Last Updated: 2 months ago

Knowing how to replace carpet on a cat tree can significantly extend the life of your kitty’s favorite jungle gym.

Fortunately, it’s not as hard as you may think!

Below, we’ll check out some great tutorials for how to do it, plus take a look at the best types of carpet to use.

By the way, you can also use this guide to add carpet to a totally DIY cat tree or any best cat tree brand!

How to Replace Carpet on a Cat Tree

The greatest downfall of carpet-covered cat trees is the very thing that makes them so appealing in the first place—the carpeting itself!

When your tree arrives, that rug material is so nice and plush, isn’t it?

Sadly, that “new carpet” feeling doesn’t last as long as we’d like. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a year out of it before it looks worn and dingy.

That’s only if you buy high-end real carpet cat trees, like those made with Berber.

For those of us who don’t have such a high budget, we make due with low-end carpeting and hope that it holds up for a while.

Then, when it gets too ugly to look at, we throw it out and start all over again.

Well, guess what? You don’t have to toss that perfectly good tree! As long as the structure is still sound, just replace the carpet!

Since you can’t tear off the old stuff without having something to replace it on hand, let’s begin by answering the question of “what carpet for a cat tree is best?”

Choosing the best replacement carpet for a cat tree

  • Get the best you can afford. Don’t go broke or anything, but quality matters in carpeting.
  • Make sure it’s totally non-toxic and gentle on your kitty. Ask yourself, “Would I let my baby crawl on this material?”
  • Save money by asking for remnants at carpet stores. Home Depot usually has a good bin of them.

Let’s look at some of the more popular options for replacing carpet on a cat tree.

1. Traditional carpet material

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By traditional carpet material, I mean the kind you can find in Loews or Home Depot.

You can also find it on Amazon (and I’ve given you a recommendation), but your best bet is really to look in the carpet remnant section of local stores.

Pros

  • Styles for every budget, from cheap to high-end
  • Nearly endless style options
  • Easy to install on your cat tree

Cons

  • You get what you pay for. In other words, cheap stuff won’t last any longer than the stuff that you’re replacing!

Recommendation

I highly recommend asking around at home supply stores to find good remnants, and get the best you can afford.

Also, make sure it’s not looped fibers. Your cat’s claws can get caught in it.

2. Natural fibers

natural seagrass cat tree carpet replacement

Natural fibers like seagrass & jute (sisal too, but we’ll talk about that on it’s own in a minute) make great choices for cat tree re-carpeting.

Features & Pros

  • Eco-friendly
  • Non-toxic
  • Attractive neutral color
  • Great texture for scratching
  • Tend to resist stains really well
  • Relatively inexpensive

Cons

  • Hard to find sometimes
  • Susceptible to moisture damage

Recommendation

There are very few cons when it comes to natural carpet fibers! They look great, hold up to a lot of wear and tear, and are good for cats & the planet.

It is hard to find in the form that you need, though. Most places sell things like seagrass area rugs, but you don’t want something that already has a rubber backing.

The recommendation below from Amazon seems like a good option since it’s actually made for wall-to-wall carpeting.

3. Sisal Rope

The same material that covers the scratching posts and poles on your cat tree could theoretically be used to cover the entire thing.

Features & Pros

  • Natural material
  • Great for cats who love to scratch everything in sight
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • Not very soft and cozy
  • Can come unraveled if not carefully installed

Recommendation

If you do opt to use sisal on the whole tree, make sure to get something that’s pet-safe, like the recommendation below.

Also, since it’s not the coziest material, you may want to add some extra padding in some spots, like the cave or perches.

4. Faux fur & other materials

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Given the sheer number of people searching “cat tree faux fur vs carpet,” I think it’s safe to assume you’re wondering if other materials are an option.

The short answer? Of course they’re an option. I mean, technically speaking, anything is an option.

The better question is whether faux fur is as good an option as real carpet material. For that, we turn to the pros and cons.

Pros

  • Faux fur, fleece, and other such materials are cheaper than carpet material.
  • They’re also easy to find! Just go to any craft supply store or search on Amazon.
  • These materials are definitely soft and cushy on your kitties tushy (and other parts, of course, but tushy rhymed, so I went with it).
  • Most are washable (but with a caveat, see cons).

