Cat friendly couch (for easy urine cleanup)
July 13, 2013 5:42 AM   Subscribe

What couches are good to clean urine out of?

My Cat has had bladder problems all her life. She is about 2.5 years now and it is reoccurring that she gets a bladder infection and have taken her to the vet for treatment. We have put her on prescription urine control food. So I am resigned to the fact that she may always pee outside the box on rare occassions. We will still continue to provide the best care we can to help her with any problems, but what can we do to make it easier when she has accidents in terms of cleaning up a couch.

When she peed on our cloth couch while we were away on vacation. It means that we cannot get the urine smell out since it soaked deep into the cushion. What kind of furniture might be good for easy urine cleanup, that might still be comfortable? I am thinking Leather might be good as the urine wont soak into it and therefore we can wipe it up easily. What other options might there be. Assuming that she will eventually pee on it, but we don't want it to ruin our couch. We are not concerned about scratches.
posted by Jaelma24 to Pets & Animals (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Before you give up on your existing sofa, have you tried laundering the cushion (coin op laundry?) Use an enzymatic cleaner.

What's the worst that could happen; you're already resigned to throwing the sofa away.

Leather can be sealed to repel liquids, but so can any cloth. (ScotchGuard)

Pleather is an option, but it's sooooo gross.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:47 AM on July 13, 2013

Best answer: Leather seems like a good instinct, although I don't have personal experience with it. However, I did want to add a related recommendation for this enzymatic cleaner for cleaning up accidents regardless of surface. (You have to send away for it, but it's far more effective than Nature's Miracle.) If you can't wash or dry clean the cushion that she peed on, you could try spraying the heck out of it with that stuff and letting it work as it dries out. We are continually surprised at how effective it is.

As often as I find myself recommending it in Ask MeFi pet mess questions, I guess should start adding a disclaimer that I have no affiliation with the company, etc. etc.... it is just really good stuff.
posted by usonian at 5:53 AM on July 13, 2013 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I would just point out that while vinyl, which is what faux-leather were historically made of, are indeed gross and best suited to the chairs in a low-rent attorney's waiting room, modern synthetic leathers are much, much more variable. It can be totally cheap and nasty or it can be indistinguishable from standard mid-market leather. Having spent three years with my arse on a good faux-leather couch followed by 18 months with my arse on a real leather couch, I can tell you I can't tell the difference between them.

I would be cautious about real leather because it is porous and the urine will soak in. Even if you have it professionally scotch-guarded before delivery, it will still discolour where she's peed. Apartment Therapy discussed the difference between faux and real leather, and I really think for you, the cleanup ease is key here.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:57 AM on July 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: From my experience, leather is not a solution. Ruined a nice leather couch over time with accidental peeing. Especially if you are not home to react to the urine in a timely basis.

Rather than look for the correct covering for the couch, maybe consider looking for the correct couch cover for the couch that can be removed or thrown out over time.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 6:04 AM on July 13, 2013

Best answer: You SO do not want leather and cat urine together in your life.

Go with pleather if you can or consider using washable throws with disposable puppy pads underneath.

I don't think that Scotch Guard is able to stop anything but the lightest of rain, so expecting it to guard against feline pee is asking a lot of it.
posted by Arqa at 6:19 AM on July 13, 2013 [2 favorites]

There are couches/loveseats that are made of wood and other hard materials for which the cushions are entirely removable and replaceable. They tend to not be quite as comfortable, though. As you're ultimately talking about a bench with a back and fancy pillows. Mission (dark wood) and southwestern (handcrafted rough wood and leather platform and ties etc) styles come to mind.

Maybe a futon, kept in sofa position, with a waterproof mattress cover on it, and a fitted, patterned cover over that? Worst case scenario, you ditch the fitted cover for a new one. And your couch is a little crinkly for the foreseeable future.
posted by snuffleupagus at 6:22 AM on July 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I don't have a sofa recommendation, but, a former cat of mine had a bad habit of occasionally pooping on my bed. I bought a couple of these throw blankets from a sex accessories store. They look like a normal blanket, but they've got inner layers of super-absorbent material to keep bodily fluids from seeping through to the mattress. I used one as a coverlet on the bed at all times, and then when the inevitable surprise kitty poop happened, I could just flush the crap down the toilet & throw the blanket into the laundry. Cheaper in the long run than disposable wee-wee pads.

I agree with those saying your best bet is a waterproof covering over the sofa rather than a waterproof sofa.
posted by oh yeah! at 7:16 AM on July 13, 2013 [7 favorites]

Plastic coverings on your couch! Keeps your furniture looking good as new, and you can get something comfy, too.
posted by oceanjesse at 7:24 AM on July 13, 2013

Best answer: In this recent question, "durable upholstery", the last answer might be particularly interesting to you. There it links to a treated fabric that is supposed to permanently protect against stains, moisture, bacteria and odors.
posted by travelwithcats at 7:26 AM on July 13, 2013

Best answer: I had feline urine problems for years, and what I did was buy a couch something like this (only not leather; mine has cloth cushions, but this is the best picture I could find). The cushion covers go on and off with a zipper, so I took them off and put the foam underneath into plastic garbage bags, and then put the covers back on. This keeps stinky urine out of the foam core, and you only have to worry about cleaning the covers. I thought having plastic in there would be noisy, but it's not noticeable at all.
posted by JanetLand at 7:41 AM on July 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Kitty is not spraying, but peeing on the cushions, right? The existing cushion stuffing can be discarded if washing doesn't get rid of the smell, the cushions can be cleaned and re-filled. The same upholsterer (or anybody who can sew competently) can make what would basically be fitted sheets for the cushions, out of vinyl. You can get vinyl with a flannel backing - you might have to buy vinyl tablecloths - that would work well. You need another 'sheet' on top of it to absorb urine so it doesn't just roll off into the rest of the couch. I'd use something sturdy and cotton for the top sheet, for maximum absorbency.

This rubber and flannel fabric is pricy, but works really well. The rubber will stay more flexible than vinyl, and the cotton flannel is soft. While googling rubber flannel, I found that there is a market for bedwetting supplies.
posted by theora55 at 7:42 AM on July 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: We have a similar situation at home. We've got a very old cat with lots of health problems. She still religiously uses her litter box, but when she pees, she sits right in it. Then she slowly ambles out to plop back down on the couch again. The result: a litter/pee paste (or sometimes just pee) on the couch multiple times a day.

So our solutions- because she has so many other issues, we have her gated up into a fairly large pen in a bedroom whenever we leave the house. Then, she gets "supervised release" for several hours a day. If your cat's issues get worse, you might consider this... as long as the pen/room is decent sized and there's toys or a comfortable bed, they learn to live with it pretty quickly.

We also gave up all hope of having a nice couch. We just went with an cheap faux-leather one that is easy to wipe off. We had a leather footstool she also used to sleep on, and that got stained and we had to toss it. You really don't want leather.

But the best thing to do that's cheap and ultra-effective is to use plastic coverings and washable thick blankets, just like oh yeah! and oceanjesse mention above. We pull them off when guests come over and put them back on when it's just us around. It takes some extra effort, but I see it as the price we have to pay if we want to keep our grumpy old cat going. So, we live with it, style be damned.
posted by Old Man McKay at 7:46 AM on July 13, 2013

Home Depot just started selling NeverWet this very weekend.

Hydrophobic couch? Super awesome!

Overkill? Perhaps...
posted by elsietheeel at 8:29 AM on July 13, 2013

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