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My orange tabby cat, Cheeto, is almost six years old. Right now in my living room I have three Ikea armchairs which are a simple wooden frame and cushions covered with a blue denim-like fabric. When I got them, Cheeto pretty much claimed one of them as his own, and there's some wear on the cushion from his clawing that I've pretty much written off in my mind.

I want to get rid of the armchairs and get a couch or loveseat. I think I want to go to a black color. Do you other cat owners have any recommendations for types of couch that work well with a cat and will not be easily damaged? Fabric? Leather? I can purchase something nice, but I'll spend less if there's a chance that Cheeto will destroy whatever I buy.

FYI I have music gear, too - particularly there's a bass amp covered in felt that I have to spray occasionally to keep him from clawing on it. The spray works.

Thanks.

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  • I can say what NOT to use. My faux leather Ikea arm chair was a magnet for her claws.
    – 杜興怡
    Apr 30, 2022 at 4:47
  • Have you tried placing a catnip- or silvervine-covered scratching post right next to the bass amp and then also putting double-sided tape or spraying the bass amp? This can redirect the cat's scratching and significantly reduce the amount of time/worry you spend stopping him from scratching. I use double-sided tape and a nearby scratching post for my own cat and it works quite well. The problem scratching has not entirely gone away but it is significantly reduced.
    – ribs2spare
    May 18, 2022 at 16:48

2 Answers 2

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I have 4 cats and 3 couches, so this is an anecdotal experiment:

Couch 1: Cotton Canvas-Like Material

A vintage item that was re-covered by previous owner. The fabric, as best as I can identify it, is described as followed by the manufacturer: Everyday-use cotton for quilting, crafts and apparel

It's a thick fabric, with a loose weave, and low stretch. It reminds me of a shop towel.

This is by far their favorite to scratch. It seems easy to dig their claws in, and they can easily shed their claws in the fabric. It also shows their work very well, as the loose threads are just pouring out of the side.

Couch 2: "Durable" Sofa Material, as was sold to us by the furniture store

This fabric is a very tight weave, & low stretch, which makes it stain resistant and more resistant to their scratching. This is their second favorite, and it shows their "work" fairly minimally. They do still like to scratch it, though.

Couch 3: Suede-Like Microfiber Sofa

No "gaps" in the weave, but could easily be pierced. The fabric is fairly stretchy and loose.

This couch has faired the best. If they tried to destroy it, I'm sure they could - But I don't think they "Like" scratching it.

My reasoning is this: Cats scratch whatever is most effective at shedding their claws. Look closely at a scratching post- There are little "shells" of their claws sticking out of it. The Microfiber, in my estimation, has been spared of their work because it's just not pleasant to scratch and does not shed their claws.

Conclusion:

A loose, stretchy fabric will have the cats looking for something else to scratch. Again, they scratch whatever works best for them. Keep a scratching post nearby that they "like" better.

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Most of all, your cat needs a suitable scratching post.

Cats will instinctively scratch on certain surfaces to sharpen their claws. In the wild, they prefer the bark of certain trees, but in human homes, they prefer fabric covered furniture. Even with severe and constant punishments, you will not keep a cat from scratching.

So as long as your cat doesn't have an alternative scratching surface, it will scratch your furniture. In my personal experience, it's best to offer some vertical scratching posts (usually integrated into a cat tree) plus one horizontal scratching mat (usually inexpensive cardboard mats).

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    This is the only solution that works in the long run, as no furniture will resist the claws forever. The best strategy here is to provide scratching opportunities close to the items you want to protect, since cats not only scratch for sharpening their claws, but also to mark their territory. A sofa tends to be an important place in the territory since the humans spend a lot of time there, it has the smell of the family, etc. Naturally, this is a prime area for marking, so best to provide a scratching post or two next to the sofa.
    – bgse
    Apr 30, 2022 at 1:45

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