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PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2011 7:39 pm 
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Senior Bengal

Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 6:09 pm
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*This is a little long - but I tried to give detail*

I have tried EVERYTHING to keep Atreyu (now 8 months old) off the kitchen counters! From the get-go when I brought him home mid-Oct 2010 he was not allowed on the counters. It wasn’t an issue until he figured out that he could get up there.

I turn the corner and hear him jumping off the kitchen counters. He knows he’s not supposed to be up there, so he jumps off and runs when we find him on the counters. I know you have to be careful with punishing Bengals, but I don’t know what to do . . . and he STILL jumps up there.

I’ve tried . . .

Scuffing him and a stern “NO” and spanking his bottom (he gets the fact that he’s been bad, but he still jumps up the second we walk out)

Locking him in the bathroom for 3-5 mins (again, he gets the fact that he’s been bad, but he still jumps up on the counters)

Small tape squares lining the counter tops (this became a toy . . . no luck)

Aluminum on the counter tops (did really care about the texture or sound it made)

Lining the counter tops with soda cans with a few coins in them (this also became a toy once he found them. He’d jump up and knock them all down and bat them around)

Plastic rug runners placed upside-down on the counters so the plastic spikes faced up (would still jump up and walk across them – didn’t seem bothered at all)

A shock pad that gives an electric shock when he touches it (while this worked for the first two days – he discovered that there’s a delay and he won’t get shocked if he can get off of it after his initial leap onto the counters)


I’m really at my wits end about this (as are my two roommates)! There’s no way to keep him out of the kitchen either (due to the floor plan). We never leave dishes in the sink for him to lick or sniff (in his eyes, a reward for jumping up). It’s a safety concern! While it won’t kill him that he was licking our guacamole bowl or nibbling on pasta leftovers, he’s going to get hurt! I’ve been cooking, left to use the bathroom quickly, and came back to find him licking broth from a pan on the hot stove that was set to boil! BAD BOY! I’m so frustrated with him! I grabbed him and said “NO!” and bopped him on the head a few times. While my roommates and I were eating we heard him jump up again to sniff where the pot had been and the veggies had been cut. I was too frustrated to go in there and punish him (knowing that my punishment might get out of hand due to my anger).

A lot of people say “Oh, they’re just cats; they want to see what’s up there. They’re doing no harm.” NO!!!! This is not an excuse to let the cat wander wherever it pleases! Especially Bengals, who are supposed to be so smart! Why doesn’t he get this?! He knows he gets punished! He is a smart boy too! I’ve taught him to use the human toilet (yes, like Meet the Parents – and it was the best decision of my life! Check out the pictures in the Gallery section: Atreyu - Toilet Trained) and clicker trained him (he knows ‘target’, ‘sit’, and ‘paw’). He knows not to follow me into the laundry room when I go in (it’s also a work room with saws and nails all over. I don’t want him to get hurt. The compromise is that I leave the door open so he can see me, and he doesn’t come in. He sits patiently at the boundary. It only took him a few weeks to learn that if he doesn’t come in, the door will stay open for him to watch while I’m in there).

I really don’t know what to do with him! ANY advice would be appreciated. It’s hard to come home and want to cuddle and play with him, but see him jump up on the counters and have to ignore him for the rest of the night (NOTE: He isn’t doing this out of boredom either, he normally gets lots of play time and (clicker) training time. He also gets lots of enrichment cardboard boxes with treats and kibble shoved inside).


HELP!!!!

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2011 8:00 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Sun Aug 08, 2010 6:12 pm
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Location: Scotland - Paisley
First of all scruffing him and smacking his bum is not what I would call a justifiable action!

I am sorry to tell you this but this is normal cat behaviour, cats are inquisitive and they like to climb on things, so your counters kill two birds with one leap.

There have been hundreds ask the question before you, and probably hundreds will ask the question after you, and the answer will most likely be the same from the majority - Get used to it because it's not going to change.

While we are on the subject, it is not a bengal thing, all cats do it, bengals do seem to like high places more than other cats but I would like to bet that anyone who has a cat with access to kitchen counters will get up there even if the owner thinks otherwise.

I saw a program on TV a while back where this very subject was brought up and the owner swore black was white her cat never jumped up in the worktops or the table - they put some florescent dye on the cats feet and checked the next day to see where it had been - EVERYWHERE!

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2011 8:12 pm 
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Senior Bengal

Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 6:09 pm
Posts: 97
I know that all cats, I'm sure, do this . . . I'm just looking for help making him quit. Honestly, if the best I can do is have him off the counters while I'm home, I'd consider that a success!!! He can do what he wants when I'm not there - there's never anything left out for him.

