How do I stop my cat from jumping on the table?

A question some cat owners ask is “How do I stop my cat from jumping on the table?” One answer is to remove items from the table. This technique is said to remove a cat’s desire to jump onto the table. If there is nothing on a table for a cat to get or play with then he won’t jump up. That is the theory. I suppose it may well work for a decent percentage of cats but each cat is an individual. I don’t believe the only reason all cats want to jump on a table is to knock something off it or play with an item.

Cat on a table
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Cat on a table. Photo by The Marmot (Flickr)

A lot of people will come up with a deterrent as a answer: put something on the table that puts the cat off. Smells and sounds come to mind but this is a form of punishment for doing something natural and it only makes the home less friendly for a cat. I think deterrents are to be avoided.

The answer is to cat-proof your home if you are concerned about furniture and household items (which actually works both ways as some items can be dangerous to a cat). I would doubt if cat lovers are sufficiently concerned about possessions to want to bother to cat-proof them (except for dangerous items like drugs). Also I am sure that only a relatively low percentage of domestic cats like to knock things off tables.

If a cat owner is concerned about their cat leaving paw marks on their table, as mentioned, leaving the table bare might help and what about putting on a table cloth when you are not at home? Or, as shown in the picture, provide a nice comfortable spot which she can use.

Useful links
Anxiety - reduce it
FULL Maine Coon guide - lots of pages
Children and cats - important

The reason why cats jump up is because they like to be high up for safety. It is inherent behaviour. Perhaps a good alternative such as a cat tree or condo is a sensible solution. There’d be no need to climb onto the table.

The absolute answer is not to worry about your table or possessions. Or get a cheap table 😉

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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33 Responses

  1. Albert Schepis says:

    Way, way, WAY too many comments to scroll through… I forgot what I was going to say!

  2. Dee (Florida) says:

    I can’t think of any reason why I would want to stop my cats from being on tables or counters.
    This is their home and, as I’ve always said, I’m grateful that they allow me to live here.

  3. Alan says:

    Everyone stays away from my cooking 🙁

  4. Alan says:

    I think it’s a height thing, the cat just wants to get as high as possible, I had a cat who used to sit on top of an open door, so give the cat something higher than the table to climb onto.

  5. Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

    Digging some of my old posters out to fit the bill lol

  6. Kylee says:

    The only one that seems to like to test the Boundaries abit. Is Jasmine. She will jump up onto the bench and even though i pick her up and put her pack down on the ground. She does seem to like looking and watching what your doing. Shes always trying to pinch what im eating. I always keep things clean and tidy in the kitchen areas.

  7. Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

    Our cats can go anywhere in our house, upstairs or downstairs, apart from on the cooker, which they never even attempt to, since we taught them from being kittens that it’s the only dangerous place in the house. Even so, we never leave the kitchen door open with neither of us in there, when the cooker is on.
    But we are paranoid about our cats safety, even check inside the washer before switching it on although none of our cats have ever in their lives climbed in.
    Our boyz love sitting up heights and what harm does it do? None! Their happiness comes before any of our possessions.
    Jozef loves being up high in the kitchen.

  8. Kylee says:

    I know others worry about Cats on Tables and Furniture etc. They all family here. Very well loved and Cared for.

  9. NANCY SCHWOPE says:


  10. Michael, from my personal observation of my cats and also the cats in my building vicinity i have come to the conclusion that cats love sitting on “High Places” from which they can survey their territory.I have many times seen the building cats sitting on top of cars or motorcycles.My cats love sitting on the gallery ledge 5 floors from ground level and similarly they love jumping onto the table in the house.A cat owner has to be careful while arranging the house decor as delicate art work or handicrafts could get damaged if your cat jumps onto a house shelf or table.Training could make a cat realize that jumping onto certain tables or ledges in the house is detrimental to its comfort.If my cat jumps onto a table that its not permitted on then i scold it and at realizes its fault and won’t repeat the same.Cats can be trained to avoid jumping onto certain parts of the house furniture.

    • Thanks Rudolph. Training cats is certainly possible. A lot of people won’t bother. I agree if there are breakable and valuable items on high surfaces they should be protected in some way because cats as you say love high vantage points. It is in their DNA.

  11. Ahsan ul Haq says:

    Michael: “A good alternative such as a cat tree or condo is a sensible solution.”

    This is right way to give our cats the place of their choice. Because I have observed it that many cats means nearly 85% cats want to live within their own territory. And more over we can also train our kittens to not do this or that. They are clever creatures of Allah Subhanahu, they learn quickly.

    I have experienced that cats which are affiliated with owners are often careful with many habits that owner likes/ dislikes. Do(s) & Don’t(s) are the main lessons that a kitten should learn before she becomes a full grown up cat.

    Many owners don’t care the age of kitten-hood and they just leave them on their choice. Well! this is dangerous for future. Likewise, if I leave my child on his own choice. Let our kittens be consider as our children, start from 7th week with PREP, Class 1, Class 2 and so on.

    Go ahead for basic training and skills. Provide a free, fearless space for your cat. With every thing which let the cat feels that she is not a human being but by nature . . . . a cat.

    The same let yourself prepare for many natural events that can possibly happen if . . . . and only if you want a cat at home. Are we really prepared for the circumstances??? 🙂

    • Thanks Ahsan. Rudolph Furtado in India suggests training. Cats can be trained but it does take some patience. I have some pages on that on PoC:

      I feel that most people won’t train. Most people will punish their cat but squirting water on their cat and I disagree with that. I suppose squirting water is easier than training!

      • Ahsan ul Haq says:

        They say, Rome was not built in a day, Michael.

        I am against to go for any shortcut with my cats otherwise, I will loose their LOVE. And I will be FAILED in WELFARE for them 🙁

        Simple example:
        Our own children are like kittens in the early time of their childhood. We (parents & teachers) give time to them. Then after a long tenure of exercises and many ups n downs, they become decent. On the other hand their (from their Brain, heart, spirit to body, they remain FERAL HUMANS).

        Personally, I want to learn. I want to spend time in Humans and Cats. I want to discover the TRUTH of the nature for why I am born as a human. 🙁

        I may request every cat/ kitten lover to please never be ashamed of calling yourself Father or MOM of the (Cats/kittens) creatures of Allah Subhanahu. Actually our parents have acted as caretakers for us.

        I always say here, “YES, I am the fathers of cats/kittens. And I have no hesitation about it. <3 <3 <3

        Thank you Michael, today is my LAILA bath and grooming day. Combing, ears check, teeth check, nails check (remember, I never cut her nails and she never scratch to me, I can cut her nails and she never show aggression but being in nature is best for her). I clean her poo and with warm cotton, I give her the touch of her MOM's tongue to every part of the body. Alas I was a VET, I would have done every cat owner a favor in minimum/least price and my clinic's name would have been "LIVE LONG CATS" VET HOME/CLINIC.

        I am not a greedy or HURRY UP kind of man. Patience is the key and time always takes its whole round. 🙂

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