Cats and carpets are not a good match, with the main reason being cats’ love for scratching. Before you consider your cat bad for putting its claws on your precious carpet, furniture, and upholstery, you should know that they don’t do it to piss you off; scratching is vital for a cat’s wellbeing. Moreover, it is instinctual to cats.
This means that you cannot keep your cat from scratching. Therefore, if you decide to share your living space with a feline friend, you will have to find ways around this problem. For starters, you will need to invest in a carpet that is resistant to your cat’s seemingly wayward ways.
So, which is the ideal carpet for homes with cats?
To answer that question, you have to consider how cats scratch. They usually dig their front claws into the carpet and then pull their paws back. As such, if your carpet is of the looped variety, it will not take long before it is shredded. This is because the loops will get caught in the cat’s claws and pulled out or made loose as the feline pulls back.
Therefore, looped carpets are a no-no for a home with cats. Another factor you will want to consider is a carpet’s stain-resistance. While cats are renowned for their good potty habits, they will have the occasional accident. As such, you want a carpet that is easy to clean as well.
With that said, we did our research to find carpet types that fit that bill, and this is what we found.
The Best Carpets for Cats With Claws
1. Wool Carpets
Wool is arguably the best material for carpets. It is soft, elegant, and natural. Additionally, it is incredibly luxe. However, despite its fluffiness, wool is astonishingly hardwearing. This material is seemingly capable of withstanding all manner of wear and tear, including that from your cat’s claws.
Moreover, wool does not provide a cat with the grip it needs to get a proper scratch. As a result, cats tend to leave wool carpets alone after a few tries. What’s more, unlike most carpets, wool does not trap cat hair, making it a great choice for those allergic to pet dander. The only downside to wool carpets is their price tags.
2. Nylon Fiber Carpets
When it comes to synthetic (artificial) carpets, nylon fiber carpets are arguably the best in all aspects. Nylon fiber is as close as you can get to a wool carpet without having to part with an arm or a leg.
For starters, this carpet is made almost entirely out of fiber. If you know anything about fiber, then you know it is an incredibly tough material. It is the reason why sisal makes some of the best cat scratchers.
Nylon fiber carpets are a good fit for homes with cats, as they are exceptionally resilient to damage. Another great thing about nylon fiber is that it is recyclable.
However, nylon fiber carpets are not too stain-resistant unless they have been treated. Therefore, if you do decide to get this carpet type, ensure that it has been treated. Nylon fiber also happens to be the most expensive among synthetic carpets.
3. Polyester Fiber Carpets
Polyester fiber is a great fit for most pet parents for several reasons. First off, this material is hydrophobic, i.e., water repellant. This means that you do not have to worry about stains. However, you will need to confirm first that it has been treated for stain protection.
Polyester fiber can also take a beating, which is why it is recommended for homes with cats. However, it is not as tough as nylon fiber. Nonetheless, polyester fiber is not as expensive as nylon fiber, making it a great alternative for those on a budget.
Like nylon fiber, polyester fiber is also made from recycled materials, meaning that it is environmentally friendly.
4. Berber Carpets
You might be wondering what the Berber carpet is doing on this list, considering that we said looped carpets are a no-no.
The difference between Berber carpets and most other looped carpets, however, is that the Berber is renowned for its exceptional quality. Its loops are extremely tight, requiring a tremendous amount of force to unravel them. It is highly unlikely that a housecat can generate such a high amount of force.
The Berber’s tight loops also ensure that liquids cannot penetrate through the material, making it quite easy to clean up any messes.
In addition to its durability and stain-resistance, the Berber carpet is remarkably budget-friendly, which explains why it is such a favorite among seasoned cat parents.
5. Frieze Carpets
Frieze carpets are also called “twist” carpets due to how they are made; their design consists of twisted fibers.
As mentioned, fiber is very durable. As you can imagine, twisting it makes it almost indestructible, which is why Frieze carpets are a great option for homes with cats.
Nonetheless, Frieze carpets have inherent disadvantages due to their design. They tend to conceal dirt and stains. Additionally, they are difficult to clean.
Why Do Cats Scratch Carpets?
As mentioned, scratching is a behavior that is instinctual to cats, meaning that they cannot help it. For any behavior to become instinctual, it means that it serves crucial purposes in a being’s life. When it comes to felines, you will notice that they all scratch—from the 600-pound Siberian tiger to your 10-pound kitty.
As such, by understanding why cats scratch, you will be in a better position to manage this habit without having to resort to declawing your cat. Declawing causes immense physical and psychological pain to a cat. It is akin to removing a person’s fingers. Unfortunately, some pet owners do declaw their house cats in a bid to save their carpets and furniture.
But we digress; the following are some of the vital functions that scratching serves in cats:
Health and Grooming
Like your nails, a cat’s claws are always growing. However, unlike how your nails grow continuously, a cat’s new claws grow inside their old ones. As such, they must shed the weak outer layer to reveal the new one.
They do that through a process known as stropping, which involves scratching out the outer layer. As you might be aware, stropping is the name given to the act of sharpening a knife’s edges. Cats need to keep their claws sharp since they are like fingers to them. This means that a cat without a proper scratching surface is one distressed animal, which is why they will turn to your carpet and furniture.
Scratching also allows cats to exercise the forelimb and spine muscles. This is why felines tend to combine stretching with scratching, as it helps to target those muscles more effectively.
Cats communicate with one another in several ways, with scratching being one of those ways.
Scratching especially comes in handy when marking territory. Like most predators, a cat will only fight as a last resort. However, they do not want an unfamiliar feline in their territory. Therefore, scratching a conspicuous surface lets the other cat know that that location belongs to another cat.
Moreover, cats have sweat glands on their paws. Since a cat’s sweat has a scent that is unique to it, scratching allows cats to mark their territory using their scent. This is the reason outdoor cats scratch on trees and posts, as those spots are highly visible to other cats.
The same goes for indoor cats. While they might not have anyone trying to claim their space, their instincts tell them to mark their area to serve as a warning to potential intruders.
Think about it; you would have a hard time sleeping in a house with no doors and windows, right? You will not be confident about your safety. The same goes for a cat that has not marked its territory.
How to Stop Your Cat from Scratching Your Carpets
As seen in the section above, scratching is important to a cat’s wellbeing. While investing in a good scratch-resistant carpet is one way of circumventing that problem, you will still have the problem of the cat damaging your furniture and upholstery.
Fortunately, there is a great all-around solution for this issue, a dedicated cat scratcher. Cat scratchers are toys designed for your cat to scratch. They come in the form of scratch pads or scratching posts and are made out of a variety of materials, including sisal, cardboard, and wood.
However, cat scratchers vary widely in size, practicality, and quality. Therefore, do your research first to avoid making a bad purchase.
Buy a couple of scratchers and place them all over your house, especially in areas your cat loves scratching. They will be drawn to the scratcher naturally, as it feels great against their claws, thus saving your precious carpet and furniture.
Conclusion: Cat Proof Carpets
Unfortunately, carpets are among the first things cats consider when looking for a scratching surface. They especially love looped carpets since the loops provide a nice resistance to their claws. Therefore, avoid looped carpets unless it is the Berber carpet.
Consider the options on our list, as we found them to be the most resistant to cat damage. While at it, consider buying a couple of scratchers for your cat. Cat scratchers are the best way of managing scratching in cats without having to stop them from doing it.
Featured Image Credit: Vasilyev Alexandr, Shutterstock