Pet (cat) Friendly Design Tips

Pet Friendly Design Tips As many of you know I’m a cat and dog person. Before we got cats our only reservation was that they are kinda a lot of responsibility as you have to, you know, make sure they are cared for while you travel, come home at night to feed them, etc. This actually hasn’t proven to be too annoying because you love them enough that it doesn’t matter. But what has been annoying is the damage that they’ve done to our furniture and the mess they create in the house … and I’m not even a neat freak. They puke everywhere, spill their cat food, if we aren’t on top of the litter it wreaks up the whole house, Bearcat has a sneezing issue which we see damage from all over the house (and it is REALLY hard to clean up), etc. Obviously our love of the goes far beyond smells and stains, but it’s still kinda a bummer. So when I partnered up with Arm and Hammer Clump and Seal litter to redo the cattery I figured I’d pull together some tips for y’all as well. This is mainly for the cat owners out there, but there are some good just general tips for dogs (and kids actually). Here goes.

Consider your upholstery fabrics:

You may have noticed that I use velvet A LOT. Do you think I just really love it? Sure, but it’s also because we cat owners can’t have linen furniture. It’s a fact i’ve accepted years ago. Cats, in particular, like to claw, so skip anything with an open weave like linen. As an alternative, ultra suede, leather (although they’ve ruined one leather armed chair that they can sit on) and velvet are harder for cats to get their claws into; and commercial-grade fabrics, nylon, and polyester repel stains more easily.

Cat Fabrics

I redid our new sofa in white sunbrella (don’t worry, you’ll get a whole post on that later) and so far it has held up, but if you are nervous then get velvet or ultrasuede. Ultrasuede isn’t my most favorite fabric in the world but it is indestructible and so pet (and kid) friendly. If you are going down that route and you have a choice get the ultrasuede that has the least amount texture or modeling. One of the things I hate about it is that it leaves your exact butt mark when you stand up and the texture can be strangely busy. But when you have pets, and cats in particular, they will most likely do this to linen or anything that is woven:

Cat Upholstery

So annoying. So get yourself velvet, performance velvet (this is kinda a combo of velvet and ultrasuede and it looks pretty good and most big box stores have it as an option these days), Sunbrella or leather. Vinyl certainly works too, but pretty hard to incorporate well into a room (although I did it here and it looked good).

Streamline pet accessories:

I’m not saying get OCD about matching your cat toys to your color palette but I’m also not saying that it’s a bad idea. You want to minimize their attention and make them look more streamlined so they aren’t really noticed. There are actually some pretty awesome options out there these days. Like so:

Cat Accessories

Leaning Console Scratch Post | Cube Scratch Post

You know i’m in to wicker so these things actually work really well in my house.

Master the unattractive and smelly litter box:

Its totally normal and yet TOTALLY CRAZY to keep a box of poop in our homes at all times. Most litter boxes aren’t something we want to display prominently in our homes – but you do have some options out there. We turned the tiny hall closet in our house into their litter box room so thank god we don’t have to look at it, but if you don’t have that option, look for something a little more attractive, or a litter boxes that double as furniture (good for small spaces but if you have a big house then just get one that is simple and white or wood).

ModernLitterBox

Modern Litter Box 2

MidCentry Modern Litter Box | ModCat LitterBox | Modern Brown Litter Box

Probably the least awesome things about cats (I hate to be so negative about these furry little cuddly animals) is the litter box smell. Well I can now say that if we change the box once a week we actually don’t have this problem anymore due to Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal. When they first approached me about the cattery redo I didn’t really care about the litter to be honest – I just wanted to makeover an animal shelter. But then when we bought the litter to make sure that it was, you know, indeed good and we were very happy to report that it works and it really destroys the smell. Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal, I never predicted I’d gush about cat litter so much but yes, it works.  It guarantees a seven-day odor-free home. Since the litter easily clumps together, it also minimizes litter dust, so it doesn’t get all over your house. There is still some dust, but so much less mess.

cat-wallpaper1

Click through to read the rest of the tips and see the video. 

