Scratching is a natural and necessary behaviour for cats which allows them to remove their dead claw husks so that they can be relied upon if and when they need to climb up something.
However often the most convenient thing to scratch is your furniture or carpet which is far from ideal and can be a major cause of stress for cat owners, particularly if you’ve just bought a new carpet which your cat seems to take particular pleasure in destroying.
Why Do Cats Scratch Carpets?
A home full of all different types of furniture and carpet can prove irresistible to some cats (there are some breeds that are less prone to scratching furniture).
Cats love to scratch objects which are solid and fibrous.
This is because solid objects don’t move when they are being scratched and fibres fall off them which means cats can easily dig their claws in which helps with removing the dead claw husks.
Marking Their Territory
Scratching is one way in which cats (both domestic pets and big wild cats) mark their territory.
Not only does scratching leave a visual mark but it also allows them to leave their scent behind so that any other cat can both see and smell that they are in someone’s territory.
Cats release hormones when scratching through their paw pads, not only does this mark the territory as their own but the hormones also help your cat to be able to relax, safe in the knowledge that they are at home.
Stretching Their Muscles
Scratching also allows your cat to get a good full-body stretch, your carpet allows them to stretch every muscle in their body.
This is important, particularly when your cat spends a lot of time sleeping, as it allows them to reactivate their muscles and get them ready for action.
Removing Claw Husks
One of the positive sides to scratching is that it removes the need to trim your cat’s claws which can be an uncomfortable and stressful procedure.
Scratching your carpet will allow your cat to shed the dead claw husks allowing the new ones to grow through.
This will prevent the claws from becoming too big and bulky and will keep them sharp and strong.
Unfortunately you may also find plenty of claw husks all over your carpet, so make sure you wear slippers until your cat has learned to avoid mutilating your carpet.
How To Stop Your Cat From Scratching Your Carpet
If your cat is slowly shredding your carpet to bits despite your best efforts to dissuade them don’t despair.
Cats can be taught to stop scratching carpet and furniture it just takes a bit of persuasion and patience.
It is vital that you create a very positive scratching environment for your cat, give them scratching options that are so good that they will choose them over your carpet every time.
Build A Positive Scratching Environment
- First of all invest in several heavy duty cat scratching posts. Make sure that you buy several different ones, buy horizontal ones, extra tall ones, cardboard ones and sisal rope scratchers. This gives your cat plenty of variety to enjoy.
- Also add things like thick ropes, a log, even old carpet and hang them in key areas around your home.
- Then rub catnip on your scratching implements to encourage your cat to interact with them initially.
- Don’t forget to reward your cat when they use their new toys, maybe even give them a treat to reinforce their behaviour.
Note: While you could use cat nail caps to prevent scratch damage these do nothing to discourage your cat’s scratching behaviour, they are likely to carry on with the same vigour as before once they are removed.
Location Is Key
Be aware that you can build the most entertaining cat scratching facility in the world, with more scratching posts, hanging ropes, wooden logs, and old carpet than you could shake a stick at but if you place it all in a room that your cat rarely visits he will still defer to your carpet.
Scratching is all about convenience if your cat naps most frequently in your lounge chances are they will scratch there too when they wake up.
They are unlikely to want to walk to the other side of the house for a good stretch so make sure that you have your posts positioned as close to the part of your carpet that they love to scratch.
When they realise that there is a far better, very conveniently located, option available they will quickly cease destroying your carpet!
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