If you’ve been watching your favorite shows every night from a couch you rescued off the side of the road in college, it might be time to upgrade. However, what if your old couch is also your cat’s favorite scratching spot? How can you protect your comfy (and probably expensive) new couch from the sharp claws of your favorite feline?
If you want to spend your money on the couch rather than on a couch protector, you’ve come to the right place! We’ve hunted down five DIY cat couch protector plans you can assemble all on your own. Some are super simple for even novice DIYers, while others require a bit more skill or access to power tools.
Before your new couch arrives, be prepared to thwart the scratches of your cat (or dog!) with these DIY protectors.
The Top 5 DIY Cat Couch Protector Plans
1. Fitted Canvas Couch With Scratch Pad
|Materials:||Canvas cloth, felt|
|Tools:||Measuring tape, sewing machine|
This custom-sewn canvas couch cover is designed to fit snugly over the most vulnerable areas of your sofa: the arms and back. A double layer of felt attached to the inside of the canvas functions as a scratch pad, keeping your cat’s claws away from the couch material itself. This project does require some sewing skills and is easiest with a sewing machine.
While it requires minimal materials, you’ll need to dedicate some time and attention to this project to ensure you get the measurements correct. This plan includes photos for reference and some basic instructions, but not much in the way of step-by-step details.
2. Plastic Corner Scratch Guards
|Materials:||Plastic shrink film, upholstery twist pins|
|Tools:||Scissors, hole punch|
These DIY corner scratch guards look similar to commercial versions but can be made for a fraction of the cost. The materials are easy to acquire, and the entire project can be accomplished in about 5 minutes by even a novice DIYer. The directions are clear and simple to follow.
These scratch guards are designed specifically to cover only the corners of a couch. If your cat is destroying other spots on the couch these may not work for you. Alternately, you may need to get creative in shaping the plastic film to fit the back or arms of the sofa.
3. Arm Rest Cover From Doormats
|Tools:||Scissors, needle, and thread|
This inexpensive couch protector is made from dollar store doormats, cut and sewn together. Depending on what color your couch is, you may or may not be able to match the doormats. The ease of cutting and measuring the mats to fit will vary based on your individual couch as well.
The video tutorial for this project is clear and easy to follow. It does require some uncomplicated sewing which could take a while depending on your level of experience. The basic design of these couch protectors could be easily adapted to many different types of couches or even other furniture.
4. Couch Scratching Post
|Materials:||10 x 1 wood, sisal rope, catnip spray (optional)|
|Tools:||combination square, level, power screwdriver, Kreg jig, pocket hole screws, right angle clamps, router, 1/8” radius round-over bit, random orbit sander, 220 grit sandpaper disk|
This clever scratching post protects your couch by redirecting your cat’s attention towards a more suitable alternative, conveniently located right on the arm of the sofa. If you want a couch protector that’s not going to draw attention to itself, this isn’t the choice for you. However, it does serve a dual purpose of keeping your couch safe while also allowing your cat to perform natural scratching behaviors.
This project is best for those with some project experience, as it does involve woodworking and power tools. The directions are detailed and include a video tutorial as well.
We like that this project can be accomplished with or without the more specialized woodworking tools listed. Yes, it might be a little easier to build with these items, but it’s also accessible to those without access to them.
5. Couch Corner Cat Scratching Post
|Materials:||Wood, sisal rope, tape, screws,|
|Tools:||Jigsaw, drill, screwdriver|
This stylish scratching post is designed to fit neatly around the corners of your couch, both protecting them and giving your cat something more appropriate to sharpen their claws on. Similar options are available commercially, but this plan allows you to create your own at a lower price point.
The video tutorial for this project is fairly detailed and logical, although light on instructions for how to make the initial board cuts. Because of that, this project is better for more experienced DIYers, who are comfortable operating a jigsaw. Home design-savvy cat owners will appreciate that the wood for this project can be chosen to match existing furniture.
Tips For Keeping Your Cat From Inappropriate Scratching
These five DIY plans allow you to protect your sofa from scratching, but what if you’d prefer to keep your cat from scratching at all? Here are some tips that may help:
As you saw, a couple of our couch protectors double as scratching posts. Scratching is an instinctive behavior for cats and they will do it whether or not you provide them somewhere to do so.
Sisal rope and wood is a common scratching post combination, but some cats may prefer the texture of carpet or even plain wood. Try to offer your cat a scratching post made of their preferred material for best results.
Use Scent Deterrents
You can also try using strong-smelling deterrent sprays to keep your cat away from your couch. This may backfire if you don’t want your cat to scratch, but do want them to snuggle with you, however. You can purchase commercial citrus-scented sprays or make your own out of 50% water and 50% apple cider vinegar. Apply these to the spots your cat is scratching to discourage the behavior.
Use Positive Reinforcement Training Methods
Yes, you can train a cat! Most cats are extremely food motivated so you have that in your favor. When you catch your cat scratching the couch, make a loud noise to get their attention and then redirect them to their scratchpad or post. When they use the appropriate scratch item, reward them with their favorite treats or foods.
This method isn’t a quick fix, as you’ll need to be patient and observant, consistently rewarding your cat for the correct behavior. Never punish your cat during this process.
Providing your cat with a comfortable place to rest never hurts, either.
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Keep Your Cat’s Nails Under Control
You can minimize the damage done while scratching by keeping your cat’s nails trimmed short. If you get your kitten used to this process young, it makes things easier as they grow. A groomer or veterinarian can also accomplish this task or teach you how to do it.
Another option is to fit your kitty with nail caps like these, often available in fun colors and patterns.
Some exasperated cat owners may consider the drastic step of having their cat declawed. However, this procedure is generally discouraged by veterinarians and illegal in several cities and states. Declawing is extremely painful and can lead to many behavioral and physical issues for your cat.
You don’t have to suffer sitting on an old, worn-out couch just because you’re afraid your cat will destroy a new one. Our five DIY couch protector plans give you options to keep your couch safe and your sanity intact. For even more peace of mind, apply our tips to keep your cat from scratching inappropriately at all. Now, the only issue you’ll have to resolve is how to keep your cat from stealing your spot on the couch every time you get up to grab some snacks!
Featured Image Credit: Melissa Sue, Shutterstock