Home Decor

9 Couches Your Cat Can’t Immediately Destroy

When you love your cat, but also want nice things.

June 17, 2021
Photo by Joybird

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.


Leather Couches

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 Mattison 58" Faux Material Square Arm Loveseat with Reversible Cushions, $325.99

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 reversible cushions would be perfect for hiding any scratches that make it past the material.

Photo by Wayfair

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.

Photo by Urban Outfitters

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.

Photo by West Elm

Microfiber/Microsuede Couches

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.

Photo by Joybird

2. Zipcode Design Ibiza 80.3'' Sofa, $306.99

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.

Photo by Wayfair

3. Elle Decor Olivia 86" Square Arm Sofa, $999.99

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.

Photo by Wayfair

Sunbrella-Covered Couches

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, $969.99

Get comfy on this pillow-top loveseat, which is available in several Sunbrella fabrics. It’s the perfect size for two and the simple design will never go out of style.

Photo by Wayfair

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.

Photo by Joybird

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.

Photo by Pottery Barn

How to keep your cat off the couch

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!

This post was updated June 2021 with new cat-friendly couches.

What's your go-to material for cat-friendly couches? Let us know in the comments below!

This post contains products independently chosen (and loved) by our editors and writers. Food52 earns an affiliate commission on qualifying purchases of the products we link to.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • anniesmith90
    anniesmith90
  • FS
    FS
  • Zohar
    Zohar
  • sjk
    sjk
  • Carole Gothard Lowney
    Carole Gothard Lowney
Freelance writer, product tester & baking enthusiast.

30 Comments

anniesmith90 August 19, 2021
Sorry, lost me on the suggestion of leather. My cats went after my leather love seat, fully destroying it. So far the only fabric we have had a bit of success with is hair on cow hide.... cats do not even want to sleep on that chair. Contemplating Kevlar at this point.... 4 cats so in an extreme cat environment.
 
FS August 5, 2021
The only truly cat proof material is cast iron. Everything else, whether it's natural or man made will be damaged and/or destroyed. Ask me how I know.
 
Zohar June 20, 2021
I speak from long experience: none of the above suggestions will work. Take my advice: do not buy upholstered furniture. Get wood-framed (teak or eucalyptus) outdoor furniture instead. Some of it is so beautiful (and expensive!) that it's perfectly suitable for indoors. A good example is the Sunset Teak Lounge Chair from CB2.
 
sjk March 20, 2021
I wrote before that my cat destroyed two leather chairs. I had them recovered in velvet and he hasn't touched them, he sits in them but doesn't scratch
 
Carole G. March 20, 2021
Leather???????? I have a leather couch and chair....the cat loves shredding it and it is VERY unforgiving. At least with fabric every little pick doesn't show up. This article can't really have been written by someone that has truly experienced a destructive cat.
 
yellowbinder July 30, 2021
I wonder if it's the cats' preference. My three cats never cared for our leather couch. They much prefer scratching the dog's velvety chair! :)
 
Mal V. March 16, 2021
Leather is just the worst material for a sofa if you have cats. Not sure how exactly this is recommended here.

All it needs to ruin a leather sofa is just one try from the cat. Most other fabrics will take several scratches until they are ruined, but not leather.

The best sofa is a second hand one I reckon.
 
sjk July 3, 2020
My cat destroyed two very expensive leather chairs, with his claws
 
Sherre W. June 8, 2020
My daughter’s cat claws holes in the fabric cover on the bottom of sofas and chairs. Sprays, double sided tape, and the use of aluminum foil have not prevented new holes to be made in the underside of upholstered furniture. Will a Sunbrella fabric or tightly woven fabric work as a deterrent?
 
