Repairing Cat Claw Punctures in Leather

Your favorite leather chair may also be the cats favorite place to scratch and work her claws, resulting in a less-than-appealing leather finish on ...

Emily Blunt
Emily Blunt
9 min read
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Your favorite leather chair may also be the cat's favorite place to scratch and work her claws, resulting in a less-than-appealing leather finish on what was once a lovely chair. While leather is more durable than many other fabrics, it is still vulnerable to scratches, tears, and punctures. Any type of hole left behind by cat claws can be repaired with a leather repair kit with tint-matching capabilities, whereas a light scratch requires less intensive measures to repair.

Slight Scratches

  1. Claw marks can sometimes cause scratches that appear to be abrasions on the surface of the chair leather. Wipe such scratches with a soft white cloth and a dab of white vinegar; the vinegar causes leather fibers to swell, which may mask the scratch. If any small fibers protrude, use scissors to remove them. A clear or matching leather polish rubbed over the area conceals the scratches even more.

Discolored Claw Marks

  1. If the claw marks on the leather are simply discolored areas with no visible damage, use a leather conditioner to see if the marks disappear. The leather conditioner works similarly to a moisturizer on the skin, making it soft and supple. If this doesn't work, try drawing on the scratches with a leather marker in an inconspicuous area first, as the wrong color may be more visible than the claw marks. A soft cloth rubbed over the general scratched area with a leather shoe polish matching the sofa tint blends the shade in enough to mask the scratches completely.

Puncture Management

  1. In some cases, the claw marks go right through the leather, resulting in small punctures. If the raised leather around the hole is raised up, use a toothpick to push it back into the hole, then mix a small amount of leather repair solution with the tint included in the repair kit until the shade matches the chair. Spread a small amount of the repair solution over the puncture hole with the repair kit's small spatula, wiping away excess with a damp sponge.

Tear Repair

  1. In some cases, the claw marks may completely tear through the leather, resulting in a rip that must be repaired. Combine a leather repair solution and an appropriate tint from the kit. To help hold the repair in place, a scrap of fabric, such as an iron-on patch slightly larger than the tear, is inserted into the hole. Apply the repair solution to the tear, then place the grain paper grain-side down over it. Iron the grain paper to transfer the look of the grain to the repair. Pull it away after a few minutes to reveal a repair that should be difficult to distinguish from the surrounding area.

    Repairing cat scratches on vinyl or faux leather is time-consuming and difficult (unlike similar damage to real leather).

    Repairing Cat Claw Punctures in Leather

    Loose fibers, as well as any flaps that do not tack down perfectly, must be removed. Filler can be used to repair gouges, but they may still have a pocked appearance. A comparable improvement can be obtained by avoiding filler and simply staining the gouges with color.

    Repairing Cat Claw Punctures in Leather

    This damage is significant enough to warrant leather filler putty repair, but keep it simple! Polyurethane faux leather frequently delaminates and will take your repair with it.

    By tacking down or trimming away any flaps and then staining the exposed fabric with a similar color, the results are nearly as good (not to mention faster and cheaper). However, the gouges will remain, and without a leather filler, these areas will not repel water or reflect light.

    How to Use an Air-dry Filler to Repair Cat Scratches on Vinyl or Faux Leather

    1. Remove any fibers or threads (or re-insert them into the puncture).
    2. Subpatch any holes larger than the width of a pencil eraser. 
    3. Tack down every little flap with a large needle and a flexible fabric glue (or even Soft Filler), and scrape away any excess. If any flap has stretched and no longer fits into its respective puncture, remove it entirely. 
    4. Allow to dry.
    5. Wipe down the surface with denatured or rubbing alcohol.
    6. Apply a tiny dab of Soft Filler to each gouge with the needle.
    7. Smooth it out with a plastic spreader or a glossy business card.
    8. Allow to cure in the sun or with an incandescent light bulb.
    9. Use rubbing alcohol to melt the filler and smooth any uneven areas if necessary.
    10. Repeat until the surface is even. The filler may shrink as it cures, necessitating additional applications (typically 2-3), and even then, it may appear pitted, bumpy, or uneven. Instead, a large pass of filler can be done over a damaged area. However, use caution when working with bonded or polyurethane faux leather, as these materials delaminate and may damage your repair. 
    11. Apply a final thin layer of Soft Filler and texture the wet filler with saran wrap or a gloved hand. Allow to cure.
    12. Apply color and clear finish.

    Shop Repair Products

    PLEASE DO NOT CUT YOUR CAT'S NECK!

    This is amputation of the bone to the last knuckle, not simply nail removal. It is illegal in many countries, and the Humane Society and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals both oppose it. Declawing can reduce litter box use and increase biting. Cats are intelligent animals that can be easily trained using a spray bottle of water (set to shoot-to-soak) and pheromone sprays. Provide a scratching post for them to engage in their natural behavior. You can also use pet nail clippers to trim their claws. Others have had success with Soft Paws or other claw caps.

    Can cat claws puncture leather?

    It's easily scratched When pet claws make contact with leather, the material is never the same again. According to the Furniture Clinic's leather repair experts, repairing leather furniture is typically an eight-step process. Even after all that effort, it will never look as good as it did when you first bought it.

    How do you use olive oil to repair a cat puncture in leather?

    The first step is to apply olive oil to the scratch and then rub it with a cotton bud or Q-tip. Continue rubbing the scratched area as well as the surrounding areas. After that, leave it on for an hour or so. Return and clean it with a clean towel or cloth.

repairing cat claw punctures leather

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Hi, my name is Emily Blunt and I am a 5-year experienced blogger in the field of pet care.


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