Cat friendly carpeting – Carpets that work well with Cats.
Cats are a very important part of the household, and my customers know I love cats (as well as dogs). I “own” 2 cats…or maybe I should say, they own me and allow me to pay the mortgage. Cats are wonderful, but sometimes they can do number on carpets, so it’s ideal to select a carpet that will co-exist well with your cat. What types of carpets are best for cats?
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The most common issue with cats are that the carpet pulls (especially if they have claws). But,, there can also be issues with hair balls, vomit, spraying and urine. Once you have spraying and/or urine in the carpet, it’s nearly impossible to solve short of removing the carpet. That’s because of 2 things. First, cats can smell much better than we can. Second, usually, these items penetrate beneath the carpet into the carpet pad and the backing, so even the best carpet cleaning will never fully solve the issue. You need to remove all evidence of the smell and start fresh.
Selecting a carpet when you have cats – important items to consider
1. Cut carpets will hold up better than looped carpets with cats.
Cats love to play with things. They scratch and stretch and their claws can get into everything – whether intentional or by accident. With looped carpets, cat’s paws will often pull the loops out and cause the carpet to unravel in sections. And, once there is a small issue, it almost becomes a game for the cat to pull out the carpet more. This is especially true for looped wool carpet. Their backing is often latex and less secure, so by all means avoid looped wool carpets. Don’t let the price fool you. These carpets are great, but they will be a disaster with your cat. So, if you have cats, I would avoid looped carpets (like the one on the right, and instead opt for a cut pile carpet (like the one above).
2. Avoid carpets that are too light as they will show dirt and fur.
Often, getting a mid toned neutral carpet will do the trick, and even better if you can find a carpet color that is similar to your cat. Also, if you have kitty litter in the area, and if this tends to get caught in their claws, you may want to consider a gray carpet.
3. Vacuum carpets frequently
This is actually good advice for all carpet owners regardless of whether they have cats or pets. Frequent vacuuming will get rid of dirt (which can wear down the carpet fibers), smells and also help with cats. It will really help make your carpet last longer and make your home nicer and neater. Also, getting your carpet cleaned professionally on an annual basis will also help. But, be sure to inquire about stain protection when you do this. Some of the steam cleaners extract the stain protection (same goes if you do this yourself), so be sure to reapply a topical stain protection afterwards and perform this annually.
4. Consider selecting a carpet that has multiple colors in it.
This is really a style choice, but having multiple colors will help hide the dirt as well as any messes. Sometimes, this can be achieved by selecting a carpet that has some “flakes” of color in there. But, I know that many customers in Westchester are not crazy about this look. Sometimes, the same effect can be achieved by a solid color carpet from the way the carpet is twisted. You can also select a carpet with a pattern, but these often will cost more.
5. Select a carpet with great stain protection and consider a polyester and/or solution dyed products.
Polyester and solution dyed products hold color better. Most carpets these days come with stain protection. When the stain protection is applied before the carpet is tufted (as most are), that is ideal is it is part of the fiber and protects you from root to tip. As mention above, be careful when you get your carpet cleaned or clean it yourself. Many of these methods extract some of the stain protection.
6. Consider Beaulieu’s Bliss with Magic Fresh if you have cats.
Beaulieu has recently launched a line called Magic Fresh. It absorbs many of the odors in the air, including pet odors, so might want to give this a try.
7. Clean stains quickly
I think this one is obvious, but yes, it helps to get stains out quickly before they settle and penetrate further into the carpet fiber.
8. Consider upgrading your carpet pad to one with a moisture barrier.
Shaw makes a wonderful carpet pad called Triple Touch. It has a moisture barrier on both sides, so it’s great if you carpet is going in a basement where you might have some moisture and it will give you some added protection if you cat has an accident. In addition, it will provide more cushion and support, doubling the warranty of your carpet. It does cost more than a regular carpet pads, but it’s often worth it.
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28 thoughts on “What types of carpets are best for cats?”
Great, tips for those people who love cats Debbie. Cats and carpets coexist nicely in many households. In others, not so much.
Rich – Thank you so much. I hope it comes in handy for people with cats when they are selecting new carpet.
Debbie, this is great information to pass along to my clients with cats. Good Heavens, you know EVERYTHING about flooring!
Thank you, Lori. You are so super sweet.
