Decorating With Cats: Shag Baby Shag

When it comes to decorating – with cats, I believe “shag” is misunderstood and therefore  underrated and underutilized.

No, sorry, not “shag” in the British sense of the word, but happily not in the 70s bad hairstyle way either. But shag as in the rug.

Let me continue to clarify. You see, not all shag is created equal.

bad 70s shag rugs


Not shag in the 70s Brady Bunch way, but in a less revolting, aesthetically pleasing shag. Think West Elm and CB2, but not at those prices (stay tuned!).

Good shag


When I first adopted Kip, I learned he was a scratcher (the only one of my three that scratches where he shouldn’t, and yes, they all have their claws*). Kip is the single reason I’ll never have good furniture (though I continue to try my darndest!).

I had a lovely wool shag rug at the time in an off white. The shag held up brilliantly to all his scratching. Who could tell if he’d pulled up a 3 inch area of rug? Not I. However, I do NOT recommend shag in a light color or in wool as it’s amazingly difficult to stains out of  (think kitty stomach acid thanks to hair ball or gacked** up food).

white wool shag rug

Formerly white shag featuring adorable foster kitty.


At least 4-5 years ago it not longer.....look it's relatively clean still!

At least 4-5 years ago it not longer…..look it’s relatively clean still!


When the white rug was worn through – literally – by all the professional cleaning it had undergone, I didn’t give much thought to its replacement. I’d gathered quite a bit of credit so ordered a rug I liked from there with a lower pile and tighter weave. Again in wool and this time in white and grey.

I loved the way it looked. But it did NOT hold up well to Kip’s claws (and stains continued to be an issue***).  It literally needed daily vacuuming so as not to look a complete mess.

Even in this photo which was taken shortly after vacuuming you can see tufts of wool balled up on top of the rug - unsightly!

Even in this photo which was taken shortly after vacuuming you can see tufts of wool balled up on top of the rug – unsightly!

***Full disclosure: Many of the photos I posted featuring that rug (in photo above) had to be retouched so as not to look completely junky, thereby making look like a total fraud!

So THIS time around when it was time to replace the area rug, I knew exactly what I wanted in a rug. If I was going to end up with a partially shag rug anyway, may as well do it right off the bat!

  • Shag (for hiding clawed pieces)
  • Darker color (for stain hiding)
  • Preferably a mixed color vs solid (to better hid stains and pulls)
  • Synthetic (for easier cleaning)
  • Under $200
new cat proof shag rug

Well so far the cats seem to like it and isn’t that half the battle really?

There were a plethora of choices that met my needs both on and I hope this post has been enlightening and will save you a bit of money and frustration (and potentially your cat’s paws!).

Any “decorating – with cats” tips are always welcome in the comments section, and I do hope you check out some of our previous posts in case you missed any!


* Even though Kip scratches and I’ve given him MANY scratching surfaces of all kinds, he continues to scratch my furniture and carpeting. However, I would NEVER DREAM OF DECLAWING and neither should you. PLEASE take 2 minutes to read this non-visually-graphic description of the process . You won’t ever declaw again, and you’ll tell others not to – promise. In a nutshell, declawing is not merely pulling out the claw as many – including myself at one point – think. DECLAWING IS AMPUTATION up to the first knuckle and can cause physical and behavioral issues for life.

**NOTE: Though I don’t believe “gack” is a word, I think any at parent will tell you it should be. Is it a word you’ve used? I’ve found myself using it in speaking with the vet and she knew exactly what I meant. 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
This entry was posted in Cats and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.
  • Helen Tyack

    Haddie and #PetieBear looking adorable as always!

    Regarding your Footnotes … Earlier today, I read a “debate” about declawing. Thankfully this barbaric procedure is banned here in Australia, but the comments I read from residents of countries where it is still legal left me gobsmacked. The “justification” by those who believe it’s harmless really highlights the ignorance of so many people and almost left me speechless… A rare thing indeed!

  • Pat DeWald

    Thank you for not declawing your cats. I found that I could keep my upholstered furniture pristine by draping them loosely with fabric. Since my couches are covered with a “pillow ticking” fabric, I was lucky enough to find bed sheets in almost the exact same pattern. It’s almost like my couches aren’t covered at all and my decor looks reasonably on tone most of the time. If the covering is draped and loose and not textured, your cats won’t find the surface appealing to scratch. That’s where slip covers go wrong. Anything that is taut will be an ideal texture for scratching. Right before company comes over I whip off the sheets and voila! My couches are clean and unscratched.

