Training a Kitten

Updated on April 15, 2015
E.M. asks from Chicago, IL
15 answers

We are bringing a 10 week old kitten home on Saturday. I know cats can be trained not to get in countertops, but I assume it is a process that takes some time. I don't have that luxury in my studio (aka mudroom) where I work on my art. I'm working on mosaics, which requires mortar, pieces of glass, and other tools. I can't reasonably expect the door to be closed at all times, since the mudroom is between the garage and the kitchen. It is inevitable that the door will get left open. I also can't keep it cleaned up when not working on it.

Does anyone have any tricks to keep the kitty from getting on my work surface? It's a small table. Will putting bubble wrap or upside down carpet protectors (spikes sticking up) on the table be enough of a deterrent? Once the cat starts to avoid it, can I stop with the deterrent?


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So What Happened?

Thanks all. Sounds like spray bottle and maybe foil is the way to go. We are so excited to bring him home! My husband loves cats and my daughter has wanted one all of her little 6-yr old life. :)

As far as my choice of words ("luxury") -- if the kitten gets on the table, it could walk on glass or wet cement. I'm not too busy to train a pet and it will get lots of attention and affection. I have one table in the house that the cat can't get on...I don't think that means my house is not "cat-friendly". I have thought through the possible solutions, and my first choice is to have the cat learn to stay off of it. If that doesn't work, I will figure out a plan B -- whether that means putting the door on a spring or rigging up some sort of cover for the table. I have a thick enough skin to take the slightly snarky comment, but I don't understand the need for it.

And regarding "training" the family to shut the door. I hear 'ya, but the biggest violator will be my husband and he's untrainable at this point!!

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answers from Chicago on

A spray bottle filled with water may work.
When it jumps up, a quick spritz can do the trick with some cats.

It's harmless.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from San Francisco on

We have three cats. A simple, easy way to keep them off of surfaces is to put a sheet of foil on the surface. My cats really don't like the sound or the feel under their feet.

If you can be available to monitor the space while the kitten will be in there, you can get a spray bottle and fill it with water. When the cat jumps up, spray her with water. She will jump right down! If she tries again, spray her again.

Lastly, anytime you correct the cat, make a certain noise. We use a sharp "psssst!" noise. Now that our cats are older, all we have to do is make the noise (rather than coming after them with the water bottle or keeping foil everywhere). Once the cat associates the noise with either getting sprayed in the face with water, or finding herself standing on noisy, slippery foil, all you'll have to do is make the noise and she will get down right away.

Just make sure you play with the kitten until she's tired a few times per day, and make sure she gets plenty of attention when she's doing what she's supposed to do, and she will blend into the family in no time.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

training cats. heh heh heh heh heh.
we have a 'no cats on the table' rule that gets utterly ignored. the 'no cats on the counter' rule is more serious, though. and for the most part our three abide by it.
but cats are not really rule followers.
the spray bottle of water is by far our greatest ally. i suppose you could say we have 'trained' our cats. they rarely claw the furniture and they rarely get on the counters. that's about as good as it's going to get.
i'm afraid you're setting this kitten up for failure by considering training him to be a luxury. i'm reasonably sure he'll understand over time if you're patient and consistent. but if you don't keep the door shut, he's almost certain to be inquisitive and explore. so if you're working on something particularly fragile or subject to damage, i'd plan to take the time to protect it in SOME fashion while your kitten acclimates.
we've had very limited success with 'kitty no' type deterrent spray. very little with bubble wrap or saran wrap. but they're certainly worth a try.
you may luck out and get a mellow kitty who won't be an inquisitive explorer, but face it, it's the nature of cats. i'm afraid that if your artwork is a priority over the 'luxury' of taking the time to acclimate your kitten, your household may just not be cat-friendly.
but i'm betting there's a way to make it work. your kitten will probably have you trained in a couple of months.
ETA oh! sorry for the slight snarkiness, then. i'll bet you and your kitten do just great. seriously.
:) khairete
S. (occasionally rebellious but mostly obedient to her overlords)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Get a new spray bottle at the hardware store and put plain water in it. Adjust the spray nozzle so it's not a fine spray but not a super sharp stream either, and squirt the cat at the key locations. Try to avoid the eyes but otherwise it won't hurt the kitty.

