How to Stop a Cat from Scratching Your Carpet
Cats have taken over the internet and long held the hearts of their devoted owners in their furry little paws. Yet, they can be quite destructive pets and one of the issues that often arises is what is called “destructive” scratching, particularly of carpets and furnishings. In this article, we’ll learn just why cats do this and what you can do to prevent it or stop it.
What’s with the Scratching?
You instinctively stretch after being seated for a long time or when first rising from bed. Cats scratch instinctively, too. As one animal expert explained, “Cats scratch because it is ingrained behavior. It serves several purposes, including cleaning the dead husks off their claws, stretching and working the muscles from their toes to their backs, marking territory, and relieving stress.”
That means you shouldn’t prevent your cat from scratching, but it does NOT mean that you should let them tear up the carpet. Instead, one of simplest solutions to the whole “how do we get the cat to stop tearing up the carpet?” question is to supply them with something more appealing to scratch – such as scratching posts or pads.
Of course, a lot of cats scratch for the same reasons that dogs do – anxiety. Cats rarely enjoy being locked away in a single room OR locked out of a space where their human housemates might be. If you are locking a cat out of the bedroom at night, the scratching and rug tearing may be a symptom of their frustration and/or anxiety.
If you just cannot have the cat in the bedroom, you’ll need to supply them with other comforts. A cozy cat bed, vertical AND horizontal scratching posts, toys, and even distractions such as sitting areas in front of windows and even a fellow feline housemate can work.
Be sure that any scratching is not related to a medical issue. For example, a cat may be marking an area of rug and another cat may scratch and dig at that area in an effort to “cover” it just as they would in a litter box or in soil outside. It may be disgusting, but you will have to sniff the area that is being damaged to see if cat urine is to blame.
If so, take your cats to the vet to ensure there are no health issues causing indoor soiling and the resulting carpet damage. You may have to block the cats from access to areas of marking and/or use special sprays to make those areas unappealing. This may be the only way to prevent ongoing trouble as once cats mark soft materials like rugs or carpeting, the chemical markers are almost impossible to eliminate.
Scratching posts are often the best remedy to the issue of unwanted carpet digging and scratching, and you may need to experiment with materials to find what works best. There are appealingly designed models you can place anywhere in the home and while some are covered in carpet, others use cardboard. Sprinkling dried catnip also makes them more appealing, and those complex “trees” that offer entertainment and scratching spots are also a great idea and keep cats in great shape…as well as the rugs!