Sign Up for Cat Talk
Get the latest health and behavior news and
advice from the veterinarians at Tufts University.

Editor's Note May 2016 Issue

Living in Harmony

How do we create boundaries in our homes while still allowing our cats freedom?

All right, I will admit that my view on counter jumping may be all wrong — but frankly, I don’t like when my cats do it. In this month’s issue of Catnip, Tufts’ Dr. Nick Dodman discusses at length why the behavior is natural and normal — and one that probably should be accepted by cat owners (and certainly not punished).

I will also admit that my cats have free range when it comes to every other surface in the house (and they really do take full advantage of this). I love having them sleep in bed with me. Feeling them strewn all over the couch (and me) makes watching a movie that much cozier. And even the rug clawing is not a behavior that particularly bothers me.

So I guess the “no counter jumping” rule must be confusing to them — why is their doting “mother” suddenly so vexed by their wanting to get a good view out the bay window in the kitchen? And so what if they have to walk over the clean, drying dishes to get there? And who really cares about the faint paw prints left behind on all the surfaces?

Well, I guess I care. You know, the one who pays for the food and scoops the litter box every day!

However, recently we seem to have reached an agreement. They know that I don’t want them up on the kitchen counters because I have sometimes raised my voice — but I have never hit them or particularly frightened them, either.

So now, they jump up on the counter when I am not around. Sometimes, I can see them up there when I am busy outside working in the garden. Or I can hear the tell-tale thump of one (or two) landing on the floor as I approach the kitchen.

Is it a perfect solution? No, but at least it feels like they’re trying. I can live with that.

Elizabeth Vecsi
Executive Editor

Comments (1)

I love it. Years ago, my father had a cat, Murdock, who knew what furniture he was not allowed on and which furniture he could be on. When no one was home, he would go where he was not supposed to be, but he would not let you catch him there. When we entered the house, you would see him walking back to where he could be and we would find a warm spot on the furniture he wasn't supposed to be on.

One of my three cats I have now just thinks it is his right to be on the counter tops, and I finally gave up the day I told him "down" and he layed down on the counter top. I just cracked up at that. I can tell him "floor" and he will jump down for maybe 30 seconds, but then he is back up on the counter. He wins.

Posted by: Carol's 3 Cats | April 18, 2016 5:12 PM    Report this comment

New to Tufts Catnip? Register for Free!

Already Registered?
Log In