Cat Scratch Fever Aka Disguising Pet Scratches in Hardwood Floors

1 Hour

I love my cat. He's just awesome. But, bless his heart, if he gets spooked he takes off running. And when he does, my floors take the brunt of it. It's one of the things you have to deal with when you have dark floors. Heck, it's something you have to deal with if you have light floors. After years of trial and error I have finally figured out the best way to disguise the damage done by the cat.
Note 9/17: I've received lots messages/comments asking what all I tried. I tried pecan and walnut meat on the scratches. That just made my floor really slippery. :-) Same thing with Old English. I tried a stain pen in the same color as the floor. It stained the scratches, but they were still really visible. I tried the stained wax crayons. I don't know if it was the brand I used, but these gave the worst result. All it did was put a wax film on the floor and didn't fill in the scratches. I tried steel wool followed by stain as well as a fine sandpaper. That just made more scratches. My mom decided to use a black sharpie. It looked like my toddler had drawn all over the floor and it took me a week to get it off. I tried premixed filler but couldn't find a color that really matched. In hindsight, perhaps staining the filler ebony and then applying probably would work. I'm going to give it a try. I feel like there were other things I tried (because I tried A LOT of things) but these are the ones that come to mind.
The floors before.
Go over the scratches with a stainable wood filler.
After a few minutes, wipe off the filler using a damp paper towel. A circular motion works best.
It will look much worse after the filler is wiped away because the filler fills in all the scratches you couldn't easily see before.
Using a foam brush, dap a stain one shade darker than your floor onto the scratches.
Drag the foam brush over the scratches.
After 5 minutes, wipe off the stain using a paper or cloth towel.
That's it! If you have deeper scratches, repeat the entire process again. The area I chose for this tutorial gets a lot of light and the scratches in this area are the most visible in the home. In the lower light areas, the scratches have virtually disappeared!
This is the view from above (as most people would see it). The photos I took were zoomed in so you could see details

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

2 questions
  • Lois
    on Mar 28, 2016

    Does this work on high gloss laminate floors?

    • Troy Tompkins
      on May 4, 2016

      gloss is the worst in all finishes. the missing element is the clear gloss you must add after the staining and Matching is nuts. try a combined stain and finishing product. experiment on an inconspicuous corner first. Environmental Protection agencies have restricted some products yet Texas is still a 'free-state' so far. enjoy your freedom to choose.

  • Allen Gladstone
    on May 5, 2016

    Would something like this work to fix scratches or small pieces missing from wood veneer (over mdf) cabinets?

Join the conversation

2 of 89 comments
  • Veronica Jones
    on Oct 1, 2015

    Thank you so much! I will be trying that.

  • Linda
    on Mar 26, 2016

    Use a pointy teaspoon instead of your finger. A plumber taught this trick..

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