My Cats Go Crazy Over the World’s Most Boring Rug


Give a cat a boundary, and she’ll rush to fill it. If there are several cats, they’ll rush to fill it and even fight over it. That’s what happened when we bought a simple rug. Now these cats can’t get enough of it.

It was a simple throw rug, purchased at the local farmers’ market, and crocheted with recycled materials. I knew the crafter and liked the rug so much that I ended up buying two more — one for the bathroom and one for the entryway.

We heat primarily with wood during the long Minnesota winters. Unfortunately, sparks or coals sometimes escape the woodstove and land on the carpet near the hearth, leaving ugly burns and marks. We wanted to cover these up, so I jumped at the chance to buy a colorful, locally made rug to dress up that area of the living room. I put it in front of the wood stove as soon as I got home.

The cats loved it.

I have six cats. Rarely is this rug uninhabited. In fact, I have seen all six cats smash themselves into each other to all fit on the rug. They like being on the rug better than being on the carpet underneath. Of course, the rug is really popular if the woodstove is going. If it’s summer and sun puddles spill into the house, the cats will move accordingly.

The mystery of the crumpled-up rug

One winter morning, I woke early and went into the living room to start the woodstove. The little rug was crumpled and askew. My first thought was, “Oh no, someone pooped on the rug and tried to cover it up!” (This doesn’t usually happen, but still …) But when I flattened the rug out, it was clean, poop-free, and throw-up free.

The mystery was solved later that night. We were watching a movie, sitting by the fire. Out of nowhere, Bluebell, the kitten, rushed at the rug, tunneling under it. There she stayed. One of the bigger boys jumped on her. Good-will snarling and wrestling ensued. In a matter of moments, the rug was several feet away and the cats were happily engaged and playing.

Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you need to spend lots of money on cat toys. Cats are very creative!

Cats vie for the best position on the rug

Not only is the rug a great plaything, but certain spots are most desirable on the rug. Closest to the fireplace appears to be the best — though recently the cats have also discovered that they like to lie on the hearth. Thankfully, I like to clean, and I wipe the hearth clean each morning. I don’t want the cats getting ashes and wood dust in their fur.

We’ve had no accidents, but we are very very careful about loading wood when cats are nearby.

Of course, cats are like humans. The more scarce the resource seems to be, the more the cat wants it. If there’s less room on the rug because lots of cats are on the rug, another cat wants on the rug even more.

They love the woodbox, too

Ah, cats. If they can’t go outside (and mine don’t), they’ll bring the outside in. This probably explains why they love the woodbox. We have a large woodbox they climb into. The smell of the wood seems to really make them happy — maybe they’re smelling all the good, outdoorsy things like voles, grass, and critters that live in woodpiles. They love the small kindling woodbox, too. Kieran regularly gets his pretty white fur dirty with wood dust.

Our cats are so creative when it comes to finding ways to play. Do your cats have a favorite old rug or other toy? Share your stories in the comments!

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