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HELP!!! My Cat Is Eating My Carpet

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
My cat finds the seams in our carpet and pulls out the indivdual threads of carpet, she doesn't eat it, she just rips it out!!! I've tried spraying her with water and thumping her nose as punishments, but nothing works and if this doesn't stop soon I will have to euthanize her
Does anybody know what to do to make her stop!!!! PLEASE HELP!!!
post #2 of 23
If the carpet has wool in it, a cat will chew on it, they are attracted to the wool fabric.If she already has a scratching post covered with carpet, then go out and get some sassal rope and cover the carpet portion of the post with the rope, so kitty won't associate carpet with scratching. Please don't thump your kitty on the nose, cats are not like dogs and they do not respond well with that type of discipline. Try filling an empty soda can with marbles, or small rocks or ball bearings and shake it at her when she does the scratching on the carpet to deter her.

Another thing you can try is get her some horizontal scratching pads, or the kind that are shaped like tents, and get her more than one. Rub the posts with catnip to entice her to use them instead of the carpet.

Another thing to try is to put down inexpensive flat rugs in the place that she scratches the regular carpet. Make sure the throw rugs have flat fabric and she will learn that she can't scratch at that and give up. A real inexpensive and attractive scratching pad is one made of the cardboard flats that eggs sit in. I have yet to meet a cat that won't scratch on those till they wear out, and they last about a week before they deteriorate.

Another suggestion is to buy some lemon scented air fresherner and spray your carpet early in the morning. Cats avoid anything citrus smelling and the spray will not hurt your carpet and your home will smell nice too.

And if all this fails, then please find another good home for your cat, because it is unfair for her to be put to sleep because she is doing what comes naturally to her, and please, please do not even consider declawing her. (I thank you for not even bringing it up in your initial post) but as it is often brought up in matters such as this, I thought I would bring it up now and tell you that it is a horrible disfiguring thing to do to a cat.

Good luck, I hope you will think about what I have suggested. I have a lot of cats, 20 to be exact and I deal with behaviour issues all the time as new ones come here.
post #3 of 23
Hissy has (as she always does : ) given you some great advice as to what can be done to stop your cat from tearing up the carpet.

My Cagney also liked to tear up the edges of the rugs, I had only 1 scratching post then, so I went and got one made of sisal...she loves it, and no longer tears up the carpet, just the rope! It leave a little mess, but its far better than what she did before.

If none of these ideas works, please find a new home for her...euthanizing her should not even be an option...someone will love her...maybe someone with hardwood floors?

(Hissy, good to see you! )
post #4 of 23
I can add nothing more than what has already been said - please let us know how things work out for you and kitty!
post #5 of 23

My cat Carly does the same thing. She pulls out the little fibers out of the carpet seams and chews on them. What I did was put two-sided tape over the areas and she hasn't touched them since.

Good luck.
post #6 of 23
Thread Starter 
Well, I'm sure it did hurt, it probably hurt when I had her spayed too. But, shes fine, she isn't in pain and it doesn't cause her any problems what-so-ever and has saved me who knows how much money in furniture that isn't torn to shreds, my parents had a cat with front claws and nothing stopped it from ripping up anything it felt like.
I mentioned that she might be euthanized because I work for the Humane Society and if I had to surrender my cat to them because she tears up carpet with her teeth, she probably wouldn't be put up for adoption. Please don't get me wrong I love my cat and I pay as much attention to her as I possibly can and will try everything possible to stop her from ripping up the carpet. However, I think we all know that new carpet costs thousands of dollars, and I can't afford to recarpet my home, just to have her rip it up again. I will try the double-sided tape.
Thanks for your input.
post #7 of 23
Thought it might be worth mentioning that cats who are declawed often develop behavioural problems, maybe this carpet eating thing is her acting out because of the trauma she had to endure. The agony of being declawed can in no way be comparable to the spaying procedure. Its like comparing ripping you leg off to stubbing your toe. With proper knowledge and patience, the majority of cats can be trained to modify undesirable behaviors. It shouldn't even be a consideration to have the poor cat put down because she is doing what comes naturally.To me its comparable to giving a child up for adoption because it colors on the walls, we all know how expensive wallpaper is. I'm sure that someone out there would be willing to take her in if you don't want her.

