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How To Prevent A Cat From Scratching The Carpet

Home » How To Prevent A Cat From Scratching The Carpet

One of the many things you learn while parenting a cat is how valuable hardwood or tile floors are. It’s easy for a cat to make a mess of a carpet either from scratching, peeing, or just running around on it. 

If your cat scratches at your carpet I’m sure you’re worried they will tear it up and you will be left with a hefty bill for replacing it. Same goes for a nice rug in your home as well. And your fears are totally warranted. A cat will destroy your carpet if you don’t take active steps to correct their bad behavior. 

Some of the best ways to get a cat to stop scratching a carpet are the simplest as well. But let’s start with the “why” behind cats scratching a carpet. 

Why Do Cats Scratch A Carpet?

The most common reason for a cat to start scratching and clawing up your carpet is because they need to remove dead parts of their nails. It’s a completely instinctual behavior they have, and unfortunately for you and your carpet, that’s the best place they have found to do such an act. 

Another common reason for a cat to need to scratch something is to mark their scent on an object. It’s possible that the carpet is a bit too dirty and they can’t smell their scent anymore so they need to re-mark it.

It could also be a sign of excitement, stress, or a reaction to a big yawn. Generally for the first two we recommend paying close attention to your cats overall behaviors. If they have begun displaying other signs of stress it might be time to analyze changes in their environment to figure out what’s causing it. Excitement is usually a result of them having the zoomies and having nothing else to do. 

How To Stop A Cat From Scratching The Carpet

So let’s jump into the primary ways you can help preserve your carpet so it has a nice long life. 

Get Them A Cat Tree

The primary reason a cat is going to scratch your carpet is because they have nothing better to scratch. Cats need to keep their nails trimmed, and they are choosing your carpet. Try getting them a cat tree or a cat scratching post to help them with that. 

When cats feel like they truly have an area of their own, they stay there because it helps them to feel safe. Picking up a cat tree with ample sisal will do wonders for your cats mental and physical health as it helps them to remain more active, gives them a safe space to help with anxiety, and most importantly, gives them room to scratch things you want them to scratch. 

Get Them Scratching Pads

If you already have a cat tree that they love and they are still choosing your carpet, try some horizontal scratching pads. They should provide a lot more satisfaction than your carpet for cats and you can usually find them very cheap. The main issue we see with these is that they don’t look great. 

Spray The Carpet With Citrus

Citrus is one of the smells that cats hate, and spraying your carpet with a citrus smelling formula can help deter them from going near your carpet, let alone rubbing their paws all over it. It’s a great way to change a cats behavior, and one of the easiest ways to keep a cat off furniture.

Give Them Lots Of Toys

This method is a little vague, but the logic holds strong: a tired cat won’t expend much energy scratching your carpet. If you have toys or patience, use them to tire your cats out. It’s a great way to keep them happy, active, and fit. And it’s a great way to make sure they don’t get too bored and start attacking your rug again. 

The best toys to keep cats active are laser lights - cats really just go wild for them. But there’s lots of other toys available on the market, many which don’t require a human to man them. 

Keep Your Cats Nails Trimmed

As we’ve said, cats need to scratch to remove dead nail pieces. It’s an instinctual habit of theirs. But if you are trimming your cat's nails for them, they won’t need to engage in this practice nearly enough. Plus you can make sure their nails aren’t that sharp to at least minimize the damage to your carpet.  

Just remember, trimmed nails are good. No nails are bad. Avoid the thought of declawing your cats, there’s lots of more humane alternatives.

Keep Them Calm

There’s a lot of natural ways to ensure your cat stays calm, but the gist is this: a happy cat destroys a lot less. To keep your cat calm, be sure they have their own safe environment. If you’re in a multi-cat household, other cats can really drive up anxiety, so be sure to give them their own spaces. 

The basics apply here as well. Make sure they are fed and have clean water. Keep them active and healthy. All these things work to help ensure your cat is happy, and if your cat is happy they will be less frantic.

Block The Rug With Objects

This is more a long term and tricky solution, but it’s effective. If you want your cat to avoid things, make it impossible for them to get to. You can place your couch over your carpet to protect it. You can add chairs and tables to cover even more areas around it. Get creative. If everything else on our list fails you, this is your final option besides getting rid of the rug or keeping your cat out of that room. 


There’s a lot of simple ways you can go about protecting your carpet or rug from your cats nails. From giving them better things to scratch to cutting their nails, there is a solution that doesn’t involve you throwing out your rug or carpet due to them destroying it. 

As with all things related to cats, have patience. Nothing happens overnight, and your cats will be slow to learn and pick up new, better habits than scratching at your carpet. 


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