How to keep cats off counters – Part 3

This was a major concern for me when we got our first cat shortly after we were married. I had never had a cat. But, we had a small apartment and they had the run of the place. The counter was small and they never showed any interest in it.

When we moved to our first house, the situation was very similar except they had more room to roam. We never figured out the purpose of it but there was a shelf outside one of the kitchen windows. The cats loved to sit there shaded by a Wisteria vine.

It wasn’t until we got our first dog that cats on the counter became a problem. We had to feed them on the counter or our Bassett hound would eat their food. So, we set aside one corner of the counter as the cat feeding place. Apparently, no one told the cats about the limitations.

They frequently walked around on the counter. It was much larger than in previous kitchens and had a sink and a stove to add interest. One cat loved to stretch out on the stove. It was a smooth-top stove and the burners often took awhile to cool off. He yelped more than once! But, he never learned to stay away from that part of the counter.

None of our cats spent time in the sink. They just passed through on their way to or from their food dish. As you have probably deduced by now, our cats weren’t really discouraged from being on the counter. We thought that because of the dogs, we had to give the cats a kitchen forum so to speak.

Our last cat, Harley, was a shelter cat. His foster family indicated that he liked the top of the refrigerator. I got a cat bed for him and we attached toys to the knobs on the cupboard above the fridge. Harley really did like it there. If he got down, he jumped on to the nearest corner of the counter and then to the floor.

His food was in the corner of the counter but he ate quickly and went back to his aerie. He often had a look of pure disgust as he watched the dogs. He obviously thought he was superior to them. Why, he’d never do a “trick” to get a treat. He’d starve first.

One of his best moves was hanging his head down in your face when you opened the refrigerator door. Their he’d be upside down looking very pleased with himself.

But, when the dogs went to bed at night with me and the door was closed, Harley came out to play. He loved to go up to my son’s room and roll around on his bed. I would find evidence of his night time excursions in odd places – a framed photo on the floor, cat hair in the family room, water splashed around the fish bowl.

Once or twice the dogs and I surprised Harley. Bugsy, my Westie, true to his terrier instincts, saw Harley as vermin that he was to go to ground after. It’s not easy to go to ground inside. Several times Bugsy did corner Harley. Neither one did anything. In fact, I think they didn’t really know what they were supposed to do. They would be practically nose-to-nose just looking at each other.

I have heard that spraying a cat with water can be an effective means of training them to stay off the counter. I did try this with my Golden retriever. No, she wasn’t on the counter, she was cruising for tidbits. Unfortunately, she thought that was a fun game.

Putting empty soda cans on the counter so that they make noise is supposed to scare them and keep them off. Emma thought that was another fun game. I’m not very good at training animals am I? I wasn’t very good at “training” my kids either but they did just fine. So it is with my animals. I think knowing how much they are loved gives them expectations to live up to.

It’s worked for me.

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