Sometimes, you need to keep cats off furniture or away from certain areas in your home like kitchen counters. One effective way to do this is combine behavior modification using positive reinforcement with some simple and safe homemade cat repellents.
Keep a Cat Away From Problem Areas
The best way to keep a cat away from areas you do not want them to get into is to block their access completely , such as with a closed door. However, that's not always possible with how homes and apartments are laid out. Using a cat repellant can deter your cat from going into areas you want them out of or jumping on, but it will only be truly effective if you provide your cat with an equally desirable place for him to go.
Homemade Cat Repellents
Most of these cat repellents can be made cheaply with some supplies available at your local grocery, hardware or craft store. Make sure you use items that are safe for your cat as you want the repellent to be annoying but not harmful or toxic in any way.
Cat Spike Mat
This repellent works by making a surface that your cat will not enjoy walking on placed as a barrier around off-limits area like house plants or your counters. For this repellent you will need these supplies:
- Double sided tape, sticky on both sides and three-inches wide
- One plastic floor chair mat: This is the kind of mat you put under an office chair and is clear on top with plastic points on the bottom. Make sure the points are rounded as you want them to be uncomfortable to the cat but not sharp enough to hurt him.
- Good sharp scissors to cut through the plastic floor mat
To make the cat spike mat, follow these steps:
- First, you'll need to find all the places you do not want your cat to go. Make a map or floor plan of where you are going to make your boundaries. Remember, this is not forever, but long enough to train your cat.
- Once you have your plan, you want to cut your tape, and place it on the floor where you do not want the cat to go.
- Then, cut the plastic mat to the same width as the tape you just cut, and put it on top of the tape, make sure to place it upside down with the plastic tips pointing up.
Another way to deter cats from accessing certain areas is to use scent. There are many scents, like lavender and citrus, that humans find pleasant but cats find offensive and will avoid. These repellents can be used to keep cats away from any area such as counters or house plants but they may not be as effective the larger the area is scents work better in smaller spots where they can be concentrated. Some common scent repellents include:
- A mixture in a spray bottle of cinnamon, rosemary, lavender, tangerine and vinegar.
- A solution of equal amounts of apple cider vinegar and water in a spray bottle.
- Spritz a small amount of fresh lemon or orange juice in a spray bottle with two drops of eucalyptus oil.
Another option is to take any of these solutions and put them in a small diffuser that is essential oils friendly and put in the area you want your cat to avoid.
Some cat owners make "noise traps" by placing items that will make a loud sound if your cat goes into the area. These are commonly used on areas that cat is jumping onto but can't see the surface of from the bottom, such as a kitchen counter. Items might be a few metal utensils, balloons, empty soda cans, marbles or pots. The problem with these traps is they may seriously frighten your cat which can cause other behavior problems, not to mention they can damage your floors depending on what you use and the flooring you have. Your cat may also hurt himself leaping off the counter in fear.
Along the same idea as the cat spike mat, you can place items around areas your cat shouldn't be going that your cat will avoid walking or jumping on. Aluminum foil is one substance that cats dislike and placing sheets of it around a house plant or on the edges of a counter can be a deterrent to some cats.
Using a Cat Repellent Effectively
Once you've made your cat repellent and placed it where you want the cat to stay away, provide a place for your cat that he'll love. Some excellent ideas are cat scratching posts, multi-tiered cat trees, cat shelves on the wall, window perches and tunneling toys. Some cats will even go nuts over a simple used cardboard box which can work out if you have the space and don't mind it sitting around your house. Follow these steps once you've created a spot, or several spots, for him:
- Take him to his "happy place" a few times a day.
- Talk to him in a happy voice, brush him, play with toys and give him treats there. Basically you want use whatever he loves most to show him that this is an awesome place to hang out.
- Rub the area with catnip as well to make it extra enticing.
- Whenever your cat goes near the undesirable place when you're home and can supervise, simply pick him up quietly and take him to the "happy place" and reinforce him with good things for being there.
- Be patient as this process can take some time but eventually your cat will want to be where good things happen and avoid places that are unpleasant to be in.
Redirect Your Cat
Cat repellents, whether store-bought or homemade, can do a good job of keeping your cat out of places and away from your furniture, but they're only ultimately as good as your training plan. This means providing your cats with alternate "approved" kitty spots that he or she will find enjoyable and teaching your cat with patience and positive reinforcement. If you're consistent and work with your cat's unique personality, you should have your cat gravitating towards his or her "happy place" soon enough!