If you are a cat owner, then you know that cats have some pretty strange habits that you can’t always explain. For starters, some cats bite at their owners’ feet or have a specific spot they call their own. Other cats love boxes, and you’ll usually find cats in (or on top) counters and cupboards. But then there’s the habit of ripping up carpets. In some cases, a cat will start ripping up carpet the first day you bring them home, and other cats might begin over time. If you have a rescue or new feline, you are probably wondering what you can do to prevent this issue from continuing. Check out this guide to learn what you should do about this common feline habit.
What to Do if Cat Is Ripping Up Carpet?
Why is My Cat Ripping the Carpet?
Cats have an instinct to scratch, sharpen their claws, and stretch their muscles. Cats are predators by nature and might use ripping up carpets (or couches) as a form of marking their territory.
These markings serve as a means to discourage other predators – and sometimes it’s just their way of telling other cats that this is their territory or home. That might not be very comforting to cat owners who find their carpets destroyed, though!
Often, cats scratch carpets to tell you something. Maybe they’re uncomfortable from fleas, or not responding well to a specific noise. Cats might also rip up carpets because they’re bored, stressed, or anxious.
The great news is that in most cases, cats can be discouraged with simple changes.
Give Your Cat a Scratching Pole
If your feline friend is scratching the carpet to claim their territory, provide them with a suitable alternative to stop your cat from doing further damage.
In general, cats like to scratch. Encourage your cat to use a scratching post as an easy way to discourage the habit. If your cat doesn’t take to the scratching pole immediately, sometimes catnip can help.
Cats who need a distraction or simply something else to scratch at can benefit from a scratching pole. Unfortunately, some cats just prefer toys – and simply won’t touch a scratching pole or specific scratching spot.
Gift Your Cat a Special Toy
If cats are ripping up the carpet, sometimes giving them a special toy (with or without catnip) can serve as a worthy distraction. Cats might be more prone to marking behaviors when they’re feeling insecure. For example, when spending time alone at home while their owner is at work.
Sometimes a scratching pole does the trick for distracting your pet, other times a toy or blanket might also work.
Change Your Cat’s Diet
If your cat’s diet isn’t what it should be, then they might also react with behaviors that get a reaction out of their owner. Yes, this is much like naughty children. Check your cat’s diet and see if there’s a noticeable change in any of the things they do.
A balanced diet is always necessary, and cats tend to let their owners know by acting out when their food isn’t doing enough. For older cats, adapt to a nutrient-higher mixture recommended for older felines.
Move Your Cat’s Eating Spot
Cats might also sometimes mark their territory near where they’re eating. If your cat won’t stop doing this, move their eating place to a special table or spot your cat knows is meant for them. Once there’s a designated eating spot, higher up than the carpet, the need to mark their territory tends to become a thing of the past.
Introduce Your Cat to Catnip
Catnip is one of the greatest things that have ever been invented for helping cats relax. Sprinkling catnip away from the area you’d like them to leave alone is one way to keep them away from carpets. When cats feel tense, they’re more likely to engage in ripping up the carpet.
Catnip can act as an incentive for cats to use the designated scratching surfaces. Several catnip products exist, including dried herbs, sprays, and toys.
Redirect the Behavior
If your cat is scratching the carpet and you want to redirect this behavior, here are some tips:
- Double-Sided Tape: Cats often dislike the sticky texture of double-sided tape. Apply the tape to the edges of the carpet where your cat scratches. This can deter them from using those areas.
- Trim or Cap Your Cat’s Nails: Regular nail trimming of your cats’ claws can reduce the damage caused by scratching. If you’re unsure how to trim your cat’s nails, consult your veterinarian or groomer for guidance.
- Nail caps are sometimes used for cats. They are vinyl caps that are glued onto a cat’s claws to prevent them from scratching and causing damage.
- Cover up the spot: Use a temporary barrier like a plastic carpet runner with the pointy side up or a piece of clear plastic. Cats usually avoid uncomfortable surfaces.
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