First of all, I should say that my fiancee Liz and I are, by no means, satisfied with the current situation. The boys are still jumping on the counter from time to time, though usually when we're not around to see it. We would really like to keep them off of the counter, but for the time being, we have tried our best to make the kitchen counter as safe as possible for them while, at the same time, using some deterrants.
Last weekend marked the first time that the boys had managed to reach the kitchen counter at all. We had always dreaded the day that they would grow old enough to get up there, because it was one area of the apartment we really needed to ourselves. We kept paper towels there, jars of food, dish soaps, sponges, tupperwear, etc. We keep what we can in the cabinets, but cabinet space is really at a premium.
When I found the paper towels on the floor, I immediately went to the http://cats.about.com and read Franny Syufy's article on counter-surfing. She suggests a few different things to keep cats off of kitchen counters, including:
- Sticky Tape: Liz and I bought a product called Sticky Paws which is basically double-sided tape that's made to stop cats from walking on surfaces. Sticky Paws is basically an annoyance to cats b/c they don't like walking on stickum. Who would? Unfortunately, we don't like the idea of stickum all over our mable countertop. We did line the lid of our trash can with Sticky Paws so the boys can't use it as a launching pad to the counter. They still occasionally step on the lid, but they don't like it. Another problem with Sticky Paws is that it becomes less sticky over time and needs to be replaced.
- Aluminum Foil: Apparently, some cats dislike the idea of walking on aluminum foil. It really doesn't bother our boys. We tried the aluminum foil trick months ago on our diningroom table. No luck. They tried to play with the foil.
- Pennies in a Can: Franny suggests putting a jar of pennies on the counter edge so the cats will knock it over and get scared away. She doesn't know our cats. Loud noises don't scare them more than one or two times before they become desensitizied to them.
- Spray Bottle: We have been using this method and it is effective to a point. If we see the boys and spray them, they will usually jump off the counter. They also now have the message that we disapprove of them jumping on the counter so they don't tend to do it when we are in the room with them.
- The Tattle Tale: The Tattle Tale is a product that makes a loud noise when it detects vibrations nearby. We bought this product a few months ago and tested it on the diningroom table. The only creatures who were scared by sudden loud noises were Liz and I. We found Arthur batting the Tattle Tale around and playing with it, completely oblivious to the really loud noises it made.
So what are we using?
- The Spray Bottle method
- The Skat-Cat: The Skat-Cat is a water-spraying motion detector. We bought this product a few months ago and were saving it for the day when the boys got up on the kitchen counter. Unlike some other cat-deterring sprays, this one uses regular tap water to spray your cat so you don't have to buy expensive refills or worry about what the spray is made out of.
The only real problem with the Skat-Cat is that it can only shoot what's in front of it so one of them will only protect a certain area. Also, I get the feeling that, after a while, being shot with water, might not stop a determined cat like Beowulf. That said, I think this is a good product to try and I'm glad to have it as one of the best weapons in my arsenal.
- The Sink method: If we see a cat in the sink, we go and turn the faucett on, drenching him with water.
Even with those three deterrants in our "arsenal," we can't guarantee that the boys won't jump on the counter. So we've taken steps to make sure the counter is less dangerous for them and less interesting to them:
- We bought a large, square breadbox (this Brabantia bin) and placed the paper towel roll and holder in it.
- We got a clear plastic shoe drawer, put it on its side, and placed our soaps and sponges in it. The boys didn't show an interest in these cleaning fluids, but I was very concerned that they might lick soap and get sick. We bought both the drawer and the breadbox at a local branch of The Container Store.
- We placed all food jars flat against the back wall so they are harder to move or knock over.
- We made a decision to not leave any dishes soaking in the sink at all. This is particularly annoying because we need to be able to let things soak sometimes. Fortunately, we have a dish washer so we can put most things in the dishwasher right away.
So that's where we're at.