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Time Out/Discipline

John Campbell

Site Supporter
Staff member
#1
Having a small issue with Elsa... With her new found jumping skills, she is jumping up onto the Kitchen Counter... Worst thing that she has done so far is to break a salt shaker (at least it was a dry easy mess to vacuum up). I know she knows better, but she does it anyway... She knows when I catch her she is going to get time out in the bathroom with no play toys... I usually give her 5-10 minutes, never more than 15. As soon as she is caught she knows what to expect... (Penalty Time)... She is so used to it now that when she see's me, just jumps down, and runs to the penalty box so to speak (doesn't hide). Sometimes she doesn't even hide what she is doing and when I am working in the kitchen she will jump up there and just look at me... I will either pick her up, or again, she will run to the Penalty Box on her own.. I close the door and she meows a bit and eventually I let her out. I know if I give her too long that it won't help because she won't remember why she is being punished... When she does something good I reward her and she knows this.

I know she knows right from wrong... When I say NO.. She knows not to do it... but sometimes her persistence gets the better of her and she does it anyway... Anytime I open the oven door when it is hot, I always lock her up, because 2 times she has tried to get on the DOOR... First time I caught her in mid jump, second time I hollered no and she stopped... When I put her in lockup during that time... It is only during opening and closing the oven door.

When I pick her up in her room, just is just as calm and peaceful and always purring...

What else can I do, I don't believe in corporal punishment as I do not see that as a big deterrent. Any advice, or should I just basically give up and chase her off the counter... Luckily, she has not tried the Kitchen Table... When I am not there nothing up there of interest.
 

WitchyWoman

Admin
Staff member
#2
1. You can arm your house with scat mats, air horns, sticky tape and spend a lot of time using positive reinforcement and clicker training her to stay off certain surfaces, or,

2. You can learn to live with it.

Invest in a copy of Marilyn Krieger's Naughty No More. She covers this topic. It's important to identify why she's up there -- curiosity, taking charge, looking for a snack. One thing Marilyn recommends is using plastic placemats on counters with the top covered in sticky tape. Brigitte put stools near her counters so her cats could see what was going on and feel part of the action; however,

As a lot of us have experienced, they can be trained to be angels when you're around and still get on the counters when you're not home or in the room.
 

John Campbell

Site Supporter
Staff member
#3
1. You can arm your house with scat mats, air horns, sticky tape and spend a lot of time using positive reinforcement and clicker training her to stay off certain surfaces, or,

2. You can learn to live with it.

Invest in a copy of Marilyn Krieger's Naughty No More. She covers this topic. It's important to identify why she's up there -- curiosity, taking charge, looking for a snack. One thing Marilyn recommends is using plastic placemats on counters with the top covered in sticky tape. Brigitte put stools near her counters so her cats could see what was going on and feel part of the action; however,

As a lot of us have experienced, they can be trained to be angels when you're around and still get on the counters when you're not home or in the room.
Thanks for the quick advice, I will have to look into that book. Sounds interesting...

Her reason I believe is more Curiosity... Her 2 main focuses are: One the sink... She has a thing for (believe it or not) is the Drain... The only real time she jumps up there when I am in site is if water is running... She has to go look down the drain because she is trying to figure out where the water is going... And the 2nd item of her interest is that she likes to get on and around my "Kitchen Computer"... Yes you heard that right... I do have a computer dedicated to my kitchen, I use it for my recipes, grocery shopping list, and other minor house hold tasks... When I am fixing our meals (Mine, Jake's, and Her's) she doesn't jump up either, even though she can see hers on the counter waiting. Food is never kept on the counter while not cooking for obvious reasons. They both know we all eat at the same time. She never jumps up on the other counter by the stove, and that is where I keep her and Jake's treats, and she has never gotten into any food or damaged anything other than the Salt Shaker...
 

Brigitte Cowell

Moderator
Staff member
#4
It has been my policy to only enforce the "no counters" when I am in the room. And as kittens yes they do persist a bit and try it. I find that the scruffing and putting back on the ground over and over DOES work, just you need to keep calm and just do it over and over.

BUT I also think it important to give the cats somewhere to perch where they can see everything... the temptation to be up on the counter is a whole lot less if they have an acceptable perch to watch from.
Mar28-12-kitchencattree.jpg See in our kitchen, right next to the island counter is a small cat tree. The cats are well-aware that the counter is mine, the tree is okay. They also know that the stools on the other side of the island are also allowed :) I almost always have an audience when cooking.

