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How to Keep Cats Off of Furniture

by Alan Jones August 18, 2023

How to Keep Cats Off of Furniture

The age-old question for cat owners is how to keep cats off of tables and furniture, keeping your cat and your couch happy for a longer time.

There are many ways to keep your cat off the furniture, from giving them a better alternative to discouraging them with punishments like a spray bottle.

Not wanting your cat on the furniture is standard. I needed to keep my cat Toothless off the expensive couches I inherited from my grandmother, and I didn't like him walking on the counter where I prepared food.

So I searched for different ways of keeping him on his side of the house, from aluminum foil to citrus peels (I even bought a sky-high tower for the little monster).

Here I'll bring you my favorite solutions and how well they worked.

Why Do Cats Like to Be On The Furniture So Much

The first step to keeping cats off furniture is understanding why they like it up there.

It might seem like the first thing a cat does when it gets into your house is going on the one piece of furniture you don't want it on, but from the cat's perspective, it's making a strategic decision about height.

Cats have the instinct to be higher than everyone else to be higher in the hierarchy. It's also a great hunting instinct that drives cats to get a better view of potential prey.

The furniture naturally gets them higher off the ground so they can get a better view of the things around them while feeling superior to you.

It would help if you remembered that some cats can be persistent, devious, and manipulative. They might want to go on the furniture just because they know you don't want them up there, and they like to show that you're not the boss of them.

Cats view us as their equals (and some view us as inferior), so they don't like it when we tell them what to do.

Give Them Lots of High Places and Scratching Posts Meant For Them

As I mentioned, your cat wants to be up high to feel better than you and have a better chance of catching prey.

They will gravitate to furniture, especially the backs of couches, tables, or counters (some cats like to jump on top of the fridge or cabinets).

Instead, give them tall cat trees and platforms they can use to get high. You can get cat trees that go floor to ceiling, palatial cat trees with comfy beds to sleep in, or even hanging platforms you can affix to the wall at different heights.

Bonus points if these have scratching posts included. Every cat household should have plenty of scratching posts to keep kitty claws out of the furniture.

Move the Furniture Around

If there's a particular piece of furniture your cat likes more than others, chances are it's a comfy, happy place for them. They want the place it's in, and that's why they're there.

My cat Toothless loved the back of the couch because it was against the window, and he could look out at the birds, so much so he ignored the ceiling-tall cat tree I brought him.

When I moved the couch away from the window and replaced it with the cat tree, it was suddenly his favorite spot.

Sometimes, moving the furniture and disrupting the fuzzy feelings of the same-old same-old is enough to keep them off the furniture.

Never Feed Them on the Furniture

Any place associated with food will be a cat's favorite place. It's crucial to keep food strictly from any spot.

You don't want them hanging around, hoping for a meal. Always feed them in an area far from the tables and furniture you want them away from.

Make Lots Of Noise

No one likes getting yelled at when they make a mistake, and cats are no different.

Loud noises can be a significant deterrent, telling them they're doing something wrong and giving them a good reason not to do it again.

Most people do this by yelling, but if you live somewhere you're not concerned about neighbors, you can also do it with stomping, clapping, singing, a foghorn, or another noisemaker to give your cat a fright that will make them think twice about the furniture.

Aluminum Foil or Double-Sided Tape

The secret to how to keep cats off of furniture is to make tables and furniture as unattractive as possible.

A great way to do this is to make them unpleasant for little cat toe-beans and ears. The feel and sound of walking on aluminum foil, for instance, can be enough to scare cats away. Taping strips down on table tops can keep them away.

Another option is a double-sided tape, which sticks to their paws and fur and makes them go nuts because "something is touching me, and I don't like it!" Getting tape on him has always driven my cat Toothless bonkers, so double-sided tape keeps him off the tops of counters.

Citrus Peels

Concerning things that make cats want to run away, citrus is a natural cat repellent. They hate the smell, and it's safe and non-toxic for them.

Plus, added benefit, it'll make your house smell great. Try keeping it in little sachets on the tables and furniture you want to keep your cats away from.

Squirt Bottle

When all else fails, no one likes getting sprayed with water from a bottle, and cats hate water a little more than most of us.

Spraying them can be a great message to tell them that furniture and tables are not the hills they want to die on.


Finding ways to keep cats off of tables and furniture is a trial and error process to find the best method for your house and cat.

My cat Toothless didn't have any problem walking over aluminum foil but will avoid citrus peels like it's radioactive waste (even though it's non-toxic), and you'll probably find that your cat has individual preferences too.

Let us know in the comments below what your favorite way to keep your cats off the furniture is, and check out our website for more tips and tricks on living with your cat.

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