Cat shredding the carpets
Berkeley Parents Network >
Advice about Pets >
Cat shredding the carpets
Our family recently adopted two adult cats, a brother and sister. They
are absolutely wonderful additions to our family, except that they
sharpen their claws on our nice carpets and are starting to do some real
damage. We got then a cat claw tree and keep it right between the two
carpets. They sometimes use it, but not as mucha s the carpets.
Anyone have any advice about how to keep them from doing this?
Anyone have advice about how to fix clawed carpets?
As a cat behaviorist at the SF SPCA, I wanted to give you both
some advice and some resources for further advice...First: It is
great that you adopted a pair of adult cats! Now the
scratching...cats need to scratch for a variety of reasona:
stretching their back muscles, marking territory, and
maintaining the health of their nails. The trick is finding them
something that they prefer to the carpet...You didn't mention
much about the cat post you have- cat posts should be very
sturdy and at least 4 ft high...preferably with a couple of
different surfaces, such as sisal, wood, and/or carpet. If it
wiggles, it's not going to work for them. So...if your post
doesn't fit this description, consider getting a new one. If it
does, and they still prefer the carpte, try cardboard scratching
pads, often sold enhanced with catnip. Trader Joe's has some. It
could be that your cats prefer to scratch horizontally. You can
also try laying a split log nearby. Make sure to clip your cats'
nails regularly- about every 4 weeks- to minimize the damage
they do to the carpet. If possible, while you are retraining
them to the scratchers, remove the carpets (temporarily!) Once
they are routinely scratching the post or pad, you can
reintroduce them...Also, make sure that the kitties are not
doing this for attention. As with kids, even negative attention
is a reinforcer! make sure they are getting a lot of playtime
with interactive toys- especially if they are indoor- only
kitties. Punishment or correction doesn't tend to work well for
kitties- who just do the behavior when you're not around! If you
want to interrupt the behavior, it's best to use a ''nonhuman''
sound such as shaking an empty soda can with 5-7 pennies inside,
taped on top...
And I am glad you didn't mention declawing in your post; you are
likely not considering this, but please do not listen to anyone
who advises you to declaw! It is much better to find them
another home than to take away an integral part of their system.
We can find another cat for your family who doesn't claw carpets
if this behavior is a ''deal breaker'':-)
As for resources: email@example.com will get you free
literature (including on clipping your cats' nails) and some
advice; go to www.attentiontodtail.com for a private behavior
group that will come out and analyze your situation, and give
you a written behavior plan.
Best of luck!
Try one of these products: ''Get out of my garden'' or ''Bitter
End.'' Both can be found at pet supply stores like Petsmart. I
suggest spraying right before you leave because the smell is
pretty offensive even to humans. But, it worked for us for one
Or, if you'd prefer a chemical-free method, try spraying the
cats with a spray bottle of water whenever you catch them in the
act. No yelling. No sudden movements. Just leave the bottle
nearby so you can spray them when they start up. This worked
like magic for both of our furniture-scratching cats.
Finally, you can provide your cats with one or two of those card-
board scratchers (sold cheapest at Trader Joe's) - they love
them for scratching on the floor. (A bit messy but it's worth
it to save your rugs.)
signed, Cat Lover
You can glue on rubber nail covers--they come in colors, and
supposedly last for about 6 weeks. They have them at pet food
express. My sister has 4 cats and says they work well--
completely halt the cat's ability to damage furniture, and are
painless--in fact the cats just ignored them after about 15
The carpet may be more comfortable for your cats to use than the
scratcher. You can get special cardboard scratchers that just rest on
Your cats may find this preferable to the upright. Check your local
store. My friend's cat LOVES his.
Best of luck!
cat lover, too
We've had huge success with corrogated cardboard
scratchers...they're rectangular boxes (about 1 inch high) of
corrogated cardboard, and they come with small bags of catnip.
My cat LOVES his, and I got one for my sister's kitten -- he's
never scratched on anything else. You can find them at most pet
stores, but the best price I've found is at Trader Joe's
($3.99). Good luck!!
Happy cat lover
You need to find something else that the cats will like to
scratch more than your carpet, and it sounds like the claw tree
isn't their thing. Several of my cats (and some friends' cats)
love cat scratching carboard boxes, like the Cosmic Catnip
Scratching Post. You can lay them on the floor and so the cat
is in the same position to scratch as when scratching the
carpets. Catnip is included which you can sprinkle on the
cardboard. Our cats love these so much we sometimes have to put
them away at night so they don't disturb our sleep when they
scratch away at them. They are available at pet stores and only
cost about $8 so it's worth a try. A link to this product and
more is here:
You might put a few out, everywhere where they like to scratch
up the carpet. Good luck!!
Most cats do this. what I do is give them a verbal ''no'' and if
they do it again I grab their neck scruff, tap their nose with
my finger tips, the next level is to actually cut a couple of
their claws with a pair of finger nail clippers. it doesn't hurt
them and they grow back quickly but they HATE it. just cut the
tip of the claw. You hold the clippers perpendicular to the way
you might cut a persons nails because of the way their claws are
follow each reprimand with putting their paws on what you want
them to claw and extend the claws into it with soothing noises
and gentle pets (even if they don't like this part, they get the
message). if you cut their claws they may just run away so you
drop this part - give them as much love as you can when they are
being good so they will be less likely to claw the rug for
negative attention (better than none!)
be consistent and they will stop doing it at least while you're
around then they tend to just get out of the habit. they may
relapse in the future but you just have to keep telling them no
and doing the claw cutting when they are bad.
I have one exceptionally laid back cat that doesn't seem to even
mind having his claws cut so I rub the claw with the metal
clippers until I know he's not enjoying himself and then cut the
I've have cats where I went through all their front claws and
started on the rear ones
good luck it really does work
life-long cat owner with intact carpets
this page was last updated: Dec 1, 2008
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2014 Berkeley Parents Network