How to stop cats from scratching your carpets

How to stop cats from scratching your carpets

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Whether you’re a long-time cat owner or you’ve just welcomed an adorable new kitten into your home, one thing all cat owners can agree on is that their carpets are may be in for a rough time.

From excitement and enthusiasm to stress and anxiety, there are many reasons why your cat might start clawing your carpet and stopping them from scratching it threadbare can be a challenge – especially for those with indoor-only cats.

Fortunately, there are several things you can do to stop your cat from scratching the carpet, many of which will also help your pet feel more secure around your home, which will reduce potential carpet and furniture scratching in the future.

Why do cats scratch carpets?

Before we touch on the main ways to stop your cat from scratching your carpet, curious owners might be wondering why cats scratch carpets in the first place.

Contrary to what some cat owners might think, there’s nothing mischievous about cats scratching carpets. In fact, cat scratching is a natural part of their daily routine, one that provides mental stimulation, allows them to mark their territory, keeps their claws sharp, and helps them stretch their back muscles properly.

Scratching is also essential for your cat’s mental well-being - it acts as a form of grooming, play, and attention-seeking when bored or curious. For example, cats may scratch the carpet out of enthusiasm when you return home to display their excitement, expel excess energy, or encourage you to pet them.

However, in some cases, cats may scratch carpets due to a lack of stimulation or stress. This is more likely to be the case if the scratching is continuous, destructive, and common around your home, and might mean your cat doesn’t feel safe in certain rooms.

On top of this, every cat has their preferred scratching patterns, materials, and methods, meaning you’ll have to tailor your cat's scratching experience to their needs.

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Ways to stop your cat from scratching your carpet

Given that scratching is a natural and healthy part of a cat’s day-to-day routine, there is no permanent way to stop them from doing this. Instead, you need to find ways to direct their scratching to specific toys and areas.

By directing your cat on where to scratch using the following tips, you can help minimise the damage done to your flooring while giving your cat a more fulfilling scratching experience.

1. Provide scratching alternatives

The most important thing to do when finding ways to stop cats clawing your carpet is to provide them with scratching alternatives. Placing scratching posts and pads around your home will offer your cat guilt-free scratch items that they’ll quickly learn to love.

However, just buying a single scratch post and leaving it in your living room will probably not be enough to stop your cats from clawing the carpet, especially if they have various areas around your home that they like to relax in.

By purchasing several scratching posts and horizontal pads, you can work out what type of scratching style your cat prefers and then tailor your scratching alternatives to match this. For example, if your cat loves to scratch your carpet, this means they’ll probably prefer a horizontal scratching pad.

You’ll also want to test out a variety of post materials as well. Materials such as hemp, rope, cardboard, wood, and, of course, carpet, will help you find out which fabric provides your cat with the most satisfaction when clawing, encouraging them to scratch these posts instead.

Once you’ve worked out the best post, pad, and material combo for your cat, place them in the most common scratching areas. Be sure to anchor them securely to the ground so your cat can use them to their full extent, and if they’re wary of them initially, try leaving catnip and familiar scents nearby to relax them.

2. Make use of specialist sprays

While we would never encourage spraying your cat directly with water or other liquids, there are certainly specialist sprays out there that you can use to deter your cat from scratching certain areas.

These sprays contain calming scents and pheromones that mimic those of your cat, helping them to relax and destress. This makes them particularly helpful if your cat gets stressed regularly. Simply spray them over the area in question and your cat should start leaving it alone.

However, if you want a more affordable solution, spraying water infused with strong smells, such as citrus fruits, peppermint, and lavender can have a similar effect. Cats have an excellent sense of smell, so while you might only pick up on it for a few hours, your cat will be put off for several days.

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3. Clip your cat’s claws regularly

Although it might seem a little extreme, keeping your cat’s claws regularly clipped is a healthy way to reduce the impact of their clawing. When done properly, it will still allow your furry friend to stretch out and get the benefits of scratching, just without the furniture damage.

Bear in mind however that this tip is specifically for those cats that don’t go outside. Do not clip your outside cat’s claws, as they need them for defence and adventuring when out and about.

4. Lay down preventative materials

Last, but not least, our final tip is quick and simple to implement. Laying down preventative materials can be a great way to stop cats from clawing carpets, especially if you’re looking for how to stop your cat from scratching your stairs.

Materials such as sandpaper, double-sided tape, and thin mats can be placed over or against their favourite scratch spots to deter your cat from touching that area. If done properly, they should avoid the spot in question and look to scratch elsewhere – hopefully using your newly bought posts.

Finally, if possible, you can simply move nearby furniture over the area in question to stop your cat from accessing it.

And there you have it; these are our top tips on how to stop your cat from scratching your carpet. For the best effect, we recommended using these tips in combination, encouraging your cat to swap to using their scratching posts as soon as possible.

Of course, if you’re thinking about making your home more pet-friendly in general, then why not take a look at our article on the pet-friendly flooring, as well as other ways to care for your carpets in our ideas hub?

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Published: 30-03-2023