As adorable as your kitten can be, it's unappetizing when her paws track dirt all over the dinner table -- and it's a pain when she drops right down where you're sitting. Overcoming this behavior now is easier than trying to undo a longstanding habit that will take longer to break. Determine why Kitty jumps on the table to implement solutions.
A Prime Location
Your kitty's nose knows where the good stuff is, and she will want a bite -- Even if you're not eating, she likes to invade your space. She may want your attention, plain and simple; or she may be telling you she wants to eat. As long as your kitten is not obese and you are able to monitor weight fluctuations, provide cat food away from the table. Free-feeding has a downside, but it might also reduce her interest in jumping on the dinner table for yours. Furthermore, if you do permit her to munch on human food, give it to her in her food dish rather than at the foot of the table, which only encourages her behavior. Note that human foods must be an occasional treat, not a nightly affair.
A Window Seat
Being cooped up in the house, a cat enjoys looking outdoors at the neighborhood activities and taking naps in warm, sunny places. If your table is in the way, it merely becomes an ideal window seat. Make other windows more enticing by setting up a bird feeder or bath just outside. Affix a cat sill to the window should the area not be easily accessible by a chair or sofa, and a cat bed on top to make it cozy. In the meantime, keep the blinds or shades by the kitchen table closed.
A Higher Vantage
Cats naturally want to be up high to survey their territory and observe the area for potential dangers. Offer your kitten a perch nearby, where she can see everything and retreat if necessary. Sofas and beds are options but a multilevel scratching post or kitty condo will take up less space and provide more height.
Yelling at your cat or spraying her with water only serves to make her more fearful of you instead of the table. While you do not want to reward this behavior with petting, you should never shove her off the table, either, as this can lead to injury. Instead simply pick her up and put her back down on the floor. In order to make the table a less desirable place, clear it of foods or ornaments. Plenty of items are suited to taking up table space to discourage kitty from jumping on it even when you are not home. Aluminum foil, double-sided tape and a carpet runner with the bottom side up are materials cats will not like stepping on. You can opt for scare tactics with motion detectors that will spray air or make noise if the kitten scales the table.
Pam Smith has been writing since 2005. In addition to her work for Demand Media, her articles have been published online at CBS Local. She also wrote for the Pennsylvania Center for the Book's Literary Map while earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in English at the Pennsylvania State University. She is currently an editorial assistant for Circulation Research.