I wonder with your locking Elsa up when you open and close the oven door you are confusing her on what the rules are. She gets shut up when she jumps on the counter but also seemingly (to her) other times when she hasn't done anything wrong ... yet. I understand why you are doing it, but I think it might be hurting your process too./=
 

John Campbell

Site Supporter
Staff member
#5
It has been my policy to only enforce the "no counters" when I am in the room. And as kittens yes they do persist a bit and try it. I find that the scruffing and putting back on the ground over and over DOES work, just you need to keep calm and just do it over and over.

BUT I also think it important to give the cats somewhere to perch where they can see everything... the temptation to be up on the counter is a whole lot less if they have an acceptable perch to watch from.
View attachment 12289 See in our kitchen, right next to the island counter is a small cat tree. The cats are well-aware that the counter is mine, the tree is okay. They also know that the stools on the other side of the island are also allowed :) I almost always have an audience when cooking.

I wonder with your locking Elsa up when you open and close the oven door you are confusing her on what the rules are. She gets shut up when she jumps on the counter but also seemingly (to her) other times when she hasn't done anything wrong ... yet. I understand why you are doing it, but I think it might be hurting your process too./=
Nice kitchen.. Never thought about the reinforcement with the oven door, I will have to figure out something else for that one.. I like the idea of the cat tree.. I will have to invest in one for the Kitchen... That is not something that I had budgeting for the kitchen, but they are cheap enough to find. that one you have in your kitchen looks like more of a platform than a tree... Can you tell me where you found it at, or is it a custom build? I may not be able to do the tree as soon as I would like because being temporarily unemployed funds are tight right now...
 

Brigitte Cowell

Moderator
Staff member
#6
http://www.squarecathabitat.com/index.php/acacia-cat-tree.html

I love their cat furniture... it's expensive but very well made and the inserts are replaceable hence I see the trees lasting for years and years. I have a larger one in black in the front room also. But expensive, so you might have to wait on employment before thinking about one of them... the large one is stable enough that my largest SV Nina hangs out there all the time.

It works for others too, I've gone into friends' kitchens and when they mention the issue of cats on the counter and I've suggested a cat tree...they've moved one into the kitchen and seen an almost immediate improvement. A new location for a cat tree encourages them to try the new viewpoint out, and then they quickly realize the advantages of that...being able to watch the human at work! So much of the need to be on the counters is just that curiosity factor...
 

John Campbell

Site Supporter
Staff member
#7
http://www.squarecathabitat.com/index.php/acacia-cat-tree.html

I love their cat furniture... it's expensive but very well made and the inserts are replaceable hence I see the trees lasting for years and years. I have a larger one in black in the front room also. But expensive, so you might have to wait on employment before thinking about one of them... the large one is stable enough that my largest SV Nina hangs out there all the time.

It works for others too, I've gone into friends' kitchens and when they mention the issue of cats on the counter and I've suggested a cat tree...they've moved one into the kitchen and seen an almost immediate improvement. A new location for a cat tree encourages them to try the new viewpoint out, and then they quickly realize the advantages of that...being able to watch the human at work! So much of the need to be on the counters is just that curiosity factor...
Looks great, I priced on at $285 the way that I would want it and to match my kitchen... So will have to see how it goes. I have a good Job Prospect hanging on, and if I get it then I will be able to allow my budget to release... Possibly by the middle end of next month if all goes well.
 

Rafiki

Site Supporter
#8
Like Brigitte, I have one just past my kitchen counters. ttp://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=3261+10345+11277+10290&pcatid=10290 It is 32" high and sturdy and she can sit on the platform and watch what is going on. Oddly enough, neither cat uses it as a scratchpost. It is, however, nice and cheap (~$40) and may be good for you in the interim.
My concern is that I have a large kitchen and if I am at the sink and she goes for the stove, it will take me a moment to get around the center island. Like Brigitte, I primarily reinforce when I am in the room but I see evidence (small cat prints on the range) that tell me that I am not doing a great job enforcing when I am not around. Overall, that is OK as I am primarily concerned about her getting hurt (burnt). When I have company staying, I set out the air cans a week ahead of time and that works wonders. She will avoid the counters for a couple of weeks. I have also used the ScatMat. That was hilarious. It charges intermintently so she managed to sniff it, poke at it, etc. and finally had all 4 paws on it before it activated. Can you say "vertical cat"?
 

Rafiki

Site Supporter
#10
These furballs are curious and PERSISTANT. Witchy has learned from experience, like I have (and still am learning).
Definitely! I used to think that anyone who couldn't keep a cat off the counter was an idiot. Now that I have Rafiki, I find myself joining the idiot-brigade! :(