How to repair a leather couch damaged by kitty?
January 5, 2012 11:51 PM   Subscribe

Wondering how to save a leather couch that my cat had a party on...

The couch isn't mine, and was in lovely pristine condition before kitty had a field day. I use claw caps on him, but not on his back feet, so there are long gashes where he jumped, killed his toys, ran, etc. My parter really loves this piece of furniture, and it's basically irreplaceable (since it was found at deep discount from a very chic upscale shop). I tried rubbing most of a bottle of Leather Honey in over the course of about a week, and it didn't do much except make the couch a little shinier.

The problem is twofold: the leather is very nice and tautly stretched over the overstuffed-style cushioning, so scratches really stand out, and the couch is purple. Like, really purple. There's no way I'll be able to use shoe polish or any of those colour tricks I've found on the googles. Can it be repaired? Are there even places that do that, or is it even remotely possible to do it on my own? Should I give my partner money in compensation/for repair? I feel so guilty, and don't think kitty can go visit any longer, since the cat has managed to foil every attempt to cover the couch we've thought of.
posted by zinful to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My cat went to town on an espresso-brown leather couch. The brown seemed to only be on the very top layer of the leather, and the scratches were more of a fawn/natural color. It looked horrible but I did not want to get rid of the couch right away. What I was able to do was buy several close colors of brown paint, then mix the colors so that they matched the couch. Then I carefully, with a very, very fine paintbrush, painted all of the scratches so that they matched the rest of the couch. It wouldn't stand up to intense scrutiny, I suppose, but it didn't look outright MAULED anymore either. (This happened over a weekend when I was out of town and had someone cat sitting, I guess the cat was distressed and took her angst out on the couch...)

This is probably a last resort, and you'd want to test to make sure the paint, once dry, does not come off on clothing, but it's one option I suppose. I'd like to think there are indeed places to repair it but I have no experience there.
posted by Arethusa at 2:06 AM on January 6, 2012

Best answer: there's no way I'll be able to use shoe polish

This may not be true. I'm sure I've seen purple shoe polish sold for Doc Marten's boots. If you go to the Doc Marten's website, you can see a picture of the sorts of boots I mean. I can't link directly to them, but if you click on women's, you can filter by colour and see examples of purple boots (to see if the colours are approximately similar to your couch.)

I'd ask in a shoe shop that specialises in selling this brand what they recommend for the leather care for the purple ones.
posted by lollusc at 3:23 AM on January 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I agree with lollusc, you can find leather dyes in many different colors, here's the first example I found with a quick google, I'm sure there are tons more.
I would suggest buying a few around the right shade and then blending and testing in a discrete area.
You can find paint brushes that have seemingly just one or two hairs on them. Use something like this and a large magnifier to do precise work.
As far as matching the finishing, I would look at the same leather websites for information about finishers and maybe emailing/calling them for more info about how to make the scratches blend better..
If you want to spend more/risk less and the cushions come off, try to find a local leather repair place. This is what they do.
posted by newpotato at 4:58 AM on January 6, 2012

I've repaired some pretty deep scratches with that superglue-like stuff for skin. Nu-Skin or Dermabond or something like that, used an Xacto knife blade to push the glue into the scratches (the sharp tip was used just for control of the glue, not to make any cuts deeper or anything). Carefully push the little scratchy edges and flaps back into place, then very gently wipe the excess off with a damp cloth. Not perfect, but far less noticeable.
posted by caution live frogs at 5:40 AM on January 6, 2012

Any decent upholstery shop fixes things like this all the time.
posted by coolguymichael at 9:35 AM on January 6, 2012

Best answer: I agree with lollusc, you can find leather dyes in many different colors, here's the first example I found with a quick google, I'm sure there are tons more.

Definitely search for products that are appropriate for the leather on your couch, because the ones in the link above are only for vegetable-tanned leather, so you would want to ascertain the type of process that was used to dye your couch leather. I would call the manufacturer and ask them directly what they recommend before buying any leather dyes or shoe polish.

FWIW, I recently dyed a pair of shoes with Angelus Leather Dye.

This company may also be able to help with color matching or other questions.
posted by oneirodynia at 3:16 PM on January 6, 2012

Response by poster: Wow, that website looks about as helpful as it can possibly be... Thanks, oneirodynia!
posted by zinful at 4:22 PM on January 6, 2012

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