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Home > Furniture Clinic E-Learning Center > How To Repair Cat Scratches On Leather

How To Repair Cat Scratches On Leather

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There are two different types of cat damage that you can get on your leather furniture. The first is where the cat scratches the sides of the sofa, by plucking out the fibres/hairs from the leather. The second is where the cat will scratch the seating cushion causing a more straight line scratch.

From the photos below, select what type of cat damage you have, and then follow the correct guide on how to repair the scratches.

NOTE: These guides show the best way to repair leather, to get a close to perfect repair. However, if you just want a quick fix solution to repairing cat scratches, then you should use the leather re-colouring balm. The balm will put the colour back into the scratches blending them in with the rest of the sofa, but it won't repair the roughness, it will just disguise them.

The advantages of using only the balm are; it is very easy to do, quick, cheap and will greatly improve the look of the sofa. The disadvantages are, the scratches must be a lighter shade than the rest of the sofa for it to work.


Damage Types

Cat Scratches on leather cushion type 1

This photo shows cat scratches on the seating cushion. You can see that the scratches are only very light and have not damaged the leather itself, only lightly scratching the coating away. 

For damage like this, the Leather Recolouring Balm should be sufficient to restore the colour that has been scratched away and blend the scratches in with the surrounding leather.

Cat Scratches on leather sofa type 2

If the damage looks like the photo to the left; read the instructions below on how to fix it.

Products Required

If the area of damage is larger than an area the size of a tennis ball:
Leather Binder - To strengthen the area
Leather Repair Kit - To fix the scratches
Leather Colourant Kit - To restore the colour

Or if the area of damage is smaller than a tennis ball:
Leather Binder
Leather Repair Kit
Leather Repair Touch Up Kit

This type of cat damage is caused by the cat sticking it's claws into the leather, when the cat pulls it's claws out, it draws out the fibres of the leather. This causes significant damage and the leather becomes rough and unsightly.



Pictorial Guide - Step by Step

How to repair cat scratches on leather 1 - Cat Scratch Damage

Prepare area

As can be seen in the image to the left, this leather armchair has suffered significant damage from cat scratches to the left arm. 

Before attempting to repair cat scratches on leather, it is important to thoroughly clean the leather with Leather Ultra Clean to remove any dirt and grime.

As this area of damage is larger than the area covered by a tennis ball, we will be using the Leather Colourant Kit rather than the Leather Repair Touch Up Kit, but the same process can be used for both. If you are using the Leather Repair Touch Up Kit, simply use a sponge in place of the Airbrush used in the later stages of the guide.

How to fix cat scratches on leather 1 - Trimming Loose Fibres

Step 1: Trim any loose fibres

After cleaning the area, take a pair of sharp scissors and trim any loose fibres,   often found with damage from cat scratches. 

Please note that only the longer fibres need to be removed at this stage. Any shorter fibres that remain will not affect the quality of the repair or the look and feel of the end result.

Take care at this stage not to puncture, cut or cause further damage to the leather.

how to repair cat scratches on leather 2 - Applying Leather Binder

Step 2: Apply Leather Binder

When you have trimmed the longer loose fibres, the next step is to apply the Leather Binder.

To apply the Leather Binder, simply apply a small amount to a sponge and use this to rub directly into the area of damage. Coat the the entire area and allow to dry. In order to ensure a strong, durable repair, apply 8-10 coats of leather Binder, allowing sufficient time for the previous coat to dry before applying the next.

how to fix cat scratches on leather 2 - Sanding Binder

Step 3: Sand the area down

Once the binder has been applied, the area should be sanded down in order to create a smooth, even surface on which to perform the remaining steps of the repair.

To do this, simply take a piece of fine sandpaper (1200 grit is sufficient for this job) and lightly sand the entire area that the Leather Binder was applied to.


how to repair cat scratches on leather 3 - Filling Damage

Step 4: Apply the Heavy Filler

Before approaching this step, ensure that the area is free from any residue from sanding. Then, using the heavy filler and palette knife, spread a thin layer of filler over the scratches. 

Leave for 20-25 minutes to dry and apply additional layers if required, you should aim to have the holes, scratches and gouges filled so that they are level with the surface of the leather.

how to fix cat scratches on leather 3 - Sanding Smooth

Step 5: Sand area down

After applying the filler, it should be sanded down, again, 1200 grit sandpaper is sufficient for this job. .

After sanding, wipe the leather down with the alcohol cleaner to remove and dirt and residue from the leathers surface.This ensures proper adhesion of colour when we come to apply it in later stages.

