How to Keep Cats From Ruining Carpet

Provide other things for him to play with.

Provide other things for him to play with.

Carpets may appear nice horizontal scratching posts to cats. Some cats might be determined to discover just what fascinating things lie underneath, especially where the carpet meets the walls. Try a combination of techniques if you don’t actually want a collection of threads and knots where your carpet once was.

Provide a selection of alternative scratching posts, preferably not ones covered in the same sort of carpet as is on your floors. Instead, try a variety of other materials, such as cardboard, wood, other textures of carpeting and sisal.

Spray the scratching posts with a little catnip to make them more appealing to your cat. You might want to do this in another room, to ensure that none of the spray ends up on the carpet.

Block off access to the most scratched sections of carpet, for example in the corners, with flat, heavy items, such as ceramic tiles. These are not pleasant to scratch and hopefully your cat will have forgotten about the carpet when you remove them a few weeks later. The Humane Society of the United States notes that the same goes for rubber carpet runners and duct tape, although these can be removed by a determined scratcher.

Add a few drops of a citrus oil, such as lemon, citronella or orange, to a spray bottle, top up with water and shake thoroughly. Spray the scratched areas of carpet lightly. Cats do not like the smell of citrus fruits one little bit. This also makes the room smell nice to you.

Close doors leading to the room with your best carpets while you are out and provide plenty of toys in the other rooms. Cats sometimes scratch out of boredom when they are left alone.

Items you will need

  • Scratching posts
  • Catnip spray
  • Ceramic tiles
  • Duct or masking tape
  • Carpet runner
  • Citrus essential oil
  • Spray bottle


  • Keep your cat's nails trimmed, to reduce the worst effects of scratching. Because of the possibility of injuring your pet, get your vet to show you the procedure soon after adopting the cat.
  • If you want to actively train your cat to stop scratching the carpet, try squirting him with a water pistol or clapping your hands the minute he starts. This works on some cats, although not all.


  • Do not, under any circumstances, get your cat declawed to stop him scratching. This procedure, which is actually amputation, amounts to abuse, causing your cat intense and sometimes permanent pain for nothing more than your convenience. Declawing for non-medical reasons is illegal in many countries for this reason.

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About the Author

Judith Willson has been writing since 2009, specializing in environmental and scientific topics. She has written content for school websites and worked for a Glasgow newspaper. Willson has a Master of Arts in English from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.

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