Discover a surprising ‘pet friendly’ fiber furniture option

Our living room suite needs replaced. It is time. It has far outlasted its use.

When it was new it was a beautiful cream-colored pleather material. Pleather I say because I’m not sure how much was truly leather and how much might have been of a plastic nature. Either way, it was pretty and served us well.

That is until we got more pets and in particular, Rio.

As a puppy, she was relentless and ate big chunks out of the couch. She also managed to remove/rip part of the backing off of the love seat which now is hidden against a wall.

The chair is worn thin by Chase lounging on it. He staked claim when he first arrived and still insists on curling up on the chair which serves as his safe haven.

Needless to say, it’s time to get new furniture especially since I think Rio is past her chewing stage.

The only hang up now is the cats. They all have their claws. We are against de-clawing in our household and urge you to educate yourself, too, before ever thinking of declawing a cat.

It is an extremely painful procedure that is considered an inhumane solution by many veterinarians. Some states are now even trying to outlaw declawing of cats.

I have been researching to see if there was such a thing as puncture-resistant upholstery and darned if I didn’t find many articles online about just that exact topic!

I’ve learned that microfiber, also called microsuede, ultrasuede or faux suede, is one of the most popular materials used on sofas and chairs.

The density of the material gives it the ability to stand up to a cat’s abusive claws, which also tends to make it less appealing to scratch on. Who knew!

All this time, I’ve been searching for more leather furniture and now I’m singing a different tune and thinking that microfiber is the way for us to go.

It’s quite exciting to see so many articles out there about how microfiber is designed to withstand cat’s claws and I’m sure it depends on the exact type so I’ll be doing even more research.

I’m sure family-owned furniture stores are equipped to answer the inevitable pet questions, as well.

I love leather because the fur doesn’t stick and it’s easy to wipe clean. I didn’t think it was a “purr-fect” material for cats to want to kneed and hook their little claws into. Any porous surface is fair game to a cat. Who knew I had to become a pseudo-interior designer in order to purchase new furniture.

I also learned that metal frames on furniture cannot be penetrated by cats’ claws; therefore, they are highly unlikely to scratch on it, according to sfgate.com.

The best types of fabric for upholstery are microfiber fabrics made from ultra-tiny polyester and nylon threads. This type of material is stain- and spill-resistant because the tiny fibers are actually bonded together, creating a lightweight, dense, water-resistant material.

Even if no one in your family is bothered by the fine hairs and skin cells that cats shed every day, it is likely a guest may be.

Microfiber furniture is so dense that these allergens can be vacuumed away. The upholstery is also easy to clean with a lint or pet roller so that you’re not wearing your cat’s fur over your clothes. Which is what we do daily anyway. Every outfit comes complete with pet fur, much to my husband’s chagrin.

In addition to metal frames and scratch-resistant upholstery, providing other cat-friendly items for your cat to climb and scratch on acts as an additional deterrent from abusing the furniture. Add scratching posts in the areas in which you notice your cat scratching the most. Give the cat something else to climb on such as a cat tree, or add hanging toys to doorknobs.

Another scratch-resistant trick is to place double-sided tape on surfaces from where you wish to deter your cat. Cats do not like the feel of sticky tape and will definitely stay clear of the area.

It seems easier to place scratching posts throughout than to tape surfaces but whatever it takes to keep the furniture in good shape is worth the effort.

I’m not a shopper. I don’t get too excited especially about shopping for big home items. However, now that I have this whole new world of microfiber to explore I may just become a Sally Shopper after all. Watch out hubby! Hold on to that wallet!

Amy J. Hanna-Eckenrode is the author of the new children’s book, “Oakley’s Great Cape Escape,” as well as, “Have Dog Will Blog,” editor of the Central PA Pets magazine and director of the Central PA Pet Expo. She can be contacted at ahanna@altoonamirror.com.