Can Leather Couches Withstand Dog and Cat Claws?

by Chris Miksen, Demand Media

    Even the toughest leather couches can't take the daily scratching and clawing of dog and cat nails without showing a little wear eventually. However, your pooch and kitty don't spell doom for your leather sofa. Capped claws, nail-friendly covers and even scratching posts can keep your couch in pristine condition.

    Scratches

    Leather is a solid surface that holds its own against energetic pups and claw-happy cats. Scratches won't show up just because your pets lay on your couch, but you'll probably eventually see a few scratches from the swipe of a cat paw or from your dog dragging himself up. That doesn't mean your leather will be shredded. You might not even be able to see the scratches from a few feet away, but they will appear as noticeable lines or bumps up close, and you'll certainly be able to feel them.

    Keeping Nails Short or Capped

    Keeping your canine's nails nice and short will prevent a lot of damage, especially if your little guy acts like a mountain climber and pulls himself up onto the couch. For cats, nail caps work wonders. The caps fit right over each nail -- although the nails sometimes have to be trimmed a tiny bit -- so that extended claws do no harm to your furniture. You can also choose to trim your cat's nails like you do your dog's.

    Keeping Pets Off

    The best solution to keeping your leather sofa in tiptop shape is to keep your furry friends off of it entirely. Preventing your pup from coming up is usually easier than keeping a feline off. Anytime your dog tries to come up, stick our your leg or arm -- but don't forcefully shove or kick him -- and say, "ah" sharply. Ask him to sit and give him a treat. You want to associate the floor as something that will give rewards, while a couch results in nothing. To keep your cat off, always pick him up and move him somewhere he's allowed to be. Place aluminum foil or double-sided tape on the couch when you're not present. The noise and feel will often make your kitty jump down and go in search of friendlier surfaces. Make sure if you have a dog that he doesn't chew the foil or tape. Certain mats, such as scat mats, also dissuade both dogs and cats from jumping onto furniture.

    Covers

    Covers can help keep your dog and cat's claws from reaching the surface of your leather. The covers are usually washable, and either slip over your couch entirely or lay across the cushions and armrests. The downside to covers is that they may not look or feel as nice as your bare couch, and some sofas, such as sectionals, can be difficult to cover.

    Scratching Posts

    While some cats may be content lying on the armrest of your couch, others take to making the leather their own personal scratching post. Bitter-smelling sprays that most cats hate are sometimes effective at combatting the problem, but a better solution is to get an actual scratching post or two. They'll make your cat much less likely to shred the legs and armrests of your sofa and instead focus his clawing efforts at the tough material on the scratching post.

    About the Author

    Located in Pittsburgh, Chris Miksen has been writing instructional articles on a wide range of topics for online publications since 2007. He currently owns and operates a vending business. Miksen has written a variety of technical and business articles throughout his writing career. He studied journalism at the Community College of Allegheny County.