Q: My Russian Blue cat, Janelle, likes to jump onto my dining table whenever we have dinner. How do I teach her that it’s inappropriate? She is generally not allowed in the kitchen and eating areas but she has free run of the rest of the house, including our coffee tables and writing desks. Is that why she cannot tell the difference?

A: Cats have a very keen sense of smell and taste. I doubt that they can tell the difference between a table and a chair, so the reason why Janelle is jumping on your dining table is because she is probably attracted to your food. There are two things you can do to stop this behaviour:

  • Feed your feline just before your dinner time; with canned food if possible as it is more appetising and savoury. Once she has filled her belly, she will clean herself and look for a comfortable spot to rest. Now it’s time for you to have your own dinner. Cats are very good climbers; forest cats such as the Norwegian and Siberian are very good examples. Russian Blues have a very lean profile, which make them good at climbing to high places. Persians on the other hand are very bad at climbing. So tables to Janelle are just a different type of platform. She is unlikely to be able to tell the difference between the tables; it’s the smell of food that is enticing her. Try to do this daily until she gets used to the routine.
  • If she ever climbs onto the dining table again, you need to reprimand her. A stern “No!” with a loud clap will get your message through, saying that “You are not allowed up here.” There are certain boundaries that we should adhere to with our pets; hygiene is one of them. We cannot be sharing food with our pets and you should reinforce that with Janelle.

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