Cats+Couch = Happiness?
December 21, 2011 6:19 AM   Subscribe

We have a $1500 budget for a new couch. We also have two boisterous longhair cats. What type of couch will survive them better, leather or something with slipcovers?

We had a leather couch a friend gave us, and it was great because the cat hair didn't stick to it, however although they didn't intentionally scratch it, sometimes when they would run around chasing each other they would launch off of the couch, leaving small scratches and puncture marks. We were thinking that having a slipcover option might help with that, but then we'll be dealing with constantly rolling/vacuuming fur off the couch. We've looked at an Ashley Furniture all-leather sectional (I think it's the "Palmer" and Pottery Barn comfort slipcovered sectional. Has anyone had experiences, positive or negative with either of those and cats? Any other ideas that we haven't considered? We do clip their nails, but not as often as we probably should.
posted by odayoday to Home & Garden (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
We've had a leather couch for two years with two boisterous long hair cats. The only time we every had a problem with cat scratches was when my little old man cat was still alive. We were nervous about the couch, and kept a blanket on it. He tried to jump up on it, the blanket started slipping, and he dug in his claws, leaving one small scratch. Lesson to us... get rid of the blanket. Otherwise, we've had no problems. Our cats are pretty dedicated to their scratching post, and other than the scratch mentioned above, I've only seen one or two time marks (that I'm not even sure I can blame on the cats). We still have to vaccum and/or wipe out the crevices... cause the cat hair will accumulate there.
posted by kimdog at 6:36 AM on December 21, 2011

Cats and couches all my life: 100% success with microfiber couches.
posted by TinWhistle at 7:24 AM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

I have a leather couch which, when I was married to my now ex-wife, co-existed with two cats and a dog. The dog scuffed up the couch more than the cats.
posted by dfriedman at 7:44 AM on December 21, 2011

I have a fluffy cat and have had three different couches.

Leather couch - cat scratched the hell out of it, although only on the top. Also, it wasn't terribly comfortable for humans.

Fabric couch with some slip covers and patterned, textured fabric. Cat does some scratching and gets told off. But little or no visible damage.

Bespoke couch with a flecky grey tweed fabric (wool, rough finish) Cat does a little scratching and gets told off. No visible damage. Also cat is grey, so coordinates very nicely with the couch.

I should add that the cat is free to come and go outside as she pleases (I'm a Brit) so perhaps she does the majority of her scratching outside.
posted by rhymer at 7:46 AM on December 21, 2011

Seconding Tinwhistle: I got a microfiber couch this year and it seems to be impervious to cat hair.
posted by Eicats at 7:58 AM on December 21, 2011

We don't have cats, but we have seriously shedding dogs, and for that reason we went with leather. Our leather furniture is now the only thing in our house that doesn't accumulate pet hair.

Then again, unlike many people, I love the feel of leather couches (not great to actually sleep on, but I would rather not sleep, or have others sleep, on our couches...eww.
posted by justgary at 8:38 AM on December 21, 2011

Only good quality leather is impervious to cats, and Ashley isn't exactly known for their quality (every single piece I bought there when I bought my house broke: bed, cedar chest, desk, 2 end tables, chair. Their guys couldn't even figure out how to assemble the desk so I had to do it myself.)

Cheap leather will instantly get holes and unremovable scratches.

2nding microfiber.
posted by coolguymichael at 8:47 AM on December 21, 2011

With a previous set of cats, I had the same experience you did with leather: the cats didn't deliberately sharpen their claws on it but there were plenty of takeoff/landing scars on the chair.

Currently, I have a otton twill slipcover on an Ikea chair: the chair is untouched underneath and the slipcover is lasting longer than I thought it would claw-wise but it's like flypaper for cat fur. The microfiber slipcover on the sofa is miraculously cat fur free, possibly because all of the cats have completely shunned it ever since it was covered.
posted by jamaro at 8:57 AM on December 21, 2011

Microfibre again. We've had about 4 years now with very little apparent wear on ours.
posted by bonehead at 11:02 AM on December 21, 2011

Response by poster: Okay, the consensus seems to be microfiber. Now my question is, can anyone recommend a source for an affordable microfiber sectional near Austin, TX?
posted by odayoday at 11:19 AM on December 21, 2011

Check Haverty's - we got our Microfiber (but reclining) couches there and got a great deal.
posted by getawaysticks at 7:53 AM on December 22, 2011

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