If your cats are anything like mine, they suffer from extreme clawstrophobia. This is a condition totally made up by me to describe a pet’s fear of closed doors.
In this article I’ll share some of the things I tried in an attempt to stop my cat scratching at my bedroom door and the carpet beneath it. This was particularly problematic at night when I wanted some privacy but the cats had other ideas.
I live in a rented home so damage to the property is not only annoying but can be quite costly. A friend of mine needed to replace their carpets as their cat had scratched them and it cost them over $1,500. I needed to find a way to stop my cat scratching these parts of my apartment.
Is it possible to stop my cat scratching?
It’s no surprise that cats love scratching. It’s in their nature and there are a few reasons they do it. Whether it’s to leave their scent (they have scent glands in their paws), mark their territory visually, exercise their joints and muscles or just to have a good stretch, scratching is totally normal for cats.
Cat scratching posts are essential in any feline friendly household. They give our cats the opportunity to claw at something that resembles a tree and most of them love it. But simply giving your cats something to scratch won’t stop them doing it when and where you don’t want them to. As any cat slave (owner) knows, cats are highly temperamental, and if they feel like scratching, they more than likely will.
Meow or scratch?
Different cats respond in different ways when confronted with a closed door. Some patiently sit and wait for it to be opened by a human. Others may give a few low key meows to let their owner know they are waiting to come in.
But oftentimes the protesting can get quite extreme. Your cat may meow endlessly until the door is opened. Or if they are anything like mine, they will start clawing and scratching at the ground trying to dig their way into the room. And when you have carpets, particularly rented carpets, this is far from ideal.
Can the behaviour be changed?
Whether they lean more towards the vocal or destructive end of the spectrum, this behaviour can be difficult to change, particularly in older cats. I personally had a lot of trouble trying to stop my cat scratching at my bedroom door and carpet. But there are some suggestions that may work for you and your cats below.
The key is to be patient as cat behaviour takes time to change. Continuous reinforcement, repetition and time are what’s needed to introduce new habits in your feline friends.
Suggestions for stopping your cat from scratching.
Tip 1: Wear them out before bedtime
It surprisingly doesn’t take much to wear a cat out. Often just playing with them for 15 or 20 minutes before dinner time may be enough to expel quite a lot of energy. Energy that would otherwise be spent on trying ot get into rooms they shouldn't.
In the wild cats would spend time hunting before they eat. Try playing with your cat for 15 minutes before you feed him or her at night. I gave this a try at home and I did notice that they were more exhausted in the evening, but it didn’t stop my cat scratching my bedroom door entirely, they still had a little energy left!
Tip 2: Use double sided tape
Some cats absolutely hate the sticky feeling of tape on their paws and this can be a deterrent from them touching or scratching the carpet or door.
There are even products made especially for this purpose, like these Sticky Paws pads that are supposed to stop cats from scratching furniture. I’m sure they could be used on doors too!
I tried using double sided tape on my kitchen bench and it didn’t work for my cats, so I didn’t think it would stop them scratching the bedroom door and carpet. But I’ve heard from many others that it did work for their cats, so it may be worth a go!
Tip 3: Use ‘stop my cat scratching’ deterrent products
There are various products on the market that position themselves as deterrents for cats. I’ve tried this one and I have to say it didn’t work for my cats. But I know others who have had success with these kinds of sprays.
The sprays usually include some kind of citrus ingredient as most cats apparently don’t like citrus. My cats must be the exception.
Tip 4: Keep them in a closed room like a bathroom or laundry
This is one that doesn’t work for me as I share my house and don’t want to burden my housemate with the hassle of having to make sure my cats stay in their new “bedroom”. But for others it might work well.
Fit out the bathroom or laundry with litter, water and something comfortable for them to sleep on and leave them there for the night. If they protest, give it a few nights to see if they get used to it. You might find that this not only protects your doors and carpets, but you may even get a better night sleep, too.
Tip 5: Remove the barrier with Pawtle
I’ll be honest. I tried many things to stop my cat scratching at night, and none of them worked. My girls are just too persistent and don’t like being separated from me.
So the solution for me was to take a different approach. And that's how Pawtle was born.
Pawtle is a privacy screen that acts as an indoor pet door. It uses magnets to attach to any door and provides privacy for me and a portal for my cats. It allows me the comfort to know my housemate can’t see into my room, but my cats can come and go as they please.
Removing the barrier may seem like you’re giving in. But most of the pet owners I know want their pets to be able to roam freely. Pawtle delivers the best of both worlds, privacy and practicality. And since using the indoor pet door, my cats haven’t once scratched at at the door or the carpet.
Happy me. Happy landlord.
Conclusion on how to stop my cat scratching
There’s no one size fits all solution. Different households, different owners and different cats mean that what works for me may not work for you. When I realised I had to find a way to stop my cat scratching my bedroom door at night it took time to experiment and find the solution.
Give a few things a try and see what sticks, and if you’d prefer to remove the barrier altogether, hook yourself up with a Pawtle. Pawtle is a relatively new product and is proving popular amongst those who share houses. People who want their cats to stop scratching their door and have access to the rooms in their house but don’t want to sacrifice privacy are giving Pawtle a go.