Your calico cat Lulu is planning a career as a feline gymnast. Since the upcoming tryouts will pit her against some stiff competition, she intends to maximize her practice sessions. Several times this week, you’ve caught your four-year-old feline housemate scaling the curtains. She also enjoys climbing the kitchen counters, jumping from the floor with no apparent effort. Once she’s aloft, she pads along the granite, sniffing for stray food scraps. Occasionally, she leaps onto the refrigerator top. Although you initially found Lulu’s antics amusing, she uses those same dainty feet to scratch in her litter box. You’ve decided that her unhygienic antics must stop. Tomorrow, she’ll visit your Portland, OR vet for a physical exam and expert behavioral counseling.
Perhaps your counter-climbing diva also craves some extra food. Maybe you recently changed her diet, reduced her portion size, or eliminated her tasty treats. She’s hungry and frustrated; and she’s searching for snacks anywhere she can find them. The countertops seem like a good prospect.
Ask your vet if you can change Lulu’s feeding schedule. If she consumes several smaller meals daily, rather than one stomach-busting bowlful, she might become less ravenous. Regardless of the vet’s advice, don’t create more temptation by leaving human foods where she can reach them.
By giving her a miserable counter-climbing experience, she’ll think twice about repeating that exercise. Since you’ve been monitoring her behavior, you’ve identified her countertop landing location. Gently place several lightweight metal baking sheets on that exact spot.
When your determined cat hops onto those unstable metal surfaces, they’ll noisily clatter to the floor. Chances are, she’ll be right behind them as she runs away to regroup. Since she’ll likely return, plan to repeat the sequence until you’re convinced she has stopped her antics.
Since Lulu’s somewhat flustered, this is an ideal time to present a more acceptable climbing destination. Buy (or build) a multilevel carpeted cat tower with several spacious observation platforms. Include a nice enclosed sleeping nook for her frequent naps. Since she enjoys birdwatching, move the perch next to the best viewing spot.
After your Portland, OR vet convinces Lulu to avoid the countertops, thoroughly clean and disinfect your food prep surfaces. If your cat has taken up residence on the counters, contact us for expert advice.