if they were nicknacks. They may find those more interesting than the items that are simply breakable? :P You could decorate for your cat's, keeping them in mind from now on whenever you purchase anything for your apartment. You could look at it as having baby's that never learn and come to terms with the fact you may need to baby proof everything up to the ceiling for the next 15-20 years. :) :shrug:

Kristin7, ill take a look at the cat smarts stuff. I've heard a lot of conflicting information on cat's dolphins and most animals but like people I imagine it does depend quite a bit on the individual cat.

November 9th, 2006, 12:37 AM
Premier makes a motion activated canister that first sounds an alarm then shoots out a harmless spray at them. It looks very neat, I may try it myself.