Choose shades over drapes:

Now if you already have drapes or curtains know that some cats don’t do this, but many, many cats want to climb those long flowy suckers. Avoid this by hanging shades or blinds from your windows. The idea is – get anything that goes up and down instead of side to side. Its just too tempting for them.

blinds vs rollers

Corral the toys:

If you don’t want to be OCD about the cat toys you bring into the house then you are going to have to corral the ugly ones. Like kids, cats can have visually ugly and loud stuff so storage is key. I’m not saying anything too new or fresh here, but buying simple chic storage and designating a space for cat toys is never a bad idea.

Cat Storage

 

Two Piece Seagrass Trunk | Grey Storage Ottoman | Striped Baskets | Wood and Grey Fabric Storage Bench | Teak and Metal Storage Bench | Wicker Storage Bench

Cat Dishes:

We are desperate for good cat dishes and I just need to pull the trigger. It’s just such an annoying thing to buy. I have learned that the best bet is to go with something that has either a rubber or heavy bottom to it – especially for the water as they love to just move and spill that thing around. These are all pretty darn cute for cat dishes.

Cat Dishes

Consider Your Furniture Legs:

Again if you already have your upholstered linen sofa don’t throw it away, but next time you are shopping for a new sofa and pets are a big part of your life opt for hardwood or metal legs vs. fabric or skirting on sofa’s, ottomans, coffee tables, or anything else that may be just in reach of your pets sharp claws. This will keep your pet from wanting to claw away at it as well as keeping your furniture looking beautiful for years. Our new sofa (not pictured) has a base of teak and leather now and there is no way for the cats to really scratch it. Yes, these below styles are mostly mid-century (and actually i’m not sure that the seagrass on the side of that one is really a good idea as they might just see it as one big vertical scratching post) but the less fabric you have the less damage they can do.

Furniture Legs

Don’t fret, don’t not get pets because they destroy your furniture, but yet … you just have to be a bit smarter about some of your choices. To see these tips in action as well as the makeover I did in partnership with Arm & Hammer Clump and Seal Litter for the Cattery in NYC click HERE.

Cattery Collage

cat-rescue

Photo by Matt Harrington

And now for a little video to celebrate my love of my cats (and tour through the cattery).

Now go hug your cat and tell them how much you really don’t care about their mess and smell because in the scheme of things it doesn’t really matter. To see the full Cattery makeover post click HERE. 

If any of you have any other pet friendly design suggestions (what you’ve found works for you OR products that you love) PLEASE leave the in the comments.

Cattery photos by Matt Harrington. This post was in partnership with Arm and Hammer Clump and Seal. Thanks guys, for supporting the brands that support the original content over here. 

  1. stephieZ

    Perfect timing! I want to get a new sofa, but have a dog and cat and was wondering what fabric would work best. I had reupholstered a dux chair in grey tweed which the cat avoided for awhile, but Tommy now loves the chair and his scratching. Arg! The only other issue I have is trying to find a store bought rug that my cat wont tear at. He’s fine with my vintage kilim and some other old persian, but the wool tufted rugs he can’t get enough of.

  2. stephieZ

    Oh, who makes that grey sof in the top set of pictures?

  3. Laurie

    I’ve learned that if you keep their claws short they don’t scratch much at all. Start when they’re kittens, and they don’t mind getting them clipped. My cat purrs through the whole thing :) Just never get close to the “quick” of the nail – I imagine if there was ever pain in the process that would be the end of their cooperation!

  4. CS

    LOVED this post!!!!
    1. We have a fake suede sofa (which I hate) and it does get butt prints but it has been puked on by the cats and you’d never know it! (in my house, when we say “butt prints” we’re usually referring to the print left behind when a cat poops and then sits without a clean bum)
    2. Cat hair also collects on certain curtain fabrics or if they drape on the floor, expect them to get puked on.
    3. We’ve got a super smooshed face persian and man that cat can spray his runny nose/eye junk anywhere and everywhere!! But we love him anyway! :) Need to add wiping down all walls/doors to a weekly or monthly cleaning list.
    4. I haven’t pulled the trigger on any good design elements for scratching posts but have definitely thought a lot about it.
    5. They make such a mess with the food. We do use placemats for that which helps us quickly scoop it back up and into the bowl.

  5. Our cats have never had the inkling to scratch our furniture. They are far more inclined to beat the crud out of their scratching post, which is strategically place next to our sofa, than to open their nail glands on the couch. We do notice that one of our kitties snags the weave on our IKEA woven sofa. But it’s nothing that a quick snip close to the weave can’t handle to fix it up.