Cons

  • Cheaper means less durable in this case. They’re not made to hold up to wear and tear the way carpet does.
  • Only washable if you make them removable (say, by using Velcro to fasten them).
  • Tend to lose their lushness when washed.

Recommendation

I would NOT recommend covering an entire cat tree in faux fur, fleece, or other non-carpet-type materials.

I would, however, recommend using them to make caves & napping perches comfier.

If you do opt to use them to create cozy little nests, consider attaching them with Velcro so you can swap them out and wash them.

Now that we know more about our options, let’s get to the steps for replacing carpet on a cat tree.

Re-carpet a cat tree in 5 easy steps

The steps for replacing carpet on your cat tree aren’t really all that different from replacing carpet anywhere else in your home. We’ll take a look at the basic steps and a couple of videos.

Then, in case you need more visual directions, I’ll share my favorite YouTube videos showing how to re carpet a cat tree.

1. Choose a new carpet and gather materials

Every guide for how to re carpet a cat tree lists this step second, but it makes more sense as the first step, don’t you think?

I mean, why would you go through the trouble of tearing off old carpeting if you don’t have anything to put on it when you’re done?

That’s why I covered the best carpeting material first, rather than making you wait until the end of the post!

2. Remove the old carpet

The hardest part is removing the old material. Trust me, I know what a pain this is. I once helped my mom remove carpet from an entire house!

Use a sharp box cutter or similar tool to carefully cut off the majority of the material. Make sure you don’t pierce the tree itself.

Once you have the bulk of it off, use the claw end of a hammer or a staple remover to pull out the remaining pieces.

The video below covers tips on removing carpet from posts, but the same basic method applies throughout the whole tree.

3. Cut the new carpet to fit

You’ve heard that old saying, “measure twice, cut once,” right? Well, that definitely applies here!

In fact, not only would I measure twice, but I’d cut off a little more than I would need just to be extra sure that I didn’t short myself.

Give yourself an extra two inches all around. You can easily cut off the excess (or tuck it under if it’s on upper levels).

4. Attach the new carpet to the tree

You have a few options when it comes times to put the new carpet on the tree. Basically, you can glue it, staple it, or nail it down.

If you opt for glue, choose something designed just for carpets. I kind of like the idea of this carpet tape (easier to manage than glue).

Most tutorials (like the one below) recommend using a heavy-duty staple gun. It’s the easiest method, and tends to last longer than glue.

5. Make sure it’s secure

Once your carpet is installed, you’ll want to make sure it’ll hold up to your cat’s claws and climbing.

Obviously, you’re not going to climb on it yourself to test it out, but you’ll want to think like a kitty.

Gently run your hands across it, feeling for any loose staples or pointy edges (gently, because if you find one, you don’t want to get hurt!).

Give it a light tug to make sure it stays in place. Knead it a bit with your fingers the way a cat kneads to make sure it doesn’t come loose.

If it passes all your tests, congratulations! You’ve just learned how to replace carpet on a cat tree.

If you’re still struggling to figure out any of the steps above, read on for some of my favorite video tutorials.

Best video tutorials for replacing cat tree carpeting

While I shared a couple of videos to help with the steps above, I found quite a few more that will help you from start to finish.

Some even show you how to completely DIY your own best modern cat tree from new or upcycled materials.

Building a custom cat tree

This one takes you through every step of building a custom cat tree from scratch!

Repairing cat tree posts without tools

If you just need to repair the carpeting on the posts, this tool-free method is both easy and cheap.

Fleece Carpet Cat Tree DIY

If you know how to sew, give your kitty the royal treatment with this cute DIY!

There you go! You now know how to replace the carpet on a cat tree! Now you don’t have to toss that expensive structure just because it’s looking a bit dingy!

Do you have any other tips on how to replace carpet on a cat tree? Share below!

Nicole Etolen
Nicole Etolen

Nicole is one of the writers here on CatVills. She’s been a cat lover most of her life and-at one point- counted five felines as part of her family. Today, she’s proud cat mom to two indoor kitties and caregiver for a slew of ferals.

Last update on 2024-05-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API