How to Keep Cats from Going Upstairs: A Comprehensive Guide

Why Do Cats Go Upstairs?

Cats are curious creatures by nature, and exploring their surroundings is an innate behavior. Going upstairs allows them to satisfy their curiosity and investigate new areas of the house. Additionally, cats may go upstairs to find a quiet space to rest or to escape from other pets or children in the household. However, there are instances where it may be necessary to prevent cats from going upstairs, such as if there are safety concerns or if certain areas of the house are off-limits for them. In this article, we will explore various methods and techniques to keep cats from going upstairs.

Training Methods to Keep Cats from Going Upstairs

If you want to train your cat to stay downstairs and avoid going upstairs, there are several effective methods you can try:

1. Provide an Alternative Space

One of the best ways to discourage cats from going upstairs is to provide them with an appealing alternative space downstairs. Create a cozy and comfortable area with a soft bed, toys, and scratching posts. This will entice them to stay downstairs and make it less tempting for them to explore the upper levels of the house.

2. Use Deterrents

There are various deterrents available that can help keep cats away from the stairs. One effective option is to use a motion-activated deterrent that emits a harmless spray of water or a sudden noise when the cat approaches the stairs. This will startle the cat and discourage them from going upstairs. Another option is to use double-sided tape or aluminum foil on the stairs, as most cats dislike the texture and will avoid walking on it.

3. Block Access to Stairs

If you want to prevent your cat from going upstairs altogether, you can block access to the stairs. Install a baby gate or a pet gate at the bottom of the stairs to create a physical barrier. Make sure the gate is tall enough that your cat cannot jump over it. Alternatively, you can use a door or a screen to block off the staircase entrance.

4. Positive Reinforcement

Using positive reinforcement techniques can be highly effective in training cats. Whenever your cat stays downstairs and avoids going upstairs, reward them with treats, praise, and affection. This will reinforce the desired behavior and make them more likely to repeat it in the future.

How to Make Upstairs Less Appealing for Cats

In addition to training methods, there are ways to make the upstairs area less appealing to cats:

1. Remove Temptations

Cats are often drawn to certain areas of the house because they find something interesting or enticing there. Remove any temptations, such as food bowls, toys, or cozy blankets, from the upstairs area. By eliminating these attractions, your cat will be less motivated to go upstairs.

2. Close Doors

If there are specific rooms or areas upstairs that you want to keep your cat out of, make sure to close the doors. This will physically prevent them from accessing those areas. Keep in mind that cats are skilled at opening doors, so consider using door stoppers or childproof locks to ensure they cannot push the doors open.

3. Create Noise Distractions

Cats are sensitive to sound, and certain noises can deter them from going upstairs. Use noise distractions, such as a white noise machine or a radio set to a talk station, to create an environment that is less appealing to cats. The unfamiliar sounds may discourage them from venturing upstairs.

4. Provide Entertainment

Boredom can often lead cats to explore new areas of the house. Ensure your cat has plenty of entertainment and stimulation downstairs to keep them engaged. Provide interactive toys, scratching posts, and puzzle feeders to keep their minds occupied and reduce their desire to go upstairs.


Q: Can I train an older cat to stay downstairs?

A: Yes, it is possible to train older cats to stay downstairs. However, it may require more time and patience compared to training a younger cat. Use positive reinforcement techniques and be consistent in your training efforts.

Q: Should I punish my cat for going upstairs?

A: No, punishing your cat for going upstairs is not recommended. Cats do not respond well to punishment, and it may damage the trust between you and your cat. Instead, focus on positive reinforcement and redirect their attention to the desired areas.

Q: Are there any health risks associated with preventing cats from going upstairs?

A: As long as you provide your cat with a comfortable and enriching environment downstairs, there are no significant health risks associated with preventing them from going upstairs. However, it is crucial to ensure they have access to food, water, litter boxes, and opportunities for exercise and mental stimulation.

Q: What if my cat still insists on going upstairs?

A: If your cat continues to go upstairs despite your training efforts, it may be helpful to consult with a veterinarian or a professional animal behaviorist. They can provide personalized advice and guidance to address your specific situation.

Q: Can I use negative reinforcement to keep my cat from going upstairs?

A: Negative reinforcement, such as yelling or spraying water directly at your cat, is not recommended. It can create fear and anxiety in your cat, leading to unwanted behavior problems. Stick to positive reinforcement techniques for the best results.

Q: How long does it take to train a cat to stay downstairs?

A: The time it takes to train a cat to stay downstairs can vary depending on the individual cat and their personality. Some cats may respond quickly and learn within a few weeks, while others may take several months. Patience and consistency are key in the training process.


Keeping cats from going upstairs can be achieved through a combination of training methods and making the upstairs area less appealing. By providing alternative spaces, using deterrents, and positive reinforcement, you can train your cat to stay downstairs. Additionally, removing temptations, closing doors, creating noise distractions, and providing entertainment can make the upstairs area less enticing for cats. Remember to be patient and consistent in your training efforts, and seek professional advice if needed. With time and effort, you can successfully keep your cat from going upstairs while ensuring their safety and happiness.

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