Behaviorist shows how to keep cats off the counter with just two super simple tips

British Shorthair cat sitting on counter by sink
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Cats on countertops are a common complaint amongst many of us who have feline family members, and while you likely adore your fur friend, it's perfectly understandable that you'd want them to stay off any surfaces where you prepare or eat food.

Even if you have a selection of the best cat toys on offer for your kitty to play with, chances are they still have that strong curious streak that makes them want to investigate the world around them. And as we know, there's nothing a cat loves more than scaling to new heights so they can get the best view of what's going on in their environment. 

Thankfully, cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy (opens in new tab) has two super simple tips you can use to help teach your feline friend that the counter is one place in your home that they're not allowed. In a short video posted on TikTok, which you can view below, Galaxy shares the best ways to steer your cat away from the countertop.

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"You can get one of those feeding mats that we use for cats, turn it upside down and put some double sided sticky tape on it," Galaxy explains. "So every time your cat jumps up on that counter they get a little sticky, so there's the no - the sticky mat."

If you're not a fan of having a sticky mat on your counter, don't worry as Galaxy has you covered with another, more discreet piece of kit that's just as effective.

"Another no in this instance is one of my favorite little gentle no's which is an air canister that just has a little electric eye to it and if they cross that path, then there's a puff of air that comes out and a little sound. It basically lets them know that every time you jump up here, nothing good's going to happen."

Galaxy is a big believer in gentle training methods and a strong advocate for letting the environment do the work for us as pet parents. To balance out the no message that you're sending to your cat around the counter top, Galaxy suggests also offering up a yes.

"The yes becomes a cat tree on the edge of the kitchen," he explains. "That's where a yes happens."

It's important to remember that teaching your cat any new behavior takes time, patience and consistency. If, after several weeks of trying out a particular training method, you're not seeing any improvement, we recommend reaching out to a professional trainer who will be able to offer you 1:1 advice and support. 

Kathryn Rosenberg

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has spent the past two years dividing her writing time between her two great loves - pets and health and wellness. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with one very mischievous Cocker Spaniel, drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and attempting to set numerous world records for the longest ever FaceTime calls with her family back home in NZ.