What Kind of Couches Are Good for Cats?

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There's not much you can do if your couch has been ruined by a new kitten scratching, or even just jumping on and off. The best step is to take preventative measures, like buying a scratching post. Having a designated scratching area encourages a cat to avoid the couch, as does using a spray bottle or loud noises when it happens. However, there are certain couches that will hold up better that others against your pet.

New Couches

  • If you got your couch as a hand-me-down, it may have retained some smells from the previous owner's pets. Cats are naturally drawn to the scent of other animals, and will be far more likely to claw that couch. If you already have a used couch, vacuum and steam clean the furniture to remove some of the temptation. Another option is to cover the smell. Many pet stores sell bitter-apple spray, which has a strong scent that discourages cats from getting close.

Microfiber, Velvet or Suede

  • When purchasing a couch, avoid tweed or heavily knotted fabrics. Cats' claws get stuck in woven fabrics -- they enjoy the pulling. Leather couches are easier to clean in terms of loose hairs, but a single puncture can spread quickly and completely ruin the sofa. Even the lightest scratches from walking by show up. Microfiber, velvet and suede, on the other hand, are more difficult to penetrate, and cats tend to avoid them. Choose a couch with these soft fabrics to increase the odds of a scratch-free environment,

Covered Couches

  • One foolproof option is to purchase a slipcover. Padded slipcovers are relatively inexpensive, and create a barrier between the couch and the claws. They also can be removed when company comes over to display a leather couch. Slipcovers can be sprayed with a scratch deterrent, saving you from a permanently-scented fiber. As an added bonus, in the event of cat vomit or loose hairs, a cover can be removed and washed more easily than a couch can be cleaned. As a temporary solution, aluminum or tin foil along the back or sides of a couch will irritate your cat and create a negative association with clawing that specific piece of furniture.

Low Couches

  • Couches represent a high, safe place for your cat to sit and relax, which could also mean scratching. Cats may be less tempted to jump onto a low-backed sofa. Arrange your couches away from walls and end tables, making it a little trickier for cats to climb over and across them. If that's not an option, invest in a tall scratching post; cats may gravitate toward the highest location in their favorite room.

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