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How To Repair Cat Scratches On Leather Furniture

by Hedwig Scarlett 10 Oct 2023 0 comments

If your cat has turned your expensive furniture into their scratching post, don't despair; there may still be a chance to salvage it. We consulted furniture experts on how to repair cat scratches on leather chairs, sofas, and other furniture.

Can you repair leather on your own? Short answer: Maybe.

cat scratches leather

This is because the process of repairing leather is both lengthy and complex. The most challenging steps include sanding and color matching. Sanding too vigorously can potentially damage the leather, and accurately matching the color of your leather chair or sofa is also a daunting task. Over time, sunlight and moisture can affect the color of leather furniture, making precise matching even more difficult.

Even the type of leather can add to the difficulty of a DIY project. For instance, if your furniture is made of anionic leather, which is dyed, it makes re-dyeing and repairing more challenging.

However, if you are skilled in DIY projects and want to personally repair that scratch, continue reading the following tips.

Different types of cat behavior leave different types of scratches on your leather sofa, requiring different repair techniques. There are two main types of scratches that can damage leather:

  1. Kneading: When your cat feels content, they may start kneading, using their front paws to push and pull on a surface. While undeniably cute, kneading on furniture leaves tiny scratches and tears on the leather surface.
  2. Scratching: Running or scratching their claws on the leather surface can leave noticeable scratches, uneven lengths, holes, or signs of wear.

Whether your cat is kneading or scratching your leather furniture surface, cat claw marks will still leave permanent traces on the leather. Removing them requires sanding and re-dyeing, so sorry, there's no quick solution here. (At least not one that will make your furniture look brand new.)

How to repair scratches caused by kneading?

Follow these steps to repair the pilling and tiny scratches caused by your cat's kneading.

1. Gather the necessary supplies

  • Leather cleaner
  • Scissors
  • Sponge
  • Paintbrush
  • Leather glue
  • Sandpaper
  • Leather filler
  • Liquid leather dye
  • Leather color spray
  • Leather sealer
  • Leather surface treatment agent

2. Clean the scratched area

Thoroughly clean any dirt or dust with a leather-specific cleaning product. Any professional leather care service can recommend a high-quality brand, usually sold in their shops.

3. Trim loose fibers

Trim any loose fibers, cutting as close to the base of the clump as possible, being careful not to cut, stab, or cause further damage. The shorter hairs left behind won't affect the final feel and appearance of the repair, nor will they impact the quality of the fix.

4. Apply leather glue

Apply a small amount of leather glue to the sponge and wipe it onto the damaged area. Allow the first layer to dry and reapply 7 to 9 times (with sufficient drying time between each application) to ensure a durable repair.

5. Gently Polish the Damaged Area

Use fine sandpaper (1200 grit) to gently polish the area with leather glue. Take your time, use your fingers gently to avoid rough patches. Proper polishing will create a smooth surface, providing a foundation for the next repair steps.

6. Apply Heavy Filler

Remove any sandpaper residues, then apply a heavy filler, a substance similar to leather putty. Use a palette knife to thinly apply the filler above scratches. Let the filler dry for 20 to 25 minutes, check your work, and if needed, apply another layer to fill dents, deep scratches, and holes.

7. Polish the Area Again

Once the heavy filler is dry, use sandpaper again to gently polish the repaired area, remembering to use your fingers. After thorough polishing, use a special leather cleaning solution to wipe the leather, removing any sandpaper residues or dirt. The repaired area must be clean for the dye to adhere to the leather.

8. Apply Liquid Leather Dye

After the leather cleaner dries, apply a small amount of liquid dye on a fresh, clean sponge and thinly coat the repaired area. This will recolor your leather, but sometimes reveal spots that need additional repair. If so, restart the process from step 6, applying more filler, polishing after drying, and then applying dye.

9. Apply Leather Color Spray

After applying and drying the first layer of dye, spray a layer of color with an airbrush over your repair area. Let each layer dry before applying the next. Apply as many thin layers of color spray as possible to fully blend the repair area with the intact area and conceal the repaired area.

cat on leather furniture

10. Apply Leather Sealant

Apply leather paint (also known as leather sealant) to seal the color and prevent wear or fading. Use a clean sponge or airbrush to apply leather paint in 2 or 3 layers, enhancing the flexibility and durability of the repaired leather. Let each layer dry thoroughly before applying the next.

11. Apply Leather Surface Treatment

The final step is to apply a leather surface treatment, also thinly applied in 4 to 5 layers with drying between each layer. Use an airbrush or a clean sponge for application. This will seal your work and protect it from normal wear and tear, but your cat's claws may damage it again, so take measures to protect your furniture.

02 How to Repair Cat Scratches?

If the scratches are mild, only on the surface without cutting through the leather, you can use leather recoloring balm. Apply the balm to the damaged area, blending it with the rest of the leather, for an easy fix.

But if the scratches cut through the leather, self-repair may not be sufficient, and it's best to leave it to professionals.

03 Can Olive Oil Repair Leather?

Wondering if you can use things from your kitchen to fix cat scratches? Unfortunately, substances like olive oil cannot remove cat scratches. When you add any liquid to leather, the scratched area absorbs it, potentially making your leather furniture look worse than it started.

This isn't the only overly optimistic but unrealistic quick fix. Many have tried various quick fixes, including baking soda, but it also cannot repair cat scratches. Instead, it can make leather furniture dry out.

04 How to Prevent Future Scratches

Cat scratches aren't the only things that can damage your leather furniture. Pet dander can gradually dry out your leather chair. Flea and tick medications can also strip the coating off leather.

Try the following tips to keep your furniture in optimal condition:

  • Train your cat to stay away from your leather furniture using the tips provided, avoiding scratches on any type of furniture.
  • Place a blanket or other pet-friendly surface on the sofa as a barrier between leather and pet claws.
  • Use maintenance kits to keep your full-grain or top-grain leather from drying out. Just remember, maintenance kits are different from leather repair kits. They cannot fix scratched leather but may highlight its imperfections.

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