cat and hardwood flooring

The Best Flooring For Cats

It can be challenging to choose the best flooring for your home as there are several things you need to consider. This decision can be even more important for cat owners. Cats can cause more wear on your flooring due to scratches, stains and odours.

Thankfully, a range of cat-friendly flooring options exist allowing you to select flooring that meet the needs of the whole household.

The best flooring types for cats are:

  • Bamboo
  • Vinyl
  • Cork
  • Tile & stone
  • Engineered hardwood

This guide was written to take you through these options and provide some insight into the pros and cons of different flooring types to help you select the most suitable flooring for you and your cat.

What to Consider When Choosing Flooring

When comparing cat-friendly flooring options there are four things to take into consideration. 

  • Cat comfort
  • Resistance to scratched
  • Cat traction
  • Resistance to damage

Due to the range of options available, you don’t need to worry about compromising on style or your chosen aesthetic in favour of suitability.

1. Bamboo Flooring

If you are searching for a natural, cat-friendly wooden floor, bamboo is a great flooring option to consider.

cat and bamboo flooring

Bamboo flooring is stain-resistant and relatively easy to maintain. If cleaned up correctly spills and accidents won’t stain or damage your floors making it an ideal candidate for cats who frequently bring you, potentially unwanted, gifts.

When accidents do occur, the antimicrobial properties of bamboo protect your flooring from bacteria and mould. 

Due to bamboo being scratch-resistant and hard-wearing, you can relax worry-free as your cats run and play across your new flooring.

It’s important to note that not all bamboo flooring is of the same quality.

To make your flooring as durable and cat-friendly as possible choose flooring, such as strand woven bamboo flooring, that has been rated highly for hardness. 

A further bonus of bamboo flooring is that while it is environmentally friendly and sustainable it is also a rather affordable option.

However, higher-quality bamboo flooring does have a higher price tag.

If you select a bamboo flooring that is durable and hard, it can be an excellent choice for cat-friendly flooring.

2. Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl flooring can be a fantastic option for those looking for cat-friendly flooring that is stylish at an affordable price.

cat and vinyl flooring

Vinyl flooring can mimic hardwood or natural stone floor allowing you to meet the style needs of your home without choosing a flooring solution that doesn’t work for your household. 

Vinyl flooring is a comfortable flooring option for you and your cats as it is soft underfoot compared to some harder flooring options such as tile or stone flooring.

In addition to being comfortable, vinyl floors have traction.

This makes it easier for your cats to get around, as mobility can become an issue as a cat gets older this flooring option would be ideal for cats of all ages. 

Vinyl flooring is very easy to clean and won’t be damaged by spills or accidents as many vinyl flooring options are resistant to water.

Vinyl flooring is also scratch-resistant and can be highly durable which means those sharp little claws won’t ruin your flooring.

High-quality vinyl can withstand the scratches, rips and tears that come with cats being part of the family. 

3. Cork Flooring

Cork resembles hardwood flooring and is an excellent cat-friendly flooring option due to a number of advantageous traits.

cat and cork flooring

Cork will reduce the growth of bacteria or mould that any spillages or accidents may cause as it is both antimicrobial and antibacterial.

This means that even if you don’t immediately notice an accident left by your cat it can still be cleared up safely without damaging your floors. 

Similar to bamboo, cork is a scratch-resistant and sturdy flooring option, partially due to its pliant nature.

While it is resistant to scratches it is not scratch-proof and we recommend you trim your cat’s claws regularly to minimise damage to your flooring.

In order to disguise any scratches or claw marks that might occur we suggest you select a lighter shade of cork which will make scratches less noticeable.

Using a scratch-resistant finisher can help to further protect your flooring by adding to its resilience. 

Cork absorbs sound as it is a natural acoustic insulator. While cats are notoriously light on their feet, playtime with even the quietest cat can sound remarkably loud.

Cork flooring will help to minimise the sound of playtime.

Cork flooring is warm and reasonably malleable making it comfortable underfoot for both you and your cats.

Companies such as SPD UK, Wickes and B&Q are good places to go if you are looking for cork flooring options.

4. Tile & Stone Flooring

Tile and stone floors are very durable, so you won’t have to worry about your cats scratching them with their claws.

cat and tiled flooring

Tile and stone floors are very easy to clean and are stain-resistant. Making this type of flooring suitable for cats of all ages.

Accidents made while you toilet train your new kitten or as an elderly cat starts to experience incontinence won’t prove to be an issue with tile and stone flooring.

Tile and stone flooring is easily one of the most stain and scratch-resistant flooring options.

In addition, tile and stone flooring can be an affordable option, however, as you search for high-quality tiles you may also find them associated with a higher price.

When thinking about getting tile and stone flooring the comfort of your cats should be a consideration. 

Ease of cleaning and resistance to scratches makes stone and tile flooring an appealing option, however, it isn’t a very comfortable choice for your cats.

Stone and tile flooring provides minimal comfort underfoot as it is such a cold, hard surface.

While young cats may be able to take refuge on the sofa, older cats may appreciate having a warm soft bed or a comfortable rug to lie on that won’t tax their joints.

If you live somewhere with particularly chilly winters underfloor heating may be a welcome addition to your flooring to provide some extra comfort for you and your cats.

5. Engineered Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood flooring is prone to water damage, stains and scratches which makes it a less than ideal choice for a household with cats.

cat and hardwood flooring

If hardwood flooring is the only option you feel suits your home, we would recommend selecting an engineered hardwood.

Engineered hardwood can be designed for its hardness and durability. As such, we suggest selecting an engineered hardwood that is ranked highly for both of these traits and is also water and scratch-resistant.

Using a strong, scratch-resistant finished on your engineered hardwood flooring can further improve its durability.

Choosing a style that looks rustic or worn is a clever way to minimise the appearance of any scratches your cats may cause.

While expensive, reclaimed wood flooring is an option that would help you achieve this look. In order to protect your hardwood floors, spillages or accidents should be cleaned up immediately. 

In summary

The final decision about what flooring best suits you, your home and your household is a complex one that you alone can make.

The perfect cat-proof flooring may not exist however there are many cat-friendly options to choose from.

Finding the best option for you will take time and research but should mean you do not have to sacrifice style for practicality.

Flooring is a long term purchase which can be quite costly, but we are sure that once you assess the pros and cons of the various options you will find a flooring solution that can go the distance.

Accidents are unavoidable and will happen no matter what flooring you select.

In order to help keep your floors looking new for as long as possible make sure to finish your flooring with a tough scratch-resistant finisher.

This will give you peace of mind to allow the whole family to enjoy the new flooring care-free.

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