Sorry to come across harshly, but this really hits a sore spot with me.I would think that being a worker for the Humane Society, that you have seen lots of animals put down unnecessairly, and wouldn't want to do the very same yourself.
post #8 of 23
You need to figure out why she does this and provide her with an alternative that will fulfill the need. Then I would go on to use the double sided sticky tape for a while to get her off the habit of chewing the carpet. You have to do it in this order, or it won't work (she will find something else to mark with her teeth).

A posibble reason for this behavior would be some form of marking behavior (which is also why cats scratch - as the poor cat is declawed, she may have taken to marking with her teeth instead). Another reason may be lack in fiber (if she actually ingests the stuff) - then you need to add some fiber to her diet. A teaspoonful of canned mashed pumpkin should do the trick.

A very likely reason would be boredom and/or stress (the two are often related as stress can be caused by lack of stimuli). Is she alone during the day? Maybe she needs more quality time with you. Do not on any account punish her or even yell at her (and put away the water gun - these usually just stress the cat and don't help). Instead, make sure you have at least two sessions of interactive playtime with her everyday. Each session should last about 20 minutes. If she can't keep it up for 20 minutes at a time, try 3 sessions of 15 minutes each, or 4 sessions of 10 minutes each. Make sure you don't just toss a few toys around, but actually use an interactive toy, like a fish rod type of toy that you dangle around and move around as if it was prey.

These are just general suggestions. The best thing would be to call in a good cat behaviorist that will help you set a plan. Remember, that if behavior modification on itself doesn't help, you can always combine drug therapy (guided by a vet of course).

There is no need to put down the cat. I'm sure the shelter would not be able to place her when you bring her in reporting a behavior problem. If all else fails, you will have to work hard and find a good home for her yourself, without putting her in the shelter. I do hope a behavior therapy would help though.

Keep us posted as to how she does.
post #9 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thank you, I will.
post #10 of 23
Lets all take a deep breath and calm down before it gets more ugly.

Lets commend Lar for asking for help. Even if Lar made decisions that are different from the decisions we might have made, at least Lar is wanting input on how to make things better now.

So....lets see if the advice works and go from there.
post #11 of 23
as you've probably already surmised, declawing is a hot topic here! When I first came to this site, I was planning on getting my 2 cats declawed. Thankfully I did some research first. I didn't realize (as most people don't) what a traumatic experience it is, or what is involved in the procedure. I know that your cat is already declawed, but since you come into contact with many people looking to adopt cats, I wanted to share some a site that shows what happens to the cat.

those are pics from an actual declawing surgery. It's not pretty.

There are a ton of extremely knowledgable people on this site, who can share more information on declawing. Again I know that your cat is done, but since you interact with perspective cat owners, I wanted you to have all sides of the story.

hopefully the 2sided tape helps with the carpet chewing. Let us know how it works out!
post #12 of 23
Thread Starter 
Hey getting pretty ugly. I don't expect anyone to approve of declawing.

#1 I am NOT considering to euthanize my cat, I just know that if I can not resolve this problem myself, most likely she will not be adopted out.
#2 My cat was declawed a long time ago, this is not the cause of her chewing on my carpet, she has always chewed on things, even before she was declawed, but she only chewed on her toys. I think she has mistakenly decided the carpet is not off limits.
#3 You can't get mad at me because I actually care about the appearance of my home. I knew a lady who is now in a nut house, who got rid of all her furniture and didn't care if her lovely kitties turned her house into a stinking torn-up crap hole...she eventually accumulated about 200 cats because she didn't mind the if her home was torn up and smelly...I hope you are not one of those...SUSIEQ

To everybody else I really do appreciate your suggestions, currently she has stopped ripping up my carpet. I'll keep you posted, though. If I need more help with this problem I hope I can ask without getting chewed out again.

Thank you,
post #13 of 23
Thread Starter 
By the way...airprincess I checked out that website and it is a horrible thing. I never really knew exactly how they did it, thanks for the link, I guess.
post #14 of 23
I'm glad the kitty has stopped her undesirable chewing. Its very frustrating when an animal behaves in a way we deem inappropriate. Its hard to keep in mind sometimes that the behaviour is natural when it ends up destroying our stuff. I've had so many things chewed up and ripped apart in the past, I could never count it all.

