Kitties are curious. It is very natural behavior when they jump up on your kitchen counters, perch atop your refrigerator, or scale the curtains.
When people yell at, hit, or squirt cats who get into places they are not supposed to be, they are only exacerbating the behavior. It is imperative to stop this negative reinforcement.
Instead, try these strategies:
- Be consistent about the rules in the house – do not allow the cat to be on the table or counter when you’re not eating and then expect him to get down at dinner time. Places need to either be allowed all the time or never. It is too confusing for him otherwise.
- Provide your cat with options. Invest in a quality cat tree or kitty jungle gym. Giving your cat approved places to get to a higher vantage point (often a cat's favorite view) should help decrease his interest in high altitudes that are off limits.
- One way to deter cats from jumping on surfaces where they don’t belong is to use double-sided tape or Sticky Paws. Most cats do not like the sticky surfaces of these products. Instead of putting tape all over your table or furniture, though, purchase cheap plastic placemats to put the tape on, then put the coated placemats on the surfaces you wish to protect. The other advantage to this approach is that you can easily remove the taped placemats when it’s time to use the table. Keep these placemats on the surface ALL the time except when you are using the surface. Eventually the cat will get the idea, but leave them on about a week after the cat has stopped attempting to jump on the surface. Remove placemats (when it’s time) one at a time, over the course of several days.
- As a last resort, you can try the mousetrap method: Place mousetraps, set, upside-down, under newspaper (this makes it safe but still scary for the cat). Also, place an object that changes what the cat can see from his perspective – but only when the traps are set. For example, if your cat jumps on the kitchen counter all the time, set the traps under the newspapers and place a plastic cup at the edge of the counter so he can see it from the floor. The idea is that he’ll see the cup, jump on the counter, the traps will scare him, and he’ll run off. Do this several times. Eventually, he will connect the sight of the cup with the unpleasantness of the mousetraps. Once this occurs, all you have to do is set the cup out to make him think he will encounter the traps. Use this method very carefully… you do not want your cat injured!