Help me pick a sofa that my cat won't want to destroy
October 5, 2006 11:29 AM   Subscribe

What sort of sofa is my scratch-happy cat least likely to destroy?

I have 2 cats - one of which never learned not to claw furniture. She destroyed our sofa (which was covered in a tough chenille type fabric) which we've slipcovered with a cordouroy type fabric and she doesn't seem interested in touching it. Instead she has directed her claws to the canvas-like covers on our Ikea chairs, which she's been shredding for quite some time despite use of Sticky Paws, double-stick tape, Feliway, squirt bottle training, etc.

We've used Softpaws, but after an incident where she got her Softpaw caught in a tight spot and nearly declawed herself, we've let her run around au naturale.

Declawing is not an option, despite the times I've threatened her with chopping her little feets off.

So, basically I'm looking for suggestions with regards to what sort of sofa is she least likely to want to destroy.

Do cats like to claw leather? Am I better off sticking with less expensive furniture that I can replace the slipcovers on (e.g. Ikea's Ektorp line)?

Someday I'd like to have nice things, but I don't see the point in buying a nice sofa if it's just going to become another scratching post.

And yes, we have many real scratching posts and she uses those too. She just likes the Ikea chairs better.
posted by tastybrains to Pets & Animals (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Similar question asked earlier.
posted by matildaben at 11:40 AM on October 5, 2006

Cover it with mint - that'll keep the kitty's claws away! :=)
posted by Matt_MP at 12:05 PM on October 5, 2006

Tastybrains, I searched through askme two weeks ago on just this issue because we were getting a new couch.

What we decided to get was couch with a smooth microsuede detachable cover. The cats already have a nubbly chair that they love to shred, and so far after 2 weeks they are still just happily scratching their chair and leaving the smooth couch alone. As a precaution I clipped their front claws and plan to continue doing that (though Ajax fought it as if her very life depended on it). I even performed a magical ritual to deter their couch scratching, as I never want it to be said that I didn't try everything.

The bonus is that the cover of the couch is removable though. If/when I need to, I can get a new one for around $50. And considering that I'm just as likely to ruin my furniture as the cats are, the couch is basically me-proof now too.
posted by hermitosis at 12:06 PM on October 5, 2006

at my home, we've had luck reducing cat sofa shredding behavior by buying a carpet covered cat condo. they rip that thing to shreds ... and don't touch the couch now.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 12:16 PM on October 5, 2006

YMMV, but my cats have left the microfiber- & velvet-covered furniture alone. The nice tweedy couch, on the other hand, went the way of all flesh upholstery.
posted by thomas j wise at 12:48 PM on October 5, 2006

I would cast a big "no" vote on smooth-finished leather. While my cats didn't intentionally shred it (i.e. try to sharpen his/her claws on it), they did serious damage to a leather armchair by jumping on/off it because the leather was slippery and they would dig their claws in to brake/launch. The chair was tatty within a few months of the cats' arrival. Unlike woven fabrics, a puncture into leather doesn't go away.
posted by jamaro at 1:06 PM on October 5, 2006

My parents' former cat loved to shred their navy blue leather wingback armchairs-- they are now unrecognizable from their former glory.

I vote, steer clear of the leather.

I had some luck getting my cat to stop clawing our cloth-covered sofa by covering the sofa with a fleece blanket for a couple weeks, putting a scratching post directly in front of her favorite scratching area, and physically (but gently) "showing her" that scratching the post was good. I would pick up her paws and gently scratch them on the post. When she'd use the post we would give her a treat, but scold when she went on the couch.

Now she almost never claws the couch, and uses her post no matter where we put it.
posted by np312 at 1:17 PM on October 5, 2006

The microsuede I mentioned ISN'T leather, it's a smooth synthetic woven fiber.
posted by hermitosis at 1:34 PM on October 5, 2006

My cat has left our new microfiber couch alone, at least so far.
posted by Soliloquy at 1:46 PM on October 5, 2006

Yeah, my cats shed all over the microfiber recliners but don't scratch them.
posted by mckenney at 4:43 PM on October 5, 2006

In my experience, different cats can be attracted to different materials. My previous cat (RIP) had no interest in sissel, which most cats are all over.

I haven't tried nail caps yet, but they're supposed to spare your furniture regardless of material.

Anyone else tried them yet?
posted by nadise at 12:22 AM on October 6, 2006

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