Cats are known as clean pets. They don’t need to be bathed, they spend a lot of time washing, and they can be counted on to use their litter box. But that doesn’t mean that they should be allowed on your kitchen counters. Cats can carry toxoplasmosis, tapeworms, heartworm and fleas, as well as any bacteria they track in from outdoors or even from other areas in your home.

Do cats get up on the counter?

They probably do, even if you aren’t aware of it. A survey of veterinarians and cat owners found that just about half forbade cats on the counters. About a quarter of respondents intentionally allowed cats on their kitchen counters.

Cats are likely to want to get up on the counters. They like to be in high places, they are curious about all the books and crannies of their homes, and they are usually open to the possibility of stealing any food they find there.

Respondents to the survey often added that they don’t allow their cats on the counter, but that the cats get up on the counter anyway.

How to keep cats off kitchen counters

Depending how willing you are to inconvenience yourself, you can put double sided tape and aluminum foil on your counters. Cats don’t like the way these things feel on their paws, so counters will lose some of their appeal.

You can also keep a water gun or a jar of coins on hand in your kitchen. If you see your cat getting up on a counter, shaking the coins loudly or squirting the cat with the water pistol will scare the cat. In theory, she should learn to associate jumping up on the counter with being scared. Over time, the cat will give up jumping on the kitchen counters.

Of course, your cat might also learn not to jump on counters when you are around.

Solving the problem

The real problem with cats on kitchen counters is unsanitary counters. The solution is cleaning the counters. If you already have the habit of cleaning your counters thoroughly after meals, you might add in cleaning the counters before you cook.

Alternatively, set out a cutting board for food preparation, wash it carefully, and keep it in a cupboard when it’s not in use. Avoid putting food on your kitchen counters.