    To handle the puke and hairball cleanups on furniture, we got a couch with a cover that can easily come off to be washed. But our cats just don’t puke on the couch. They are more interested in hairballs on the sisal rug in the hallway. Which is great because it is really easy to clean.

    http://www.hauspanther.com/ is a great blog that shows off well-design and thoughtful cat furniture and accessories that will not compromise your style.

  6. I got wooden framed furniture for my living for this very reason. And I FINALLY gave in and decided to test my luck with a living room rug because I couldn’t take the bare floor anymore… so I got indoor/outdoor and put cardboard scratchers under the chairs to redirect them. That cat console you shared is freaking awesome (and totally DIY-able).

  7. Sandi

    I have a cat sneeze problem as well. Magic eraser does a great job, but be careful on colored paint as it may remove some of the color.

  8. Jill

    Just FYI, while humans may prefer the cat boxes that are all closed up and disguise what’s in them, cats really do not. Their preference is to be able to easily see around them while they are pooping (because they are vulnerable while pooping).

    And easy-going, secure cat may used the covered box without issue, but if you get one of those boxes, you are definitely just inviting your cat to find another place to poop that he/she is more comfortable with. Like smack in the middle of the wide open floor.

    • Lori

      Yes, definitely! I’d love to have a covered litter box for so many reasons, but my kitties are not fans. And of course they hate going down into the basement, so I have to keep a second litter box upstairs for all to see. Oh, well, we do what we have to do for our babies!

  9. Vanessa Miller

    Surprisingly and happily, I’ve noticed metal legs on my sofa and chairs have been indestructible to my new lil pups.

  10. Lynne

    I have found that if you get scratching posts and put them in places cats want to use them you won’t have a problem with the cats destroying your furniture. I praise my cats every time they use the cat scratcher and they are ridiculous about expecting that praise every time! Also, if you clean your litter box every day (twice a day for two cats) they will be so much happier and you want have any problem with smells.

  11. Angela

    Loved this! As an owner of 3 cats, a dog and 2 kids these are all great suggestions. Where I struggle with is a rug! Wool tufted are out. Wool fibers everywhere! And natural fiber is a perfect scratching spot too. Am I stuck with dhurries??? I would love a natural fiber but I know it won’t last.

  12. Shana

    Helpful post! Do you have links for the cat bowls you showed?

  13. Laurel

    we use flor carpet tiles bc when our cats puke on them, we can just pick it up and take it to the sink. They’re super stain resistant and if you wash it right away, it just rinses off–no need for carpet cleaner or anything. it’s magical.

  14. paula

    Ha ha! Love animals but I’ll skip the big box of feces in the house. I can have that vicariously when I watch Hoarder reruns.

  15. Michele

    LOVE this! I’m on the hunt for a new sofa and I was concerned about fabric. Thank you!

  16. Amanda

    Litter Box: We use a minimal amount of litter- maybe half an inch deep, and clean it out promptly after each use. We have a Litter Locker next to the litter box for this purpose, which is convenient and traps all odors. Scratching Post: DIY a very inexpensive scratching post by wrapping (and periodically stapling) sisal rope around a 2×4 cut to 3 or 4 feet in length, and then screw it vertically into a door frame. This makes a very sturdy post that cats love, they won’t use something wobbly. You will have to unscrew it occasionally to replace some of the rope.

  17. Kristen

    Impeccable timing! I just researched all this yesterday! I am looking for modern cat bowls (I won’t ask for links to these ones; they look expeeeensive) and haven’t had luck at Target, Marshall’s, or Petco. Shopping again tonight. I read raised is best- something about their esophagus/digestion. I’m a horrible #catmom- still using same old plastic containers. But I did just learn what is best to feed them! No more dry, processed icky food for Sir Friederich Furdinand Fitzgerald the first and Thor. They need the moisture from wet food (http://www.catinfo.org/). I will be referencing this post in the future when I shop for a new non-linen couch cover! (< destroyed) Thank you!!

    • Why not try footed candy dishes? I’m actually searching for some now on Craigslist and Etsy. They come in many different heights so finding one that works with your cat’s height shouldn’t be too hard.