Bubble wrap might work. A lot of people use aluminum foil to keep animals off the couch etc. Whatever's easiest for you to be consistent about.

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answers from New York on

You can deter with a squirt bottle as others have mentioned but I'll let you know that my cats are not allowed on the counters and yet I've found each and every one of them on the counters at one time or another. Can you use a board to cover your work surface when you are done for the day? That way if the door is left open by accident and the cat jumps up it'll be on a board and not on your work.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

I'm a mosaic artist too😊. This would be a good question to ask on the Facebook page "Mosaic Mentoring". There are lots of people on there with cats roaming around their studios. Maybe they have some advice.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Perhaps put in a screen door with a spring closure that will close automatically, even if the "real door" is left open? I remember one that was literally just a long, thin-ish spring attached to the door and the jam that pulled the door closed.

Found this resource -

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answers from Pittsburgh on

My sister did the squirt bottle method. After a few times, she could just set the squirt bottle on any surface that she didn't want the cat on. The cat would see the bottle and stay away.

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answers from Washington DC on

Teach the kitten to stay off surfaces by using a squirt bottle. Our cats do not surf on the counter or generally walk on or lay on tables (though one is on the "craft and kid table" at the moment and I am ignoring her). You can also get a Ssscat thing that is motion sensitive that will spray the cat when you are not there to watch the door. We used to have a door to a room where guinea pigs were kept on a spring, like a front screen door might be. Or you might try a tall baby gate.

I also agree to "speak its language" and hiss or psst! at the cat sharply when it gets into things you don't want. I find it to be pretty effective with our cats.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

We used double sided packing tape on a couch once (so that it was sticking) just along the part where they scratched. That and a squirt gun (water) did the trick. I hated doing the squirt gun, but it worked very quickly and the cat just licked itself afterwards. We invested eventually in a swing door - must more humane :) It just closed each time we left the room.

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answers from Chicago on

We have 3 cats ( momma and her 2 daughters from separate litters). Unfortunately, they are curious about water so the bottle does not always work. If you do not want the kitten in the room, which may be the best option, do not ever let her in. Not even to hold her while you do something. Every time she goes in there, take her out and tell her no. If you see her approaching, spray the water. I will also say it is time to train the family also. Put a sign on the door that it has to be closed. The only one we have a problem climbing the kitchen table and counters is the baby at 6 months. We are hoping to get her trained soon. She is one curious kitty/.



answers from Oklahoma City on

Use a spray bottle and squirt the kitty every time it gets on that counter. Hide and do it. They see you squirt them it won't work.

They'll associate getting wet with your counter and won't like it. So they won't get up there.

But it really is best just to close the door.


answers from Modesto on

My cat never gets on the counter or table. The first time she tried a loud rap on the surface and the "NO" scared her enough to know she didnt want to do it again (they hate loud noise). Might take a couple of times, but they do learn fast.
My cat hates aluminum foil, I have laid a few strips around on the backs of certain chairs I didnt want her on.... it worked well.
A spray bottle that squirts a fine stream of water is another good training tool.



answers from Boise on

You have quite a few responses, so I apologize if I'm repeating. :) Our cat, Neptune (and others before her) were taught from the get go to not jump on any counters, tables, etc... I simply grab the kitty and sternly say "NO" and then give a little swat on the butt. Other times, I would say NO sternly and quickly, startling the cat and that would make them jump down. The water in a spray bottle is great for training - be it scratching on furniture, jumping on counters, or what have you. I wouldn't use tin foil, bubble wrap or other things that require me to change the usual way I live. The kitty needs to learn to adapt to your lifestyle, not the other way around.

Have fun with your new friend! :) Neptune just had 3 babies on Saturday. Kitties are so fun!


answers from Chicago on

my cat was trained with the tape method.(tape sticky side up on the surface he was not allowed on) he didn't care about getting squirted with a water bottle and after a year of using it he would see it and come to it begging for me to spray it, he would drink the water as i was squirting it and then move on. my cat stayed off the counters, the tables and all furniture. (we kept him in the big finished basement when we werent home and at night. he was a good cat. about 8 months old when i brought him home.)
i hope your kitty ends up being good and stays off your work surface!

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