    • Great idea thanks!

    • naturegirly

      The same thing I do! I have an off-white cotton duck material (probably a better word for it somewhere… just not in my mind at the moment) on my sofa and they LOVE to scratch it. So I put an off white king sized sheet over it til I need it for sitting. BUT it’s a race to see who gets to the sofa first … company or the cats. LOL. When the sofa is covered their favorite place to scratch is a rope covered cat tree stand that is next to a short table. Did you know that the main reason cats do not use scratching posts is that the posts are too short???? Well it’s true. I’ve discovered that they really need to stretch to reach so the area with rope or twine ( I have found is their favorite scratching material) needs to be taller than the cat at full length and if you measure that’s sometimes VERY long! They have literally torn the rope right off the tree TWICE! LOL

      • Pat DeWald

        I think we need to start “The Sheet Brigade” for the protection of all endangered sofas. It works perfectly for me as well. And you are so right about scratching posts. One of my many posts is 48″ tall and looks about as big as an elephant’s leg around. Finding the right material is important too. My cats have always preferred sisal. I think using posts covered with carpeting only encourages them to scratch the carpet on the floor as well.

  • noodle cat

    That looks really cozy!
    Noodle and crew

    • it is it is! come visit and try it out! tehe!

  • bonitapita

    Our cats over the years have had varying degrees of interest in scratching in inappropriate places. We have just come to the conclusion that we aren’t meant to have nice things and cats at the same time. We are ok with that. But when it came to picking the upholstery material for our boat (yes, our cat sails with us), I did a lot of research. While the material is replaceable, it is also very expensive so we wanted to make the best choice possible. Ultra suede is amazing! The tight weave isn’t interesting to the cats…they can’t get their claws in it easily, unlike a cotton weave, so they don’t even try. And it cleans up like a dream AND its machine washable!! As far as carpets are concerned, we buy cheap and replace when needed. But I do have a cotton rug wrapped around the mast that he uses as a scratching post.

    Ps, I enjoy your posts very much!

    • ohhh now THAT i want to see photos of!!!!! i tried ultra suede but i think there are many types…even though there was no pipping Kip found a seam and started the process 🙁

  • jmuhj

    Thanking you much for sharing your shag stories with us, Tamar — very enjoyable, along with the photos 😉 But thanking you MOST for opposing declawing and providing links to information about why.
    btw, the lime green shag here in my office has definitely stood the test of time — and it’s wonderful for life “with cats”! We have a houseful of good furniture, which is also great “with cats” because of the liberally sprinkled scratching posts and pads and feline furnishings scattered about the house. 😉

  • We have a sisal rug that Eddie scratches. It has held up well but isn’t so great for stains. Great idea for a new rug.

  • awwww so sweet!!!! Kip is THE GOOD ONE! LOL! it’s his only downfall but we all have them huh? awwww he looks so comfy on that hard surface !LOL thanks for sharing! Feel free to post to my FB as well and I can share with others! or just search I HAVE CAT

  • naturegirly

    Love this article. Yes, it might have a little something to do with the abundance of Petie pics. You know I cannot resist. 😉

  • I couldn’t agree more with your choice. I have a black and grey shag and it’s great for hiding claws and scratching marks don’t even show! It’s a great choice for cat owners.

    • Thanks for taking the time to read and post a comment! =^^=

  • Martha Lilia

    Cat stuff fashion and decor for all we cat lovers! 🙂

    • That’s adorable!!!!!!!! Thanks for turning me on to it!!

      • Martha Lilia


  • Sami Golden

    I just discovered you in Catster Mag. I have NEVER read blogs, surfed the net much or generally spent much time on my compooter, but I am now a convert!!! Thank you sooo much! I am anxiously awaiting the birth of my new family of Maine Coons and you are helping to pass the time!

    • Awwwww I’m so so glad you found us and wow! I have to see those photos!!! Are you on Facebook or Instagram??!! Please if you do post pics and tag me! So happy you found I HAVE CAT!!!! i’m @ihavecat:disqus on Twitter and Instagram and on FB.