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She’s testing us

Just like a toddler testing the limits and what she can get away with… Fang is trying our patience.

Fang KNOWS she’s not supposed to jump on the kitchen counter, but apparently she can’t help herself.  She cowers when she’s caught, but will jump up there again as soon as she thinks we’re not paying attention. She didn’t even try until a couple weeks ago and now she can’t (or won’t) stop.

There’s no food on the counter, no treats. Nothing to interest her – except perhaps the water soaking a pan.

Fang is neurotic, though. “Special needs” as my co-worker describes her. There’s no telling what will work or not work for training her.
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We’ve tried several different methods of deterring her:

First: strategically placed bowls of water

For a while she was only jumping up at one corner of the kitchen. We put 2 plastic bowls full of water on the edge of the counter, and at least once she jumped up and knocked water ALL OVER herself.

Scared her pretty badly and she didn’t jump up again for a few days.

The problem with this, of course, is that A) we can’t keep bowls of water out all the time and B ) we don’t actually have enough plastic bowls to line all the counter space. She figured out another way to get up.

Next: spraying her with water

Cats aren’t supposed to like water. That’s why we thought knocking water onto herself would deter Fang from jumping on the counter.

We have a spray bottle full of water that we spray on Fang when she gets up there. She DOES flinch when she sees the spray bottle and she DOES run from the water. She just doesn’t hate it enough to stop jumping up there.

Next: yelling

This DOES work to get her down. But doesn’t deter her from getting up in the first place.

She’s not sorry she did it –  she’s just sorry she got caught.

If we see her preparing to jump – neck craning to see the top of the counter and legs getting ready to propel her – we can yell “FANG!” and she cowers and pretends she was just getting ready to lie down. Nothing to see her, I’m not doing nothing, just hanging out in the kitchen is all.

If we see her already ON the counter, same thing. Yell “FANG!” and she cowers and slinks down.

Only to get RIGHT BACK UP as soon as she thinks we’re not looking.

And seeing as we don’t really hang out IN the kitchen, this is often enough that she thinks she can get away with it.

Finally: Inflicting THE BELL on her

We haven’t firmly established if this will work or not, because we’ve only done it a couple times. But so far, I have high hopes.

Fang and Khaleesi both HATE having a collar-with-a-bell on.

They both curl up into little balls and don’t move. Or crawl into a corner or tiny little space to hide. When they do try to move, they slink along the floor as low as they can get, moving as little as possible. They are petrified of that noise following them around. There’s definitely no playing involved when wearing the bells. We tried to get them to wear collars several times – Fang broke one collar and somehow escaped another one twice.

So, we got them microchipped instead and just have these collars sitting on a shelf. Waiting to be put back on the cats.

And, we realized, if they are wearing the bells, they are certainly not going to jump on any counters.

So Fang has gotten this ‘punishment’ FOUR times now. All times we caught her ON the counter. All times we made her wear the bell for all of 30 minutes or so immediately afterward.

She is just NOT learning.

And in all of this, what is Khaleesi doing?

Being a precious angel and not even attempting to jump up.

I love her.

Any other ideas for keeping Fang off the kitchen counter? They’re basically allowed anywhere else (that is not behind a closed door), so it may just be the novelty that is attracting her.

 Fang is neurotic, though, so let’s think outside the box.

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  • MacGirl September 27, 2012, 8:10 am

    We waged world war three on our cat when she started not just jumping up on the side but sleeping on it at night as we lock her in the kitchen (we have a cat flap and she has a basket in there). The thing we found most effective was a)giving her a tap when we caught her up there, but only when you find her up there and b)plastic carrier bags. The big old ones (maybe 3ft by 2ft) that we get through the door for recycling/donation purposes. We laid them on the work surface at night. She scared herself silly with the rustling sound they make and she didn’t go up there at all whilst they were there. It is annoying having plastic bags but it works for a few months and then we have a week with the bags on there again. I hope that works for you, good luck!

  • Amy September 27, 2012, 8:36 am

    oooh … good idea re: something noisy on the counter. That might work – Fang is kind of a baby about that kind of thing :)

    Yesterday (after I wrote this post) I found Fang just sitting on the counter gazing out the window. Crazy cat.

  • Kim September 27, 2012, 8:28 pm

    We’ve used tin foil before because our cat hates the way it feels on her feet and the noise it makes scares her. We’ve also used a Contech StayAway Motion Sensor. But honestly, I think we’re realizing that we might have to accept the fact that our cats rule the roost most of the time!

  • Amy September 28, 2012, 9:39 am

    Kim … sigh. I feel like you’re probably right but I don’t want to believe it

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