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Life With Cats: How I Saved My Furniture from Total Destruction

Two and half years ago my husband and I bought our first house. Over those last couple of years we’ve slowly been replacing our hand-me-down furniture with new stuff. As if we’re real grown ups or something.

At a rate of one purchase a year, we’ve brought home a brand spanking new tiny sectional couch and a pretty Mission-style chair. Next week, our last big purchase for a while, a sleeper sofa chair, arrives. Why am I telling you this? Because having new furniture kind of sucks when you have 5 pets, three of which are cats.

Our cats are like fresh upholstery seeking puke missiles. If there is a tiny sliver of couch that is not covered by a quilt, their radar starts whooping and off they run, heaving as they go, to make their deposit right on that spot. We have wood floors and I would pay them to puke there, but nooooooo...the cats assure me that they’d be kicked out of their feline terrorist cell if they made it that easy for me to clean up. That’s why they puked down the side of a wicker basket the other morning. Wicker. Woven. So awful.

Before you email me to tell me that my cats shouldn’t be puking this much – I know. Turns out that one of our cats, Penelope (pronounced Peenaloupe), the vomit ring leader, has Hyperthyroidism and throwing up is a symptom. This medical condition went undiagnosed for about 6 months. And those six months were torture because another symptom of Hyperthyroidism is that cats act like high energy assholes, attacking curtains and crank calling old ladies.

PSA time: If your pet’s behavior changes, go to the vet. 

I waited way too long to get my cat checked out. We were more than aware that her really annoying behavior had taken a sharp upturn these last few months, but Penelope has always been a real ball buster, so we figure she was having some sort of midlife crisis. It wasn’t until she showed us some other symptoms that we realized that for 6 months she’d been acting like a meathead because of a medical condition. Whoops. I feel real bad about that one.

I spend most of my day with Penelope inched away from my face.

I spend most of my day with Penelope inches away from my face.

Sometimes, when behavior changes are subtle  and build slowly over time, which is what happened in this case, it’s hard to recognize what’s really going on. But if your pets are suddenly acting like jerks, take them to the vet and find out if there is an underlying cause to the bad behavior.

Back to the furniture. During this time period our brand new furniture was under round-the-clock siege by our cat. Besides the puking, Penelope was attacking the furniture as if her life depending on it. Our poor dog Boogie was having a mental breakdown trying to police her away from the scratching the furniture.

So what to do? I hate putting on Soft Claws, those sticky stickers don’t work, two hundred scratchers and Feliway didn’t help. But one thing did and now we have it all over every single new piece of furniture we own.

Meet the Cat Scratch Guard. Cheap, easy to use, barely noticeable, and totally effective furniture protectors:

Not my couch.

Not my couch.

They’re just simple, flexible vinyl panels (they come in a few sizes) that you attach to your furniture with these clear pins that they provide. We have them on our couch sides, on the back of the new chair, and once we even wrapped them around the trunk of an indoor tree that she wouldn’t leave alone.

If your stuff is being destroyed by your cat, you should check these out. They’ve worked so well for us that I keep a spare set around, just in case Penelope finds something new to bother in the house. As soon as I put a set of these guards on, it’s Game Over.

Now we’re just waiting for her new meds to kick in and help her feel better. It’s a bummer we didn’t realize she needed medical attention sooner, but now that we understand what’s really going on, we’re feeling much more patient and forgiving of her behavior.

Except for that wicker basket number. Blech.

p.s. I’ve received no compensation for writing about this product. I just really like these a lot and wanted y’all to know about it.

  1. Helen #

    Pick up some clear vinyl and a box of mattress pins and you can cover all your stuff for a few bucks!

    February 24, 2015
  2. kathleen polletta #

    I cracked up reading this remembering when I had three cats and a dog. Dixie (cat) would climb my drapes and walk the rod (while I was in my makeshift darkroom). So I took the drapes down and hung bed sheets – pretty ones. That’s when I discovered cats or at least mine didn’t like to climb the drapes or furniture when it was a sheet. Think it was the cats knew the sheets were cheaper than the drapes so no fun there. And there are times when I wished that dogs and cats really didn’t get along. Mine spent many hours while I was at work thinking of ways to get into trouble together. What one couldn’t do the other would help.

    February 24, 2015
  3. barksnpurrs #

    Great story & we can so-ooo relate…..sending positive healing energy to help Penelope start feeling better real soon…..

    February 24, 2015
  4. When I lived just outside of Chicago, our upstairs neighbor had the most horrendous furniture thanks to her two kitties – haha. I’ll have to get in touch with her and let her know about this product!

    February 24, 2015
  5. So funny, I cant have cats anymore as I have 10 rescue dogs and 2 would eat cats for a snack. But I loved the reminders of just how funny and awkward cats can be at times…I miss that…

    February 25, 2015
  6. I am allergic to cats so I can not add any advice. But vomit and regurgitation, yes. That I can nod to and relate to and assure you that my furniture was also once… virgin.

    March 1, 2015
  7. Eva #

    Hehe, your articles are sooo funny in places! But I’m sorry about your hyperthyroid kitty. If you could find an affordable radioactive iodine treatment facility for your kitty, I highly recommend it. My previous kitty had it done and cost wise, it compared to 2 years of oral meds but once it was done, the cat was WAY healthier than she had been on the meds, plus she didn’t need any pills or anything. Her coat immediately grew in much thicker and fluffier too. And the iodine was not very stressful for her, it’s just an injection is all and they feel no pain. I was glad i got it done. My cat lived on for years until cancer later got her..

    March 15, 2015
    • thanks for sharing your experience…we’re hoping to do that treatment in the near future!

      March 17, 2015
  8. Eva #

    Oh yeah, and forgot to mention, double stick tape can also work for anticlaw purposes, especially if you need to cover a lot of territory. Stick it on in strips over the targeted area, since cats are creatures of habit, often you can later gradually remove the strips once the cat has gotten into the habit of scratching something else instead. Kitties don’t like the sticky feeling on their paws.

    March 18, 2015
    • We didn’t have any luck with the sticky tape, but I’m glad to hear it worked for someone else!

      March 18, 2015
  9. Jane #

    While looking for durable fabric to recover some dining room chairs, I stumbled across the holy freakin grail of fabric…..Crypton Super Fabric. I ordered a couple of samples from JoAnn…. It is actually soft, good looking and completely waterproof and VOMITPROOF!! My dream come true. I’m getting a new couch in it as soon as I decide what color and which one.

    July 25, 2015
    • Thank you for sharing! I just cleaned up some cat puke, so vomitproof does sound like the holy grail!!

      July 25, 2015

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