Tabby kitten at bottom of stairs

How to Keep Cats from Going Upstairs (10 Easy Tips)

Cats are curious creatures, and sometimes, it’s best to keep them confined to certain areas of your home, including going upstairs.

While this behavior may seem harmless, it can sometimes lead to unwanted situations.

If you’re wondering how to keep cats from going upstairs, you’ve come to the right place.

1. Designate a Cat-Friendly Area

Make a specific area of your home cat-friendly by adding cozy bedding, scratching posts, and interactive toys.

2. Use Scent Deterrents

Cats are sensitive to smells. Use scents they dislike, such as citrus or menthol, on the stairs to discourage them from going up.

3. Install a Cat Door

Consider installing a cat door that leads to an enclosed outdoor space or a safe basement area, allowing them to explore while staying downstairs.

4. Positive Reinforcement

Reward your cat with treats, praise, or affection when they stay downstairs. Cats respond well to positive reinforcement.

5. Motion-Activated Devices

Use motion-activated deterrent devices to discourage your cats from approaching the stairs.

6. Create Vertical Spaces

Install cat shelves, trees, or wall-mounted perches to satisfy your cat’s desire to climb and observe. These structures can be strategically placed on the ground floor to encourage your cat to stay downstairs.

7. Install Baby Gates

Baby gates can effectively block access to stairs while allowing visibility.

8. Double-Sided Tape

Cats dislike the sticky feeling of double-sided tape on their paws. Apply it to the bottom step of your stairs, and your cat will quickly learn to avoid that area.

9. Provide Distractions

Keep your cat engaged with interactive toys and puzzles. This not only provides mental stimulation but also keeps them occupied, reducing their curiosity about upstairs areas.

10. Aluminum Foil

Lay aluminum foil on the steps, and the crinkling noise will deter your cat from venturing upstairs.

Reasons Cats Love Going Upstairs

Here are some reasons cats love going upstairs:

1. High Vantage Points:

Cats are natural hunters, and they love to have a high vantage point to observe their surroundings. Upstairs areas often offer a better view of the house, which can be quite appealing to them.

2. Quiet and Solitude:

Upstairs spaces are often quieter and less frequented by people and other pets. This solitude can be comforting for cats, allowing them to relax without disturbances.

3. Warmth and Sunshine:

Cats are drawn to warmth, and the upper levels of a home can be sunnier and cozier, especially near windows. Cats love to bask in the sun’s rays.

4. Exploration and Adventure:

Cats have a natural instinct to explore new environments. Upstairs areas provide new nooks and crannies to investigate, satisfying their curiosity.

5. Escape from Stress:

If there’s tension or stress in the lower areas of your home, cats may seek refuge upstairs to escape from conflicts or disturbances.

Implications of Allowing Cats Upstairs

Allowing cats upstairs can have several implications, including:

1. Potential Allergen Spread

Allowing your cats upstairs might result in allergens being carried to the upper levels of your home, affecting family members who may be allergic to cat dander.

2. Damage to Furniture and Belongings

Cats enjoy scratching and exploring, which can lead to damage to furniture, upholstery, and personal belongings located upstairs.

3. Accidents and Injuries

Stairs can be hazardous for cats, especially if they are not accustomed to navigating them. Allowing your cats to go upstairs could lead to accidents, falls, or injuries.

4. Potential Behavioral Issues

Cats might develop territorial or behavioral issues if they feel the need to mark their territory upstairs. This can result in spraying, vocalization, and other undesired behaviors.


Keeping your cats from going upstairs can be a challenging task, but with the right strategies and a little patience, it’s entirely manageable.

Remember that every cat is unique, so be flexible and adapt these strategies to suit your furry companion’s needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to use double-sided tape on my stairs?

Yes, double-sided tape is safe and won’t harm your cat. It’s a harmless deterrent.

Are there commercial products to keep cats from going upstairs?

Yes, there are commercial pet deterrents available, such as motion-activated devices, designed to keep cats away from certain areas.

Is it cruel to use deterrents on my cat?

No, the deterrents mentioned are designed to be harmless and non-toxic. They are safe for your cat and help establish boundaries.

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