  18. Ashley

    Love this post! Where did you find that wicker cat perch on the bottom left? Must have it.

  19. Alison

    Great post! As a long-time cat and dog owner, my added tip is to avoid natural fiber rugs (e.g. sisal, jute, etc.). I love them, but my cats destroy them… having one in my house is basically like laying out one huge scratching mat for the cats the descend on. I’ve found synthetic rugs that attempt to mimic wool are the safest… cats never scratch ‘em. Shag rugs are also okay. Anything 100% wool can be a problem, even flat weaves.

  20. Yay! So pleasantly surprised to hear that velvet is cat friendly. Now I get to pick a color.

    The best thing we did for our cats puke problem was to install wood floors and give them high quality food.

  21. molly

    Such a helpful post! Our first “grown-up” sofa purchase was a linen one and we’ve been suffering ever since.

  22. Kiana

    This may seem a bit much but every single night before bed, I cover my linen sofa with a fitted sheet and a few blankets so that our cat won’t scratch it while we’re asleep. We do have a scratching post and she does use it but she forgets sometimes. I work from home so I can keep an eye on her during the day. I wish they sold the Arm and Hammer litter in Spain because the one we buy leaves little rocks around the house. Sigh. I’ve basically resigned myself to vacuuming every day. The things we do for our pets, huh?

  23. Thank you for writing this post! So helpful! I’m totally pinning it so I can look back when we get another kitten at some point. One other thing I’d add for any cat-owning readers is that Bac-out Biokleen works really well for getting rid of urine smells. Our cat used our micro-suede couch as a potty a couple of times and the Biokleen removed the smell without leaving a stain. It’s good stuff.

  24. Kim

    It’s the cat hair that drives me nuts. I have a few thin flat weave kilim rugs. With the cat hair, we have to vacuum very often, but it becomes a two-person job because the vacuum eats up my precious kilims! One person has to hold down the corner while the other person vacuums. If the rug is small enough, I just shake it out in between vacuums. Anyone have a better solution?

  25. I have upholstered several chairs in car upholstery fabric. Pretty indestructible and also does not fade in sunlight. My chairs are in various shades of grey but there is quite a variety of colors. I have been happy so far…..we have cats and dogs.

  26. These tips are awesome, but I second the comments above–any tips for keeping cat hair at bay? The only thing I’ve found is that upholstery or bedding in a less porous material–leather over cotton, for instance–is better at not snagging the hair and pulling it off the cat when she lays down and rolls around.

    Happy Friday!
    Love, Gigi
    Dolce and Gabriella

  27. Susan M

    I bought a Litter Genie (like a diaper genie) and I love it. Also, my cat was sneezing and the vet recommended L-lysine Chews and he doesn’t sneeze any more! It boosts their immune system.

  28. Victoria

    I put a spring rod (shower because I had it) in the closet and hung a panel I loved. Had high ceilings so the panel hung about 18 inches off the floor so Miss M and Paddington could go in/out but it was out of human view. Moving left me with no hiding place and a huge size Ragdoll I don’t see going into those small openings.
    A friend told me the same thing about keeping the nails short and it stopping climbing although my cats never climbed on curtains. It takes days to cut my male cats nails, he was almost 2 when I got him from the rescue. After months of bites and shredded hands and arms I gave up on trying to comb him so he gets his nails clipped every 3 months when he goes for his spa day. Nails need trimming more often but the fear of blood and I mean his from moving while I’m clipping and going to short. Never happened but the fear is there every time.

  29. sphinx

    Can you please let me know the source of the top picture (the little girl with the Siamese cat). It’s adorable and the baby girl looks a lot like my daughter :)

  30. cool

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  31. Carrie

    One suggestion about cat dishes when you do decide to pull the trigger… You may already be aware of this but…no plastic! Stainless steel or porcelain is good – plastic bowls can lead to kitty acne on their chins from rubbing against it when they eat :(

    The bowl set I have is discontinued now I think because I’ve only been able to find it on eBay: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Unique-Sardine-Can-Double-Bowl-Cat-Feeder-/111410733464?pt=Dishes_Feeders_and_Fountains&hash=item19f098e198
    It’s silly but it always gets a laugh out of visitors :)

  32. Robin

    Thank you for posting about this topic! I appreciate a designer being realistic about having to plan for pet messes in a house. I know you CAN have a nice house and nice stuff with pets, but sometimes I just wonder how. Our biggest problem has been our little dogs peeing inside the house. I came to the conclusion that the no fabric on the legs was the way to help that situation. Our biggest problem with our cat is that he opens doors. We can’t keep in any one room because he can get out by hanging on the handle! Oh that and his cat hair. EVERYWHERE.

