Why Do Cats Scratch Carpet And Furniture?

You are likely familiar with your cat’s habit of scratching everything in your house. Or at least it seems that way sometimes.

But if you really zero in and pay attention to your cat’s habit, you will notice that it scratches certain things at certain times and in certain ways. And there is a reason for all of these differences.

So now let’s answer your question ‘Why do cats scratch carpet and furniture?’ before you completely lose your cool and do something irrational with your cat! Please read this especially if you are considering declawing your cat. This should NEVER be done and you have better options than this.

Why Does My Cat Keep Scratching Things?


Scratching is a normal part of cat instinct and behavior. They’re not doing it to piss you off or get even, they’re doing it partly because they have to.

Here are all the reasons that cats need to scratch:

  1. To remove the outer layer of their claws
  2. To mark their territory. Both male and females will mark their territories with physical/visual markings and with scents through glands in their feet.
  3. To stretch their claws, feet, and body. You might not be aware of this but cat claws are part of their skeletal structure just like our fingers are. The only difference is that they retract theirs into their paws.
    Now you can see why they need to be stretched if you imagine your fingers being cramped up in a small compartment like their paws.
  4. To find comfort or feel good like how you feel when you have a good stretch or massage

What Kind of Materials Do Cats Like To Scratch?cat_climbing_structures_why_does_my_cat_like_to_scratch_things_wood

Cats like to scratch materials that are rough and textured that do not give easily. It has to be something that they can really sink their claws into and get a good feel of.

Painfully so, sometimes this can be our skin if we don’t teach them not to scratch us. This is one reason that it’s important not to use your hands as ‘playthings’ for your cat.

Now if you think about it, you probably don’t see your cat scratching the fridge or the TV because these appliances aren’t made of materials that cats like to scratch. Don’t get me wrong, they may lay or even stretch their bodies across these but they usually don’t scratch them.

In nature, this would usually be a tree however indoors some materials cats love to scratch include:

  • natural woods like oak, pine, and maple
  • natural, untreated rope like sisal and coconut ropes
  • house grade carpets (which is why your cat may scratch the floor)
  • mesh, like what covers speakers (not sure what the exact name is but personal confession, that’s what I used as my ‘first cat tree‘ was a giant car speaker that didn’t work anymore, haha! ^^; )
  • rubber like tires or large erasers

So you can see why your cat seems to be addicted to scratching your furniture and floors no matter how much times you tell it not to. But there is a way to keep their claws happy without shredding your house apart and we’ll be discussing it later on in this article so keep reading!

When Do Cats Scratch?

Cats are pretty habitual, instinct-driven animals. This means that their habits are pretty regimented and pretty much predictable once you know what to look for.

If you spend time watching and documenting your cat’s behavior, you’ll notice the same and can better plan to intercept or teach your cat to scratch on more appropriate surfaces.cat_climbing_structures_when_do_cats_scratch_yawn

Cats tend to scratch:

  • when they first wake up. Like we usually stretch, yawn and other actions when we wake up, so do cats but they tend to scratch as a part of it.
  • they scratch when marking their territory.
  • they scratch when they are excited about something like when they get in their excited, frenzy state or maybe your about to feed them when they’re really hungry.

I can agree that my cats do all of the above especially when I start the ‘Feeding Animals’ ritual part of the morning. There are active paws in the background until their bowls get placed which is always after the dogs to keep them from eating their food instead.

Yes, my dogs do eat the cat food when given the chance but my cats also want to eat the dog food when given the chance. I’m yet to figure out if this is a good or bad thing but from my research at least I know its a normal thing, hehe.

How Do Cats Scratch

Cats need to scratch both vertically, up and down, and horizontally, side to side. As you can imagine this is for both comfort and necessity.

Thinking about when we stretch, we tend to turn directions to get the right muscle or area. Your cat is the same. In order to stretch the right area, it has to change directions.

Also, marking territory works in the same way. It’s not enough to just have markings or scents up high or down low or facing one direction, it must be all of the above.

How To Stop Your Cat From Scratching The Furniture

Now that you understand how much scratching means to your cat I hope this has brought you to figuring out better options to keep your cat in your household. I also hope that if you were considering declawing that you realize how detrimental it will be to their instincts not to mention other harmful effects of this procedure.cat_climbing_structures_maine_coon_cat_furniture

If anything, you can try trimming your cat’s claws but that can be challenging because your cat likely won’t keep still.

The best plan of action that you can take to stop your cat from scratching is to get a scratching surface that is specially designed to speak to them better than your couch does. This can be as simple as a scratching post or a larger cat tree.

My recommendation to you is to get a sturdy, good quality cat tree. This is because it is more likely to get and KEEP your cat’s attention because it satisfies your whole cat.

By that I mean, a cat tree doesn’t just get your cat’s scratching under wraps but it gives your cat its own place to sleep, play, climb, and jump all over. It will claim it as its own, so that will also take care of territorial scratching as well.

The good news about cat trees is that there are so many different styles for just about every kind of cat you can imagine whether its a small, large, old, or young cat. There are even cat trees for your cat if it has mobility or joint issues like arthritis!

To find out more information on cat trees and choosing the best one for you, your cat and your household situation, you have come to the right place because we have a guide that will walk you through everything you need to know.

Click on the button below to get started and if you ever have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments box below any post on this website.

Click here to learn more about finding the best cat climbing structures for your cat!

4 thoughts on “Why Do Cats Scratch Carpet And Furniture?

  • June 18, 2018 at 3:54 pm
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    Thank you for this post. I have been considering getting my cat a cat tree for this very reason. 

    Your article helped me confirm what I needed in order to help fix the furniture situation as well as why cats do what they do. I love my cat to pieces so I wouldn’t give him up no matter what he does and I would never declaw him either. 

    Their claws are part of their skeletal structure as you say, and I could never bring myself to hurt them like that.

    Thanks again for your awesome post.

    Reply
    • June 18, 2018 at 8:19 pm
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      Hey Darcy,

      Thanks for your comment and thanks for sharing. I’m glad that you have found value in this information.

      Sadly, many people don’t realize the pain declawing causes. I know from experience before I was properly educated, I thought the claws were just like nails that you cut off.

      I never realized that they in essence remove part of their fingers. Now I’m on a mission to help people resolve their cat’s issues without resorting to this harmful and unethical form of treatment.

      Hope your cat enjoys its cat tree 🙂

      Marlinda

      Reply
  • June 19, 2018 at 10:50 am
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    Great post, thanks for sharing!

    We have two sweet little rescue cats, who have all their claws. One of ours had a deformity from birth, so he can’t use his front paws or claws, but the other is a scratching machine!

    We have a scratching post, but they don’t use it consistently. Ours is made out of a combination of carpet and rope, but I think I may need to look into some of those wood options you’re recommending here!

    Reply
    • June 19, 2018 at 11:13 am
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      Hey Jordan,

      Wow, thanks for sharing this! That’s awesome!

      Yeah, scratching posts tend to only take care of a small portion of your cat’s scratching needs so they get board with them or they still have residual needs after using it. 

      Its kind of like using a back scratcher that only reaches certain parts of your back to itch but your whole back is on fire. Your driven to insanity because of the regions that still itch that you can’t reach with the back scratcher!

      I hope you find a good, sturdy cat tree for your cats. That way the one with the deformity doesn’t feel left out too 🙂

      Wall mounted cat trees would be a good option for you too because they can really get active and interactive while saving space too!

      I’m glad you found value in this info!

      Marlinda

      Reply

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