cat on sofa

How do I protect my couch from pets? 6 useful tips

13th August 2021

Your sofa is one of the central focal points of your living room, which means it’s a space which your entire family will naturally gravitate towards. And not just your human relatives; it’s often a favourite of canine or feline family members too. As a pet owner, you’ll already know the sorts of issues that can end up causing.

So, you’re asking, how can I protect my sofa from my pets? Unfortunately, sometimes just telling them no doesn’t seem to be enough, and that means it can be tempting to rely on disciplinary methods like spray bottles. That can have mixed effectiveness in the long term too though, especially since they have a tendency to stress pets. Quite apart from making life miserable for your beloved companion, stressed pets tend to be prone to making even more messes. Alternative measures like sofa covers can be much more useful. I’ll talk more about those in just a moment – first, here are a couple more specific suggestions!

Schedule in a regular cleaning of your couch

OK, so it’s not a popular suggestion, but it is a crucial one, so it makes sense to start with it. It’s worthwhile for more than just the obvious reasons – when you clean your sofa, you’re not just clearing up the current mess, but actively discouraging your pet from making it again.

That’s because when pets scratch, claw at or even relieve themselves on your sofa, they’re partially doing it to mark their territory, putting their own scent on it. If they think that scent might be fading, they’ll do their very best to top it up, because they’ll still regard the sofa as ‘theirs’. So when you clean yours, make sure to put some elbow grease into it – not only does it deal with the mess, but it’s communicating to your pet that it’s not theirs to claim. Sometimes, it’s easier to summon the motivation to do this if you initially set yourself a certain time of day or week when you can do it. Generally, it won’t be forever – so just gear yourself up for the short-term!

Keep your pets clean too

Of course, as well as dealing with the mess itself, it’s worth turning your attention to the root of what’s making it, too. Let’s be honest, this one is likely to be more relevant for dogs than cats, as the latter generally do a good job of keeping themselves clean anyway.

Once they come in from having a good old romp in the garden, make sure to keep an old towel on hand by the door, and give their feet a decent wipe. The same goes for regular grooming, which can minimise fur deposits, and the occasional bath time (which can go for cats too). In all cases, your pet will probably take some getting used to each idea, but eventually they’ll learn the drill – even if they remain not all that enthusiastic about it.

Make a dedicated space for them to call their own

No, I’m not necessarily talking about another sofa! But if the issue at hand is territory, then having an alternative place that they can call their own can be a very effective way to stop them from trying to lay claim to your sofa. It can act as a haven for them to eat, play, or rest, so now if you’d prefer, you’ve got the space to use your sofa for the same!

Now, you might initially have a bit of trouble getting your pet interested in the dedicated space for them, even if you’ve taken some time to prepare it. One reliable way to spark their interest is by leaving some of their toys in there, and then praising them when they go there to investigate. Another good thing to remember when picking out your dedicated space is that some pets like to have a vantage point from where they can see everything; some dogs like to peer down at the world from the top of the stairs, while cats might like to survey your living room from the comfort of a small desk or table. Choose carefully – it could well make all the difference!

Bring the room up to scratch

Cats and dogs alike can be prone to scratching furniture, and it can be an absolute nightmare. Like countless pet owners all over the UK, you may have found it a particular issue over the succession of recent lockdowns, as it’s a fairly prevalent indicator of pets going a little stir crazy. I’ve even written a whole post previously about how to stop your cat from scratching your furniture.

You probably already know the solution here – a decent scratching post is never a bad investment. In fact, you may need more than one. Again, it’s all tied closely in with training too, so make sure to praise your cat when they use the scratching post, as positive reinforcement. (Also, it’s worth taking the time to ensure that the scratching post has a heavy base. If your cat knocks it over fairly easily, they’re likely to lose interest pretty quickly.)

Help your pet to ‘discover’ new places

This is good general-purpose advice that applies to a lot of what I’ve already discussed above, from canine beds to feline scratching posts. Sometimes, pets don’t respond terribly well to being explicitly pointed towards a new thing – they’ll much prefer to do something when they think it was their idea to start with (they’re very much like humans in that regard).

So, if you’re trying to get your pet interested in a new bed or area that you’ve prepared especially for them, there are a number of subtle ways you can capture their attention. You can scent it with a fragrance they like, or leave some food nearby. Or, you can play with them very close by, and let them naturally get distracted by it. That way, they can discover the new doggy bed, scratching post or haven for themselves, which makes them more likely to take steps to claim it as their own. This in turn makes them far more likely to come back to it, giving your sofa a bit of breathing room.

Remember, whatever suggestions you go with for your pet, the key is to be consistent. If you’re trying to teach them new behaviours, you can’t make exceptions from time-to-time, or they can easily get confused. Regular washes need to be regular, and if they’re not allowed on the sofa at all, that rule needs to be enforced by the whole family. Otherwise, they’ll end up getting stressed by rules they don’t quite understand.

Consider loose sofa covers

Getting a pet to break a habit takes time, so if you’re still regularly finding mess on your sofa in the short term, loose sofa covers are an excellent way to keep your sofa looking lovely. The phrase ‘loose sofa cover’ is an industry term, but it’s actually a bit of a misnomer – they’re made-to-measure, and fitted uniquely to your sofa. The ‘loose’ part comes from their ability to be easily removed. Some people do this for stylistic reasons, such as transitioning their room from a winter to a spring aesthetic.

When it comes to pets though, the benefits are clear. If your pet ever makes a bit of a mess, a loose sofa cover can be entirely removed and just bundled straight into the washing machine, where the washing cycle will make short work of it. That way, you can keep your sofa looking better for longer.

Best of all, there’s a huge range of different styles and colourways to choose from right here at Cover My Furniture, so that you’ll always be able to find plenty of options to suit you. We’ve got every colour from red and orange to blue and natural shades, and options to cover furniture from major brands like Laura Ashley or Multiyork.

If you’re having trouble making a decision, or you’re looking for something in particular, don’t hesitate to let one of us know. You can get in touch using the contact form on our website, or through our Facebook or Instagram. We’re always happy to hear from you!

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