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


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