  33. Katia

    Here is bearcat????

  34. Christina mangawang

    I love those cat bowls! Do you have the sources for any of them?

  35. Lauren

    One tip: Roomba! Best thing ever for cat hair pickup!

    We have a recycled leather sofa that feels like leather like microfiber, the cats have no desire to put their claws in, but before even with scratching posts they still scratched on it. My recent problem is pee, with a cat with a bladder issue that decided my bathroom rug was her pee pad.

    I’d love to see and read more about your litter box closet!

  36. KathrynJ

    When our cat was a kitten he started to claw our leather couch. We bought a specially made product which was like giant sheets of sticky tape that you put on the places where the cat claws and it immediately stopped him clawing. Cats don’t like the feel of the stickiness and after a few weeks you remove the tape and they don’t claw there again. Well that’s the theory, and it worked for us. I’m sorry I can’t remember the name of it and we live in Australia but I am sure anything you can buy in Australia you can also buy in America.

  37. Terri Hayes

    Hi, I recently switched to Blue clumping cat litter . It is made from walnut shells. My cats love it, and I am amazed that there is not dust and scatter. I am hooked. It is wonderful when something actually works. Also, online you can find clear scratch guards for your furniture that come in different sizes, they just pin on. Also a life and new couch saver. My scratching problem is over.

  38. Apparently, you have a lot of cat lovers in your readership. Cute post! :)

  39. Shefali

    Pretty nice furniture and rug us in a room that I ‘closed’ with French doors. House is old and already ready for that… Been working excellently. Plus it stays more cat hair free. When we watch tv or hang in there I have towels for where they can sit.
    If the odd fly ‘wanders’ into the room all he’ll breaks loose because they are fiends. I do have a velvety (microfiber sofa – Mitchell gold). I’ve found light blue doesn’t show car hair as much. I used to have a red stripe cotton tight weave sofa, and you could not see hair (uncles you wore black and sat on it!)

    And $85 8 by 10 red rug (indoor outdoor) in a modern pattern has been in the dining room for about a year now (from costoco but I saw the sane one at target). It’s held up incredibly well and I can’t keep them from scratching it. A flat weave ikea rug that’s gray with small what design just cannot be destroyed or made ugly by their amaxing attempts. It’s ridic.

  40. So if velvet is good at preventing scratching, how easily do cat pukes clean up from it? We have both hairballs and food pukes around our house.

    Our leather sofa has been great. Our current side chairs (which I want to replace) have removable cushion covers and I’ve had to take them to the dry cleaners a couple times after puke sessions. I’m worried about getting new chairs that don’t have removable cushion covers, but if velvet cleans up well, I’m sold.

  41. Sarah

    We had a cat with a “sneezing problem” too (omg the things you find when you move furniture..). Anyway, magic erasers were my best friend. Seriously the only thing that works on — here it is– cat snot.

  42. Tricia

    Who says a pet bowl has to be made for a pet? I get really cut dishes and saucers from Asian grocery stores. Usually the sell for around $2-$5 and they have some really nice designs and the shape is perfect. Cats hate to have their whiskers hit the side of a bowl as they eat so an ideal cat bowl is shallow. The Asian markets are the perfect size/shape because they are made for condiments and/ or small side dishes. I simply use a non skid place mat under them so the cats can’t move them around. A nice looking rubber drawer liner also works, I have bought the clear one at IKEA. Buy a bunch and you don’t have to wash them everyday and you can just throw them in your dishwasher!

    • Lori

      My cats eat their wet food off of pretty saucers I got at Goodwill (8 for $3). Their dry food does go in cat dishes but that’s because I found adorable ones that I couldn’t resist.

  43. Emily

    I have performance velvet on my sofa and my dog’s fur (I know this is on cats but I feel this issue is universal) sticks to it like a magnet! I imagine it must be the same for cats too. How do you deal with that or does that not happen with cat hair?

