Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Keep Kitty From Destroying Your Vintage Furniture, Interior Designer Pet Tips


A conversation that comes up a lot on the blog and in real life often is how I keep the Yuko cat from destroying everything I own as a vintage seller and collector. Today I'm sharing tips from vintage reseller and former trained interior designer Tara (check her blog here) on how to pet-proof your pad.

Pet Tip #1: Do not purchase upholstery that has a loop in the fabric, even if a cat's not trying to scratch, their nails will snag the fabric. Microsuede type fabric, for example, does not have a loop in the fabric.

Pet Tip #2: Try to avoid a nice long arm on the sofa, opt for what is called a "T-cushion", where the arm is set back and the cushion has a notch that comes in front of the sofa, this takes away the most tempting part to scratch.

Pet Tip #3: Buy the double-sided tape panels that can be purchased at pet stores and tape the hell out of the sofa where a cat would scratch. It's best to do this when the upholstered piece is first bought in, leave the tape on as long as you can while you're training the animal, maybe a month or so. Yes, it looks weird and ugly but it can save you in the long run!

Pet Tip #4: Keep cardboard scratching boxes next to the sofa to keep their claws out of the furniture.

Pet Tip #5: Have your water bottle handy for any mishaps!

Final Tip: You see that sinfully ugly couch above? I got it for free from Craigslist and I call it the "sacrificial couch". There's also a "sacrificial bookshelf" I made from simple pine years ago. Yuko can scratch and lay on both without repercussions. You have to give your animal a bed, a perch, somewhere to feel safe.

Yuko did break a couple of vintage goods in her youth, but she's calmed down significantly and there haven't been any breaks since. Be patient with hyper puppies and kittens, like toddlers they'll outgrow the destructive phase.

Update: Thanks everyone for pointing out NOT to declaw your animal in the comments. There are many alternatives as you see in this post, they can be trained. You cats need their claws not just for protection but also their sanity!

Do you have any tips to share for keeping kitty's claws off the furniture and valuables? Do share in the comments!
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20 comments:

  1. Thanks for the tips!

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  2. And most important, I forgot to add: Please do not declaw your cat!

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    1. Thanks for all the tips! I agree about not declawing the cats! Too cruel! You take in the mammal knowing it's instinct is the sharpen its claws so you need to work around it. Perhaps buy ugly furniture if nothing else will work ;) Yuko loves her ugly couch.

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  3. RandomGoodsVintage--YES!!! It's barbaric!

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    1. Gotta update the post with a note about that one, totally forgot.

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  5. While declawing can be cruel if done incorrectly, I think it can be a way to keep your cat if nothing else will work. My mom had our three cats declawed and as far as we can tell they suffer no ill effects. They still "scratch" at furniture (and each other) like normal cats, but do no damage. They are completely indoor cats and do not need their claws to defend themselves in the wild. In my opinion it was better to take in three rescues and declaw them than not take any in for fear they might damage property.

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    1. Thanks for the honest feedback. Our kitty April, a beloved childhood pet, was declawed and seemed perfectly fine. She was mostly indoor but my dad started putting her outside at night when she'd sleep on his new car and ironically, still scratch it with her back claws. I still wonder if she would have had a fighting chance against the dog that killed her one night when she was laying in the front yard. I know your mom's kitties are indoor-only but thought I'd share the story, I still miss that cat and that was about 11 years ago now.

      I thought declawing was fine and even normal as a teen until I started reading cat care books detailing psychological problems stemming from declawing that are hard to see from the outside because cats don't tend to show their pain or suffering until it's too late. Now I wouldn't declaw a cat but I may have considered it before I looked further into it. I can see the benefit when someone has cats AND babies or small children for instance. One book I remember reading about the ill effects in is this one: http://www.amazon.com/250-Things-Make-Your-Adore/dp/0684836483

      Thanks again for sharing your honest opinion, and good on your mom for taking in three strays.

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    2. I have to agree on some points with you. Declawing is better than being in a shelter possibly being euthanized, and I believe that is probably the reason that it is still an offered service. I don't believe in the practice and I would never have any of my cats declawed, but you make an excellent point, Having your cats declawed is definitely more kind than having them sit in a cage at a shelter awaiting their fate. Good for your family for taking in strays, that is always a great thing!!

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    3. I do like it as a "better than being killed" opinion, too! I was surprised to read it's outlawed in the UK and other countries and States, too.

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  6. Most cats (I think) do not like lavender and if your not allergic and you don't mind the smell I suggest spraying the arms and the bottom of the couch/sofa with lavender room spray or some sort and placing a small bunch of dried lavender under each cushion it used to work on my cat Jey god rest his soul XOXO

    http://hayleythrills.blogspot.com

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    1. I happen to have some lavender oil I was going to clean-up the pad with tonight. Will try this suggestion soon and report on the results. A quick search tells me it's safe for kitties and I love how it smells. And yes, rest Jey. I still miss my past cats.

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    2. There are a lot of "No Scratch" spray products that they sell at the pets stores. I have not had luck with any of them. But that may be because my cats are older and their sense of smell may not be as strong. Might work great with kittens?

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    3. Other homemade sprays don't deter Yuko but I usually stick to Rosemary or Mint, we'll see how lavender does. In the past at my parent's house no conventional herbal sprays have never done the trick as a "pets stay away!" spray. Lies, I say ;) The animals trampled where they pleased.

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    4. An update on the lavender oil, used LOTS of it to clean the hell out of my stair well/entry way, when I opened the door this friendly neighborhood black cat charged inside undisturbed by the strong scent. Didn't make a stray to test how Yuko responds yet but it's not looking good, haha.

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  7. Ahh I'll have to try and remember these when I get a cat! I like the tape idea and making sure they have their own area to scratch :)

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    1. They do help! Good luck when you get your kitty, all their destructive tendencies are worth it. They're such lovely companions.

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I love reading your comments. Thank you for adding to the discussion! I always reply to any and all questions.

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