How to cat-proof a new rug?

Okay, in my old house I had a cheap carpet. My two cats scratched and scratched and did not make a dent in it.

We replaced some old shag with another cheap carpet. Again, they clawed and clawed. No sign of damage.

We moved in July. Our new house has one hideous wall-to-wall carpet in one room downstairs, a sort of gray industrial carpet throughout the rest of the downstairs, a new plush carpet in the bedroom, and hardwood floors elsewhere.

The cats scratch on the hideous carpet. No problem. Nothing shows. Same with the industrial and the plush upstairs. BUT…

We got a nice rug–or what we thought would be a nice rug. They started scratching on it, and now, we’ve had it three weeks, and it looks like hell. I don’t know where we went wrong here. We just assumed, based on everything including their cat tree, that cats could claw carpet for years on end without damage.

We have moved one of their scratching stations into the room with the new rug. We have sprayed it with something, and we have covered it with something called Sticky Paws. And all of these dissuade our cats, one in particular, for just a few minutes and then they’re back to ripping into the new carpet.

I have proposed keeping them out of this room, but in order to do that, since it’s in the most open part of the house, I’d basically have to lock them in either the basement or the laundry room.

But the real problem is, how did we manage to buy a non-cat-proof rug? Is there some kind of standard? I need to know, because it looks like we’re gonna need a new one real soon.

I don’t know if changing the rug would help, but maybe changing the claws would. I’ve never tried them, but I know people that have and they apparently end the scratching problem.

Hmm, I’ll think about that. The cat in question is a skittish little beast–but cute. When I trim her nails, I have to catch her and I get about two nails done before she has an absolute meltdown and I have to let her go. (Note, this is a beast that weighs 7 lbs.) So I usually take her to the vet for her pedicures.

And then there’s the question of what I can do to make my rug look decent again. I would have thought that if cheap rug = no damage, then more expensive rug = even less chance of damage, but apparently I was wrong.

Last month I was in India for work and got sucked into one of those really highbrow places where they sell uber-expensive carpets, hand-knotted silk, five zillion knots per inch, etc.
I was so tempted to buy one of those beautiful carpets, but I resisted.

It was only when I mentioned it to my wife when I got home that she reminded me that we have three cats :smack:.

No way would I ever allow cats to touch a carpet that cost kilobucks.

Cheap carpet is often made of ‘cut pile’, which means the tops of the loops of yarn are cut off to give a level appearance. Other types have the loops left as loops. Especially with Berber or other expensive woven carpets.

If there are still loops of yarn there, the cats’ claws can obviously catch them, and pull the yarn out, even sometimes creating a ‘run’ where the yarn from a whole length of the carpet is pulled out.

So the damage done to a loop carpet by cats may be much more apparent than any damage to a cut pile carpet.