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Paws, Claws and Carpet

Just less than a year ago we moved into our new place and found that the carpet had been wrecked in a several places by the previous owner’s cat and dog. Their pets had apparently been kept inside a lot and had pulled carpet pile out due to natural instincts, boredom and just wanting to get outside.

We own two cats, George (a beautiful long haired ginger) and Duchess (short haired tabby with exquisite dark stripes). These two are well and truly part of the family, so they are going to be around for a long time.

Being in the flooring industry, I set about finding a replacement carpet for the bedrooms and family room which will best suit pets.

Colour Selection

Firstly, there is the question of what colour to use, as a practical charcoal colour would show all the ginger fur but a light colour would show all the dark fur from the tabby. In the end we picked a mid-taupe tone which helps camouflage all colours.

We also purchased a cat/dog rotating brush attachment for the vacuum cleaner, this lifts pet fur easily from the carpet without you having to do the equivalent of an hour aerobics class

Type of Carpet Pile

Carpets essentially come in two types of pile, loop pile which could be best described as like a knitted pullover and cut pile which is usually twist or plush/velvet pile.

Loop piles are easily snagged by pet’s claws and can subsequently be pulled out from the backing. Snagged tufts sticking up can sometimes become a long line of missing yarn. You can lessen the chance of a run in your carpet by cutting off the offending tuft with a sharp pair of scissors or sticking it back down with a hot glue gun.

Cut pile carpets are much less likely to caught by your pet’s claws but can still be snagged. If they are pulled up a little, just cut them back level to the rest of the pile.

Never try to pull a sprouting yarn out, as this may cause a run in the carpet.

Missing pile can be rectified by sewing back the missing tufts by hand. Re-tufting is also a satisfactory way of repairing small areas of damage and can be organised through your carpet retailer. To provide spare tufting yarn, it is a good idea to keep a small piece of spare carpet aside.

Best Carpets for Resisting Pet Stains

Most synthetic carpets are easier to clean than wool carpets and some new generation fibres are even warranted to resist stains from domestic pet urine and faeces for the life of the carpet.

Solution dyed nylon (SDN) carpets are also easier to keep clean than standard carpets.

It is important to follow manufacturers cleaning recommendations otherwise you may void any warranties.

Your retailer can provide with a hard copy of the cleaning guidelines or the link to download the relevant information.

Prevention Rather than Cure

Of course, the best result would be getting the animal to stop scratching or soiling your furnishings. Lounge suites also tend to suffer damage, so the damage bill can mount up.

Methods can include:

  • the provision of a cat scratching post
  • placement of a barrier such as cardboard flat on the target area
  • You can also buy a product called “Sticky Paws,” which are medical grade adhesive sticky strips that can go on curtains, drapes, carpets, and anything else that might be a bit too tempting for your cat
  • giving your pet more outside time
  • installation of cat/dog flap so they can get out when they want or need to
  • fill a spray bottle with 300ml of warm water. Add 10 drops of lemon- or orange-scented essential oil to the water and spray lightly on the carpet or your furniture. Catsdislike the smell of citrus and will most likely stay away from citrus-smelling objects. If citrus doesn’t work on your finicky feline, try cinnamon, lavender or eucalyptus oil.
  • Keep your cats or dog’s claws neatly trimmed.Part of the reason for scratching is to sharpen and even shorten claw growth, you can help out with a regular, careful trim of your pet’s claws or get your Vet to show you how to do it
  • If you have a spray bottle of water, you could try squirting your cat whenever they go near the furniture and start scratching it. Aim to do this before they start scratching but if not, squirt mid-scratch. This won’t hurt the cat but it will help them to associate scratching that piece of carpet with a less-than-pleasant spritz of water


No soft furnishing can be totally cat or dog proof and you are either a pet person or you are not. In addition, in these rooms we wanted the feel of carpet under our feet.

In other rooms we can choose hard flooring from vast range of laminate flooring and engineered timber flooring.