How To Train A Cat Not To Climb Curtains

If your cat is using your curtains as a climbing frame, you’re likely wondering how you can get them to stop. Besides, their sharp claws will likely result in damage, causing the material to fray. So what can you do, and how long will the process take? Well, here is everything you are going to want to know, and consider.

So, how can you train your cat not to climb on your curtains? You can teach your cat not to climb on your curtains by offering them climbing alternatives, which is by far the easiest way. Cats instinctively need to jump and climb, so while you can’t change this behavior, you can redirect it to something more suitable.

Frond Cat Tree

Best Way To Train A Cat Not To Climb Curtains

Cat trees are the most effective means of stopping a cat climbing curtains

When it comes to cat trees, the Frond Modern Cat Tree is my standout option and recommendation.

It provides three customizable perches, doubles up as a scratching post and is a great convenient size.

Best Ways To Train A Cat Not To Climb On Curtains

The simplest and most effective way to train your cat not to climb on curtains is to give several alternatives that you (and your cat) are happy with. Make sure you provide adequate playtime for your cat and places to watch the world go by, and consider environmental deterrents as a last resort (once you’ve put alternatives in place).

Provide Suitable Alternatives for Climbing

Wild cats need to run long distances, jump, and climb up trees to escape danger and hunt for food to survive.

Our domesticated cats have these same natural urges, even when they’re indoors, so you need to give your kitty something to climb and jump on.

One such alternative is a cat tree, like the Frond Modern cat tree.

Cat trees can entertain your cat for hours as well as give them a safe place to watch the world from up high, rest out of reach of other animals (like dogs), and jump on things from above.

Most cat trees like the Frond model mentioned above will have a central pillar that’s wrapped in something scratchable for your cat, like sisal rope or similar.

Cats need to scratch, too, so these types of cat trees satisfy several urges in one piece of furniture.

Here are the advantages of this particular cat tree:

  • There are a lot of places to scratch along the central pillar.
  • The platforms are movable, so you can adjust them to suit your particular space.
  • The tree looks beautiful, so you don’t have to sacrifice a lovely living space in terms of design.
  • The wide base has optional feet, allowing for a stable cat tree that works on all types of flooring.

If you have several rooms with curtains, you may want to provide a tree for each room (or something else to climb on) so that your cat always has somewhere to climb and jump.

Playgrounds are also popular and are good for those cats who need to be both phsycially and mentally stimulated.

In addition to height for climbing, they can keep them occupied for hours. If your cat is kept indoors, this might be the option for you.

The Milo Modern Cat Tower is an ideal playground option.

Whichever type of climbing frame you choose, make sure it’s near a window so that your cat can watch the world outside from a safe and sunny place.

Make Sure You Provide Playtime For Your Cat

Your cat may be climbing the curtains out of a desire to play. Cats need daily playtime with their favorite people – ideally 20 to 30 minutes a day, at least.

Here’s how to play more with your cat:

  • Engage your cat with food toys or puzzle toys that make them think. You can put treats inside a toy that you play with for your cat to have them ‘hunt’ for their meal. This fish bone is perfect. The fabric holds the scent of the catnip (that also comes provided).
  • Try a feather wand or another type of wiggly toy – even old shoelaces are popular with many cats, as they resemble snakes that your cat feels the urge to chase down and tackle!
  • Encourage your cat to pounce by wiggling toes under blankets – just make sure the blankets are thick enough to withstand excited claws

Try Environmental Deterrents As A Last Resort

If you have set up cat trees or kitty condos and you’re regularly playing with your cat, but you still find they want to climb the curtains, you can try environmental deterrents.

Deterrents are things that cats don’t like, but that won’t hurt them (as opposed to environmental hazards or toxins).

You can try:

  • Clipping something noisy to your curtains, such as a row of bells. The idea is that if your cat jumps on your curtains, it’ll hear a loud noise which will discourage it from trying again
  • Filling a spray bottle with water and a few drops of essential oil that has a smell cats don’t like. Try cinnamon, pine, or citrus. Spray the curtains – your cat may well avoid the entire area! Be sure not to spray your cat, though, as spraying can frighten them. The oils would traumatize them as they would struggle to get the unpleasant odor off of their fur
  • If you don’t want to spray your curtains, try placing cotton wool soaked in the oil on the floor under the curtains
  • Putting sticky tape on the curtains. Leave the tape for a few weeks until your cat gets the message

Note: Avoid anything that might cause your cat stress, like pushing (your cat could get hurt) or yelling. If you yell at your friend, they won’t associate the yelling with climbing on the curtains. They’ll associate the yelling with you, which will negatively impact your bond with your cat. Your cat won’t trust you as easily since they’ll think you can yell at any time. You’ll then have to work hard to help your cat trust you again.

How Long Will It Take To Train A Cat Not To Climb On Curtains?

There’s no set amount of time for training your cat not to climb on your curtains because it depends on your cat’s individual personality and circumstances. Some cats adjust quickly to climbing on alternatives within days, and then some need a few weeks to adapt.

If you want the process to go as quickly as possible, make sure you provide plenty of places for your cat to climb and jump.

Cats like to jump on scurrying mice and other animals from above, and they feel safe when they’re high up because other predators can’t reach them.

Decide which things in your home are acceptable for your cat to climb on, and stick to those rules.

Cats thrive on routine and consistency – they don’t like change, so once you’ve gotten alternatives for your cat, help them find a new routine.

Cats need to climb somewhere, so remember if you are expecting them to leave the curtains alone, they need substitutes first.

Anything tall in your home is going to be tempting for your cat: this includes tall bookshelves, countertops, and window ledges.

Tell other people in your home about how you’re training your cat and which places are acceptable for climbing.

