Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Features

February 6, 2014

Pet-owner challenge

How to protect new furniture with a cat or dog in the house

NEW YORK (AP) — Sydney Masters' dog Angus has white fur. But he loves to play and dig in the mud, so his paws are often brown. And that was a factor in Masters' choice of sofa.

"We didn't choose the lovely white sofa that I wanted. No! We chose a rich dark brown leather couch," said Masters, who shares a Manhattan apartment and a home in France with her husband, who is French, and with Angus, a West Highland terrier.

Finding furniture that dogs and cats won't ruin is a challenge for pet owners. Here are some things to think about when you're buying furniture, along with some ideas for protecting it from fur, stains and scratches.

LEATHER

Many dog owners report that leather works well as a pooch-proof alternative to fabric. "It's that kind of glossed leather that repels water and dirt," Masters says. Angus tends to stay off the sofa because the leather surface is "not as comfy or warm as other places and it's a little slippery." If he does occasionally sit on it, Masters says the dirt is easily wiped off.

But leather might not work for households with cats, who may damage it with their claws, according to the American Humane Association's chief veterinary adviser Dr. Patricia Olson. Owners of dog breeds that habitually dig or scratch might also think twice about leather.

MICROFIBER

In addition to leaving scratch marks on leather, cat claws can destroy fabric upholstery. Some cat owners say that microfiber, a synthetic, velvety suede-like material, is a good alternative. It's smoother and less appealing to cats than knits or woven fabric they can sink their claws into. And fur — from dogs or cats — is easily removed from microfiber with a vacuum, lint roller or cloth. Microfiber can also be spot-cleaned.

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