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Old May 12th, 2011, 01:49 PM
MyBirdIsEvil's Avatar
MyBirdIsEvil MyBirdIsEvil is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Missouri
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The thing is that while you're absent the cat is probably going to get up there anyway if there's nothing discouraging him from doing so.
Things like scaring them off the table through loud noises only tell them they shouldn't be up there when they hear a certain noise or when you're around.

So they need to have a reason not to be up there or discouragement that is not related to you being there. The sticky tape and things like that teach the cat that they will not like getting up there in general, not just when they hear a noise or when you're around. Not to say noise can't work, just that if you're the one causing it, it's WAY to intermittent to deter most cats consistently. It has to be something consistent that happens every single time. Something that automatically makes a loud noise and gets them off EVERY time they get up there (like something triggered by them stepping on a pad, or a motion sensor), might work, but on the other hand animals will often get used to noises when they realize it's not dangerous. That's why you might see a coyote or something knock a garbage can over and run away upon hearing it crash to the ground every time for awhile, but after a certain amount of times they knock it over and don't even flinch. Something like sticky tape is simply distasteful to them, not just scary, so they try to avoid it.

I have also trained cats with the "off" command much like dogs by giving them treats for obeying it. When I say off I sit them on the floor and give them a tasty treat. If I see them about to jump on something that's a no-no I get their attention and give them a treat. Similarly you can train them to get ON certain items like a cat tree in the same way. And you give them a treat every time you see them sitting on that item. Eventually they will go on the items they're supposed to in hopes for a treat and pretty much avoid stuff like counters.
Of course it will depend on how much time you have around your cat and how your cat feels about you, how treat oriented they are, etc., but for me it has worked well.

Also, cats like to be up high, it's just part of their nature. So they really need other high up places to sit like cat trees, also. The more the better, so that the table doesn't seem like a very special place to be.
You may also want to try putting something high up nearby. My cats like to watch me when I'm sitting down eating or doing stuff nearby, and they prefer to be at eye level. So if the kitchen table is the only thing there that's where they'll be.
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