My friend in college had a cat and she yelled at him once when he was little about being on the counters and he never tried it again. He was great for the college apartment. I figure Bengals would be an even quicker learn

:cry:

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Last edited by SafariCat7 on Thu Mar 24, 2011 8:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2011 8:23 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:28 am
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Location: UK
i dont really think i can be of any help, i tried for almost a year to keep shiloh off the counters, when i had just him... but no matter what i tried he would persist and still does... i just always have safe 4 pets detergent out and am constantly wiping the counters down, i do it so many times a day its a joke really... your right bengals are intelligent and quick to learn, but they are also stubborn, willful and want their own way.... xx

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2011 8:33 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat
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Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2010 12:02 am
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Location: Hertfordshire
Been there ...... My advice would be to just give up and accept it, as others have mentioned .......... it's not going to change. Yes, Bengals are very, very intelligent but my experience is that they learn what they want to learn and you just have to live with the rest of it.

Get some cat friendly disinfectant and add washing counters to the list of daily "Bengal Chores" :lol:


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2011 8:44 pm 
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Senior Bengal

Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 6:09 pm
Posts: 97
Thank you everyone to your replies!!

I do wipe the counters down daily (before and after any food prep) with a pet safe cleaner - since I know he gets up there.

My concern isn't him walking on the counters with dirty paws or anything - it's for his safety!

As I said in my original post, he jumps up and get into some dangerous situations, with very HOT liquids, hot, and sharp kitchen things, and foods that he shouldn't be eating (although, if he gets sick maybe he'll learn his lesson - One of my roommates did suggest this as a solution; making him sick from something up there. While I feel like that's a bit far to go, he threatens to leave loads of chile paste in things he leaves out to bait the cat).

I remember he trotted into my room one night while I was reading and I flipped out that he was bleeding from his mouth!! I found my roommates and asked what he'd gotten into. We couldn't find a thing! Turns out, he was licking the pasta sauce my roommate had left on the counter to cool . . .

HELP!

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 6:41 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Fri Aug 14, 2009 10:11 pm
Posts: 933
Louise-paisley wrote:
they put some florescent dye on the cats feet and checked the next day to see where it had been - EVERYWHERE!
:lol: :lol:

they are just little monkeys and I believe sometimes they just love the excitement of doing something they know p*sses you off - after all its just another 'activity' to them

If its safety you're worried about he'll learn soon enough when he has a bad experience - I used to be paranoid about mine jumping onto our log burner when it was lit .. in the end I just could be there 24/7 .... finally one day Bella did the deed and burnt her paws, not nice for her but she's never been on it since even when it's unlit.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 7:19 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat
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If you are really really really determined to keep your cat off the counter, in general, positive reinforcement is going to work a lot better than negative reinforcement (all your methods are negative). You'd have to find (provide) an activity that your cat will always prefer to jumping on the counter, and that is difficult given that it is a fun, high surface with all kinds of interesting smells, and occasional delicious food.

I think you could probably do it if you provided some other real appealing cat tree nearby, where they could watch the action while you are in the kitchen. Then kept the counter clear of all food, and think of some way to disassociate food preperation from the possibility of them getting a treat. Or maybe even better to teach them that they *will* get the desired treat, but only if they are on their tree, not on the counter surface.

To me though, it's just too hard. I give them a shot from the water bottle when they are being too rambunctious just to impress upon them that I don't want them up there, just to make them less bold about it and not hassle me while I'm preparing food. But it's too difficult to prevent them from doing it in general. Plus the fact that we all got bengals because we wanted fun-loving, active cats, so this sort of behavior is part of that package deal.

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Last edited by brianj12 on Fri Mar 25, 2011 7:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 7:20 pm 
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Bengal Cat

Joined: Fri Oct 29, 2010 9:09 am
Posts: 38
Location: Norwich
we gave up trying to get vince off the kitchen work tops after a few months, he knows its wrong, i think that makes him enjoy it more!

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 7:26 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 4:40 pm
Posts: 957
Location: uk
I wish I could offer some advice to you, but unfortunately my only advice is to either close the kitchen door so your bengal can't get near the worktops OR give up & accept they WILL go where they want to.....

I have had cats ALL my life & I have to say that bengals are in no way unique in surfing the worktops.. Cats are by nature inquisitive & athletic.

If you are REALLY worried about your bengal being hurt, then the easiest thing is to turn stoves off if you leave the room.

Honestly, negative reinforcment is highly unlikely to work & as others have said bengals are VERY active & athletic & inqusitive & the &'s could go on.......

Smacking, scolding, spraying is only likely to antagonise your cat..... :cry:

Katie xx


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 8:12 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2007 3:43 pm
Posts: 2445
Location: France (Dijon)
I don't have any solution, except perhaps letting him hurt himself not too badly once... :roll:

Chaos can't jump anyway, but Onyx can, and never really saw him on the worktops (but above the high cupboards, yes :lol: ). Perhaps that's because when he was smaller, I had to leave in a hurry, I left a hot pan on the stove (turned off, but the water inside was still hot) and when I came home, I found him with frizzled whiskers... :lol:

"Chat échaudé craint l'eau froide" as the french proverb says (a scalded cat fears cold water) so I guess that's why he never did it again...

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 4:18 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 7:20 pm
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Location: Colorado, USA
Cats in general work far better for positive reinforcement then negative. They usually do not 'regret' something if you get mad at them, they just get sneakier...lol.