Isis A. October 1, 2020
You need to buy more cat scratchers. And then you put the scratchers in front of whatever corner or area they are clawing at on the couch. Buy more than just two cat scratchers, you need to buy like five of them. And then every time they use the scratcher instead of the couch you congratulate them by petting them and telling them good job. Just like you I tried everything to stop my cats from clawing the couch and nothing worked until I bought a bunch of cat scratchers. Cardboard scratchers, rope scratchers, carpet scratchers, all different ones. And that fixed the problem. Took a few months but it does work. Try it. The more cat toys and cat furniture you have in your home the better because then they have some thing to play on, stretch on and claw at.
 
Chrystene T. April 29, 2020
I think your way off with the sunbrella fabric. I just got the fabric swatches from Joybird and did a pin test with the sunbrella swatches and it looks BAD, really bad. In fact I just pin tested about 50 swatches and I would say Bently daisy comes in first, synergy pewter 2nd prime stone 3rd. I rubbed the material with the pin briskly and then simulated my cat getting claw stuck in fabric. On the other hand, most of the fabrics would be perfect if I just had a dog. So, sunbrella is perfect for dogs and kids and messy humans, just not unsavory types like my two cats.
 
Karyn W. September 29, 2020
I agee! I bought a beautiful sofa with Sunbrella fabric. My cats have destroyed it. They hardly touched our old microfiber couch. Do not buy a sofa with sunbrella fabric if you have cats!!
 
Susan G. January 12, 2020
Our cats absolutely love to use our leather couch as scratching post.
 
greytgrey January 7, 2020
I beg to differ on the leather front. Our cats LOVE our leather armrests. They've managed to puncture the leather and pull it up quite effectively.
 
SarahW. November 21, 2019
I love my cats, but when I first got them they did scratch up the couches. Luckily, cat spray repellent helped and they grew out of it. I've found that I can make my couches last 10x longer with my pets if I get them cleaned regularly. I normally just use a local cleaner (https://www.cjschemdry.com/upholstery-cleaning/). Do you have any tips for keeping couches clean with dogs?
 
Bubs56 October 13, 2019
I have 2 cats that love digging their claws into my leather chair. But not the couch ???
 
Doreen M. October 12, 2019
Cats do scratch leather furniture.
 
Sarah H. October 12, 2019
We got a performance weave from Maiden Home last year and it has worked perfectly for the cats! They do occasionally scratch it, but the fabric holds up! I think it is too tight for them to really get their claws into. Our Ikea sofa, on the other hand, has been a favorite scratching post for a while and shows!
 
TerryC February 10, 2020
Sarah could you tell me the name of fabric? We have two Maine Coon cats and leather in our RV lol!
 
KizKiz February 26, 2020
I went to their website and the fabric is Sunbrella fabric that was mentioned in the article. Good luck!
 
tia October 12, 2019
I just had an antique chair reupholstered and my cats immediately started clawing it in the mornings. I used Feliway and it worked! Apparently the science is a little iffy, but it worked for me. I'll take it!
 
May October 11, 2019
So far the only thing that has worked for my family is a slipcover made of denim. Not sure why that's not inviting to the cats but not complaining! The old sofa under the cover used to be decorated with double-sided tape and foil. Not a great look.

My boyfriend's cats are currently working on his leather sofa. It's starting to look like that's going the double-sided tape and foil route very soon. He always tells them that's why they can't have nice things. They're unrepentant jerks. Good thing they're cute.
 
SarahW. November 21, 2019
Interesting tip. I might have to try a denim slipcover next time a get a new cat.
 
bellw67 October 11, 2019
I'm lucky, my cat like to scratch horizontally instead of vertically. The only thing he scratches is the mat in the hall by the door. We did, however, buy a new couch covered in micro-suede. He likes to sleep along the back of it so we laid a same color comforter across the back for him.
 
Jessa S. October 11, 2019
Velvet is also good for cats--they can't get their nails in and the fur cleans off fairly easily.
 
Eleanor M. October 11, 2019
Try PSST cat spray repellent. It is a motion activated canister than sprays AIR (nothing harmful) and was the only thing that kept my cats away from my sofa. After a while the cats no longer even try, so it is a training tool as well as a deterrent.