How can I stop my cat scratching my carpet?

The facetious answer is to get rid of your carpet. I am actually a believer that the best homes for domestic cats are those without carpets. There are other advantages namely winning the battle against fleas. In removing the carpet you remove a place for fleas to hide before jumping onto cats. I just feel that in a general sense in terms of managing the combined human and cat environment it is easier if there is no carpet. The floors should be bare and perhaps one or two rugs are dotted around to make the place feel a bit warmer emotionally.

Top quality F1 Savannahs living with Jean Pierre
Top quality F1 Savannahs living with Jean Pierre and resting together comfortably on a classy rug! Photo: Kathryn Stucki.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Having got that point out of the way which completely removes the problem of a cat scratching the carpet I’ll address the usual solutions. But before I do let’s remind ourselves that scratching the carpet is not “bad cat behavior”. It is normal cat behavior. It is behavior that cat owners normally don’t like unless their carpet is already knackered.

You can’t hundred percent guarantee that you will be able to stop a cat scratching the carpet because it is a natural and necessary feline behavior serving three functions but you can pretty well eliminate it by adding to the home a lot of great alternatives. The carpet is a nice object for a cat to scratch but you can provide better alternatives such as a really solid large vertical scratching post. These are de rigeur in a cat lover’s home.

You can get cheap cardboard scratching boards from Amazon which you can dot around the home as I do (I have six). They get worn out but you can turn them over to extend their life. My cat uses them all the time and does not scratch the carpet. Cats do drag some of the cardboard bits from the board to other parts of the home because they are attached to their claws. This is a slight irritation. However, they not only help stop your cat scratching the carpet but furniture as well.

Cat scratching board
Cat scratching board. This is my home. Photo: PoC.

It is possible that if a cat scratches a lot she may be stressed a bit more than normal because scratching not only stretches the cat’s body and sloughs off the outer sheath of their claws, it also deposits scent. A cat will deposit scent to put down a marker that this is their territory. This reassures a cat. If a cat needs reassuring they may be anxious. Therefore you can try making your cat feel more relaxed by adding an artificial pheromone to the atmosphere inside the home with a product such as Feliway.

Adding a pheromone may help but I would look at other solutions. The best solutions start with asking why your cat might be a little more stressed than she should be. There could be numerous reasons such as your absence for a long time causing separation anxiety or a cat outside agitating your cat when she uses “Cat TV”. Cat TV is looking out the window.

In multi-cat households, sometimes a more dominant cat can stress a more timid cat through cat bullying. There may be a competition to get at food bowls or litters. Noise and broken routines can aggitate a cat. Stangers in the home are unpleasant for most domestic cats. It might not be specifics which stress a cat. It could be the environment is not conducive to normal cat behavior. Although it is a big deal adding a catio is a good way to catify a home. All these points need to be looked at and more. As Jackson Galaxy advises you have to put your detective hat on and do some research by understanding feline behavior and observation.

However, it is completely normal for a cat to scratch a carpet and therefore even if a cat is completely calm and well cared for he or she will do it. You simply have to redirect them to a more suitable area from the human’s standpoint.

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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

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Useful links
Anxiety - reduce it
FULL Maine Coon guide - lots of pages
Children and cats - important
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