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Monday, April 18, 2022

A kind donation from our new partner Carpetright is keeping the cats in our centres happy

When cats arrive in the care of a Cats Protection centre, they each get a cosy pen containing all the important things they need to keep them comfortable and happy.

This of course includes food and water bowls, litter trays, toys and comfy beds, but they also get their own little patch of carpet to help them display some natural behaviours, as well as support their transition into their new forever homes.

ginger cat sitting on square of navy blue carpet

Our new charity partner Carpetright has kindly donated a selection of carpet samples to some of our adoption centres.

One of the centres benefitting from this generous gift is our Harrow Homing Centre in London. “All of the cats pictured have now gone off to loving homes, along with their carpet square to help them settle in,” said Lydia Sawyer, Harrow Homing Centre Manager. “The new cats at the centre are continuing to enjoy the carpet squares and we often see them sitting patiently on them waiting for dinner.”

Why carpet is important for the cats in our care

1. Claw maintenance

Scratching is a natural and important behaviour for cats for two reasons. One is that it helps to keep their claws in good condition, preventing them from growing too long. Carpet is an ideal surface for scratching as cats can easily dig their claws into the fibres. If you want to protect your carpets from your cat’s claws, then provide them with an alternative scratching surface, such as a tall scratch post. You could even make your own scratch post using carpet samples.

2. Marking territory

The second reason cats love to scratch is that it helps them to mark their territory. Cats have scent glands between the pads of their paws which produce a unique smell only they and other animals can smell. When they scratch a surface, they leave this scent behind, helping them identify it as part of their territory and giving other animals a sign to stay away.

brown tabby cat lying on square of grey carpet

3. Getting used to new surfaces

When kittens are between two to seven weeks old, they are in their ‘socialisation period’, an important part of their development where they learn what’s safe and what isn’t. If they spend this period in one of our pens, it’s important that we introduce them to things they might encounter in their forever homes, so they won’t become stressed by them. Giving them carpet tiles, as well as other types of flooring, to walk on helps them get used to how these surfaces feel under their paws.

4. Scent continuity

Scent is very important for cats and so having things around them that smell familiar helps them to feel calm and safe. When we send cats off to their new homes, we give their new owners something from the cat’s pen that they will have marked with their scent, so their new home will contain something that smells comforting. This could be a blanket, or a carpet sample.

tortoiseshell-and-white cat bring stroked as it walks across square of grey-and-black striped carpet

5. Stress relief

Being in the new and unfamiliar environment of an adoption centre can be stressful for cats, so to help keep them calm we make sure they have everything they need, plenty of peace and quiet and somewhere to hide away. We also use pheromone sprays such as Feliway to create a calming environment, and carpet samples are an ideal surface to spray with this inside the pen.

6. A cosy floor

The floors in our cat pens are hard surfaces so that they are easy to keep clean, but this also means they aren’t particularly comfortable to sit on, and they can get a bit cold in winter. Carpet samples give the cats something warmer and more comfortable to stand, sit or snooze on while they wait patiently for their new forever homes.

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