SPCA New Zealand
Advice & welfare

Ask a behaviourist
How to stop your cat from jumping on the kitchen bench?

My cat Hudson won’t stop jumping up on the kitchen bench looking for food. It is making cooking a nightmare, please help!

A behaviour is repeated when it is beneficial for an animal. If Hudson is getting food or similar rewards when he jumps up on the bench, then this is a desirable place for him to be.

To get Hudson to stop, you will need to make your bench undesirable. Firstly, cats like being high, so if your bench is the only high place in your house and easily accessed then Hudson will keep jumping up. Provide other high places around your house as alternative options, such as cat towers or a bed on top of a chair and increase the temptation to these high places by placing beds, toys and food there.

Punishment such as yelling or squirting water bottles is not an appropriate option as it can cause fear in Hudson and will only ever stop Hudson from jumping up on the bench if you are present. It also won’t teach Hudson what you want him to do, it will only deter him temporarily.

If giving Hudson other desirable options to your bench doesn’t work, use double sided sticky tape or tinfoil on the bench consistently for a few weeks. But, it is usually most successful if you provide an alternative. Good luck!

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