  44. deb

    Very good post. I bought two pretty linen chairs, and the kittehs eyes them with glee. I got some special double stick clear tape from Amazon that is supposed to deter scratching and put it in places they seemed drawn to. After a few months I removed it, and it didn’t leave a residue. They had lost interest and used only their scratching posts after that. I have since used it on sofas and other things. It is the only thing that really works.

  45. Kaitlin

    Another thing to keep in mind is cords! Our cat chewed all the shade cords off in our old apartment, which makes the shades inoperable. Now we keep the cords wound up. Also I know some cats will chew electrical cords, so keep those tucked away and always check to make sure plants you buy are non-toxic to animals!

  46. One of my favorite posts ever! I bought a spectacular mid-century inspired sofa for our front living room that our cats destroyed, because it was a woven fabric. My dogs are so laid back, I never expected the cats to be the issue. Now I know how they work, so I’m able to adjust design accordingly but it is something to consider. Great tips for cat owners!

  47. Hey, Emily. I thought you might enjoy this post. Essentially, it deals with a reader making a negative comment about the direction someone was taking her blog, and her husband came to the bloggers defense. I know the tumult of “Charlie vs. Design All the Time” has died down, but couldn’t help thinking of you when I read it. Keep following your joy!

    http://decor8blog.com/2014/07/18/can-full-time-bloggers-live-off-of-rainbows-hugs/

  48. Oh! Some great tips, but it’s also hit home just how well behaved my cat is! :P

  49. Kathy

    Hooo boy, do I have some great tips for everyone! I’ve had cats all my life and have had success and failures from hairballs to scratching. Here’s what is working for me:

    – Scoop litter box out daily (2x a day ideally). This cuts down smell drastically, is more sanitary, and allows you to stretch the complete litter box clean out a little more. Completely empty, clean, and refill litter box with new, fresh litter at least once every 3-4 weeks.

    – I’ll second the Litter Genie, but it can be expensive. I use an empty, large litter box bucket (Tidy Cat) with a garbage bag inserted inside. When I scoop, I lift the lid, deposit the clumps in the bucket, and close the lid. The bag is changed weekly.

    – For hairballs and shedding, I HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend a comb called The Furminator (I think Emily talked about this wonder tool before). It can reduce shedding up to 80%, especially if your cat has a thick coat. Also, once a week I use an organic hairball remedy salve that I put into their food. No hairballs!

    – If you do get a hacked-up hairball, use vinegar and water to clean it up. If it’s on your carpet or upholstery, dab, do not rub or scrub. Pour on a good amount of vinegar, blot it up with paper towels, and repeat. You will use a lot of paper towels, but if you will wick up the stain versus rubbing it into the fabric. When you think you’ve gotten most of the stain up, fold up about 7 or 8 paper towels, lay the paper towels on top of the stain, and then put something heavy on top of the paper towels (a stack of books). Leave it there for a few days to let the rest of the stain an moisture wick into the paper towels. Viola! No stain or smell! I’ve never had a leftover stain from hairballs using this method.

    – To reduce hairballs, stay away from dry food. It really is the worst thing you can give to your cat, not to mention it’s all carbohydrates and contributes to weight, skin, and digestion issues. It is more expensive and less convenient, but your cats will be SO much healthier and no hairballs! I have 2 indoor-only cats and maybe have 3 hairballs a year, plus they are not overweight and their fur and skin are amazing. Check out http://www.catinfo.org to read about the benefits of a wet-only diet.

    – For scratching, use everything that was mentioned, to include trimming nails. Also, there is a product called Kitty Caps that are glued over their nails (and adorable as hell!) and prevent them from scratching. We use them and the cats do eventually get used to having them put on.

    Okay, that’s all I got! :-)

    • I second you on The Furminator! My mother bought one for me and it has been awesome!

      And thanks for that tip on using an empty large litter bucket with a trash bag. Cheap, simple and genius! Why didn’t I think of that?

  50. Katy

    When I hear velvet or ultra-suede, all I can think of is how much cat (or in my case, dog) hair would be stuck on the couch all the time. I definitely understand being scratch resistant or washable– but how do you keep it looking nice without having to vacuum it every five minutes?

