How to Keep Cats From Going Up the Stairs

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Keep your cat away from stairs by physically barricading entry, using scent deterrents or making stairs feel uncomfortable and unappealing.

Cats and Stairs

Cats like going up stairs to climb, assuage their curiosity and to use the surface and angle of carpeted stairs as the ultimate scratching post. Training your cat away from this area of your home allows you to protect your floors as well as keep your kitty away from off-limit areas, such as bedrooms or a basement.

Block it Off

Physically blocking a stairway from cat entry can be a tricky prospect, as cats are good jumpers and climbers, and may mistake your barricade for a jungle gym. Depending on the structure and placement of your stairway, you may be able to install an extra-tall pet gate at the foot of the stairs. A gate with vertical slats or a curved or sloping top edge will make jumping and climbing harder. The gate should have a latch and swinging door that makes it easy for household members to use the stairs without difficulty.

Make Sticky, Noisy Stairs

Make your stairs unappealing by placing double-sided tape on the floor in front of the stairs or placing plastic floor runners with the spiked side up on each step. Your cat won’t like the feel of either. Since cats can bound over several stairs at once, you’ll have to apply the deterrent fairly far up the stairway -- at least within your cat’s leaping range. Another option is to balance metal baking trays on stairs -- a technique that works best on wooden steps. Your cat won’t like the sound of clattering pans falling as she makes her way up the stairs.

Use a Repellent

Use a homemade or commercial cat repellent spray on your stairs -- most are citrus-based, and your cat won’t like the smell. Mothballs, vinegar-soaked rags or coffee grounds hanging in mesh bags on your stairway railing can also send your cat in the opposite direction.

Tip

  • Hide at the top of the stairs with a water squirt bottle and spray your kitty when she starts to come up. Be careful not to spray from the bottom of the steps or she’ll see the stairs as a future escape route.

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