do cats like carpet

Do Cats Like Carpet?

Do cats like carpet? And if they do, is it a good thing or a bad thing? One of my favorite luxuries in our home is a wool carpet in the bedroom for warmth and sound insulation. But if I get a cat, will they shred it with their claws? I’ve learned that cats like scratching carpets for physical and emotional reasons, but there are lots of ways to divert them to more suitable surfaces too.


Do cats like carpet?

Yes! Most cats love carpets. Some of the wonderful qualities of carpet, from a cat’s point of view are:

  • Scratching potential
  • Scent marking potential
  • Warmth

Scratching potential

Some cats love pulling on carpet strings to sharpen their claws. They dig in deep and pull against the resistance of the fibers, to mimic scratching on tree bark. This enables them to:

  • stretch and strengthen their muscles,
  • keep their claws clean, sharp and healthy,
  • and leave a visual sign of their presence for other passers by.

Scent glands between their paw pads also produce a unique smell that warns other cats of their presence and helps them label their territory.

Scent marking potential

Besides the scent glands in their paws, cats also have scent glands on their chin, which they usually rub on vertical surfaces, to leave an aromatic signal of their presence for other cats (even if you don’t have any!). You might also notice them rubbing their cheeks on a carpeted floor too. Carpet is a great surface for picking up and holding onto scent, and having familiar smells embedded in their environment helps your cats feel safe and remain calm.


Lots of cats also love carpets because they are warm. Carpet fibers trap a layer of warm air, which is more pleasant to lie down and stretch out on than hardwood floors. Especially if it’s been warmed by sunshine coming through a window! Carpets also provide more cushioning for their joints than hardwood floors.

do cats like carpet

Why does my cat play with my carpet?

Your carpet offers resistance for your cat to use for sharpening claws, and a surface for leaving visual and olfactory messages about their presence. But besides that, your cat might also play with the carpet to release physical energy, and as a source of mental stimulation. Cat’s are naturally athletic and interested in the world around them. They need outlets for their physical and mental energy, and if they don’t get enough opportunities to play with you, or toys, they will make the most of whatever their environment does provide.

Do cats like carpet more than hardwoods?

It depends on the cat and the environment. Some cats love wood or tile floors to sprawl out on when it’s hot. If your cat has long hair, and you live in a warm climate, you might find they prefer the hardwood floors to the carpeted ones. Others prefer lounging on the carpet, especially during winter when they get warmth from the trapped heat.

Is carpet toxic to cats?

Up until 1978 (when it was outlawed), formaldehyde was was widely used in the manufacture of carpets. This seems to have fuelled a persistent myth that carpets can release toxic gases for decades after being laid. However, there is no evidence that carpets are toxic to cats. Whilst numerous chemicals are still used in their manufacture, and most carpets usually end up hosting large populations of microbes, they aren’t present at toxic levels. However, whenever you clean your carpet, or treat it with products like Scotchgard, it’s important to make sure it is fully dry before you let your cat have access to it again.

How to protect your carpet from your cat

It helps to start with a cat-resilient carpet in the first place. Invest in a carpet treated with waterproofing and stain-resistant protection if you can. Carpets with a pattern, or even just a subtle fleck will show up shed hair, small stains and scratched patches less than solid-colored carpets. Cut fiber carpets (as opposed to loop fiber carpets) are also much better for homes with cats. Loop fiber carpets provide extra resistance which is ultra-satisfying to scratch.

Cat’s scratch carpets for their physical and mental well being, and also as a form of communication. So to protect an existing carpet, make sure your cat has plenty of alternative scratch posts, positioned in conspicuous places and near doorways. They may not be beautiful to look at, but hiding them out of sight means your cat will probably ignore them!

Do cats like carpet – summary?

Cats love carpets and tug on carpet fibers to sharpen their claws. Unfortunately, during this they can dig in too deep, pulling out pieces of carpeting. It’s upon you to find cat-friendly carpets, and protect them by giving your cat different, even more appealing places to scratch.

Does your carpet love your carpet?

Tell us all about them in the comments box down below!

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