But, I think what is getting people so 'haired up' is that you mentioned euthanaisa. You've since explained that you weren't going to put the cat down, but that the shelter would. Please try to have patience with her, should she start to chew again.I'd hate to see a wonderful cat end up in a shelter if it needn't happen.

This forum is a great place to get advice. You've been given some wonderful suggestions, and if they don't work, I'm sure theres an arsenal of others at your disposal here. Everyone here is very passionate in their love for cats and sometimes we come across more harshly than we intend to.

I'm glad you went to the site on declawing. I agree with Airprincess, it won't change anything with your kitty, but working with the Humane Society, its gives you a wonderful opportunity to educate others on what the procedure entails and its possible consquences. Ihope you put the information to good use. Even if it saves one cat from going through it, its worth it.

Good luck with your kitty
post #15 of 23
I was so glad to read that you were actually not considering euthanizing your cat, because your initial post said that you were going to have to if you couldn't find a way to fix her problem. As the thread developed, I thought I could understand why you posted in such a vein, because to you it was a desperate situation and you seemed to want an immediate result, therefore you stated it the way that you did to get (not necessarily attention) but advice. And everyone that thought they could save you some frustration posted and told you what they knew worked for them.

It is something to at least consider that because you cat has suddenly developed this eating the carpet habit, that she is trying to "tell" you something. It could be something as simple as "I'm bored provide me with some creative playtime" or, "why did you change my cat litter to the clumping kind, it hurts my feet" or any number of things that she is trying to convey to you. Animals rarely do things for no reason. If a horse weaves out in the pasture, then he is bored and needs to be exercised or paid attention to. If a dog digs, he his telling you he needs to run or play, or whatever, but there is always a reason. A cat is not going to just sit back on his haunches and look around at all the fine things around him and suddenly decide to rip apart something that is expensive for no reason. A cat doesn't know the difference between a fine piece of furniture and a Goodwill castoff, it can't think that way. It is usually up to the cat owner to take the puzzling behaviour before them and try to figure out what this animal is trying to say, because this is the only way they can "show" you something is not right in their world all of a sudden.

When you mentioned your cat was declawed, some collective claws came out in defense of this poor creature because of the butchery done to her. Those in the know, who realize that declawing is simply a big money maker for vets rose up because of what they believe so strongly, that there are other ways to get around a cat scratching or clawing or acting out. No one here, that I know of is an animal collector, most of the people on this website have little compassion for people who just collect animals and don't care for them. I know my neighbors complain that I collect animals, as I rescue abused and abandoned ones, but my house smells wonderful, my cats are well behaved and I have the room and the property to house them, otherwise I would make other arrangements.I have 20 cats, 10 are feral and never come into the house, but the others are inside/outside and there is fine furniture that they have learned they are not allowed to claw, or jump up on. They do have a room upstairs where they have a couch all their own they can claw to their heart's content, that is what it is up there for- but all the other furniture in the house, they do not destroy. It took time and patience, and no swatting noses or behinds before they caught on what was acceptable and what was not.

I have been on this site for almost a year now, and there are several cat topics that fire up people in their desire to educate others, and sometimes that desire will turn ugly in a thread as others try to get across their convictions about these topics. Declawing, as Airprincess has pointed out, is one of these topics. Another is spaying and neutering, animal and child abuse and in the past these topics have generated a lot of heat.

I hope you stick around, I hope you won't label people because of how they come across your computer screen,as I hope no one here has so labeled you. I hope you will be able to add to the circle of knowledge here as well as learn from it.There are good people here and quite honestly, there is no better cat site on the Internet. I know, because I have looked. Anne has done a wonderful thing in bringing about these pages and gathering up all these members. There is a lot to be learned and plenty of laughs and tears ahead of you if you stick around, read the stories offered her and join up with this community. So if you and I got off on the wrong footing, I apologize. Sometimes, I come off a lot stronger than I want to when it comes to my convictions and beliefs.

post #16 of 23

I'm glad to hear that your kitty stopped chewing the carpeting. Did the two-sided tape work? They hate that stuff! Carly couldn't stand it and stopped almost immediately. She actually jumped over it everytime she came into my room. It was a cheap solution to an annoying problem.

