Food and Counter-Surfing
Two days ago, I adopted a cat that we lured out of the ceiling at work. They were doing construction behind my office, and they had ripped off a wheelchair accessible ramp to do some work and then they bricked that area up. He had become trapped a week ago, and we got a critter service to get him out of the ceiling. Now he is happy and living at my house. He is very affectionate and I think he has been owned before; as we have had no issues with the litter box (he knew exactly what it was) and he rarely sharpens his claws on things he isn't meant to.
But the large problem I am tackling right now is food and counter surfing. Whenever he smells food he goes nuts. Completely nuts. Anything with chicken, or fish he goes straight for and sticks his head into it. Last night he also tried to eat my tapioca pudding. He also had a brief encounter with a hot stove (electric, flush surface) but there wasn't any damage to his pads so I think he jumped up next to it and it scared him.
I want him to know that our food is off limits to him, and so is anything that isn't in his food dish as well as the kitchen counters and kitchen table. I give him free reign of my desk, window sills, bed and couch, but whenever he thinks we are not paying him enough attention at a counter, he hops up onto it.
My current method is to simply say "down" and either knock him off (gently) or normally i just put him back onto the ground. After a few times of that he gets to stay in the bathroom until I finish cooking.
Is there anything else I should be doing or not doing?
Be consistent, and never ever leave food out on the counter, and he may eventually "get it"! If not you may have to resort to spray bottle (with water), or other methods, but as this is a new situation, just be consistent, and you may be able to break this habit!
I would start with the water squirt bottle now.
Other than that, he is a C A T and this is what they do, some more than others.
As you can see from my siggy, I have a few kitties. I always know who will come running when I am working with chicken, which ones I will see when I prepare fish, and so on. One who has passed on now, Chestnut, went nuts for shrimp (none of the others cared for shrimp!) and would NOT leave until he had 3. Not 2, not 4, THREE. I have no idea what was magic about that number. So any time I had shrimp, I knew 3 were for Chestnut; life was just easier that way. :rolleyes:
With my cats, I kept a squirt bottle of water nearby when they were kittens.
What really works is the motion alarm I got from Lowes. It runs off three AA batteries, and you can set it to doorbell or alarm. I keep mine on the doorbell chime. It also comes with a remote so that I can aim it across the counter without them setting it off elsewhere in the kitchen. Anytime I'm home and hear it go off, I go running (stomping my feet on the floor as I go) towards the kitchen. They quickly learn that when the noise sounds, I'm going to come running. After a while, they hear the noise and get down on their own. Now, they rarely get up on the counter, although if I forget to set the alarm, they (typically Smokey) do tend to get curious.
I have a second one that I leave behind my TV to deter them from going behind the TV and messing with all of the cables.