When looking at alternative places for your cat to climb, make sure they are quiet places. Many cats climb the curtains to escape children or other animals who are making noise!

Things To Consider When Training A Cat Not To Climb On Curtains

If you are unable to purchase cat furniture, you could make something yourself to save your curtains. Whatever you decide to do, it’s essential to put it in the right place so your cat can make a smooth transition. Some cats need extra prompting to use a cat tree or another alternative, and if you do need to remove your cat from your curtains, be sure to do it in a way that doesn’t stress your cat or inadvertently encourage them.

Make Something Yourself For Your Cat To Climb On

Making something yourself might not be as aesthetically pleasing as something purpose-built, but you can still manage it with a little ingenuity.

Some solutions you can implement yourself include:

  • Making a box tower with holes cut out. Cats adore cardboard boxes, and you can simply replace them when they get too worn. Put pieces of carpeting around the outside of the boxes to provide a homemade scratching place for your cat. (You may wish to put some pieces on top of the boxes and some on the side, depending on whether your cat prefers to scratch vertical or horizontal surfaces). Make something that enables your cat to get to at least 3 feet up, and secure it so that there’s no risk of the structure toppling over.
  • Use a piece of existing furniture to secure ‘cat-friendly curtains.’ You can use a high piece of furniture such as a closet or bookcase: attach a curtain along one side that your cat can climb. Use the same fabric type as the curtains your cat already likes. Make sure the curtain is sturdy so that it can support the weight of your cat.
  • Hang an old curtain along a wall for your cat. You can secure an old curtain to a wall so your cat can climb to its heart’s content. As long as you don’t mind hanging a curtain that will become a bit torn, your cat may find lots of pleasure in climbing up its own curtain rather than the ones in your living room! You can even encourage your cat to love the smell of the old curtain with pheromone spray.

Place Your Solution Strategically

No matter what solution you choose for your cat, be sure to put it in a place where your cat will want to use it.

Good places that cats like are in corners, near windows, or near other high pieces of furniture that you don’t mind your cat climbing on (such as the top of a closet).

If you put the structure in a room where you spend a lot of time, your cat will likely to want to use it.

Put it near a chair or sofa where you often sit. The closer your cat can get to you, the higher value it will place on the structure.

Help Your Cat To Love The New Climbing Structure

While many cats love cat trees or other climbing structures, some rescue or shy cats might need a bit more encouragement to try these things out.

Let your cat have a day or so to adjust to the presence of the new object. Some cats can find the presence of anything new a bit intimidating (cats thrive on routine, not on change). If your cat doesn’t go for your new setup right away, let a day or two go by first before trying to use tricks to encourage your cat to explore it.

Here are some things you can do if your cat still isn’t using the cat tree, kitty condo, or other solution:

  • Rub the tree, condo, curtains, or other structure with dried or fresh catnip
  • Hide tasty treats in nooks and crannies so that your cat gets a tangible reward for exploring
  • Try dragging a wand toy or string (or even an old shoelace) over the structure to encourage your cat to ‘hunt’ it. Don’t drop toys on the tree and walk away – your cat needs moving prey to play!
  • Allow your cat to interact with the structure in whatever way they wish, whether it’s sleeping on it, scratching it, scent marking it, hiding inside it, etc. Your cat needs to understand that this new object is just for them and is a place where they can feel safe and explore.

Remove Your Cat from Your Curtains The Right Way

If you catch your cat climbing up your curtains, it can be frustrating, but you’ll need to remove them gently:

  • Softly pick up your cat and put them on their cat tree, on the floor, or in another area to play. Don’t lift a cat by the scruff of the neck, as this causes them stress and makes them afraid
  • Don’t startle your cat – if you frighten them, they’ll associate the fear they feel with your presence
  • When moving your cat, don’t succumb to the temptation of giving them a cuddle or talking to them: if you do, they’ll see their curtain-climbing behavior as a reward. They’ll be more likely to repeat the performance if it gets them your much-loved attention! Put them down somewhere else without making an issue of it
  • Be ready to repeat this process many, many times so that your cat gets the message. Stay calm and patient: your cat can sense your emotions, and if you’re frustrated, your cat can pick up on that
  • Remember that success will come at the end of many repetitions!

Other Things to Consider

Here are a few more things to bear in mind if you have a cat who is determined to climb up your curtains:

  • Imagine why your cat is doing this. Is your cat trying to escape noisy small people, other animals, or boisterous guests? Is your cat bored and wanting to play? Is your cat seeking your attention? If you can figure out what your cat is trying to achieve by climbing up your curtains, you can find a different way of getting them what they want.
  • Be prepared to compromise. Does your cat insist on climbing the curtains when you get home from work as they’re waiting for their dinner? You may have to feed them first. Or perhaps get someone else to play with your cat when you arrive home to give you time to get their food ready.
  • Give your cat attention first. If your cat is seeking your attention, consider having playtime with your cat before you get busy with other family activities. Contrary to what many believe, cats bond with their people much as small children and dogs do. Your cat loves you, even if they show it in different ways.
  • Gently redirect your cat’s attention. When you see your cat doing something you don’t want them to do, it’s usually more effective to distract them or redirect their attention with something they’ll find more engaging. Of course, if your cat is in harm’s way you’ll have to act quickly, but most of the time it’s a question of offering other choices to your cat that they’ll enjoy.


Stopping your cat from climbing on your curtains isn’t particularly easy, nor is it fun, but it must be done.

Now the best way to do so is not by eliminating the climbing and jumping altogether, but by redirecting it to somewhere much more suitable.

Somewhere built and designed to be climbed on, like a cat tree.

And for that, I wouldn’t look any further than the Frond.

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