Cats often get up on counters and stoves because they’re high surfaces that provide them with better views of their surroundings. Certain steps need to be taken to keep your cat from jumping on the stove.
If you’ve landed on this article because you’re at your wits’ end, be sure to take your time and read over each step.
This article is not the typical advice you’ve likely already found online. Also, deterrents such as tin foil, unpleasant scents, or loud noises can be effective; they’re usually not enough for a cat that’s formed a habit.
Follow these 6 steps to keep your cat off the stove.
Step 1 – Give your cat Attention
No matter how much attention you’re already giving your cat. Try giving them more. I know it’s not always a great time to turn your attention to them, but in most cases, this will solve the issue of your cat getting up on the counter.
When followed by #2 (give them a positive), your cat will start to learn there are better ways to get your attention.
The issue is, so many cat owners try to change bad behaviour with punishment. Yelling, chasing the cat away, spraying with water, a scent deterrent, etc.
But if your cat immediately gets your attention when they jump up on the stove, they’re learning that that’s the best way to get your attention. They don’t care if that attention is good or bad; they love getting it either way.
Show them there’s a better way to get your attention and be consistent with it.
It’s a lot of work at first, but you will eventually break them of their bad behaviour.
Try it once and see what happens.
When your cat jumps up on the stove, sternly tell them “no” and place them on the ground if they don’t jump down on their own.
Then keep your attention on them. Talk to them in a loving tone while they’re on the ground, pet them, and follow them around. See where they lead you.
You may even get a toy out and play with them.
Give them 5 – 10 minutes of your time, at the very least. But ideally, give them attention until they show you they don’t want it anymore.
In my experience, my cats do not repeat the behaviour after I’ve given them what they want. And most of the time, it’s my attention.
Sometimes they want food or fresh water.
On the other hand, if I simply take an action that forces them to get off the stove and then go back to what I was doing, they’re usually back up in a matter of seconds.
Step 2 – Give them a “yes” spot
As Jackson Galaxy suggests, for every “no” there must be a “yes”. If you’re telling your cat not to do one thing, you must also be able to tell them what they can and should do.
You need an action you can praise them for.
Depending on how determined your cat is, a “yes” may need to be a cat tree in the middle of the kitchen to start.
I’ve found that placing my kitten on the ground and giving them positive attention is usually effective.
However, I do also use a cat tree to teach my kittens the positive attention they’ll receive when they’re in one place versus another.
When one of my kittens jumps up on the counter or stove, I sternly say “no”. One jumps down immediately but the other typically waits until I get out of my seat and am a foot or two away from him.
Regardless of whether my cat jumps down on their own or I have to set them on the ground, I then move them away from the stove before giving them positive attention for a “yes”.
For example, I may place my cat on top of the cat tree and then pet them, speak in a soft voice and enthusiastic tone, and give them one-on-one attention.
I’ll know right away if they need more than that, as they’ll jump down from the tree and will be back up on the stove within a matter of minutes.
At this point, I’ll repeat the steps but instead of putting them on the cat tree, I’ll bring them to the living room and get out a toy.
Step 3 – Remove what they’re after
In some cases, it’s obvious; your cat is getting up on the counter or stove because they want food. Try to never keep food on the counter, even if it’s just a few crumbs.
Your cat is constantly jumping up there because it gives them something they want:
- Your attention
- A higher surface
If you’ve been trying to stop your cat from jumping up on the stove for a while, they’ve likely learned getting up there is the fastest way to get attention.
In which case, you may even find it beneficial if you don’t react at all.
Don’t tell your cat to get down, don’t get up, don’t even look at them.
When they decide to get down, then you can go overboard with positive attention.
Show them that getting up on the stove doesn’t get your attention anymore, but being on the kitchen floor, or next to you in the living room, or sitting next to your dining chair does.
Step 4 – Offer High Surfaces
Cats love to be up high. They’re animals that love to jump and climb. If your counter and stove are the most elevated surfaces in your house or in the kitchen that they can get up on for a better view, they’ll keep using it.
Invest in something your cat can jump up on or climb. Build or buy a cat tree. If that’s not an option, find a piece of furniture and place it in the kitchen. You could even use a big sturdy box.
Make sure to give your cat positive attention when they use it. Because if they get up there and don’t receive a response from you, they won’t go out of their way to do it again tomorrow.
My kittens are able to keep track of their “yes” spots because I praise them for being on them consistently every day. Your cat will slowly return to where you want them by following these steps frequently.
Step 5 – Keep your cat busy
I’ve had cats my entire life, and usually more than one at a time. I’ve recently adopted two kittens, who are brothers. They keep each other so busy, it’s made me realize just how much playtime kittens and cats need.
If your cat hasn’t gotten enough playtime or enough of your attention during the day, they’re going to act out to get that attention.
Get ahead of bad behaviour by dedicating time to play with your cat each day.
Cats like routine and will be happier knowing when their time is coming each day, like after they eat or when they wake up from naps.
If you can keep your cat busy with good behaviour, it’ll make keeping them off the stove that much easier.
Step 6 – Use a cat deterrent
Most cat owners are already aware of the typical cat deterrents out there. Many people don’t have success with them, but they can be effective.
Remember, a bad habit won’t be broken overnight. So give your cat time to correct their behaviour, be patient, and most importantly, be consistent.
A cat deterrent can be beneficial, especially when used with the other points in this article.
The products that I’ve found most effective are:
- Double-sided sticky tape
- Scat Mat
Ssscat is a spray that deters cats and other animals from getting up on high surfaces or climbing on furniture. It doesn’t always go off and I find it works best in well-lit areas. So try leaving the kitchen light on.
I’ve found that a can of Ssscat goes off frequently enough that our kittens know to avoid them. It’s very important not to place a can of Ssscat right on the stove, as the contents are under pressure and could explode if exposed to heat. But you can place it on the counter and point it towards the stove.
Give it a few weeks. If the can is always there when your cat jumps on the stove, they’ll eventually learn to avoid the area.
Double-sided sticky tape
Double-sided sticky tape on a placemat can also be effective.
Cats don’t like to walk on sticky surfaces and will eventually avoid them.
Again, give it time for this to work. Your cat will be determined at first and may just walk over the sticky mats. But eventually, along with the other techniques in this article, they’ll realize it’s not worth it.
Aluminum foil can also work, but most cat owners find it’s not effective. It may be a good solution for a kitten that’s just learning and scares a bit easier.
For a cat that’s been getting up on the stove for a long time, tin foil may not cut it. I’ve found tin foil with double-sided sticky tape on it is more effective.
These are plastic mats that have a spiky surface area. The spikes won’t hurt your cat’s paws but will be uncomfortable enough that they don’t want to walk on them.
You obviously won’t be able to place these mats on the stove until it’s cooled down, but they can be an effective deterrent when you’re not in the room.
Deterrents on their own often don’t work for cats that are determined. But they help with combined with the other tips in this article.
When it’s more uncomfortable for your cat to get up on the stove, they’re not getting the attention they once did, and they’re able to get the attention they crave someplace else, they’ll stop being attracted to the stove.
In order to keep your cat from getting onto the stove, you should use a combination of deterrents and positive reinforcement.
Help your cat find a more positive and suitable way of getting your attention. And be sure to get ahead of their need to get your attention by giving them plenty of playtime and love throughout the day.
Be patient with your cat, as it may take time for them to break their habit. Remember to be consistent!
You may also be interested in: How to Keep a Cat Off a TV Stand (What finally worked for me)