LIFESTYLE

Best Couch for Cat Owners: Choose the Right Material for a Scratch-Proof Sofa

Image showing a cat sitting on a couch
Stella Noble
Written by Stella Noble

Buying a new sofa is not a small decision, and there are lots of factors to consider. This piece of furniture is going to be a focal point of your home for many years, and choosing the right size, design, color, and fabric can be hard and time-consuming. In homes with felines, the best couch for cat owners is one that is resistant to odors, can be easily cleaned, and can sustain the damage of scratching without showing it.

Even though today’s market doesn’t offer a magical sofa that can withstand all of your kitty’s claw-sharpening and fur-spreading tendencies 100%, some materials are more resistant to damage and easier to maintain when used in coexistence with your furry friend. We will describe each one of them so that you are armed with the right information when you go hunting for perfect couch for you and your home. No more greeting guests with embarrassingly dirty, furry, torn-up couch.

Two cats relaxing on a sofa

In this article, we will get you familiar with the materials that can sustain significant damage from your cat. We will explain how patterns and darker colors can hide the signs of your cat’s fur and dirt from your couch. Other than recommending the best materials for hiding scratches, we will also inform you of which materials to avoid if you want your couch to look new for many years.

Couch Materials that Cat Owners Should Go For

Owning a cat can bring a new kind of happiness and joy in your everyday life, and snuggling with your kitty on a couch is one of those small things that make life perfect. But letting your kitty on the couch can bring some less desired things, like piles of fur, claw marks, and scratches. Luckily, some couch materials are resistant to those things, and these are the ones that you should go for when couch-shopping.

Cat relaxing on couch

This table contains materials that are the top contenders for the title of the best couch for cat owners. You will see that none of them ticks every box, but all of them have great features to counteract some of the problems cat owners have.

Type of materialFur is easily removedDirt is easily wiped cleanCan withstand claw holes and scratch marksResistant to odorPatterns may better hide stainsTightly woven to resist damages
LeatherYesYesNoYesNoNo
Distressed LeatherYesYesNoYesYesNo
Synthetic FibersYesYesYesNoNoYes
CryptonYesYesYesYesNoYes
FabricYesNoYesNoYesYes

We will explain the pros and cons of each material mentioned in the table above in greater detail below:

Leather

Contrary to the common belief that considers leather couches not appropriate for homes with cats and small children, this type of material actually holds up well when faced with many cat-related challenges:

  • Leather is easily cleaned. It doesn’t stain, and it is resistant to odor.

  • Unlike other materials like velvet, leather doesn’t attract cat hairs, and if your cat leaves some, you can easily wipe them off with a wet piece of cloth.

  • For many cat owners, scratch marks are the main worry concerning leather couches. This one actually depends on the type of leather used. Real leather is highly resistant to scratches and fading as opposed to bonded leather that shows claw marks easily.

If you decide to go for a leather couch, but you still have some concerns that your cat can damage it with claw holes and scratches, there is a solution.

a persian cat relaxing on a leather couch

A nice blanket or some other type of temporary covering can put your mind at ease and protect your couch from your kitty. One more thing you can do is to place your kitty’s scratching post nearby to distract her from your new couch.

Distressed Leather

Distressed leather is a great choice if you are a fan of leather, but you’re afraid of claw marks. It is a better option compared to coated leather because any scratches will blend with the design of the couch and become invisible. Distressed leather is also easily cleaned. It repels odor, and if your kitty leaves stains that cannot be removed, they will just blend in with the design of your couch.

Synthetic Fibers

Man-made synthetic materials like Ultrasuede and microfiber make another great option for cat owners.

Kitten laying down on a Synthetic Fibers couch

Some of the features that make them great include the fact that they are:

  • More affordable than leather.

  • Available in many color and pattern options.

  • Easy to keep clean. Because microfiber is synthetic, any dirt and stains that your kitty leaves on the couch can be easily cleaned with a solution of warm water and soap. And because this material is very smooth, cat hair can be easily removed by way of vacuuming or with a wet cloth.

  • Highly resistant to scratches because it is tightly woven. It is unlikely that this type of material will show any signs of claw marks, but if it does they are easily removed with a brush.

  • Since microfiber is tightly woven, your kitty’s paws won’t get stuck in the material of your new couch, as they probably did with your old one.

There is one con that you should be aware of, however. It’s true that microfiber is easy to clean, but you may have to do it quite often because it shows dirt marks and stains very clearly. If your kitty is permitted to go outdoors, it is eminent that she will leave stains and dirt on your couch all the time. If you opt for this type of material, choose darker colors, because they will make stains and dirt less visible and give your couch a presentable appearance.

Crypton

Crypton is made from either synthetic or natural fiber which is pretreated with antimicrobial and stain-resistant latex material, which makes it extremely durable. Firstly used in hospitals and industrial areas, features like resistance to stains and odors as well as moisture and bacteria make this material the perfect choice for cat owners.

Image showing a -cat-ruining-couch-with-claws

Like most synthetic materials, crypton is easily cleaned, you only need a moist cloth to remove any stains or hairs that your kitty left on your new couch. The availability of a variety of different colors and patterns gives you the opportunity to choose the color most similar to your cat’s fur, to camouflage any hairs left by your kitty on the couch.

