If you ever visit my house, you’ll notice that the armrests of most sofas and chairs are strategically covered with throw blankets. This isn’t a fashion statement—it’s to deter my mischievous cats from sinking their claws into the fabric.
Any cat owner will tell you that all the scratching posts in the world won’t make a difference if your feline prefers scratching your furniture. However, the good news is that certain fabrics are usually less appealing to kitties because they’re not as easy to sink claws into (for this reason, loose weaves are a hard no in our space).
After nearly a decade of cat ownership and consulting with many furniture salespeople, here are the nine best couches for cat owners.
When you think of pet-friendly fabrics, leather might not be the first that usually comes to mind—but it should.
Hair doesn’t stick; it won’t hold onto odors as easily as fabric; and there’s nothing for cats to sink their claws into. Leather is a solid choice if you’re trying to prevent your cat from going in on your furniture simply because it won’t enjoy it as a scratching post. Of course, every cat is different so it may still enjoy the usual poke or nudge.
Now, leather is prone to scratches, so if your cat likes to launch himself over furniture like a parkour pro, you might end up with big, unsightly scratches across your couch. Top-grain leather is the most durable type of leather and can withstand sharp nails—my editor often has dogs using her Burrow couch as a playpen and hasn’t experienced any scratches or holes. It’s an investment, so if that’s out of your budget, you can easily buff out scratches out of any leather with a microfiber cloth.
1. Corrigan Studio Garzon 69.68″ Square Arm Loveseat (Wayfair), $449.99
With the exception of top-grain, leather doesn’t have to break the bank. This budget-friendly loveseat comes in two colors and has an attractive button-tufted seat and tapered hardwood legs. Best of all, the distressed style would be perfect for hiding any scratches that make it past the material.
2. Chamberlin Recycled Leather Sofa (Urban Outfitters), $949
If you like a retro-inspired vibe, this sofa is the perfect option with its clean silhouette and metal legs. It’s even made from recycled leather that’s supple but tough.
3. Hamilton Leather Sofa (West Elm), $2,199-$3,499
This beautiful sofa has a 1950s-inspired frame, and it comes in a variety of colors, including black, several browns and tans, and even navy blue to complement any decor.
Another good fabric option for those with cats is microfiber or microsuede. These fabrics are more budget-friendly than leather, and they use very fine, tightly woven threads that are hard for cats to dig into. However, it does tend to be a hair magnet, so pick an upholstery color that’s closest to your cat’s fluff.
1. Lewis Sofa (Joybird), $1,629-$1,862
Joybird offers a number of pet-friendly microfiber (and even velvet!) couches in fun colors. The fabric is tightly woven for durability, but it’s plush and has a chenille-like finish.
2. Zipcode Design Ibiza Sofa (Wayfair), $359.99
This sofa has flared arms and button-tufted cushions for an elevated appearance (for less), and you can choose from black or brown to match (or hide) your pet’s fur.
3. Elle Decor Olivia 86″ Square Arm Sofa (Wayfair), $899.99
The microfiber should withstand scratches while the woven linen-like texture can hide any that make it past your cat’s determined paws. The exposed wooden base and legs are also a modern touch to an otherwise classic couch.
I know what you’re thinking: “Isn’t Sunbrella an outdoor fabric?” While the brand offers outdoor furniture and accessories like patio sets, awnings, boat coverings, and more, it’s become so popular that many furniture brands have started using Sunbrella upholstery for indoor pieces.
The indoor versions typically have a softer feel than regular canvas and the tight weave means it’s also pet resistant. Because Sunbrella fabric is meant to withstand the elements, it’s super durable and easy to clean—just spot treat or toss any removable covers in the washing machine if you need.
1. Birch Lane 63″ Recessed Arm Loveseat (Wayfair), $709.99
Get comfy on this pillow-top loveseat, which is available in several Sunbrella fabrics. It’s the perfect size for two the simple design will never go out of style.
2. Bryant U-Sofa Bumper Sectional (Joybird), $4,544-$5,194
This cushy sectional is a major investment but it’s available in a number of durable Sunbrella fabrics and you can arrange its five pieces in a variety of ways for all the flexibility and function you need.
3. Carlisle Upholstered Sofa (Pottery Barn), $1,349-$2,949
Pottery Barn sells almost every sofa it makes in Sunbrella fabric, so you’re sure to find one that fits your style and budget. This particular couch, with its English roll arms and deep seat, will cradle you in major comfort.
If you’re trying to protect your existing couch from further destruction, there are a number of products designed to deter clawing. The bad news is that they don’t always work—it really depends on how determined your cat is—but they’re worth a try. Here are three popular options.
1. PetSafe SSSCat Spray Deterrent, $39.95
I’ve used this spray deterrent to stop one of my cats from jumping onto the kitchen counter, and it really works. Basically, the canister has a motion detector on top, and when your cat comes near, it lets out a spurt of air and scares them away. The only downside is that you’ll inevitably forget it’s there and startle yourself when you walk by.
2. Sofisti-Cat Scratch Deterrent Tape (Amazon), $9.90
This is essentially a large swatch of double-sided tape that you can place over the corners where your kitty likes to scratch. The idea is that your cat won’t enjoy the stickiness of the surface and will stop clawing at that area. However, the tape itself isn’t attractive, so you’ll have to be okay with the unsightly appearance of your furniture for a while.
3. Pet MasterMind Claw Withdraw Training Spray, $16.95
You can also try this anti-clawing spray, which is a blend of pungent herbs that your cat won’t like. You’re supposed to apply it several times a day to your furniture to deter your furry friend, but reviewers report varying degrees of success—some say their cats actually grow to like the smell!