Can Cats Scratch Wood Floors?

Cats that run about the house will probably leave light scratches in wood flooring. There are steps you can take to prevent this which will be especially important if you are renting the place you live in. Although most contracts should accept a reasonable amount of damage during your tennancy, some landlords might get upset and get you to pay for the damage your pet has done.

Some cats like to use wood as a material to scratch their claws on, but if they have other places around the house to scratch, it’s unlikely that they will do this. Read on to find out how you can protect your wooden flooring from your cat.

Can cats damage wooden flooring?

It can be quite easy for indoor cats to eventually damage your wooden flooring when they play about the house. While the damage is only minor, it can be annoying if you have recently rennovated or your landlord is strict about damage.

Cats usually walk on the soft pads of their feet which are harmless for any type of flooring. However, when they put pressure on their foot after jumping, running, or quickly turning around their claws extend. Cats don’t weigh a lot but the tips of their claws can be very sharp. This creates a lot of pressure on their claws when they run. With enough pressure, they can leave shallow markings in all types of wood flooring.

There are tell tale signs that your cat was responsible for a mark on the floor. You should be able to see about three or four lines caused by your cat’s individual claws in parallel which go about a millimeter deep. You may also be able to hear a distinct scratcing sound when this happens. Depending on your flooring and light in the room, these scratches may only be visible when you get closer to the floor or shine a light in the right way.

How to protect wooden flooring from your cat

The most commonly recommended way to stop your floor from getting scratched by your cat is to regularly trim their claws. This is harmless for your cat and can also stop them from getting their claws stuck in fabric around the house. You should trim both their front and back claws to blunt them which will prevent scratches from happening.

Some cats really hate getting their claws trimmed. You will eventually be able to train them to tolerate it. Reward them with treats right after getting their nails trimmed and go slow enough so your cat is still comfortable.

You can get nail covers for your cat which are fixed on with a small bit of glue. Some cat owners like these as they need to be replaced less often and are a bit easier to use than a nail clipper. The only thing we absoultely can’t recommend is getting your cat declawed.

Declawing your cat is cruel as it removes a fundamental part of their body which they use to move. They may not always have their claws out, but they make a fundamental part of their paw’s structure. Thankfully, declawing is now illegal in many locations and a good vet would never carry out the operation.

My cat is scratching my floor constantly

Some cats might deliberately scratch at wooden flooring. When cats do this, they are marking their territory and also sharpening their claws by removing the outside layer of their claws. This is very natural behaviour for all cats to do, even indoor only cats.

If your cat is scratching at your floor, give them better places to sharpen their claws about the house. Cats can be particular about the material and position they scratch in. Your cat has already shown that they prefer to scratch in a horizontal position so buy products that replicate this. Your cat has also shown that they like to scratch wood but but they may be open to other materials like cardboard too.

How do I protect my wooden flooring without cutting my cat’s nails?

If you aren’t able to cut your cat’s nails, there are still steps you can take to protect your wooden flooring.

Cats will naturally extend their claws moor when they can’t grip the floor. Wooden flooring is often slippy enough to cause this. Cleaning your floor regualrly makes it a little less slippy as you’ll be taking off a thin layer of dust. Waxing or polishing your floor may sound like a good idea to make it look better but it will also make it much more slippery. You can avoid it or add a layer of floor grip over the top so your cat has a better chance to need their claws.

If you have areas of the house where your cat likes to run a lot at times during the day, you can consider getting a rug in that area. If they get the zoomies at night, you could even just try putting a blanket down during the evening or blocking off their route so they can’t run as fast.

How to get cat scratches out of wooden flooring

If you’re reading this and your cat has already scratched your flooring, there are some things you can do to make scratches less obvious. The only real way to removes scratches completely is to replace your flooring but these methods should be enough to make it difficult to realise your floor is damaged by eye.

It may seem counterintuative, but sometimes all it takes to hide a scratch is a quick clean. Cleaning your floor can remove oils which shine and make shallow scratches more obvious. Use a gentle cleaning product and damp cloth to rub at your floor. Make sure any cleaning products are placed safely away from your cat if they are curious.

More compex home remedies involve filling in the scratches your cat has created. A common practice is to rub a walnut into the floorr to slowly fill in the gap. You can also use a combination of baking soda and olive oil to the same effect. These solutions will eventually fade as you clean your floor but can be a good temporary solution.

Professional wood repairing products are easily available online or from your local hardware store. The specific product you will need will depend on the type of flooring you have. If you are looking for a more complete solution, you could sand down your flooring if it is hardwood.

Cat scratches are noramlly quite shallow which makes sanding a viable solution. You’ll be removing the top layer of wood until there is no damage left. This could be a good way to get a fresh start on some old flooring. You may also be able to suggest it as a solution to your landlord if they are asking you to pay forr new flooring after your rent is up.


Cats can and do cause damage to wooden flooring. The amount of damage is normally quite light, but is best avoided if you are living in rented accomodation. The easiest way to prevent your cat from damaging wooden flooring is to regualrly trim their claws back. This should take just a few minutes every week or two. You can also prevent damage by covering up your flooring or making it more grippy.