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How can we keep our cat from scratching our carpet?

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Question: How can we keep our cat from scratching our carpet?
We are renting our home and had to pay a large deposit against pet damage. Our cat has started scratching the carpet in various places around the house, and we don't want to have to pay for recarpeting when we move. How can we stop him from scratching the carpet?
Answer: Believe it or not, but cats have their own individual scratching patterns and preferences, and most of them enjoy having more than one scratching post. Cats who scratch carpets are typically horizontal scratchers. There are scratching pads made for this purpose; some are in an inclined shape and others are flattened out. I'd suggest trying one of those, perhaps with a different surface material than the existing post.

Other Suggestions for Cats Who Scratch Carpets

  • Cover the Spot Where He Scratches. If possible, move a piece of furniture (or a scratching post) on top of his favorite scratching area. Try a sisal rug. (See below for more information on sisal.) If he's scratching the carpet in front of a door, cover the area with a thin mat.
  • Use a Comfort Zone Plug-In or spray by Feliway (Compare Prices) in the area where he's doing his promiscuous scratching. Although not marketed specifically for this purpose, behaviorists have found that the "friendly pheromones" in Feliway can fool cats into believing the area has already been "marked," thus discouraging their scratching.
  • Provide scratching posts with surfaces other than carpeting. Sisal is a big favorite, or even plain wood posts are popular. Remember that cats like varying surface angles for scratching, ranging between horizontal and vertical. So ideally, have at least one of each: a tall vertical scratching post, a flat scratching mat and an inclined scratcher, such as the Cosmic Catnip Alpine Scratcher (Compare Prices)
  • Trim his claws regularly. Use a sharp claw trimming tool, and follow the easy instructions in the How To page.
  • Try Soft Clawsplastic nail caps. (Compare Prices) If you've never used them before, many veterinarians and most large pet supply stores will offer installation and training for a small fee. Most cats don't mind Soft Claws, and they will prevent the shredding-type of damage cats can sometimes do with carpet backing.
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