  51. Raven

    Great post! I’ve always used Arm & Hammer litter, it’s seriously the best out there. I have two Bengal kittens that were strays, and those wild kitties just need so much to scratch on and climb on. So I made them a vertical plank! Check it out, yo: http://www.theravenscircus.com/diy-cat-scratching-climbing-plank/
    I had no idea they’d love it as much as they do. It’s totally saved my new couch (that has all the couch features you mentioned here. Go me!) and they are just so happy racing each other up it. The sisal is a good light color, so totally matches the rest of my living room, it’s not obnoxious at all.

    • I don’t really need this, but I’m so doing it cuz it’s cool and my guys would love it. Thanks!

  52. Cheryl

    We have two Purrfect Posts (scratching posts) that we purchased from: http://www.purrfectpost.com/ These things are FANTASTIC! We have one near our linen sofa and one in our bedroom. The cat goes to these posts without fail and we have never had an issue with a destroyed piece of furniture like we had before we bought this product. Our daughter’s cat was also scratching wood furniture (not fabric, but wood of all things) and we purchased one for her too, and the cat loves it and leaves the wood furniture alone. I highly recommend this product!!

  53. Kelleigh

    LOVE this post – I rescued a little kitten almost 2 years ago, and while my love for her has grown exponentially, so has her desctruction of my room. Sadly I have learned that pleather is NOT a suitable “no claw” material and am happy to see that velvet may be the answer I was looking for.

    As for products I love? Natures Miracle for those smelly little accidents. CANNOT live without it!

  54. Liz Mitchell

    Deny Designs has the cutest pet bowls/trays and beds too and literally unlimited options to choose from! They’re not cheap, but I have a couple of the bowls and a tray for my dog (which are great quality) and I actually think they enhance the decor of my kitchen. Plus, the tray puts a stop to water and food messes on the floor.

    http://www.denydesigns.com/collections/pet-collection

  55. So Emily, I do have to admit that I was never much of a cat person growing up, always been a dog guy. That being said, my fiance and I are considering getting our first pet together and we’ve been playing around with the idea of getting a cat. Her family has had one for a long time (her name is Peaches) and she’s a great cat. Really love the ideas you’ve shared in the post, and I think my fiance will love them too!

  56. Min

    I have a beautiful striped red velvet couch that I love but I’ve noticed that over the years, the areas where we tend to sit more often is more faded than others so I’m not sure I agree that velvet is the best way to go. Does this also happen to ultrasuede and performance velvet?

  57. Alice

    Thanks for the litter box suggestions, I’m desperate for a way to hide that smelly smelly thing! I have just hugged my beautiful beastie, he doesn’t even scratch the sofa the poor thing. I have had to convert the kitchen table legs into makeshift scratching posts with some garden twine. Small sacrifices, but he deserves it!
    Alice x

  58. Great tips! My friends put a litter box in their bathroom sink cabinet and it works really well. They installed a little pet door on the side for the cat to get in and out. It’s nice because it keeps the litter box out of sight, and it keeps the bathroom smell in the bathroom.

  59. Any advice on rugs? Of all the things my cats destroy, rugs are number one. I’m scared to invest money in a big, beautiful expensive rug because I’m pretty sure one of my cats would pee or puke on it within the first week.

  60. VERB

    Years ago, while shopping at one of my favorite second-hand shops, I found a great tree trunk that measured a little over 4 feet high. The bark had been peeled off most of it and it exposed a sweet, smooth texture. Not only does it look really cool and add texture to my space, but it’s a great scratching and climbing post for the cats.

  61. Evelyn

    This post was SO helpful! We love our long-haired dog but I am paralyzed in trying to decide what to get for a new couch. We have a hand-me-down that has seen better days but its redeemng trait is that it is microfiber and the fur comes right off it. I love how you use linen but knew it would be a fur trap so I am very happy to read that you approve of ultrasude! :). I might actually get a couch purchased after all!!

  62. Jen

    Love this!! Would love to see your take on a dog-friendly house.

  63. Krystal

    Hi! I was actually hoping for someone to do a post on pets and decor. My question is regarding the fur. I hate the fur!! Sweeping…I’ve resigned myself to doing it a 100 times a day….but the couch….ugh! I try to keep my dogs off ( I know…I am mean ) but they sneak up sometimes and the fur is gross. What fabric is most fur resistant???

