If you’ve ever owned a pet, you know the love, affection and humour they can bring to your life. However, you also know pets come with their own quirks – dogs chewing on table legs, cats knocking over dishes or the rabbit that’s fussy about what you put in the food dish. While pet owners may be able to let some things slide, you don’t want your fur babies to wreak havoc in your home.
We’ve answered four of the most common questions when it comes to pet-friendly furniture. Hopefully this will help you look after the furniture you already have, or serve as a guide in your future buying decisions.
Q: My cat loves our couch, to the point where his fur is all over and he’s clawed the sides to shreds. What kind of fabric and/or features should I look for in a new couch?
While no upholstery material will repel your pet’s fur and claws 100%, there are options for owning a sofa that looks nicer than a curbside pick-up. The answer here will depend on what you identify as your primary pet peeve – is it visible scratch marks and claw holes in your furniture, or constant fur on the seats?
If your cat’s claws are the source of your annoyance, look for living room furniture covered in man-made fabrics like microsuede and microfibre. The tight weave and dense fibres make it hard for claws to dig in. Plus you can easily hide the evidence of your pet’s latest couch battle by rubbing the fabric until the tiny holes disappear. Another option to look at is genuine or faux leather with a distressed finish, since it already has a worn-in look. Do not buy furniture with a plush texture, such as velvet or chenille, as your animal may start pulling out loops of thread within days of your new purchase.
Should fur be your issue, consider leather: faux, genuine or bonded. These materials are smooth, have no raised surface to rip out and are often treated with sealant to protect the fabric. Just use a vacuum, lint brush or even a rubber dish glove to remove the fur. Or, if you just want to protect the upholstery you already have, buy a couch cover. They’re washable, relatively durable and replaceable. Either way, look for upholstery colours or patterns that are a close match to your pet’s hair.
To keep your pets from scratching your furniture altogether, make sure they have access to scratching toys and cat towers. This gives their claws something more enticing to tear apart instead of your home.
Q: Our one-year-old puppy is very energetic and the kids love to chase her around the house. Together they have bumped into coffee table corners, knocked photos off the bookshelf and almost broke an expensive family heirloom. How can I pet/kid-proof my living room without losing style?
Children love to play with anyone and anything they can, and dogs certainly make very willing playmates. And even though we love them both, we don’t love the chaos such moments cause in our homes.
If you’re looking to pet-proof your current furniture, look for items like these:
- Table edge and corner guards
- Fireplace covers
- Extra cushions to soften crash landings
But if you want new furniture with durability and style, consider:
- Round accent tables
- Thickly padded seat cushions
- More throw pillows
Also, look for a bookshelf or cabinet with a sturdy, wide base so the shelving unit will remain upright when your dog slides into it. Think very carefully before purchasing products with delicate components like glass tabletops or floating legs – these objects may not last long in a rowdy home.
Don’t forget to think about the cleanability of your furniture. Does your TV stand need a special cleaner? What happens if the dog drools on your side table? Can you remove the couch cushion covers when your mud-covered pet runs over them? Also look at your laundry set and vacuum to make sure they have the ability to clean whatever mess your pet or child leaves behind.
Q: I want to get an area rug for the hardwood floor in my dining room. However, I am worried my long-haired cat will create more work than it’s worth. Is there such a thing as a fur-friendly rug?
Unfortunately, there is no guarantee any area rug will be completely fur-friendly. Using a vacuum cleaner with the power to remove pet hair and dander will still be necessary. However, there is no need to lose hope.
Skip over the luscious, shaggy carpets – not only will a pet’s claws rip up the yarns pretty quick, but the fur will grind into the carpet threads and become difficult to remove. Instead, find an area rug with a shorter yarn length and a denser thread count. It should be hard to separate the threads from each other using your feet. The harder they are to separate, the more difficult it should be for your pet’s fur to sink to the carpet base.
Another option is to look at outdoor/indoor carpets. While they aren’t your traditional area rugs, these all-weather floor coverings are easy to clean and come in a variety of patterns and colours.
Q: My partner came home yesterday to a “surprise” on the bedsheets from our nervous dog. While we know we can’t stop our sweet dog from leaving more of these when we are away, what can we do to shield our bed from the effects of these not-so-wanted “presents”?
As much as we love our pets, sometimes they leave unpleasant messes we have to clean. And if it happens on your mattress – a surface we spend one-third of our lives on – this could become a very expensive lesson in furniture protection.
The absolute must-have to preserve your bed is a mattress protector. If your dog’s mess made it beyond the sheets and your bed didn’t have a mattress protector, start shopping for a new mattress now. Once the mess sinks in and touches the materials inside, your sleep space could start to cause health issues.
If the “present” stayed above the sheets, consider yourself lucky and get a mattress protector right away before another incident can occur. This bed-saver is designed to stop liquids, allergens and pet messes from ruining your mattress. While you’re at it, pick up a couple of pillow protectors – after all, pets don’t really discriminate when they leave a mess.
Secondly, make sure you buy washable, durable bedding. Cotton sheets, resilient polyester comforters and easy-to-wash accent pillows will make cleaning up easier than using silky or satiny fabrics. Use a laundry stain remover to get rid of any mess marks, along with your washer’s heavy-duty settings or other dedicated cleaning modes.
Finally, consider closing the door to any and all bedrooms in your home. Not only is this a sure-fire way to protect your beds, this can be part of a larger strategy to guide your pets to a more forgiving and easy-to-clean space. This way, cleaning any impromptu messes can be made simpler and may cause less damage to your home.
Living in a fashionable, pet-friendly home is possible. Just make sure you consider any worst-case scenarios before you go furniture shopping, and you will live happily furry after.