What is the best upholstery fabric if you have cats?

We have cats who have destroyed our upholstered sofa, so I need to get it reupholstered in a fabric resistant to cats’ claws. This is for a formal living room, so I’d like to avoid canvas or leather, but I’m willing to keep an open mind.

FTR we have cat scratching posts all over the place, but for some reason they prefer to scratch the furniture, so I turn to you Dopers for your wisdom and expertise.

Microfiber is your best bet. Cats tend not to like the feeling on their paws. Or you could always go with this:

I (a fellow with many cats and so much personal experience and 25+ years in the furniture biz) second the micro fiber recommendation! At the very least avoid all woven and “loopy” fabrics!

Normally I’d say cast iron. For a formal setting, probably stainless steel with a brush finish.

Why is leather off limits for a living room? We have beautiful leather upholstery in our living room. The cat has never tried to claw it.

Breed those cats because you are in the presence of a miracle. Get a breed going & you will be rich. Our cats scratch anything including cast iron & stainless steel.

We know we are doomed.

I think microfiber would be good, I’ve had a sort of velvet, but smooth in one direction type upholstery that held up well and was easy to de-fur. Maybe even a denim type material.

When I hear about cats preferring furniture to scratching posts, there are some behavior questions to go over in that regards - one is whether the cats are standing on the floor and stretching up to scratch, or are they squatting on the backs/arms of furniture and scratching the edges in front of them.

If the former, the posts they currently have may not be sturdy enough - if cats feel the post moves too much and may fall over or ever has fallen over, they will not use it. Often, people have posts like this: http://www.cancats.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Scratching-Post-Carpeted-material.jpg, when something like this can be better: http://hauspanther.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/UltimatePost2.jpg. The bigger and more sturdy, the better, plus figuring out if they like sisal vs carpet can help, too. There are combo posts out there with both materials.

If the latter, you likely have a lateral scratcher in the house, and that also needs to be accommodated with the right kind of scratcher. Myself, I use cardboard ones like this: http://hauspanther.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/kittyslab1.jpg, that I change out as needed, and have one like this: http://www.felinedesign.net/images/FLAT.jpg that’s less messy. The trick for the lateral ones is they need to be big enough for the cats to stand on and pull towards themselves - again if it moves around they won’t use it.

Let’s move this to IMHO.

General Questions Moderator

Nothing is wrong with leather. We have leather couches and our cats have never touched them…

Dammit, Colibri. I thought that there might actually be a factual answer :mad:

Believe it or not, and as tacky as it might seem, I prefer vinyl uphostered furniture when I can get it. Not because my cats won’t claw it but because it is soooo easy to get the fur off. Only one of my many cats was a scratcher but all of them have fur.

That’s a big negatory good buddy. I’ve had a few cats that loved the feel of denim fibers shredding between their claws. We have a sofa and chair set that have fitted denim slip covers on the theory that they’d be easy to clean and replaceable without replacing the whole sofa/chair. Easy, yes. Cheap, no. The slipcovers cost nearly as much as a whole new sofa/chair replacement. As we found out when the kittehs mauled the arms of each piece to death. :mad:

I think different cats have different preferences for material to scratch. I used to have one who loved tweedy fabric but ignored the denim. I’d suggest the OP ask his cats.

Kevlar, but it would be a pretty expensive reupholster job.

Unless you assign objective criteria to the question of how you define the best of anything, how can there be a factual answer?

Well since it appears that cast iron is the only safe bet, I will try a different kind of scratching post. She’s the type who stands on the floor and stretches up to scratch, so I’ll give the sturdier post a try. Thanks!

I was being facetious :wink:

How about chalkboard?

Not cats, but multiple big dogs, and we’ve had a leather sectional last for almost fifteen years before the seating started to break down - nothing is more tolerant of heavy wear, paw pads, nails etc. Cats can be more pointedly destructive, though, and I have to say the recent puppy has found the corners of the unit nice to gnaw on.

Both of the Dane breeders I visited had leather in the dog areas of the house as well. If you’re diligent about chewing in pups they never bother it again. I suspect adequate scratch posts and feedback would keep cats from scratching leather, too.

I’m bringing this back into the fold because I was going to start a thread with the same question. Did the OP end up getting microfiber furniture and was it successful?

I got Sunbrella (recommended by the upholsterer), which I had thought was only for outdoors, but it comes in all sorts of fancy, living room quality colors and designs. The cat does still scratch it, but it doesn’t leave a mark. Very pleased with it so far.