  64. Susan

    Great post and replies, with lots of great ideas. I’ll be looking for the furminator and the Purrfect Post.

    We have four cats, all of whom behave remarkably well because they know their names and half a dozen phrases and commands, including “no no.” We teach them their “manners” by catching them doing something right, like scratching on the scratching post, and praising them for it. “Good girl,” and “good boy,” with a couple of pats, has always been very motivating for every cat we’ve had. They absolutely love the praise and they quickly adapt their behavior in order to elicit praise. Although I must confess that one smarty-pants began demanding the praise before he would do what I wanted and I caved. I think that makes me a well-trained human.

    The flip side of this is recognizing that cats have to do certain things, like scratching and climbing. So it’s our job, especially with inside cats, to provide an acceptable way for them to engage in these behaviors. A good scratching post or pad and a good cat tree/condo are worth the money, and there are some attractive ones out there. When the cat scratches the sofa or climbs the curtains, remove him, while telling him “no no,” and place him on the scratching post or cat tree. Praise him the second that he uses the scratching post or climbs the cat tree. Works like a charm, because cats are very smart and very social -they want to connect with you and please you. Our two youngest cats, who were born here three years ago, still run in front of me to get my attention, run past their adult-sized scratching post to their kitten-sized scratching post, and scratch madly on it while looking at me and waiting to be praised. And I praise them every single time. And I swear that they smile at me and shiver with happiness every single time.

    I know that the idea of training cats seems odd to many people, but it works for us.

    Re cats scratching on furniture or carpets: some cats like to scratch vertically, some like to scratch horizontally, and some like both. To distract a cat that is scratching vertically on your sofa, you’ll need a vertical scratching post. To distract a cat that is scratching horizontally on your carpet, you’ll need a flat scratching toy, like the round ones with cardboard in the middle. The idea is to distract the cat with a place to scratch that is acceptable to you, but geared to the cat’s preferred way of scratching.

  65. Tremendously great! This is really a very big help for my redecorating my house. I can pick better furniture to avoid mess at home because of our pet cats. I was planning in going native and plans to buy bamboo sofa? Is that a good idea?

  66. My husband doesn’t want to replace our ripped up old couch because he says the cat will just tear it apart like everything else we own! Thanks for the tips, I will look into those options for upholstery. (although she has already semi-destroyed my beautiful leather couch)

  67. MamaBee

    There are so many types of upholstery velvet (cotton, synthetic, mohair, blends) … Which is best / toughest or pets and kids?

  68. Rosie

    The best solution I stumbled upon is to have several large sisal or coir rugs. I have a 5×8 coir rug in my foyer, and an 8×8 jute rug in the dining room. They have not once scratched any furniture or other rugs. Well, occasionally they have attacked the thick wool living room rug, but it tends to be a spastic attack (maybe they saw a shadow), and not a serious extend the nails and pull as hard as possible attack, and is a behavior I curbed with a squirt bottle. But, they always go over to the coir and jute rug to get out the big scratch and pull need. The jute isn’t holding up well, and I’ll replace it with a tough sisal one. The coir shows no signs of wear from them at all. In my bedroom I have a small sisal cat scratch mat and they use that exclusively. Cute baskets or boxes with little fleece blankets strewn about the house also keeps them off the furniture to a large extent. They prefer a box.

    Cats NEED to scratch. They shed their nails this way, and it just plain old feels good. And what they really like is something very tough. So, have plenty of sufficiently large things for them to scratch on and they’ll leave the rest alone. They really prefer the scratchy sisal and coir to my upholstery or pile rugs. One tiny scratch post is not enough. My house might look a bit like a cat house, but the rugs and furniture are in perfect condition. And BTW, I do have a linen sofa.

  69. MamaBee

    Well, Rosie, I count you one lucky lady. We have those types of rugs and have tried other scratch-worthy cat items. Afraid our cat prefers door frames, kitchen cabinet doors, dining room buffets and upholstered furniture. Yes, he needs to scratch but *sigh*. We are resigned to all the scratched wood at this point (and have learned to purchase items with glass/stone tops. But I desperately want to keep him from scratching up newly upholstered furniture soon-to-be sent off. Or at least having it show. Right type of velvet, please?

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