What do you get if you put a pet and a fine piece of furniture together? It is either a scratched, tattered mess of a chair (or a sofa) or a comfortable life with all of your furniture intact. The latter is just a matter of following this advice on creating and choosing pet-friendly furniture.
More and more pets are being adopted nowadays which is a wonderful thing.
But getting a pet is an easy part. Making life comfortable for both of you is a bit trickier.
This includes figuring out how to make your furniture stand up to the challenge of having a new set of teeth and claws in the house. You really don’t want to have your favorite ottoman turn into a fraying mess with bite marks.
The good news is that you can balance being a pet owner and maintaining your home decor. The trick to making your furniture pet-friendly lies in having the right tools to deal with the problem. Whether it’s physical tools like lint rollers or your knowledge of the right fabrics, there’s a lot you can do to make sure no couch suffers due to the new pet resident.
We’ll also touch upon some tips for choosing pet-friendly furniture, including fabrics, patterns, and detailing.
This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking a link like that, I’ll earn a small commission (at no additional cost to you) to feed the bottomless pit that is my cat.
Find the root of the problem
There might be an underlying reason for your pet’s destructive tendencies toward furniture.
Let’s take cats. Cats are natural scratchers. First and foremost, scratching allows them to remove the dead outer layer of their claws. So make sure you have the right cat tree that addresses your cat’s needs. Or at least a sturdy, tall scratching post covered with sisal fabric or rope. If you don’t, your cat might search for alternatives to sink their claws in. Like your couch.
Other reasons for your cat having a go at your favorite armchair are boredom and lack of attention. Cats need attention from their human otherwise they’ll destroy something to get that attention. As for boredom, make sure you regularly play with your kitty. Also, provide it with plenty of interactive toys for when you’re not at home.
Now, let’s look at dogs. Chewing for dogs is, just as scratching for cats, completely natural. They chew, for fun, to keep their jaw strong, teeth clean, and even to relieve anxiety. Give your pup appropriate toys and treats to chew on. This could solve the problem with your dog chewing on furniture.
A bored dog can also turn to chewing furniture to get attention. Make sure your dog has plenty of opportunities to be physically active and entertained. If your dog is stressed, it can also start chewing on something that’s not allowed. See if you can find the source of your dog’s distress. It might be another pet, object, forced interactions, teasing from other members of the household.
You’ve probably heard of furniture covers. They come in all shapes and sizes, usually used to give a sofa or an armchair a new life.
But you will also be happy to hear that there are covers designed specifically for pet owners. These boast just as much variety in terms of color and style with a few added perks.
Look for a water-resistant cover that will protect the furniture from dirty paws. Some covers are reversible which gives you flexibility and time to schedule its cleaning. Additionally, these covers are made of synthetic fabrics that are easier to rid of trapped pet hair.
Or invest in the furniture you can easily clean
Upholstery covers that you can take off and machine wash is your best friend, yes. To top it off, there are washer and dryer gadgets on the market that specifically target pet hair.
But it is worth mentioning that some furniture fabrics are just easier to clean as a whole. Leather, faux leather, polyurethane, denim, and polyester don’t attract fur as much and will save you lots of time when cleaning. Other fabrics, such as synthetic microfiber, are easy to clean when it comes to stains. As a whole, be on the lookout for ‘stain-resistant’ and ‘high-performance’ keywords in the material description of the upholstery.
Something to keep in mind when you go furniture shopping.
Or one that won’t interest your pet
Pet-friendly furniture heavily relies on the right choice of fabric.
Cats like scratching something they can sink their claws in. So to dissuade this behavior, stick to tight-weave fabrics or those that are not easy to unravel. Also, the smoother the fabric the less your cat will be interested in it. Think leather or faux leather.
As for dogs, they are notorious for chewing on wooden furniture legs. If that’s true in your case, opt for furniture with metal legs. If that’s not an option find an appropriate toy for your pooch to satisfy its gnawing desires.
Assemble your cleaning arsenal
Living with a pet is a lot easier when you have the right tools. And as a pet owner, you will need to invest in pet hair removers and probably more than one. Most dogs and cats have a lot of hair and, even with consistent brushing, it will land on your furniture.
Lint rollers are wasteful and you’ll go through a full roll before you’ll even make a dent in cleaning the couch. Fortunately, there are plenty of brushes and sponges on the market that are reusable and pick pet hair off fabrics like a dream.
Use other furniture protection accessories
Apart from covers, there are other accessories designed to tackle your pet’s specific destructive tendencies. And to turn your existing furnishings into pet-friendly furniture.
For cats, you can attach transparent vinyl covers to the sides of your furniture to protect them from being scratched. However, this requires you to make tiny pin-size holes in the upholstery. If you’re uncomfortable with that, you can use double-sided tape specifically designed to dissuade cats from scratching. Cats hate sticky materials do this transparent tape is ought to train your cat not to sink its claws into your new couch.
Additionally, there are scratching mats designed to go over the sides or corners of the couch. So if your cat refuses to stop torturing the couch, you can lean into it by putting this scratching mat over the spot.
If you have a dog that tends to scratch on a door, there is a solution for that. You can attach a vinyl transparent sheet to the affected spot. This will protect it from claw marks and give you peace of mind.
Use pet-repelling sprays
There are plenty of pet-repellent sprays on the market. Their strong smell or bitter taste dissuade your pet from scratching or biting the area.
The trick is to find the right one for your pet. One spray can taste like the worst thing in the world for one dog but be surprisingly enticing for the other. Through trial and error, you can find the right one for your pet. Also, make sure that the substances used in the repellents won’t damage your furniture.
These pet deterrents can be a great temporary solution for your problems. However, destructive behavior in pets usually comes from underlying issues such as the ones described above.
Color coordinate furniture with your pet
If you can’t clean them, cover them!
Pet-friendly furniture is not just a matter of the right fabric. It is also a matter of the right color. The right color of the upholstery can give you some breathing space between cleaning the furniture. Dark fabrics generally hide pet hair and stains better than, say, a stark white fabric. Although, this is where color-coordinating comes into play — if you have a pet with light fur you can for lighter furniture as well.
Additionally, patterns and textures make stains and hair harder to notice. So you are fully justified to satisfy your craving for floral, plaid, or checkered upholstery.
If you don’t have an option to change upholstery, there is still something to be done. Get decorative pillows and throw blankets that match your pet’s fur. You can use them to cover hair-affected areas or stains until you have time for cleaning.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that your pet is unique. Mix and match the advice you have found here to see what works for your pet, you, and your budget.
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