Petkeen is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commision. Learn More

How to Keep Cats Away From Certain Areas (10 Proven Methods)

Kathryn Copeland

Our cats certainly know how to get a reaction out of us, whether it’s not being able to resist that adorable face that needs a good scratching or dealing with the aftermath of your cat jumping up on the counter and knocking over your favorite vase.

If you want to keep your cat out of a specific room or off your dining room table, we have 10 safe methods for you to try. Whatever your reasons are, some of these tricks should be effective to keep your cat away from any room or location that you want.

divider-cat

1. Don’t Give Your Cat Attention

One of the most important things to do is not give your cat any attention when your cat goes into the area or starts an unwanted behavior. Your attention is exactly what your cat wants, even if it’s negative, so giving your cat what they most desire is almost like a reward.

If you ignore the behavior, your cat will probably get bored and find something else to do (hopefully, not another bad behavior). It’s not always practical, however, to ignore the behavior, so you’ll want to do this in conjunction with some other methods.

cat beside owner
Image Credit: Piqsels

2. Keep Doors Closed

If your cat is wreaking havoc in a room, do the obvious thing and keep the door closed. If your cat is particularly sneaky, ensure that you quickly close the door behind you when entering and exiting and make sure the entire family does the same.

If this room doesn’t have a door, install one or put up a barrier that your cat can’t get through. If your cat isn’t especially athletic, you might be able to use a simple pet gate.

Related Read: How to Keep Your Cat from Running Out the Door (5 Tips)

cat near closed door
Image Credit: JMoreira93, Shutterstock

3. Scent Deterrents

You can also use a scent that your cat dislikes on an area. This will make the space unattractive to cats, and they might go out of their way to avoid it.

Scents that cats tend to dislike include:

  • Citrus fruit (lime, lemon, orange, grapefruit)
  • Cinnamon
  • Mint (peppermint, wintergreen)
  • Vinegar
  • Menthol (eucalyptus)
  • Rosemary, thyme, rue
  • Lavender, geranium
  • Anything hot and spicy (pepper, curry)
orange peel
Image Credit: Pixabay

You can purchase deterrents online or make your own, as long as you are aware that essential oils are toxic to cats. If you choose to use essential oils, they need to be significantly diffused and never sprayed on or near your cat.

It’s usually safest to go with commercially made pet deterrents because these are made to be safe around pets, such as a noise and scent spray that uses pheromones.


4. Sound Deterrents

Cats dislike sudden and loud noises! However, it’s best if your cat doesn’t actually see you make the noise. For example, if the area that you want to prevent your cat from going on is your kitchen counter, clapping your hands or yelling won’t work.

You need to be sneaky, so try putting stones, dry beans, or coins in a jar or can. When your cat jumps on the counters, shake the jar, but don’t let your cat see you do it. You want your cat to associate an unpleasant experience with the counter, not with you.

There are also motion detector sprays that can be set up on surfaces and will make a loud hissing sound when your cat goes near it. This will startle your cat away without you clearly making the noise.

cat near window
Image Credit: Piqsels

5. Taste Deterrents

If the area that you want to keep your cat out of is due to your cat chewing on things, you can make these things taste bad. There are anti-chew bitter sprays available that can be used on surfaces, such as electrical wires or furniture.

You can do something similar yourself by smearing hot sauce on any items, but this can be rather messy.

cat after eating food from a plate
Image Credit: mik ulyannikov, Shutterstock

6. Touch Deterrents

To keep your cat from scratching or jumping on your tables, you can use things like double-sided sticky tape for these surfaces (cats dislike sticky stuff on their paws).

You can also try things like aluminum foil placed on a surface or on the floor near the place that you want your cat to stay away from. Cats don’t like the feel or sound of aluminum foil on their feet.

cat lying on the floor
Image Credit: Piqsels

7. Uncomfortable Area

If you make the area uncomfortable for your cat, there will undoubtedly be less interest in it. For example, if you want your cat to stop going into a specific room, play loud music and spray an unappealing scent in it. If the area isn’t welcoming for your cat, they won’t have the same attraction to it.

disinfectant
Image Credit: Pixabay

8. Redirection

When your cat starts heading in the direction of the place that you want them to avoid, just use redirection. Even if the cat just starts to look at that spot, start playing or petting your cat as a way to distract them from it.

You should ensure that your cat has plenty of enrichment toys and fun places to play in, such as cat trees, high perches, and other spaces that will make them happy. If you spend enough time playing with your cat, and there’s a comfortable and entertaining space always available, the naughty behavior won’t happen as often (or at all).

Cats are much like toddlers and would prefer negative attention from you than no attention at all. When cats see you reacting every time they jump on the table, they’re getting exactly what they want. So, give them what they want, but only when they aren’t going to that forbidden place.

cat playing
Image Credit: Flensshot, Pixabay

9. Be Consistent

Once you start enforcing these rules, you need to be consistent, or your cat will never learn. If you’re trying to keep your cat out of a room, you must not ever let your cat in this room at any time. If you occasionally allow your cat in but then deter them at other times, this will only prove to be confusing.

You should also be clear with anyone else in the household about the rule. If your children allow your cat in the forbidden room, this is not consistent. Be sure everyone is on the same page.

cat sitting on the floor
Image Credit: Piqsels

10. Don’t Use Punishment

Punishing your cat will only reinforce your cat attempting to go to that space. You’ll break your bond, and your cat will fear you and won’t associate the punishment with the behavior. Cats are smart, but they can’t understand why you’re yelling (or worse).

It’s important that your cat doesn’t see you obviously using any of the deterrents. Just keep a cool head, and remember that patience and love are the best methods when working with your cat.

Related Read: How to Discipline Your Cat (the Right Way)

mans hand on cat's head
Image Credit: Piqsels

divider-cat

Conclusion

Be prepared to be sneaky. If you opt for deterrents that you need to set off yourself, you’ll need to do so without your cat seeing you. Shake that jar or spray that scent when your cat isn’t looking, or you will be associated with the deterrent rather than the room, the counter, or the furniture.

Remember that not all these methods will work for each cat, so you might need to try out a few different techniques until you figure out what will work for your cat. We hope that by following our methods, you’ll find one that works for your cat, and your extra playtime and attention will keep your cat happy enough to forget all about that forbidden area.


Featured Image Credit: Piqsels

Kathryn Copeland

Kathryn was a librarian in a previous lifetime and is currently a writer about all things pets. When she was a child, she hoped to work in zoos or with wildlife in some way, thanks to her all-consuming love for animals. Unfortunately, she's not strong in the sciences, so she fills her days with researching and writing about all kinds of animals and spends time playing with her adorable but terribly naughty tabby cat, Bella. Kathryn is hoping to add to her family in the near future – maybe another cat and a dog.