Cats, dogs, and other pets can cause major damage to furniture, especially leather sofas. While your best bet is to train your animals to not jump on furniture or claw it, sometimes you are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Finding a pet-friendly leather sofa doesn't have to be difficult.
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Preparing Your Pet
Regardless of whether you're getting furniture that is specifically pet friendly, there are a few ways to prepare your animals. For cats, this could be as simple as teaching them to claw a scratching post instead of your current couch. For dogs, positive reinforcement when they get off, and stay off, of a couch might be all that's necessary. Some animals will become attracted to a new leather sofa no matter what, so you might need to take additional steps.
Not all leather furniture is created equally. The type of leather makes a difference in price, and some leather can withstand animals more than other. The lowest-priced leather is bonded leather, which is essentially made out of many smaller pieces of leather. Then there is split grain leather, which is a single piece of leather that is more durable. Top grain leather is considered one of the most durable types of leather, while full grain leather is one of the most expensive. Top grain leather is going to be one of the best bets for being pet friendly--the thickness of it will not tear or crack as easily as other types.
Preventing Pet Damage
Some pet damage could be easily preventable on a leather sofa. If you don't like the look of the leather, but just enjoy the feel, you can add a slipcover. This has the added advantage of keeping pet dander off the couch and on the easily cleanable cover. Distressed leather can help to conceal pet scratches and tears. In fact it might add to the character of the distressed look, turning a stressful situation into an advantageous one.
The first rule of thumb is that leather and water do not get along. There are dry products specifically made for cleaning up urine which should work fine. Pet dander shouldn't be a problem with leather furniture, as it will sit easily above the leather instead of getting worked into the fabric. It can be vacuumed or whipped off with a dry microfiber cloth. A leather moisturizer can help keep the leather durable, which will help to resist pet splits and tears.
Why Pets Damage Furniture
Cats are attracted to furniture when they don't have a scratching surface that is long enough to suit them. Even if the cat is not marking its territory with their claws, if they cannot shed their nail sheaths on anything else they will turn to your furniture. Dogs usually damage furniture unintentionally when they jump up on it. When dogs are jumping up on furniture to sleep, you can find good results in buying them a pet bed and teaching them that that is the proper sleeping place.
Tiffany Garden has been a freelance writer since 2002, working in the commercial copywriting field. She has been published in a number of technical and gaming magazines, as well as on numerous websites. She also runs her own websites on a number of subjects, runs a handcrafted jewelry business and is a CompTIA A+ Certified computer technician.