I also used it on my furniture. One of my cats was clawing a corner of my loveseat and the "Sticky Paws" brand tape didn't stay on long enough to work. So, out came the other stuff (it's basically used to keep scatter rugs in place on floors) along with a scratching post next to the area. The tape stayed in place and Maya Linn stopped scratching!
post #17 of 23
I'm still having problems with my cats with claws scratching - and now having a move in date with the fiance - we went through the de-clawing issue as I had posted here - afraid he would give me an ultimatum (but he didn't - he just needed to vent the feelings)and we both knew I absolutely wouldn't have it done -- that said -- yours was already de-clawed before you posted - and you asked for advice on something else, so I personally think you have a right to receive a response without hostility. However, if you look back at the language of your posts you did very nonchalantly say 'this has to change or else I'll have to have her euthanized' and you spoke alot about your posessions -- I think maybe that you came across somewhat cavalier, it pressed buttons and got some serious reactions.

Anyway, I'm experimenting with new scratchers - someone from the rescue agency I got my 2 kitties from recommended the "Turbo Scratcher" -- it's a circular toy with a ball that goes around - and in the center is some sisal/cardboard type material for scratching. One of mine loves playing with the toy, and the other uses it for scratching. The woman told me if you place a few of them around the house it could help focus their scratching. I've also read about positive reinforcement working so if your cat goes back to scratching the carpet, and you are able to get her to scratch something else - you can reward her with a treat and see if that starts to help modify the behavior.

I bought what they call a 'carpet remnant' from a carpet store - for $5 - and one of mine does use it for scratching (and sitting on).

And last, I have been volunteering at a shelter that has 100's of cats and if they take one in, it's for life, if it's not adopted. There are some cats that have been there for years and they roam freely and seem very happy. BUT the good news is just recently one of those 'permanent' ones -- older, fat -- was adopted!!! So there is hope on that end of you just keep searching for the right place.

post #18 of 23
Thread Starter 
My cats problem was she was ripping out carpet threads with her teeth, not her claws, so teaching her to claw something wouldn't help and I don't think I want to teach her to bite anything else!
I haven't noticed her doing it recently, so hopefully (cross my fingers) she has learned not to do it.
post #19 of 23

First of all CALM DOWN! And how dare you even think about euthanizing s kitty just because they chew your carpet? What is wrong with you seriously?

post #20 of 23

OMG this person scared the crap out of me saying they were going to euthanize their cat for chewing carpet. Please don't use such scare tactics to get a quick response. Wow.

post #21 of 23
Originally Posted by michelekitty View Post

OMG this person scared the crap out of me saying they were going to euthanize their cat for chewing carpet. Please don't use such scare tactics to get a quick response. Wow.
Please note that this thread is 12 years old and the OP has not been active in the TCS forums recently. In any case, the issue was resolved long ago.

If you are looking for information about cats chewing on carpets it would be a good idea to start a new thread. That way you're more likely to get people responding to your questions rather than to the original questions.
post #22 of 23
I'm having the same issue with my cat but she's eating it and throwing it up! She has been doing it ever since we moved to our new home . We built a brand new home with new carpet upstairs and she has ruined a huge spot. She is pulling it out with her teeth and eating it. I cannot figure out what started the behavior. She started it a couple months after we moved in. I tried spraying the carpet with cat away and she doesn't care. I tried putting a scratch pad over it and she just pushes her nose under it and pulls a piece out and eats it. I tried putting tape on it and she finds another spot to start! She always does it when I'm not around so I can't shake a can, later she will throw it up! Please help!! I don't want to get rid of her but I can't afford new carpet either. Thx
post #23 of 23

I'm glad I'm not the only one with the problem. My daughter has a cat that eat clothes if on the floor.


I just rescued a second cat that ate a large whole in an old oriental carpet and a large whole in my pajamas and then threww it all up. Uck. Can't believe she ate SO much and made such a mess. I even found small bites of other colors. Trying to figure out what else she's been into. Sadly, after the rug incident I am considering returning her to the local human society for rehoming. I was very upset but I see now that's it's more comman than I imagined.

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