For my crew, I use treats or favorite toys to reward an OKAY spot and train them that it is the greatest place in the world.....causing the counter to lose some interest. Each cat is different, but of my four cats (2 bengals), 3 pretty much never get on the counter now and my 4th is in training.

First pick an alternative location that he will love. Usually it has to be high, like a stool, top of a fridge, something where they can look down and survey usually. If they don't mind the floor, you can put a bed or a towel on the edge of the kitchen and train there. Then reward like CRAZY for being on that spot. Treat after favorite treat (cut them up super small so you don't overload the food amounts). I use cooked chicken bits most of the time. One of mine LOVES wand toys, and so when she sits on her 'spot' for awhile, I reward it with a few swings of the wand. I keep it in my back pocket in between rewards (odd, and it jingles in my ear, but it works).

After he understands this is the greatest spot EVA, start building up time in between treats. Might be 30 seconds, 2 minutes, whatever time he will stay put for. If he moves, wait until he returns, then reward again at a high frequency. You can eventually start doing this while you cook, while you clean, etc. Extend the time in between treats gradually. Carry some treats in a baggy in your pocket....if you walk by randomly during the day and he is sitting on his spot, give him a treat. Now, if he is on the counter and rushes to his spot, only reward after he has been on his spot for a period of time...like 30-60 seconds. You don't want the reward to be 'race from counter to spot', you want it to be clear it is for sitting on the spot only.

Eventually (usually after a couple weeks), you really fade the treats out. One of my cats only gets rewards for being on his spot about once every 6 months....but that was after lots of repetition for a few weeks. So don't think you have to have treats forever.....just in the beginning.

Also, in combination with this keep the counter as clear as you can of any rewards. Food, crumbs, bags, boxes, anything that will peak their curiosity. It might require putting away more then you are used to, one of my cats could care less about food but 'new things' on the counter...even a cup, is OMG COOL. Because she is an 'inspector', I tend to toss random things on the floor for her to see to distract from counter exploration. Grocery bags, a new box every couple of days, an empty food box, a paper cup. I don't have trash laying around, but if there are things on the counter she wants to see, I put something on the floor of higher value for an hour and she forgets about it.

Second, try not to make too much 'drama' over being on the counter. I do tell my crew 'off' when I find them on the counter if they don't jump down when they see me, but its very quiet, calm, and I don't give them a ton of attention. Sometimes they will do it just to get you to come 'get them', so you don't want it to turn into a game. Also, if the counter surfing continues, watch for patterns. One of my cats gets in 'trouble' when she is hungry or bored. So I try and stay aware and give her attention BEFORE she starts finding trouble. Usually she has given me some signs beforehand....like digging in her toy box, sitting in the middle of the room staring me down......those almost always precede her getting in trouble. I try and search out ways to reward 'good' communication signals as much as I can, because in the end they will default to those if they know they work. :)

Good luck!!

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:47 pm 
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I can't believe what I read in this topic. If you don't take the advice giving you are on your way of creating a very unhappy scared and beyond recovery bengal. Bengals are smart as you stated. What do you think? He won't remember what you do to him?

Do I love my bengals? Do they love me? Do they come to me for comfort? Do they come to me to comfort me when I am down or in pain? Yes yes yes yes. And I did not get there by scuffing them, spanking them, shocking them, ignoring them, locking them up, punishing them, making them sick from something on the counter.

I can't believe you are serious about these methods!

Do I tell my bengals 'off' counters and diner table? Yes, but like Erin in a normal quiet way. Do they stay off? When I am around mostly yes. When I am not around, no way. THEY ARE BENGALS!! If you want your cat to stay off places not allowed, get a battery operated toycat.

One of my bengals jumps on the kitchen counter and yells at me: "Hey, I am on the counter. I know I am not allowed so I'll let you know I am here. Are you coming? HEY!!! HELLO?? ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME? I AM ON THE COUNTER!"

Do I get mad? No this only makes me laugh and love her even more. Smart girl!

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2011 2:39 pm 
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I just keep the door shut......


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2011 2:50 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

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Ifness wrote:
I can't believe what I read in this topic. If you don't take the advice giving you are on your way of creating a very unhappy scared and beyond recovery bengal. Bengals are smart as you stated. What do you think? He won't remember what you do to him?

Do I love my bengals? Do they love me? Do they come to me for comfort? Do they come to me to comfort me when I am down or in pain? Yes yes yes yes. And I did not get there by scuffing them, spanking them, shocking them, ignoring them, locking them up, punishing them, making them sick from something on the counter.

I can't believe you are serious about these methods!

Do I tell my bengals 'off' counters and diner table? Yes, but like Erin in a normal quiet way. Do they stay off? When I am around mostly yes. When I am not around, no way. THEY ARE BENGALS!! If you want your cat to stay off places not allowed, get a battery operated toycat.

One of my bengals jumps on the kitchen counter and yells at me: "Hey, I am on the counter. I know I am not allowed so I'll let you know I am here. Are you coming? HEY!!! HELLO?? ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME? I AM ON THE COUNTER!"

Do I get mad? No this only makes me laugh and love her even more. Smart girl!



good post xx

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