Ask A Vet: Why Does My Cat Jump On The Counters?


15469060716_01f273694e_zvoyagevixen2 via Flickr


Many cat owners are frustrated by their cats jumping onto the counters, but most of us just realize that it is going to happen and have come to terms with it. There are reasons why cats insist upon jumping onto the counters despite some very creative ways to prevent the behavior.

Domestic cats are descendants of wild species of felines. Some of these are arboreal hunters which means they hunt in the trees. There is even a species of wild cats, called the Margay, that can flex their ankles at an angle to better grip the trees. These amazing cats can almost defy gravity and run straight down a tree trunk headfirst! So climbing to explore and hunt might seem very natural to your cat.

Most cat species prefer to be up above things so that they can see their environment and make sure that there is no threat. Some cats can even launch from the trees onto unsuspecting prey. Your cat might feel safe hanging out on your counter tops, surveying his realm.  The kitchen counters are also very likely a place where you spend time working and preparing food, making the space a desired resource.

The most likely reason that your cat jumps onto the counters is because he has learned that you often have good things up there…they are famous for being curious, after all!

Written by Dr. Kathryn Primm
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