Pet-Friendly Furniture Fabric Choices: Clearing Up Misconceptions

Finding accurate information about pet-friendly furniture fabric choices is difficult because the Internet contains so many conflicting articles on the topic. In fact, I’ve never seen another topic on which there are so many articles that directly contradict each other.

One article says to choose leather if you have pets while another says to avoid leather and other expensive covering completely. Some articles say to select furniture with microfiber upholstery while others says to stay away from it at all cost.

Are they just making this stuff up as they write it?

I think some of the conflicting advice is the result of people trying to solve different problems. Some pets chew on wood while others scratch on fabric. Some damage furniture unintentionally while trying to climb onto it while others shed hair or fur when they lay on it.

Not all pets create the same issues for furniture buyers, so there’s no one fabric choice that’s perfect in every case. Here’s a look at some popular sofa and chair fabrics along with some accurate information about how well each works for pet owners.

Microfiber

Many people don’t like microfiber fabric because they think it looks cheap. In fact, if you visit some discount furniture chains, almost all of their furniture offerings are covered in microfiber.

In addition to being cheap, however, this choice is durable, stain-resistant and stands up to heavy use pretty well. For those reasons, some experts recommend microfiber fabric for pet owners.

There’s a problem though: This tightly woven fabric attracts hair and fur, seemingly gathering it even from passing animals. It’s like a magnet for the stuff.

On the other hand, debris vacuums off micro fiber easily, especially if the fabric has been treated with one of the popular stain repellants.

Microfiber, however, is very hard to puncture and often doesn’t pull when scratched. That means it may stand up to a cat that claws its way onto a chair, and it will often resist puncture from larger dog nails.

Leather

Many pet owners would never consider leather furniture because it’s so expensive. The last thing you want is for a dog or cat to tear up an expensive piece of furniture. But high-quality leather furniture has many advantages.

For example, aniline leather is designed to show the blemishes, scars and other imperfections inherent in cowhide, so another scratch from a cat’s claw doesn’t make much difference. If the leather is thick enough, even a large dog’s nails can’t puncture it.

There’s another potential benefit to leather furniture: Some cats and dogs are repelled by the smell. They don’t like that leather smell any more than some people do so they stay away, preventing any possibility of damage.

Even better, leather doesn’t attract hair or fur, and if it has a good finish, it can be wiped clean easily.

Fabrics Designed For Pet Owners

Choosing the right pet-friendly furniture pieces is a matter of choosing quality pieces with good fabric coverings, but be wary of any company that promotes a pet-resistant or pet-proof fabric. There’s really no such thing.

All fabrics and coverings can be damaged by an animal’s teeth or claws if the circumstances are right.

Some companies that promote pet-friendly furniture are really just selling microfiber pieces under a different name. Often — but not always — they are tricking consumers into paying hundreds more for a piece that’s really no different from those in furniture stores.

Other Fabrics

Traditional fabrics and upholstery materials vary significantly in quality.

Before purchasing a traditionally upholstered piece, consider the thickness of the fabric, the tightness of the weave and the color and pattern. Obviously, a fabric that closely matches your pet’s coloring may not show hair or fur, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

In general, higher quality, more expensive pieces are made from better-quality fabrics, but ask to examine a sample of the fabric before you make a purchase you might regret.

Velvet, by the way, is similar in many ways to microfiber and can be a good choice for those who need pet-friendly furniture. Just make sure it’s thick and tightly woven.

A Final Note

There’s no such thing as pet-proof furniture, but pet-friendly furniture fabric choices exists. While you may be tempted to choose an inexpensive piece so you won’t loose much money if your animals destroy it, that could be the wrong decision. When you choose quality, you often get a better covering that can withstand some abuse.

Whatever you do, consider the kinds of animals you have and the kinds of damage they are likely to do before taking any advice you find on a website — even this one.