Cats on Kitchen Counters
Are you a person who doesn’t like to see your cat on kitchen counters? You always shoo her off? You might squirt water at her or shout at her. Discipline her. Punish her. You just hate to see it.
Let’s think about it. Here is a question: do you do all the things in the list below before having a go at your cat for doing something natural like jumping onto a kitchen counter?
Obviously, I am making a point. People bring a lot of bacteria into the kitchen. There are many more bacteria on each, individual person than the number of people in the United States (310m at 2013). There are in fact one thousand billion bacteria on and in the human.
Some bacteria is not bad bacteria but it is on the skin, clothes, hair, chopping boards, knives, food, kitchen counters etc..Hands are a health hazard in the kitchen. I wonder how many people wash their hands for 40 seconds using warm water and soap before starting to prepare food? Not many if any. If you don’t, you bring bacteria on your hands, from many different sources, to the kitchen counter. Is the amount of bacteria brought to the kitchen in this way greater than the bacteria brought in by the cat? Are the health hazards created by people using the kitchen counter greater than the health hazards introduced to the counter by the cat when she jumps up?
How do people store food in the fridge? Does it comply with best practice to avoid cross-contamination? Do the cooks in the house handle raw food correctly to avoid cross-contamination?
These are worthwhile questions to ask because it is rather hypocritical and foolhardy to punish a cat for her brief visit to a kitchen counter when the person doing the punishing is more of a health hazard than her cat. People should prioritise themselves before dealing with their cat.
Another reason for preventing a cat jumping onto a counter is to prevent the cat eating food. This can be prevented in a much more sensible and gentle way by covering food that is being prepared if it has been left on the counter.
The other point I am making is that there are far better ways of dealing with a cat’s natural instincts to investigate counter tops than through harsh, negative reinforcement, which, incidentally, only serves to confuse and alienate a cat.
Another preventative and kinder way to stop a cat jumping up is to remove incentives. There may be a plant he likes to chew (this should be checked out anyway for the sake of the cat’s health) or he might like to look out of the window. The latter “problem” can be dealt with by providing a nice viewing platform in another room.
Shedding cat hair might be another reason why a person hates to see a cat on a counter. I agree this is not good. But does this person, who so hates to see a cat on a counter, wear a hair net when preparing dinner for the family?