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What Is the Best Type of Carpet for Cats That Scratch?

mad cat on top of carpet

For cat owners, it’s the age-old dilemma: Can you have cats and carpet in the same house? Some cats love nothing more than digging their claws into carpet and having a good scratch. If this carpet is on their scratching post, then it’s fine. But if it’s your freshly laid (and expensive) new bedroom carpet, then that’s an issue.

The good news is that certain carpets can stand up to life in a house with cats better than others. So, before you go ahead and order your new carpet, take a look at our round-up of the different types to find out which one you should choose.

Looped pile carpets vs. cut pile carpets

Looped pile carpets are widely available, but it’s easy for cats to get their claws stuck in them. As they do so, they can pull on the loop, which can then start unraveling.

Cut carpet is a much better option for cat owners. Rather than being looped, each strand is cut so there aren’t any loops for your cat to get their claws caught.

Wool carpet

wool
Image Credit: Epic Images, Pixabay

Wool carpets are usually premium quality and come with a high price tag to match. While they’re a great choice for homes without cats, you might want to avoid them as a cat owner. Wool carpets are usually looped, which makes it much easier for cats to get their claws stuck in them, even accidentally.

Wool carpet is frequently backed by latex, which while secure enough for everyday use in a cat-free household, doesn’t stand up at all well to pulls.

Pros
  • Luxurious feel
  • Many colors to choose from
  • Tough and hardwearing
  • Natural fiber
Cons
  • Looped wool unravels easily
  • Expensive

Synthetic carpet

synthetic material
Image Credit: Pezibear, Pixabay

Synthetic carpet has come an awful long way since the first versions of this product, and it’s now one of the first choices for cat owners. You can find synthetic carpets in almost any color, pattern, or style that you can imagine. It’s usually treated with stain protection and some are even water-resistant.

Synthetic carpets are usually made from either polyester or nylon. If you’re concerned that these aren’t as eco-friendly as a natural material like wool, the good news is you can find synthetic carpets made using recycled materials.

Synthetic carpets are often cut rather than looped, making it a much better choice around a cat’s claws!

Pros
  • Wide range of colors
  • Good price point
  • Usually stain resistant
  • Hardwearing
  • Usually cut not looped
Cons
  • Not as natural as wool

Sisal carpet

Sisal carpet can look incredibly stylish, but it could strike horror into the heart of any cat owner to see it laid in a new home! Sisal fabric and rope are two of the most popular materials for covering cat scratching posts. If your flooring is made of the same material as your cat’s scratching post, then you could hardly blame them for thinking that the carpet is now one big area for them to scratch.

Pros
  • Hardwearing
  • Good value for money
Cons
  • Many cats will scratch it
  • Neutral colors can stain

hepper cat paw divider

Always offer a scratching post

Whatever carpet you decide to go for, it’s always important to offer your cat at least one scratching post. Scratching is an instinctive behavior, so your cat can’t help but do it! The best way to protect your carpet from their claws is to make sure you offer an alternative surface for them.

If you can, it’s better to have a variety of scratching surfaces, including horizontal, vertical, and angled surfaces. It’s usually recommended to avoid scratching posts that are covered with carpet if you have other carpeted areas in your house. It can be difficult for some cats to realize that while scratching their carpeted post might be positively encouraged, doing the same thing on the stairs is definitely not going to be met with a smile from their owners.

If you have multiple cats, make sure you give each of them a scratching post. Some cats can be territorial, and a more timid cat may not approach or use the scratching post of another cat because they’ll be able to smell the other cat’s pheromones warning them off.

cat sleeping beside its scratching post
Image Credit: husnerova, Pixabay

Deep pile carpet

Whatever carpet material that you end up choosing, it’s best to avoid any kind of deep pile carpet. These can often trap cat hair and debris, making it much harder to keep them clean. You may even find that it can cause allergy flare-ups.

Deep pile carpet is often looped, increasing the chance of your cat getting their claws snagged in it. Even if your cat isn’t actively scratching it, they can get their claws caught as they’re walking over this type of carpet, and then they’ll panic and cause the loops to unravel.

Carpet color

You might love the idea of a very pale carpet, but with cats about, it might not stay that clean for long. Cat hair, litter that’s been tracked around the house, and dirt from your cat’s paws (if they’re allowed outdoors) will soon make that carpet look more grubby than clean.

Choosing a neutral shade in a medium tone, like gray and taupe, will be a better option in the long run.

Stain protection

Many carpets now come with stain-protection treatment. This helps them look cleaner for longer and makes it easier to clean up any accidents without leaving a mess.

hepper cat paw divider

Cats vs. carpet

The good news is that if you’ve got a cat in your house that loves to scratch, you can still enjoy having carpeted areas. The key is choosing the right type, color, and depth of carpet. We recommend a synthetic carpet with a short, cut pile in a neutral medium tone. It’s also a good idea to look for one that’s been treated with a stain protector.

Just as important is making sure to offer your cat a wide variety of different scratching surfaces, so they’re never tempted to use your new carpet instead!


Featured Image Credit: DenisNata, Shutterstock

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