My cats have scratched deep claw marks into my roommate's furniture. Bummer.
July 9, 2010 6:37 PM   Subscribe

My roommate has a rather nice piece of wooden furniture that my cats have scratched all up. It's real wood, basically just stained and maybe somehow varnished. What are my options for restoring it and how much are they likely to cost? (She is aware of the damage, so it's not like a sneak job.)

I've considered a few things:

1. sanding down the scratches and staining the sanded area

2. stripping all the stain, sanding everything to get the scratches out, and staining it all a new color

3. paying someone to do one of the above-mentioned things, or something else

4. just using some sort of spot-fixing pen

5. offering to pay her the original value of the furniture

Because the scratches are all external, I don't think the sanding would affect any functionality . . . it's just a credenza with two drawers.

I guess all I'm asking is: how has the hive mind dealt with this problem in the past, with success?

And of course would entertain any suggestions on preventing the problem in the future.
posted by kensington314 to Home & Garden (6 answers total)
I've filled in scratches with wood putty of approximately the same color as the stain, then used a stain pen to even things out.
posted by galadriel at 6:46 PM on July 9, 2010

And of course would entertain any suggestions on preventing the problem in the future.

Keep their claws trimmed very short, provide ample scratching posts, and physically block access to the scratched furniture. We use aluminum foil hung with painter's tape to cover the scratched areas. It can be easily removed when guest are coming and just as easily replaced.
posted by crankylex at 6:54 PM on July 9, 2010

Suggestions on getting cats away from furniture:

1. Multiply the available scratching posts.
2. Position a SSScat or two in strategic locations (warning: you're likely to be scatted yourself). These really do work, except on unusually intelligent cats.
3. A citrus cat repellent?
4. Are the scratches on the legs, on the top, or both? For the top, you can try a pretty fabric throw, shawl, or tablecloth. Legs are harder, unless you want to go with Victorian-era skirts.
posted by thomas j wise at 6:58 PM on July 9, 2010

It all depends on how deep the scratches are, but before you get out the putty or sand paper try, Murphy's wood soap, a Jasco cloth, and an Almond stick. Several times each probably. They will do a whole lot more than you think they will do. Once you're sure they can't do any more use something like Old English Scratch cover or a stain pen. Those things are tricky because they don't quite match the old color, but will do fine for even fine furniture if it is a very small non-prominent place.

If that doesn't do it, your cat has really long claws and it's time for things like re-staining.
posted by Some1 at 7:03 PM on July 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

re: prevention -- are the scratches on the sides, or only on top? If the top, you can easily get a glass shop to cut a piece of glass the same size as the top and use that to protect it. Get the edges polished, to avoid cuts, and get some rubber feet or pads to prevent the glass sliding around when the cats (inevitably) land on and jump from it.
posted by amtho at 7:18 PM on July 9, 2010

For prevention, we use these on our cat: SoftPaws. Be aware: applying the caps is a two-person job. One holds the cat wrapped in a towel, and the other clips the claws and applies the caps. Regular superglue works as well as the glue that comes with the caps. They last a long time (months) on our cat.
posted by acridrabbit at 5:02 PM on July 10, 2010

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