Cat vs. Furniture: How to Save Your Sofa

You love your cat’s soft little paws and squishy toe beans, but you might not love how your cat can’t seem to help but sink their claws into your favorite couch. Cats love to scratch — that’s just a fact of life. While you can’t stop your kitty’s innate desire to scratch, you can make sure they only do it where they’re supposed to. Keep reading to learn why your cat might be scratching your furniture, tips for stopping it, and what to do with your claw-damaged pieces. 

Why Cats Scratch Furniture

Before working on stopping your cat from scratching your furniture, it’s important to understand why they even do it in the first place. There are a few common reasons cats scratch (regardless of surface), including:

  • Marking their territory: Cats’ paws contain scent glands that release a scent marker when they scratch. The scent, paired with visible scratch marks, lets your cat show the area is claimed.
  • Maintaining sharp claws: Scratching helps cats shed the outer layer of their claws and keep them sharp. 
  • Getting a good stretch: It takes a lot of muscle and joint involvement for your cat to scratch. The activity is an excellent way for them to work their bodies and get a stretch in.  
  • Plain old boredom: Like humans, cats can get bored — especially indoor cats. They can’t turn to television and video games for entertainment, though, so they turn to scratching.


Your cat has no specific reason for choosing your furniture as a scratching post. They might just not have a more appropriate surface to work with. 


How to Stop Cats from Scratching Furniture

Scratching is a natural cat behavior that comes with some great benefits for your kitty. It’s important not to discourage scratching in general but instead redirect them to scratch more appropriate surfaces than your hard-earned furniture. Here are some tips to help.


1. Provide appropriate scratching surfaces.

Your cat is likely scratching your furniture because they don’t have something better available. Ensure your cat has plenty of scratchable surfaces like posts and boxes. If your cat won’t scratch the posts, you may need to experiment with different products and placements. Below are factors to consider when it comes to scratching surfaces. 

  • Material: Cat scratchers come with different surface materials like corrugated cardboard, sisal rope, wood, and carpet. You just need to find what your cat likes best and offer some variety. Consider incorporating some of these materials into a stylish DIY pet bed
  • Shape: Not all scratchers need to be a post. Consider boxes, fun-shaped cat trees, balls cradles, pads, and lounge beds. Knowing if your cat prefers to scratch up, flat, or at an angle can help you find the right shape. Don’t forget your personal style when choosing a scratcher. While you want to make your litterbox discrete, your scratcher will likely be highly visible. 
  • Size: Whether you choose a post, box, or other scratcher, you need to make sure it’s the right size. It should be long or tall enough for your cat to stretch fully. 
  • Placement: Note where your cat’s favorite places to scratch are and place scratchers near those areas — like right next to your sofa. If you’re decorating a big living room, you can even create a designated scratching space with multiple toys and scratchers. 


Covering the scratcher’s surface with cat nip can also help attract your cat to it. 


2. Reward, don’t punish.

If you see your cat scratching your armchair instead of the nice scratcher you just bought, don’t yell or spray them with water. Simply pick them up and move them to the scratching post. When you see them use the scratching post, give treats or other positive reinforcement. 


3. Offer plenty of toys for entertainment.

Keeping your cat entertained can help prevent them from scratching out of boredom. Have plenty of toys on hand, and set some kitty playtime aside each day to keep them stimulated. Toys can also help with pet-proofing your home. With puzzles, stuffed mice, teasers, tunnels, and many other toys available, you’re sure to find a few that will keep your kitty happy and entertained. 


4. Regularly trim your cat’s nails.

Since one of the main reasons cats scratch is to maintain their claws, assisting in grooming upkeep can prevent unwanted scratching. Regularly trimming their nails can reduce their need to scratch — and shorter nails will do less damage to your furniture as you work on redirecting them toward scratching posts. 


5. Make your furniture temporarily less appealing.

It’ll take some time for your cat to choose their new scratchers over the furniture they love. In the short term, it can help to make your furniture less attractive to their little claws. Try covering the furniture they scratch in plastic, tape, or foil. These materials are way less fun to scratch, and you can remove them once your cat is used to the scratching posts. They can also work to keep your cats off the furniture while you’re out of the house. 


6. Consider an upholstery upgrade.

Looking for a new DIY project? Reupholster your couch, chair, or ottoman with a material your cat is far less likely to scratch. Velvet is a great, more pet-friendly furniture option because it lacks the tactile texture cats love to scratch. Even if your cat attempts to scratch it, they probably won’t manage to cause damage because velvet lacks the threads and grooves that claws get caught on. Their nails will glide right over the surface.  


How to Repair Cat-Scratched Furniture

If you’re searching for how to stop a cat from scratching furniture, you’ve likely already got some damage from your cat’s claws. Here’s how you can fix furniture your cat has scratched (after you’ve trained them to use their scratchers instead). 


Repairing fabric furniture.

Fabric furniture tends to be easier to fix. A few ways to repair clawed fabric include:

  • Using sewing scissors to snip any loose threads.
  • Taking a straight razor to shave off any pilling.
  • Using patches to cover large tears. You can sew on patches or apply iron-ons. 
  • Taking extra fabric from under the couch and stapling or sewing it on to cover rips. 


Repairing leather furniture. 

Cat scratch your leather couch? You may have a little more trouble repairing it, but it’s still possible. For superficial scratches, you may be able to get away with a simple leather conditioner. You may also find leather repair kits online to help you fix the damage. 


For a complete DIY approach, follow these steps:

  1. Clean the damaged area with leather cleaner.
  2. Remove loose fibers with scissors, being mindful not to puncture the furniture.
  3. Apply leather glue/binding according to the product’s directions. 
  4. Gently sand the treated area with sandpaper to create an even surface.
  5. Apply heavy leather filler and let dry.
  6. Sand treated area again to smooth out.
  7. Apply liquid leather colorant and let dry completely. (You may need to reapply filler and sand the area again if new scratches become more noticeable.)
  8. Spray with spray-on leather colorant, letting each layer dry before applying the next.
  9. Apply leather sealant to protect the colorant. 
  10. Apply leather finish, allowing it to fully dry between layers.  


Leather is more vulnerable to damage and hard to fix. Depending on the extent of the scratches, you may need to turn to a professional for leather repair services. 

Cat Got Your Couch? Find Replacement Furniture at CORT Furniture Outlet

If Fluffy has finally shredded your old sofa beyond repair, it might be time for an upgrade. But an upgrade doesn’t mean destroying your wallet, too!

Turn to CORT Furniture Outlet for your next sofa, bed, or even decor. Everything at CORT Furniture Outlet is built to CORT Construction Standards, meaning that it’s built to last. It may not be cat scratch resistant, but it can stand up to your daily use for a long time! Plus, when you shop CORT Furniture Outlet’s used furniture and decor, you can score deals up to 70% off. CORT Furniture Outlet’s used furnishings are cleaned and inspected by our experts, so not only can you shop for your home without the long wait times of new furniture, but you can rest assured that you aren’t compromising on quality. Shop online or in-store today!

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