I want to buy a new sofa for our living room. After I buy it, I'm 100% sure my cats will also want to sit in the new sofa and sharpen their nails in the new sofa and ruin the new sofa. I've talked to them about the issue, but they seem to ignore me.

I guess my question is: What type of sofa should I buy to minimize this? Or what can I do so that they stay away from the sofa? IS there a specific material that cats particularly dislike?

The living room doesn't have a door, so closing the area off is not an option. I also prefer not having to spray the sofa.

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    I'm posting as a comment rather than an answer because I feel your 'pain' but I don't have a solution for this! I have 3 cats, numerous scratching posts that they seem to like, but they still can't seem to resist scratching on any vertical surface (sofas, the bed, UPVC window frames when the window is open?!) that they encounter. I would try gently redirecting them to a scratching post (and place one near your new sofa, spray with catnip spray) but ultimately accept that your sofa won't be 'pristine'.... I'm quite materialistic but I love my cats more than my sofa, haha. Commented May 2, 2019 at 19:42
  • This is my new sofa that's currently under attack: ikea.com/gb/en/products/textiles-rugs/covers/… Commented May 2, 2019 at 19:46

4 Answers 4


You're unlikely to be able to make the sofa inhospitable to the cats without also making it inhospitable to yourself, but there's steps you can take to minimize the damage they'll do.

Ensure they have sufficient approved scratching surfaces; if they don't have many yet, add more before you get the sofa, so they get used to them and their locations, and are less likely to go looking for additional surfaces.

Discourage scratching on target surfaces (typically the corners, back if accessible, and sometimes the top of the sofa) with materials they don't like. These include double-sided tape (often sold under the name "Sticky Paws"), aluminum foil, and heavy plastic sheeting (similar to what's used for office chair mats). Depending on how clever your cats are, the clear materials are better, because they won't be able to easily see if and when they're removed.

Additionally discourage targeting those areas by putting a scratching post nearby. You may also need to redirect them if you catch them scratching at an unprotected part of the sofa. By having the appropriate target close to the inappropriate one, it's much easier to redirect their attention.

If there's a corner they just won't stay away from, consider a long-term solution. It may not look as nice as the untouched sofa, but it'll certainly look better than a shredded one. Look into plastic corner protectors as a way to discourage interaction, or try a sisal scratching mat (like the LURVIG mat sold by Ikea) attached to that area for a durable, appropriate scratch spot.

And if all else fails, find a way to embrace concealing the damage; there are many examples of how to use lace, fabric, or other techniques to disguise damaged corners and surfaces on a sofa that can look quite nice when finished, and add some unique personality to your furniture.


I have two cats, some good scratching posts / cat trees and a sofa. One cat scratches on sisal only. The other scratches everything next to her whenever she feels like scratching or stretching. She does stop immediately when told so, but for sensible textiles that is too late. So far (after three years!) no scratching damage is visible on the sofa. I can therefore recommend very tightly woven textile sofas. Stay away from leather substitute or fabric where you can clearly see the threads or even move them.

And if course putting something to scratch close to the sofa can only help. Just make sure it is your cats preferred scratching material and shape (sisal, cardboard, high for stretching upwards...) and that you position it on a 'main walkway' so that the cat does not have to go out of it's way too much for reaching out.

Depending on where you want to buy the sofa: some companies offer example cloth patches, maybe you have the chance to take one home and examine it or even stick it to a surface and get your cat to test-scratch it.


The best solution to your problem is to get a good scratching post for your cats.

If you get a scratching post for your cats, they likely will not use your sofa at all to sharpen their claws.

A god scratching post needs to be heavy so your cat is not able to move it. This means it must weigh 15-20 kilos or more. The scratching surface must be made of sisal or hemp rope so your cat can use its full strength when scratching.

One single cat claw can hold the cat's weight, so they are strong.

For your cats sitting on the sofa, you can use a folded towel for them to lie/sit on.

  • so you're saying that if I have a good scratching post, they won't scratch anything else?
    – rbhat
    Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 16:28
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    yes that is what i say and i have had cats for a long long time 50years+. Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 16:31
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    I guess what I'm saying is that my concern is that they will use the scratching post and the cardboard box and the chair. I don't think they'll stick to just the scratching post.
    – rbhat
    Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 16:40
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    if you buy a cat tree your cats will have a place to rest and play and sharpen their claws all at the same place.when i asembled mine i had a hard time to keep the cat away so i could get it done :) Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 16:46
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    @rbhat It's funny cause it's true.
    – kubanczyk
    Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 21:49

When I bought my sofa, I thought, I'll get one with a resistant cloth, so in case my cat wants to scratch it, my sofa will resist it better, same with my carpets.

What I've discovered over the years is that my cat scratches things, because they have a good material for doing so, which means that maybe getting a softer sofa will be less appealing to your cat. Anyway, I recommend you get a sofa cover. There are lots of options for about 40-60€ for big sofas, and they last a long season.

Hope this helps.

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