Fabric

The best couch for cat owners can also be made of fabric. This type of material is a perfect compromise for cat owners who are not into leather or microfiber. Fabric comes in many different colors and patterns. So you can go with a darker color to hide dirt and stains that your kitty leaves, or you can choose a color similar to your cat’s fur, to camouflage any excess hairs left on the couch.

A cat playing on a fabric sofa

Fabric is highly resistant to scratches, so you don’t have to worry about that. It is only mildly resistant to fur clumps, but to provide extra protection, you can always buy a slipcover for your couch. They are great for protecting your furniture from your kitty, and they are easily washable in the washing machine.

Couch Materials that Cat Owners Should Avoid

Just as there are couch materials that could be the saving grace of cat owners, there are those that should be avoided at all costs. They are not durable or won’t be able to sustain damages from scratches and claw marks well. They may also be vulnerable to stains and attract fur clumps to them like a magnet. Overall if you don’t want to buy a new couch every year you should stay away from these kinds of materials:

Chenille

You may think that because chenille is soft and durable, it can be a good choice for your sofa, but it’s not. It is made of tiny loops that absorb the dirt that your kitty brings in and won’t let go of it easily.

Khaki Grey Ribbed Chenille Sofa

These loops are like traps to your kitty’s claws. As your kitty tries to free herself, these loops will unravel. And once they are unraveled, they can’t be repaired. Your new sofa is not so new anymore.

Velvet

Velvet is a type of material that will boost the looks of your sofa, but it is very hard to maintain when you have cats. Cleaning your velvet couch from your kitty’s fur is fairly easy to do with a wet cloth or a brush.

Grey Velvet Sofa in a house

But if your cat leaves stains they will be hard to remove, and cleaning them too often can cause permanent damage to your couch.

Silk

Furniture made from silk is an absolute no-no if you own a cat. Although it is very beautiful, it is easily stained, ripped and it is almost impossible to clean. It is definitely the less-than-desired material for the couch when you have cats.

Tweed

One more couch material that should be avoided like the plague by cat owners is tweed. This type of material is fairly easy to clean from stains, but removing cat hairs can be a nightmare. Its uneven surface is perfect for cat’s fur to interlock with, making them almost impossible to clean out.

Tweed Couche in a house

Also, because it isn’t tightly woven, your cat’s claws could easily unravel the loops. That would cause a big damage that can’t be repaired.

Wool

The last material that is not a good choice for a couch is wool. It is fairly fragile, and a cat’s claws can deal significant damage to it. Also, it is hard to clean stains and cat’s hair from it. On top of that, some cats like to eat it. Therefore, our suggestion is to stay away from woolen furniture if you are a cat owner.

Additional Protection

As we said earlier none of these materials provides your couch with a 100% protection from scratches, claw marks, stains, and fur. True, they are resistant, but they will wear down over time if you don’t give them additional protection. After finding the couch that fits your needs best, there are ways to protect it additionally from your kitty:

Slipcovers

Slipcovers come in many different colors and patterns and are a great option to protect your couch in a fashionable way. A slipcover will serve as a buffer to all the dirt and stains that will otherwise end up on your new couch.

Slipcover on a sofa in a house with cats

They are easily washable and will extend the time period before you need to buy a new sofa.

Blankets

If you are more into shabby-chic, you can use some old but stylish blanket as an additional protection from dirt and stains. Your leather couch will get that warmer look, and you and your kitty could snuggle together without you worrying about scratches and claw marks.

Scratching Posts

To protect any furniture from your furry friends, one neat trick is to place your cat’s bed and scratching post near it. Place one by the couch, and your cat will lose her interest in your sofa. She will choose to play with her own stuff.

Simon and a Scratching Posts near the couch

It kind of makes sense that when your kitty has her own furniture, she would be less inclined to ruin yours.

Extra Measures

Also, you should consider teaching your kitty that your couch doesn’t serve as a place where she can sharpen her claws. And if you don’t want to clean her fur from the couch every day, maybe you should consider restricting her access to it.

Black and white cat sitting on a couch

You should try restricting her access only if all else has failed. We believe that it shouldn’t come to this point. We are confident that with the right material and additional protection, there will be no need to banish your kitty from your new couch.

Wrap Up

In order to minimize damage to your couch and to avoid buying a new one every other year, it is important to know what types of sofa materials are cat-friendly. Before buying a new couch, it is best to assess the damages on your old one. Did your cat use it as a scratching post? Did her claws get stuck in the material? Was it hard to remove your kitty’s fur and dirt from your couch? Finding your main problem will significantly improve your chances of finding the perfect couch that you and your cat can enjoy together.

We hope that this article will help you find the best couch for cat owners when you decide that you are in need of a new one. Just remember that leather is your friend. Leather is considered low maintenance. It is easily cleaned with only a wet cloth, saving you money and time. On top of that, distressed leather can hide signs of claw marks and scratches.

Korat cat laying on a grey couch

Microfiber is tightly woven and will not attract cat fur and scratches, and it is easy to maintain. Crypton is highly durable and offers a variety of different colors and patterns. The best couch for cat owners should be from one of these materials, but it is also important that you pick the one that will fit in your home nicely and provide comfort for you and your cat.

What material was your old couch made of? What happened to make you seek out a new one? If you have already found the perfect couch for you and your kitty, share your shopping experience with us and our readers in the comment section below.

About the author
Stella Noble
Stella Noble

Stella Noble lives in Warren, Michigan with her family and three cats. She is a Certified Cat Trainer and a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants.

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