help! is there any fixing this couch leather?


The cat above is our girl Griffin, who is going on 18 years old and has an inoperable tumor. We’re more than willing to sacrifice a little beauty for her comfort, which is why we’ve not tried to bar her from her favorite spot on the couch. But she uses her toenails to help herself up — which is evident in the condition of the leather. We tried to get her to use steps to the couch, but she wasn’t having it. We’ve tried a blanket, but it’s difficult to tuck in because of the way the couch is sewn, and Griffin manages to get her claws under it anyway. I’ve recently started to wonder what the best way will be to minimize all those tiny claw marks. (They’re in a small area, just in the middle of the couch.) Should I trim off the little edges that stick up? Use saddle soap? Give up and pretend it’s a Ralph Lauren-esque “weathered” look? What do you think? –Mary T.

From our partners
Daffodil

Could you have the seat reupholstered? You could do it in a contrasting leather or a beautiful brocade or something — really call attention to the fact that you’ve got a two-toned couch, instead of trying to hide it. Or you could reupholster a vertical stripe on the seat/back of the couch in that area, again, really calling attention to the two-toned look.

I wouldn’t cut off the little sticky-uppy bits. I think that’s just an invitation for the couch to look kind of moth-eaten and hand-me-down-ish. If you leave them intact, you do kind of have the “weathered” look and it comes with a good story. Plus, at least you’re not making the situation any worse.

Marcie

I did a little reseplace after reading your post because I have a similar issue and hadn’t given much thought to fixing it (beyond throwing a blanket over the claw-sratched area when I’m expecting company). It looks like there are a number of leather refurbishing products and dyes sold to treat damage like this. (I just googled “leather refurbishing). I haven’t tried any of the products but the before-and-after pictures on some of the sites look promising. My guess about the stick-up pieces is that they would be sort of pushed back into the main leather as they were hydrated by the refurbishing stuff and that they could probably be dyed back to the original leather color if they were still obvious.

p.s. My sofa-texturizing cat looks almost exactly like your, only she’s a bit younger, only 12 or so. :-)

Angela M.

First of all, what a lovely old gal Griffin is! You are absolutely right not to do anything that would interrupt her comfort in her later years. We have a similar battle going in our house with Gnocchi, who’s 17, and our couch is wool felt. You could consider just covering the area where she sits/claws the most with some kind of tape that could one-day be removed? It won’t fix the damage that’s there, but it may prevent it from getting worse. I can tell it’s a beautiful couch, too. What can you do? We may love decor, but we love our pet more, that’s for sure!

Tiffany S.

We have the same problem. We also have inch-long scratches that I don’t know what to do about (all I know is I will never declaw so we sorta need to live with it). I’m gonna try leather conditioner and hope the booboos blend in.

April

This may be too much of a hack, but was my first thought when I saw the picture. How about using the buttons that are currently sewn into the couch as an anchor for felt or some other fabric. Something thick like industrial felt might work, and you could either make cuts in it to go around the existing buttons or resew the buttons on. A few stitches around the sides would finish the anchoring. The curved upholstery sewing needles will make this a lot easier.

I’ve seen people attach a piece of carpet or something “sticky” to a side of a boat so the old boat cat could continue to do her rounds.

My daughter leather shoes had a rip in it, and I almost threw them away, but I was happy to find that just wetting the area with a damp towel and then putting a bit of Elmer’s white glue made the rip go back where it should almost perfectly. (And then while it is still wet, make sure you wipe off the excess glue, of course.) It would take some time to get all those little holes, but it works. And when the leather is a little wet, it expands and heals itself.

Green

Doesn’t look so bad, just a little rustic.
Griffin is a beautiful cat!

JulieKP

I have a leather chair that was my fathers. My mother was going to drag it out to the garbage. I rescued it and it is now sitting in my bedroom. Both of the arms have the leather worn off and the seat has little pit marks on the bottom of it similar to your couch. I wouldn’t change a thing about it. That chair was “his chair.” Every night he came home from work sat in it and you could see relief on his face. It was his favorite thing about our house. If you can stand it I would let the couch be what it is. You have a beautiful cat and even though your couch isn’t perfect it will always remind you of her. Memories are far better than any perfect couch.

emily

To prevent future kitty damage, you can try these nail caps: http://www.softpaws.com/about.html

I’ve never tried them, but I’ve heard they work…putting them on your cat might be a little traumatic, though!

Mary T

Actually, Emily, I did try that, many years ago. Griffin made it her life’s work to remove them. Every time I upt them on, she would spend her entire day gnawing at them until she got them off. Oh well!

JulieKP, you made me tear up. : ) Thanks.

shelterrific » Blog Archive » five things we learned last week

[…] it will always remind you of her. Memories are far better than any perfect couch.” Click here to read more (and feel free to offer more tips!). 3. Sometimes, an old cook can learn a new trick! As our […]

vicki

FUNNY, WE HAD A COUCH AND A LOVE-SEAT WITH SIMILAR ISSUES WE HAD BOUGHT IN SPAIN LONG AGO, AND MY HUSBAND HATED THE HOLES AND SCRATCHES SO HE DECIDED TO THROW THE SET OUT. I DIDN’T CARE, COZ I DON’T LIKE LEATHER THAT MUCH ANYWAY WITH MY 11 PETS…..
AND LO AND BEHOLD, WHEN HIS BEST BUDDY FOUND OUT WE WERE GETTING RID OF THEM HE BEGGED US FOR THEM! LOL. WE HANDED THEM OVER TO HIM AND HE LOVES THEM WITH HOLES , SCRATCHES AND ALL.

BUT AS I WAS LOOKING AT YOURS I NOTICED HOW EACH PILLOW IS SEWN IN SECTIONS AND WONDERED IF AN UPHOLSTERER COULD ALTERNATE THE PATCHES WITH NEWER WORN LOOKING LEATHER ,IN A SIMILAR SHADE AND CHANGE 2 OF EVERY 4 IN EACH SECTION…….HE’D HAVE TO TAKE THEM APART,BUT IT MIGHT BE WORTH GETTING AN ESTIMATE ON.
MIGHT LOOK INTERESTING TOO. AND YOU COULD USE THE OLD PIECES TO MAKE A THIN FLAT PILLOW TO PUT ON THE NEW SOFA IF THE KITTY STILL WANTS TO SIT THERE…,OR MAYBE IF YOU PUT IT ON THE FLOOR BELOW THE SOFA, SINCE SHE’S OLDER, SHE’LL BE GLAD SHE DOESN’T HAVE TO JUMP UP ANYMORE AND CAN SIT ON HER FAVORITE LEATHER NEXT TO THE COUCH ON THE FLOOR. JUST A THOUGHT.
VICKI

shelterrific » Blog Archive » a possible solution to my cat-on-couch dilemma

[…] my quest for leather sofa help a few months back? Well, our old girl the kitty is still hanging in there, and so is our sofa, […]