Cats love climbing over heights and enjoying the occasional treats that they find lying on the countertops. Their naturally-curious nature intrigues them to climb over the countertops, sniffing the many different smells that they may come across. It is a very difficult task to keep cats off countertops. Punishing or yelling makes no difference to cats. They do not follow orders the way dogs do. They follow their own will and don't pay heed to your incessant pleadings. There are a few methods that are quite simple and effective and will keep your cat off the counters. Some of these tricks are given below.
The first method that you should employ to keep your cat off the counters is squirting water. You should use a spray bottle and squirt some water on the countertops when your cat tries to jump on it. Cats dislike water and after a few squirts, they will be dissuaded to climb up the countertops. When squirting water, make sure you are at a distance and the cat does not see you. Many times, they associate the squirting with the owner and avoid climbing onto the countertops in your presence. They will happily get their paws up when you are not around.
If squirting water is not successful, then you can employ the second method, a cat rattle. Cats hate loud and annoying noises and you can use this as a trick to keep your cat off the countertops. Take a few old tin cans and fill them with a few pennies or pebbles. Seal the opening with duct tape. Keep these noise-making tin rattles on the countertop edges. Whenever your cat climbs onto the counters, the tins will fall, making a loud noise. If this happens once or twice, your cat will avoid climbing onto the countertops to avoid the loud, irritating noise.
The third method you can employ is sticky paws. Cats love to keep themselves clean and avoid anything sticky. You can use double-sided tape and cover the countertops with it. After a week or two, your cat will avoid climbing onto them. You can even try covering the countertops with aluminum foil. You will notice, in a couple of weeks, that you have succeeded.
If unfortunately, none of the above work in keeping your cat off the counters, then you can try some commercial products like spray repellents, or a 'scat mat', that gives a mild static shock on touch. You should begin teaching the rules of the house to your kitten as it learns easily while it is in a growing stage. Adult cats are a bit difficult to train as they become strong-willed and stubborn. Once the cat learns a rule, it will follow it forever.