Q: My cat is food-obsessed! I know that it can be a metabolic issue, diabetes, or a dislike of his dry food . . . but my kitty has none of these issues. How do you discipline a cat when he steals food and breaks dishes?!

A: That's one problem with kitties – they're so agile, they can often hop and climb onto places we'd rather not have them (read: countertops) leaving things we'd rather not have (read: cat hair in our food)! My first recommendation would be to try to keep the food as far away from your pet as possible. If you've got a cat that can get into a cabinet or the fridge, consider securing the doors of temptation with duct tape or looping handles together with a string before you leave the house. It's an extra step but, if your cat's as wily as I'm imagining, it may be your best bet. Now keeping your kitty off the counter to begin with is a different story altogether so read more.

  • Attach duct tape sticky side up or double-sided tape to the counters. Place three or four long strips onto your cat's favorite tabletop areas about three inches apart (for duct tape, add a perpendicular strip to hold those down). When his paws reach the stickiness, he should be diverted.
  • Tape sheets of aluminum foil to the edges and tops of the surface. Many cats don't like the crinkly sound when they land on the silvery surface, and the tape secures and deters them from thinking it's a toy.
  • Consider spraying counter tops with a mixture of either lemon juice and water or vinegar and water – the smell alone can keep them away . . . but possibly you, too!

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