How to Keep Cats Off Counters and Furniture

I don’t know about you but keeping my little Ziggy off the counters can be quite the challenge. It can also be a little frustrating when he jumps up on a table with one of my beautiful vases or chews on one of my plants.

If you don’t have a cat, then let me just say this…

You my friend are lucky. Lucky that you can leave an unattended beverage on the counter without the worry that it will soon be all over your floor. Now don’t me wrong, I wouldn’t trade Ziggy for the world it can just be a little stressful at times.

But there is good news!

I’ve done my homework, and I’ve found some solutions to this common problem.

And guess what? They WORK!

Solutions to Keeping Your Cats Off Countertops and Furniture

So, if you’ve struggled to keep your cat off the counter, the coffee table or anywhere else, then I’ve got a few tricks for you.

It involves using various smells, textures, tastes and, to a certain degree, sounds that cats find offensive.  

Simply use these items as I explain and the days of you worrying about your cat climbing on every flat surface in the house are over.

First, let’s talk about scents that cats hate…

Here is the first thing to remember…your cat’s sense of smell is WAY more sensitive than yours.

So, here’s a way you can easily use it against them.

Most of these scents are just fine for humans, you may even find them pleasant…your cat, however, will most likely not like them.

Citrus Scents

Citrus scents found in fruits or oils like lemon, limes, and oranges can deter your cat. Lemon fragrances are pretty easy to find in a variety of products, so it shouldn’t be difficult to locate one that works for you.

If there happens to be an outside area you’re trying to keep your cat away from, you can even leave discarded orange and lemon peels out in the open.


Believe it or not, the scent of a banana is somewhat of a cat repellent. The bonus yet again is that most of us humans actually like the smell of bananas.

Many Natural Oils

There are a variety of oils that your cat will find a disgusting. Oils like lavender and peppermint even something like wintergreen oil or geranium.

Be wary of some oils that are actually toxic to cats. We don’t want to hurt them, we just want to let them know they are not welcome on the counter.

Using these scenes where you don’t want your cat can be a great conditioning tool.

Over time your cat should be conditioned to stop the behavior.

Textures Cats Hate

If the use of one of the above scents doesn’t keep your cat in check, you can try changing the environment.

Here are a few textures your cat won’t appreciate.

Aluminum foil

When cats are forced to walk on Aluminum foil, they tend not to like it very much.

It’s most likely due to the weird, crinkly, metallic nature of the stuff or maybe because it tears easily.

Whatever the reason, cats don’t like it…use that to your advantage.

Anything sticky!

Cats hate when things stick to their paws so if every time, they jump up on the counter something sticks to them, it doesn’t take long for them to get the message. You can use double sided tape or some other sticky item. They even sell items like this at pet stores for this very reason.


If you have one of the “other” problems of owning a cat, namely scratching then plastic may be your answer.

Cats will lose interest in something very quickly if they can’t sink their claws into it.

Smooth plastic surfaces or plastic coverings should work well to avoid any future damages by way of kitty claw. Be sure to check out our cat scratch guard!

There are a ton of plastic furniture protectors out there and while they aren’t the most pleasing to the eye, it may just do the trick. Also, you may not have to use it very long, once your cat gets the message you should be able to remove the covering.

Tastes Cats Hate

Ok, so you’ve covered your counters and your furniture and your house smell like a citrus grove, now what?

And what about things like houseplants?

Well, when it comes to things your cat likes to chew on, adding a little yucky flavoring, might be your next best move.

Here are a few you can try:


Yep, your cat not only hates the smell of citrus, but they also hate the taste.  You can try leaving small samples of the fruits in particular areas, or simply use the taste in conjunction with the smell.

Hot sauces

I know it sounds a little mean, but usually, it only takes one time. Now you don’t want to smear hot sauce all over your house, that could get a little messy, but a little dab on a plant leaf could just do the trick.

Be careful, not to use something too hot or too spicy, it could give your cat a stomach ache and make the litter box a bit more difficult to clean.

I’d stay away from onions, garlic, and aloe as these have been known to cause some upsetting symptoms for cats, such as anemia, diarrhea and, believe it or not, depression.

Sounds Cats Hate

Finally, we have sounds that your cat hates. So, if none of the other techniques did the trick, then you may have to resort to scaring them off the furniture, cats hate loud noises, just be careful not to scare yourself. 


Cats hate whistles. Some experts say it’s an instinct and reminds them of birds of prey like hawks and eagles. A short, sharp, whistle as a warning whenever they jump up to where you don’t want them should make them think twice.


A handful of loose change or a ziplock full of coins may startle them and make them jump down or run away.  You don’t want to scare them to death, just enough so that they avoid the area.

Set a trap

Not a real trap mind you but a little obstacle course of noisy things in their path. Empty can, bells, or anything that will easily make a sound. The goal here is to detract your cat from the area and eventually train them to stay away.

There you have it, a few ideas you can use to train your naughty little fur baby to keep off the counters, the furniture or anywhere else. I was lucky, Ziggy hates the smell of citrus so much that all I had to do was start using lemon scented cleaning spray on my counters and it worked wonders. I hope that’s all you need to do as well.