Understanding the Counter Creeper: Why Cats are so Nosy and How to Set Boundaries for them

Counter Cat 1Cats can be incredibly nosy. They have the means (and skill) to jump up just about everywhere, including on to your kitchen counter while you’re busy carving your Sunday roast. Cats find interesting smells irresistable.

Unfortunately her ability to hop up wherever she wants to can be incredibly dangerous, particularly if she jumps on to a hot stove, or eats food of dishes in the sink which might not agree with her, or even make her sick (particularly if they have been left there overnight).

It is therefore extremely important that you teach your cat which places are off-limts – it may even save her life.

Static Mat on a Couch
Static Mat on a Couch

Cats will only go where they are allowed to go, and because they are naturally curious, anything with an interesting smell is fair game to them.

If you want to set boundaries, first you’re going to need to decide which areas you want to keep off-limits, and when. For example, will you allow her on the kitchen counter, but not when you’re cooking?

Once you’ve decided on these rules, never change them.

Some cat owners use squirt bottles: Whenever their cat hops on to an out of bound area, they gently quirt her with a spray of water on her rear end. Of course, this will only help if you’re actually there when it happens.

A better way to deal witih counter creeping is to use a reliable deterrant. We have mentioned some of these in previous articles, including:

  • SSSCAT: You can put this device on the floor near the counters and it will let off a hiss when kitty walks past.Counter Cat 2
  • Aluminium Foil: Many cats hate foil, so if yours is one of them, pleace some on your counter and she will jump off as soon as she lands on it.
  • Static Mats: If gusts of air or tin foil are no match for your cat, a static mat placed on an open counter area will be very effective, especially when you are not there. When kitty lands on the static mat, a static tingle will be emitted. Because it will feel unpleasant under her paws, she will move away.

Another good reason for boundary training is to keep your cat away from food. Things like chocolate, onions,raisins, graps and undercooked or raw meat can pose serious health risks to your cat. The best thing is to keep the food out of sight but putting it in a safe place like a microwave, or even a cold oven. Out of sight is out of mind. If your cat is adept at opening cupboards – as many are – you might want to install childproof latches on them.

In any event, a squirt of cold water is far better than burnt paws – or worse, so if your cat doesn’t respond to the more “gentler” methods, try the squirt bottle approach as it generally works.

– Article posted by Phillipa Mitchell



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