I practice that in our home with our two cats! Good information for those who are considering those fluffy loop carpets!
Barbara – I’m so glad to hear that, and thank you.
As a cat lover with a main floor needing a change we have decided to go all hardwood. However the bedrooms and second level need doing and our 3 cats like to go up there to vomit, not sure why. So good to know, especially as we can change the barrier at the same time. Now 3 blacks = black carpets. No I think not, but we are going to go darker than the original builders cream carpet. Thanks for this I really needed it.
Corinne – So glad to hear this info is so timely. Yes, hardwood is a great option for 1st floor. And, yes, getting a color similar to your cat’s/cats’ fur really helps. (or right…and black shows everything…so going a bit lighter than black will be better.
I think it’s good to advice against looped carpets, not only because they look used very quickly if you own a cat, but also because they can be potentially dangerous. We once had a small bird and let it fly around the appartment. One day we came back to find the poor little guy dead on the floor! What happened? He got stuck in one of these loose loop and apparantly had a hard attack or something trying to free himself 🙁
Now we have a cat, and we’re very glad that she is very clean. The one we had before used to vomit a lot. This is normal behaviour for cats to clean their guts out – but not very carpet friendly!!
Thanks for your expert opinion on this, you certainly have to put a lot of thought into choosing the right flooring!!
Ryan – OMG, so sorry about your bird. And, yes I have seen pets (esp cats) get “caught” in carpets and they don’t look very happy. Thank you for your kind words. I really appreciate that.
Debbie, this is an excellent post for me as a property manager. I can certainly direct all my owners this way for tips. Thanks
Shirley – Thank you so much for your compliment, and I’m so glad this will come in handy. Thanks.
Thanks for sharing this tips. I think this will help a lot of cat owners with carpets at home on how to deal with it. Cheers!
Thank you so much. I hope it comes in handy.
This is a great resource. Good article on carpeting and what makes the most sense for cats. Thank you.
I have a concrete floor covered with carpet that my cat peed on-how do you get rid of the smell after the carpet is removed? I’m getting new carpet in a couple of weeks. I tried natures miracle advanced formula just for cats, but it still smells.
Oh gosh, that is too bad, Barry. It is extremely difficult to remove that from concrete. I have heard that Nature’s Miracle is one of the best products out there. You could try Kilz and see if that works. I would make sure you have sufficient time before carpet goes in to see if you can solve and /or if odor comes back. I would delay carpet install until you know for sure. Otherwise, you may be stuck with it.
Ground coffee. That’s my miracle. Buy the cheap fine grind vacuum-packed brands, cover the spots, and let it sit there. My cat peed on my couch. I immediately applied the coffee grounds, let it sit there for a week, and after I removed it, I asked my friend to lean right into it and sniff. I said “Do you smell anything?” She said “No, should I?” I suspect it would do just as well on concrete.
Laurie – That’s an interesting solution. That probably just masks the smell. I believe they use that to mask many smells (remember Beverly Hills Cop?).
Thank you for the article . It was very helpful.
Thank you so much, Jean. I’m glad it was helpful.
I am considering the luxury vinyl plank, is this okay for cats?
Yes, it’s perfectly fine for cats.
If I recall correctly, either nylon or polyester, one of these was better then the other regarding loose fibers getting in your pets nose?
Debbie – Hmmm. I’m not sure about that but if I had to guess nylon is better. But, really I don’t think that’s the real issue. What you want is a carpet that is BCF (Bulk continuous filament) rather than a stapled carpet. Stapled carpet sheds more. Several years ago (maybe 5 or 6 yrs? or maybe 7 or 8?), I know that Shaw started to transition most carpets to BCF and most likely 90% or more of them are probably BCF already and most likely other manufacturers did the same.
That being said, all carpet does have some shedding after it’s installed especially for the first week or two and first few times you vacuum. Usually after vacuuming 3-4 times, almost all of those loose fibers have been picked up by your vacuum. And, I suppose looped carpets usually shed less than cut carpet.
Nylons are better carpets and hold up better than polyesters or olefins.
I hope that helps.
You can also call Shaw and speak to someone in their tech department for more info.
Thank you so much! My daughter is doing a project for girl scouts for the cats! We needed a carpet idea… you showed my daughter the right carpet choice. Thank you!
Kerry – Oh good. I’m so glad to hear that.