Dear Barb—Kitty Counter

Dear Barb:

A good friend of mine got a kitten, Mitzi, about a year ago.  When she first got her, Mitzi was climbing all over, even on the countertops.  I didn’t think much of it.  I thought they would eventually teach her to stay off, but it’s a year later and she is still on the countertops in the kitchen and the bathrooms.  Even when Jodie is preparing meals Mitzi is right beside her on the countertop.  I have mentioned something about it, but not in an accusatory way, about cats being on countertops, Jodie just laughed and didn’t comment. 

However, she has invited my husband and myself for dinner a few times and I have had to politely decline.  I don’t understand why it doesn’t bother her.  She is a very clean and tidy person otherwise, but for some reason, it doesn’t bother her or her husband that their cat is all over everything. 

They lost their last cat when it was only two years old, and they were both devastated.  I don’t know if that is what has caused them to be this way.  Their other cat did not go on the countertops.  I don’t know if they wouldn’t allow it, or maybe it just wasn’t interested in climbing the way Mitzie is.  I don’t know if I can continue to decline dinner invitations indefinitely.  What would you suggest I do?

Thanks, Lisa. 

Hi Lisa:

Many people allow their cats on the countertops, and some cats will only go on when their owners are not at home.  I believe most cat owners try their best to keep their cats off the counters, but they can’t be 100% sure that, given the opportunity, their cat won’t jump on the counter.  Cats like to be in high places; after all, the view is better from up there.  There are many things that an owner can do to train their cats to stay off the counters, but it is a difficult process, and that is not what you are asking about.

There are many risks to allowing cats on countertops, not only that they can track poop from their litter box on the counter, but they could jump on a hot stove, or eat food that is left out which may be poisonous to them.  I guess all you can do is continue to decline invitations, however, eventually, your friend is going to ask why you do not want to join them for dinner.  At that point, you will be forced to tell the truth and accept the fact that your friends may be offended, or they may be okay with it.  I can’t see a way to avoid this eventually occurring.  Sorry, I couldn’t be more helpful.  Thank you for your question Lisa.

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