How to Stop A Cat Scratching Carpet

How to Stop A Cat Scratching Carpet

In 2020 nearly $420 billion dollars was spent by Americans on home improvements. That’s a lot of money on beautiful new changes to the home, including carpet. That is also a lot of stunning carpet to keep protected from dirt and damage.

If you’re here reading this article, the chances are your kitter did not get the memo about your lovely carpets. 

If your cat is scratching up your carpet no doubt you’re feeling a little frustrated, annoyed and helpless. You are here because you want to find out how to stop a cat from scratching carpet, and soon. 

Don’t worry, we can help. We have collected lots of helpful information to stop cat from scratching carpet and get them scratching things they should be scratching.

Here’s everything you need to know to prevent cat from scratching carpet in your home:

Why Do Cats Scratch Carpets?

It Is really important to understand that scratching is an incredibly natural behaviour for cats. It is something they would do in the wild in any vertical or horizontal surface by digging their claws in and dragging their paws back. The item will become scratched, but the cat benefits greatly from the behaviour because: 

Their Health Benefits

When you consider how to keep cat from scratching carpet it is important to know that they have to scratch for their health. The behaviour is called stropping and it helps them to shed the outer, older layers of claw so that newer, sharper surface underneath is revealed. These nail layers drop off around areas where cats scratch and look like a little mini claw.

This process is important for your cats overall health and is an essential part of their grooming regime.

It is also important to recognise that a cat scratching carpet can simply be them stretching out. They will not only scratch to care for their claws but to pull back and stretch their muscles and spine because it feels nice, and because it keeps them in great shape.

They Are Communicating To Other Cats

Scratching can be a marking behaviour in cats to let other cats know that this territory has been claimed. They have special glands in their feet that create a unique smell that identifies who they are when other cats sniff it. So your cat will scratch very visible areas in their territory so other cats find their scent, scratch marks and shed nail layers.

Why Cats Scratch At Home

If your cat is an indoor cat they still have a need to scratch for their health, as mentioned above. They may also scratch in order to let you know they are playful, to indicate they want to get into another area (cat scratching carpet under door for example) or just to get your attention.

Why Declawing Isn’t The Answer

Before we get onto some fantastic solutions for cat scratching carpet issues, it is important to highlight an action many people believe is a solution, which is declawing. Declawing removes the cat’s nails permanently through an operation and it is banned in many countries. Many people mistakenly believe that the operation is comparable to use having our nails trimmed, but it actually involves amputating the last bone of each of your cats toes. It would be like cutting human fingers off at the knuckles.

It provides no benefit to the cat at all, and can actually make a cat more likely to bite, avoid the litter tray and potentially struggle with many health issues including chronic pain, bone spurs and infection.

The bottom line is that it is unnecessary and cruel and most cat owners, if they understood the procedure properly, wouldn’t want to put their beloved kitty through that. For further research and insight, you can read more about it here.

The great news is that there are plenty of humane and effective ways to help stop your cat scratching carpet problems.

How To Stop Cat Scratching Carpet Problems

There are multiple methods to help stop cat scratching carpet issues occurring in your home:

Trim Your Kitties Claws

trim your kitties claws
When you wonder how to stop cat from scratching carpet you may have already considered if nail trimming is an easy fix. It won’t stop the behaviour, but it certainly will help minimise the damage done to your carpet and furniture. It is best to start when a cat is very young so that they get used to the process, but adult cats can be trained to have it done.

You can watch a video on how to trim your kitties claws in this video. Be sure to only trim the tips and avoid the ‘quick’ of your cat’s nails, which is the darker part where there is blood and tissue and nerve endings. Always air on the side of caution with this because your cat may well never let you trim their nails again if you catch this sensitive part of their nail.

Train Them To Stop With Better Alternatives

cat scratching post
In the same way that cats spraying is a behavioural issue, so is cats scratching on your carpets. By helping them scratch the right places, you can save your carpets. 

The most important thing is not to punish them. Cats do not respond to being punished and may even repeat the behaviour to get attention from you (negative or positive, they don’t care!). 

Instead, in the same way you accommodate their need to be in close spaces, you have to accommodate their need to scratch. Providing the best cat scratching posts, play centres and accessories will ensure that they have somewhere to scratch till their hearts content.

The way to get them to use those new items is to gently move them across to those items when they are scratching the carpets and furniture. You should also place your scratching posts and items in areas your cat already likes to scratch.

When you are offering scratching pads and posts it is important to offer different options for your cat to suit their mood and style of scratching. Make sure the post is tall enough for your cat to stretch right up, and whether the item is on the floor or hanging it should be solid, otherwise the cat will struggle to trust it and it may even fall on them.

If your cat is not using the scratching post you bought them, this Jackson Galaxy video is really handy in understanding why that is happening and what to do about it.

Try Pheromones

If you are wondering – what can I spray on carpet to stop cat from scratching? The answer is not chilli spray or anything similar. Chilli will deter a cat but it could also cause the cat to get chilli on their paws, coat or face and because of how they groom, it will probably end up in their eyes. If this happens cats will go as far as to scratch their own eyes out to stop the heat and pain.

Instead, many people use a feline pheromone product which is thought to tell the cat the area has already been marked by another cat. If you haven’t placed scratching alternatives around, though, your cat will still find another ‘suitable’ scratching area.

Consider Your Cats Happiness

Sometimes very anxious cats, or bored cats can scratch for attention or out of stress. How to stop cat scratching under door worries, or cat scratching carpet worries might need a slightly different approach if this is why your cat is unhappy.

Identify if cat conflict, health problems, boredom or something else is causing the issue and if in doubt, visit your vet. You can then play with them more, offer more stimulus or take other appropriate action to get their happiness back on track.
Your Cat Will Leave Your Carpets Alone For A More Harmonious Home

Using our information and tips above you can encourage your kitty to leave your carpets and furniture alone and instead, happily scratch the accessories you have provided for them. Soon enough, they will be leaving your carpets well alone whilst keeping themselves healthy and happy, for a more harmonious home and scratch-free carpets!

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