How to keep a kitten away from the furniture
John Wade, Special to QMI AGENCY
Kittens have a way of ending up where they're not supposed to be. (Shutterstock.com)
We have a new cat about 7 months old. Is there any way of discouraging, training or controlling his jumping up on countertops? Nothing seems to work. We've tried water spraying, lifting down quickly with a stern "No!", etc., to no avail. It is amazing how fast he can jump from the floor to any table or countertop with little effort. Are we wasting our time trying to control this? -Ken, Ottawa
Many years ago, my wife at the time complained that my German Shepherd Beau was getting up on the couch while we were out of the house. Somehow, it had slipped her mind that I was a professional dog trainer, so I assured her that she was mistaken, and furthermore, she was confusing her two cats' hair with my dog's hair. I confidently added that I had been with Beau longer than I'd been with her and therefore I knew him better then she did and there was no way, no how, that he was spending a moment of his day on the couch.
She was unmoved by my loyalty or my credentials and countered that as she was the one doing the vacuuming, she had firsthand experience. I was to rest assured that my dog was indeed finding a place to rest his head in our absence and it was on the couch.
In order to clear my dog's name I proposed an experiment that I was sure would reveal where the real blame should rightfully lay, (that being on her two cats, Timmy and Rufus). Both shed hair like Charlie Sheen burns bridges, and besides, I wouldn't put it past them to plant evidence to malign my dog's impeccable reputation.
I bought some double-sided tape, similar to what is used to keep carpets in place. I cut lengths and laid strips on the couch and couch pillows. My wife agreed that if there was no dog hair on the tape, Beau would be exonerated. We went out for a coffee. To this day, I have no idea how the cats managed it, but upon our return, Beau greeted us at the front door with a pillow clinging to his backside.
The moral of this story? Two-way tape actually works pretty well at deterring pets from certain areas. Stick it to some cardboard, cut out in the shape of the areas you want the cat to stay out of, and when you're going to be away from that region, put it in place. After a while, most cats decide the area is not worth the trouble. Another trick is to set mousetraps upside down and lay a sheet of newspaper over them. Don't use this, however, if you're as absentminded as I am - it can mean a nasty surprise early in the morning.
Yet another trick is to buy carpet protector mats, either the ones that roll out for stairs or hallways, or the stiff ones you put under an office chair. They both have little pointy things to keep them in place. Again, cut to shape and put it upside down in the designated areas. I've seen a version of these sold in pet retail stores specifically for this purpose, but they are far more expensive. The little pointy things come in different stiffnesses, shapes, lengths and spacing, so take a look at one of the pet-specific designs and then search for a close match.