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How to Keep Cats off Tables and Cupboards

Updated on May 4, 2011

How often have you gone to someone’s place and seen their cat on the table or on the cupboard walking around as though he/she owns the place? I cannot think of anything worse, than the thought of the cat’s fur on the plates or worse still in the food.

No one should put up with that type of behavior.  I once saw someone actually feeding their cats (3) up on the kitchen bench.  What kind of example is that setting for the animals?

There is no need for this kind of behavior with any ones cat. The best way to avoid this is to train your cat properly. Start out the way you wish to continue with a cat when you first bring him home.  Be consistent with his training.  If you relax for a moment the cat will not know where he/she stands.

Suggestions to discourage this by offering alternatives

  1. Supply you cat with a scratching and climbing pole of their own. You could place it near a window where they can see outside, allowing them to be distracted.
  2. Wipe counters down with citrus or disinfectants. Most cats will avoid places where this is used.
  3. If these options fail instead of yelling at the cat when it jumps up on the cupboard just say off and put him on the floor. Or have a fine water spray bottle and when it jumps up give it a quick spray and at the same time say off and put him on the floor if he hasn’t already flown the coop.
  4. Be sure that you never leave food on the counter top. If they find it once they will return for more.

Anyone can train a cat, although it will take patience and repetitive exercises for both you and the cat. You could also offer the cat a treat if he gets off the cupboard when you say off. Discourage any treats if he ignores you.

Curtain and lounge damage

Siamese cats are the worst breed of cat for trying to climb the curtains. Instead of course they end up tearing them which can be a costly experience.  All cats love to stretch out and sharpen up their claws on the lounge chairs.

Suggestions to avoid this problem 

  1. Place a scratching pole on one side between the window and the lounge chair. Hopefully it will use the scratching pole.
  2. Cover the lounge chairs with a throw over covers.  If you are having visitors you could remove them and replace it especially if the cat is home alone all day in the house. 
  3. Tie the curtains back with a ribbon to the sides, especially if leaving cat home on its own.
  4. Remove the beaded threading on the bottom of vertical blinds to prevent a cat from hanging itself in the vertical blinds.  These also attract their attention as they move when they paw at them.

Peeing or urinating on the carpet

This may not be a case of laziness; the cat may have a medical problem. This is more obvious with the older cats. Toilet training is another part of training your cat.

How to train the cat to use the scratching pole

Start training your cat to use the scratching pole as soon as you bring him home. An older cat can still learn the benefits of this with a little bit of patience on your part. Cats are just like kids, some are quicker to learn than others.

  1. Place the scratching pole near his food and water or where he sleeps, and if possible have another smaller one near your window.
  2. Place your cat on the scratching pole. I have noticed that some poles have room for the cat to sleep in his own bed on the pole.
  3. Instead of attempting to use their paws and scratch the pole, show them how to do it yourself with your hands.
  4. Initially you may have to play around the pole to get his attention. Attach a rope with a swinging toy mouse or something so he can amuse himself when he becomes bored. When a cat is bored that’s when he will do the most damage. Give him a variety of toys to amuse himself with.

Train your pet not to scratch the furniture

There a few things to try if your cat still persists in wanting to scratch the furniture. Your local pet shop or vet should have some sprays that you can use that will not harm the furniture. Their noses are more sensitive than ours, and it will not like the smell.

You could also have your cats claws snipped although the scratching will soon sharpen them up again. I believe that there are covers that you can buy to cover their claws. Ask for advice at your local pet shop.

Whatever you do when training your cat, you need to be consistent. Never yell or hit your cat that will only scare him. Treat him like one of the family and the results will be very rewarding. If you love and care for your cat he will love you in return.


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    • Eileen Hughes profile imageAUTHOR

      Eileen Hughes 

      8 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      ginny, have you ever thought of making an outside run area. By that I mean if you have a cat door Like a doggy door and make a cat run so that your cat can exercise outside without being able to wander off over neighbors fences etc.

      Then when he is naughty shut the cat door and leave him outside. give him toys to play with in this area and eventually if he has other things to amuse him he may not be so aggressive. Thats all I can suggest for now.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      None of these suggestions have worked for our kitty. We've tried them all. He ignores citrus spray, persistently jumps back on the table as many times as we pull him off, squirt him, even used sticky paper on the table. Pot covers on the counter to disuade him to jump up--he's very smart and knows how to land just right so as not to make them fall, and can tip toe around them. Bites us also, and we've tried suggestions here as well as others to stop the biting. He doesn't stop but is all the more determined to bite. Sometimes we've had to just shut him in the bathroom for awhile to get a break. Love our kitty, but my goodness, there's gotta be a way to train him so we can live with him!

    • Eileen Hughes profile imageAUTHOR

      Eileen Hughes 

      9 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      lctodd, yes I am over there at info too. These are the best two sites that I have found to write for.

      Cats are funny arent they we have had lots of good times with our cats although sadly not with us any more. Just my blue heeler dog and he is beautiful. Thanks for stopping by

    • lctodd1947 profile image

      Linda Todd 

      9 years ago from Charleston

      Eileen, I knew I had seen you somewhere and I think it was infobarrel.

      Thanks for this great hub. I have 4 of these and they are all very different just like children. They love the outside but know when it starts to storm or rain, to come in. They want to run in and out, just like kids also.

      Well explained and I read the referenced article too.

