The Easiest Ways to Fix Cat Scratches on Your Furniture

The Easiest Ways to Fix Cat Scratches on Your Furniture

Cats are terrifyingly destructive. Aside from their shocking effectiveness as predators, cats are also reliable chaos machines in our houses. It’s not their fault, of course—they’re animals we’ve chosen to allow inside our homes, and no cat will ever understand the inherent value of a really nice sectional in your living room. But while it’s certainly possible to stop cats from scratching your furniture to hell, the odds of your cat destroying your upholstery will never be zero.

The good(ish) news is that it’s possible to repair furniture that’s been used as a scratching post. Depending on the extent of the damage and your patience, you can hide, transform, or fix cat scratches on your furniture without completely re-upholstering the piece.

Trim and snip the damaged furniture

If the damage isn’t too extensive and you just have some stray threads and tufts of pulled fabric on the furniture, you can often effect an acceptable repair just using some scissors and a razor. Even a standard safety razor will do the job.

First, snip longer frayed threads off with the scissors, getting as close to the surface as possible. Then take your razor and rub it gently along the fabric to remove the pills and strands left behind. Don’t be too enthusiastic about this—let the blade do its job without forcing it. After a few passes, the fabric will look almost as good as new.

Fix cat scratches with a felting needle

Another way to bring your cat-ruined furniture back to life is by using a felting needle. These come in different sizes, but generally, a 38-gauge needle (which is commonly included in most kits) will do the job.

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All you’ll be doing here is pushing the tufts and pills back under the weave of your upholstery. It’s actually a pretty simple (if time-consuming) process. You might combine this with some scissors to cut off the longer strands, and once the remaining strands are tucked under the surface, your furniture will look like it’s gone back in time to the days before you ruined your life with a cat.

Use patches on your furniture

If you don’t have the patience to snip away strands or work on your furniture with a tool, you can simply cover up the cat damage with a patch of some sort. You have a few options here:

  • Get creative. Just about anything could patch up your furniture, and the more creative your choice the more it will look like art instead of a desperate repair. For example, old lace doilies can be dyed and then sewn in place to cover cat scratch damage, and you can use the same approach with all manner of fabric-based items. This does require at least rudimentary sewing skills, of course.
  • Iron-on patches. An easy and creative way to repair scratched-up furniture is to go out and pick up some colourful and cool iron-on patches. You can find variety packs of patches or look for a colour-matched fabric patch to use either in a creative pattern or (if the color is close enough) as a holistic repair.
  • Scavenge material. If you want to get a closer match to your piece’s existing upholstery, you can flip over a cushion and cut a section of the fabric from underneath, then sew in a non-matching patch that no one will ever see. Then take your scavenged material and cut it to cover the damaged area. Use a product like HeatnBond, which can be adhered to your patch material using an iron, then ironed onto to the upholstery. This will create a nearly invisible patch that matches the existing upholstery perfectly.

Fixing cat scratches in leather

If the furniture your cat has decided to destroy is upholstered in leather, you can try two relatively easy repairs:

  • For light damage (visible scratches but no tears in the leather), try using a leather re-colouring balm. Choose a colour that closely matches your furniture, then apply a small amount according to the directions and work it gently. This should be sufficient to erase superficial scratch marks.
  • For heavier damage, you’ll probably need a leather repair kit, which includes everything you’ll need to fill in tears, smooth down snags, and colour-match the repair material. This is a bit more work and a little trickier to get right, but should fix cat scratches on your leather furniture reasonably well.

You love your cat, but that doesn’t mean you don’t occasionally wonder if inviting an animal to destroy your home in slow motion was a good idea. When your kitty comes for your couch—and it will—take comfort in knowing you can at least obscure the damage pretty easily.

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