There is the pitty pat of little feet, and all of a sudden a plate is missing some food or something ends up on the floor or in the sink with a crash. It couldn't be have been my sweet little cat! He isn't allowed up on the kitchen counter!
Guess what? Your cat has learned that there are all sorts of delicious, fun or just interesting things up there where mommy and daddy work when they are in the room where my food comes from. At some point, usually because of smell or just because of an association of place and outcome (IE filling the food bowl) your cat has started visiting your kitchen counter. Now, how do you get them to stop, without danger to yourself or your cat?
While there are product to act as repellents, are they safe to use around areas where you prepare your food? There are some natural scents that cats do not like but you might not find offensive. There are essential oils such as lemon, lavender, orange, cinnamon and rosemary. You can place a little bit on a soft absorbent item such as a piece of a sponge or a cotton ball.
Another way to make an herbal repellent is to seep lavender, rosemary or cayenne in boiling water, and then, using a clean spray bottle (purchase a new bottle for this purpose, don't recycle a bottle used for cleaning products), spray a little of infusion on the counters. The scent, while very mild to a human nose, should discourage your cat with its more sensitive sense of smell.
Another method is to cover your counters with surfaces that your cat will find unpleasant. The method that I have had recommended to me most often is to put out aluminum foil. Apparently cats do not like the feel of the foil on their feet. Another recomdation is to use car or bath mats that have the little stubs on the back side that prevent slippage. The final deterrent is to use shallow baking pans with a little water. The one problem with any of these is that the cat can learn to avoid these barriers or knock them off the counter. They also interfere with your use of the counter space, and have to be removed and replaced, so the natural deterrents would be my recomendation.
Of course, you can be like friends of mine. Because they also own dogs, they feed their cats on the counters, and don't object to their "help" in the kitchen, or the occasional cat hair in their food.
See something on the Internet that you'd like us to profile in this column? Anything about pet fashion, technology or interesting is good. Send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below.