How to Stop Cats From Scratching the Carpet

By Susan Paretts

Cats scratch at things in their environment so that they can groom their claws and mark their turf. If there's nothing acceptable for them to scratch around your home, they may take to scratching things like your carpet instead, making ugly holes in the middle of your room. Stop your cats from ruining your carpet by providing them with acceptable alternatives to use and making the carpet inaccessible for them as well.

Cover and Protect the Carpet

Make the spots on your carpet that your cat has scratched inaccessible and unpleasant for her to continue to scratch.

  • Cover the spots with plastic carpet runners, plastic dropcloths or inexpensive area rugs and carpet remnants that will protect your carpet from your kitty's sharp claws.
  • Lay down double-sided tape on the scratched areas.┬áCats generally don't like how the tape feels sticky under their paws and will avoid the areas covered with it, according to vet Elaine Wexler-Mitchell of the Cat Care Clinic in Orange, California.
  • Place sheets of aluminum foil over the carpet to discourage your cat from scratching it.

Use Cat Deterrents

Place some harmless cat deterrents around the area of carpeting that your cat has scratched.

  • Put a motion-detection cat deterrent in the scratched area to scare your kitty away with a hisslike puff of air or high-pitched sound that humans can't hear.
  • Spray the area with a citrus or lavender essential oil scent. These smells naturally repel cats but smell good to people, according to the Alley Cat Allies website.
  • Spritz a synthetic cat pheromone spray on the areas your cat has been scratching, recommends the Healthy Paws Animal Hospital website. The scent should deter your feline friend from scratching the carpet and calm her as well.

Give Your Cat Things to Scratch

Provide your cat with several surfaces that she's allowed to scratch freely. Give your cat a scratching post to use, preferably covered with carpet, which your kitty already likes to scratch. Sprinkle some catnip on it to attract her to it.

Cats who scratch carpeting may prefer horizontal surfaces to scratch so lay out flat scratching posts and cardboard scratching pads for her to use. Place a carpeted cat tree where your cat tends to hang out. This will allow her to scratch it and climb to a higher area, which cats like to do, according to Pam Johnson-Bennett of the Cat Behavior Associates of Nashville, Tennessee.

Place scratching posts and other scratching surfaces over the areas of carpet your cat has scratched in the past.

Your Cat's Environment

Keep your kitty busy with a variety of toys to occupy her time so she won't scratch your carpets out of boredom. Tucker her out with interactive play sessions using cat toys on a wand several times a day, recommends an article published in the September 2014 issue of Clinician's Brief.

Regularly trim the sharp tips off of your kitty's nails, just above the pink area of each nail, known as the quick. You also can apply some soft plastic nail caps to your cat's claws, recommends the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. These prevent her from doing any damage to the carpeting if she scratches at it. The caps last up to six weeks before you need to replace them.