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Published: Dec 05, 2011

Many cat owners let their felines roam freely throughout the entire home. Although in most cases this freedom is fine, the kitchen countertops or other eating areas should be “off limits”.

If cats are allowed in the kitchen and on the countertops, then there is a higher likelihood that some of their fur or dander may make its way into their owners' food - something most people don't want. In addition, cats feet are exposed to urine and feces in their litterbox and they walk on dirty floors. Allowing them on the countertops could pose a risk of introducing bacteria or possibly parasites to the people in the household. VCA Animal Hospitals also reports that there may be other hazards for cats in the kitchen—including food which is toxic to them or harmful chemicals in cleaning supplies.

According to, most cats enjoy being on the counters because of the height. As a natural predator, cats prefer being up high because it gives them "a commanding view of their world”. It is suggested that owners provide another high area for their cat to perch. Cat towers or other tall pieces of cat furniture will often do the trick. If a cat is very social and likes the kitchen environment, the perch can be positioned near the kitchen—but the kitchen countertops must remain off limits.

Owners should make sure to put away all food and clean all pans and dishes after cooking in order to deter cats from going on the counters or being drawn in by the smell of food. Owners may also consider feeding their cat in another room—such as a porch or an office—to limit how much time they spend in the kitchen.