      Thank you so much

    • Eileen Hughes profile imageAUTHOR

      Eileen Hughes 

      9 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Beats me, clever cat I knew they were smart but didnt know just how smart evidently. Thanks

    • BeatsMe profile image


      9 years ago

      lol. I wonder now how to keep mice off of tables and cupboards. Just kidding.

      Seriously now, have you seen a cat playing piano?

    • Eileen Hughes profile imageAUTHOR

      Eileen Hughes 

      9 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      dame scribe, They are clever thats for sure. You might have to put the bickies in a cupboard. Although I had a cat that used to push on the cupboard door as it was spring loaded and it opened up and it helped itself. Thanks for stopping by

    • Dame Scribe profile image

      Dame Scribe 

      9 years ago from Canada

      My cat rips open bottom of the dog food bag. No wonder she getting 'round', lol. Really got to get a scratch post! great tips! :)

    • Eileen Hughes profile imageAUTHOR

      Eileen Hughes 

      9 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Peggy w, like you say we have to give and take for a harmoneous lifestyle.

      Laura du toit, If your cat gets on the table is it because he/she used the chairs to achieve this. If so move chairs away from table. Just an idea might help if it cannot jump.

    • Laura du Toit profile image

      Laura du Toit 

      9 years ago from South Africa

      Thanks for very well written hub with excellent advice! I have one cat who is so old (17 years) and unfortunately I do have a problem with her climbing on my table. She cannot jump onto kitchen counters (because of her age) but I feel too sorry for her to spray her with water. I just take her off the table whenever I see her get on. This is not the ideal solution but I will live with it until she passes on. If ever I get another cat I will definitely use your excellent advice! Well done!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      9 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Our cats never jump on the kitchen counters but they eat their dry food on our bathroom counter so that my mother's dog does not get to it. Works well. to waking us up at night...haven't quite worked that one out yet. Being nocturnal, often they do some playing at night which awakens us. We had wanted them not to nap on our bed during the day. The citrus spray did not dissuade them at all. Now we just cover the bed with an old throw sheet. So in essence...we gave in to that desire on their part. Can't win them all! :-)

    • Eileen Hughes profile imageAUTHOR

      Eileen Hughes 

      9 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Tottie, there are lots of good cats around it is the owner that I have problems with. I wonder how many c ats and dogs are already turfed out of their new homes so soon after christmas. it is criminal thats for sure. thanks for stopping by.

    • Tottie profile image


      9 years ago from Australia , or China, or South Korea.

      Yes, I think it is awful if cats climb over kitchen benches. I'm house sitting a well behaved cat - I've not got a problem with here. I think I'd flick water at her if she did something I disapproved of. But she's a good girl....

    • Eileen Hughes profile imageAUTHOR

      Eileen Hughes 

      9 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Ms chievous, You got me there, I would shut the cat out of your bedroom and wear earplugs. Gee that sounds mean. Or you could feed the cat just before going to bed. Perhaps just put food out to eat and not leave it for when he wants it.

      Tammy, There seem to be lots of cat lovers. Especially your own ones.

      My last breath, citrus is great. it should work, worth a try anyway.

    • my last breath profile image

      my last breath 

      9 years ago from ontario

      citrus or the spray bottle sound good. thanks! hopefully these will work with my cats.

    • profile image

      Tammy Lochmann 

      9 years ago

      Thanks for the great tips. Big cat lover here.

    • Ms Chievous profile image


      9 years ago from Wv

      Citris! Good! I will use that! Now how do you keep the cat from waking me up at 3:30 in the morning for food she already has in her bowl? It is almost as if I have to watch her eat! Seriously, she pesters me until I get out of bed so I can wtach her eat...

    • Eileen Hughes profile imageAUTHOR

      Eileen Hughes 

      9 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      BKCreative, yes they are our responsibility but some owners - well need I say more. And yes they are very clever when it suits them.

      Tom Cullen, glad that citrus worked for you. It didnt work for my sons dogs, they just piddled over it to claim their territory. But cats are different.

      Advisor4qb, They are fascinating and cuddly and lovable. All have their own personalities.

    • advisor4qb profile image


      9 years ago from On New Footing

      Cats are very interesting creatures!

    • Tom Cullen profile image

      Tom Cullen 

      9 years ago from Livonia, Michigan

      Excellent advice! I've had success with the citrus and spray bottle techniques. Thanks for sharing!

    • BkCreative profile image


      9 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Running a clean home means training your pets - it's our responsibility. I've always had cats and can't think of any reason why they should roam all over the kitchen - and why I or my guests should eat cat hair. Cats are smart and are easy to train.

      Great hub with wonderful ideas. I'll share it - thanks!

    • Eileen Hughes profile imageAUTHOR

      Eileen Hughes 

      9 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      writeangled, yes thats it. and yes it would not be fair outside. I was going to buy boots or socks for my dog at one stage, but it was to try and prevent him getting double gees (three corned jacks) or spiky prickles in his feet while traveling.

      But he is a blue heeler and didnt think I would be able to keep them on him.

      ethel. No I dont either. Not mixing food and cats at all.

    • ethel smith profile image

      Ethel Smith 

      9 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Yes, I do not like cats on tables and the like. Yuk

    • WriteAngled profile image


      9 years ago from Abertawe, Cymru

      Must try the citrus route. My four don't bother with kitchen worktops, but are constantly knocking things off other cupboards and windowsills.

      You're thinking of Soft Claws. They are available in the US and recently UK too, in a variety of colours! They can't be used on outdoor cats, because they prevent the cat from being able to defend itself.


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