nuLeather and cats with claws

This question is for all the animal lovers. We are looking into getting new couches and would like to get leather or the nuLeather (fake lather) but we have a cat with all his claws. What's better cloth or leather? Removing his claws is NOT an option. Thanks.
  12 answers
  • Lori J Lori J on Jan 26, 2014
    I would avoid leathers and leather look alikes--wovens are more forgiving of little holes. We have two cats, for the first time in years, and this time around we did front declaw. However, our vet says do it YOUNG or not at all.

    • Paige Paige on Jul 11, 2020

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  • My first question is: do your cats go after the furniture now? If they do not, then do not worry too much about new furniture. You may have to keep an eye out at first but there are things you can do to keep them from clawing at the furniture until they realize they cannot. I have seen plastic pieces on corners of sofas and chairs to keep them from clawing. Having a post to claw if they are indoor cats only. Many leather couches and chairs are leather on the areas that touch or skin and body and around the backs and sides is "fake" leather -unless you pay the big bucks for an all leather sofa or chair. I have had cats for 25 years and found that they did not go after leather any more than any other piece of upholstered furniture. I guess I am lucky because I have leather and upholstered both and find every so often they decide to claw and I quickly scare them off. We did have a cat once that went after the leather recliner one winter when he could not go out and he clawed it up a bit but it was not any worse than I have seen cats do to upholstered. My cats are indoor and outdoor so they do not go after the furniture. I did have a cat scratching chair for them when we lived in IL because the winters were too cold for them to go out. That kept them from clawing the furniture. I have never and would never declaw a cat. good luck

    • @The Garden Frog with C Renee Thanks for the response. He doesn't really go after the furniture too much. He does go after baskets and backpacks.

  • Susan Hogan Susan Hogan on Jan 27, 2014
    I have a leather sectional and my cats never scratched it because I had sisal and cardboard posts. We just got a new rescue and he loves the cardboard!

  • Pam Massey Pam Massey on Jan 27, 2014
    When my cat was in the kitten stage he liked to chew on the leather covered recliner lever. Protected that but the main problem I have is just the jumping around have left sliding claw marks on both the couch and recliner. He doesn't sharpen his claws on it.

  • Carole Carole on Jan 27, 2014
    Does your cat have a scratching post? They need to sharpen their claws regularly. if you don't have one, I suggest you get one and teach the cat to use it before replacing your furniture with new.

  • Cynthia Fuller Cynthia Fuller on Jan 28, 2014
    As a 6-cat owner (don't ask- never planned) I switched all of my living room furniture from cloth to leather or pleather years ago. Leather does not attract cat hair, so you're not always brushing fur off the furniture and can sit down and stand up without a fur-covered butt. Plus, if they pee or barf on it, it's easier to clean. That said, my experience is that cat attraction to leather is cat-specific. I have had cats who loved to claw on it and others who didn't even like to site on it. Cost-wise, I would opt for pleather (vinyl) where you can, and try using Feliway diffusers (gives off a cat "happy" hormone). Give them plenty of optional scratchers embedded with catnip and place citrus oil in areas where you'd rather them not be. Don't declaw the cats (cruel!) but keep the nails trimmed. If you take a broad approach, it won't prevent damage to leather, but it will minimize it.

    • @Cynthia Fuller Thank you! Yes, we want leather because the hair attached to our current cloth like crazy and it's even hard to vacuum it off.

  • Jennifer G Jennifer G on Jan 28, 2014
    I had a super soft real calf-skin leather love seat that my cat completely destroyed (mostly unintentionally - just jumping on or off the couch arms left gouges). Same cat, different leather couch years later - this time I bought a heavy weight cow leather couch and had no damage whatsoever. It depends a lot on quality, weight and finish of the leather. If you choose real leather - go for a thick and firm leather, instead of a soft, thin and lightweight one. If you choose faux leather, some of the 'suede' finishes are quite durable, while I'd avoid the super shiny finishes since they show wear and scratches more easily. Mostly, my cats don't like the real leather to sleep on and I try to keep them off it anyway since they have a cat tree for scratching, sleeping and viewing 'their' terrain.

  • Jeanne888 Jeanne888 on Jan 28, 2014
    Cats seem to embody the saying "diffrent strokes for diffrent folks"—they don't all like the same surface for scratching (and they change their tastes). One of my cats loves the log with rough bark and also the sisal; the other prefers carpet (we have about 6-7 different surfaces for them to scratch). One of the cats used to use the leather sofa, but I attached 2" tape sticky side up, and she hated that and never used it again. And neither one likes microfiber, but they do like the rough-textured fabric.

  • Rose Hominick Rose Hominick on Jan 28, 2014
    We have the cat from H.E. double hockey sticks, if you know what I mean! She completely destroyed our cloth couch so we decided to go with a leather one. We did a bit of research and asked our friends who owned leather couches, adn what we found was if you bought a quality leather couch that was not bonded, but completely cow hide, cats do not tend to destroy them. We have found this to be true, and have had no trouble with our cat and our new gorgeous burgundy leather couch. Now that is not to say that there aren't a few minor scratches where kitty has jumped up on the couch for a bit of loving from me, now and again, but it is nothing significant, and I just call it "patina". After all, we are pet owners and regular use of leather cleaner and conditioner keeps it to an acceptable minimum. I so agree with you about not declawing! I mean, I like MY nails and wouldn't want someone to surgically remove them, so I extend that respect to my kitty!

  • Rose Hominick Rose Hominick on Jan 28, 2014
    Hey! I am not from Belgium, but good old British Columbia, Canada!

  • KathrynElizabeth Etier KathrynElizabeth Etier on Jan 28, 2014
    I bought a gorgeous red leather chair and ottoman set and within months it was destroyed by my cats. Mostly as others have mentioned, from jumping back and forth. They also destroyed the cushions on two other ottomans that were leather, and a leather bench. The upside to the last three items is that I covered the cushions with other fabric and like them so much better now. (And the BIG plus? I got the upholstery fabric free from my local upholstery shop's scrap pile.)