How to repair cat scratches on leather 4 - 1st layer of colourant

Step 6: Apply 1st coat of colourant

Once the alcohol cleaner has had time to dry, it is time for the colourant to be applied. Start off by applying the first coat of colour by sponge. Simply pour a small amount onto a sponge and use this to apply a thin coat to the leather.

Sometimes after applying the colourant, it emphasises some of the scratches you though were 'healed'. Simply apply more filler, sand down and re-apply the colourant as before.

How to fix cat scratches on leather 4 - Spraying Colourant and Finish

Step 7: Spray on colourant

After the first coat of colourant has been applied, if using the colourant kit; you should use the airbrush to begin building up the colourant in a series of thin layers, leaving time for the previous coat to dry before applying the next. If using the Touch Up Repair Kit, successive layers should be applied using the sponge.

Apply as many thin layers as required to  sufficiently blend with the surrounding area and conceal the repair

How to repair cat scratches on leather 4 - Finished

Step 8: Apply Finish

Once you have a good coverage of colour, either by sponge or airbrush, the next step is to apply the lacquer onto the leather to seal the colour in.

Take the glossy Super Seal and apply using a sponge or airbrush, in 3-4 layers. This forms the basis for a flexible and very robust finish. After this is done, apply the Leather Finish, using the contents provided in 4-5 layers. For both products, allow time for each coat to completely dry before applying the next.

By following these steps and using the products in this guide, you can achieve professional results when repairing cat scratches on all items of leather, with relatively little time, effort or cost.

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lynore chan     (1 month ago)
can a leather sofa with a distinct grain be repaired ?
FC Comment
Furniture Clinic     (1 month ago)
This depends on what damage you have.
Most problems can be repaired. Please contact one of our branches to discuss your problem.
katherine harris     (6 months ago)
I have a fake leather (vinyl)sofa,and it is cat has scratches and rips all over it. is there any way to diy. help!
FC Comment
Furniture Clinic     (6 months ago)

Yes, this is quite a common problem and we have kits available to restore it. It's the same process on vinyl as it is on leather. Please see the following guide for further details.
Becky     (7 months ago)
My kitten climbed up the back of our new leather couch-- poking small holes in it.
No fibers are sticking can just feel the holes like "Braille on a sheet of paper". How do I fix?
FC Comment
Furniture Clinic     (6 months ago)

We have a guide on our website which shows how to restore cat scratches. As you don't have any fibres sticking out you would just start at step 2.
Keith Davey     (8 months ago)
My leather chair seems to be cracking, i.e. like paint cracking, in fact you can pick the paint or colouring off, I have rubbed down with wet& dry and applied the liquid colour I purchased from you, is this the correct way to fix it?
FC Comment
Furniture Clinic     (8 months ago)
No, the correct way to solve this issue is to use a Leather Colourant Kit to remove the original finish from the leather and apply a new coat of colour and then seal the colour in with the Leather Finish (this is all provided in the kit). If the leather is not prepared properly in advance then it can compromise how well the new colour sticks. In addition, the Leather Finish seals the colour in to prevent it from wearing away. The colourant can also be tacky unti the finish is applied.
Mrs g wallis      (8 months ago)
My daughter settee very heavily stained with having 2 toddlers what would you recommend And pouffe faded could it be coloured a darker colour ?
FC Comment
Furniture Clinic     (8 months ago)

We have a range of stain removers for leather and fabric. Which one to use depends on the cause of the stain. Please view our stain removers page for advice.

The pouffe can be recoloured to a darker colour using the Leather Colourant Kit (for leather) of the Fabricoat Upholstery Kit (for fabric).
Priya     (8 months ago)
Is this kit only for natural leather? Can it be used on PU ( Poly Urethane/ artificial leather) too?
FC Comment
Furniture Clinic     (8 months ago)

This kit is designed for pigmented leather. It will work well on artificial leather too.
Yasmin     (1 year ago)
Do I need all three kits for to do this or is there one kit you can buy to do this?
FC Comment
Furniture Clinic     (1 year ago)
You wouldn't need the Touch Up Kit and the Clourant Kit; you'd only need one depending on how big of an area you need to recolour. Touch Up Kit for small areas (10cm x 10cm) or Colourant Kit for larger areas.
SP     (1 year ago)
Where do I purchase these supplies? I rescued an awesome black leather chair from neighbor. Cat scratches just like your pictures.
FC Comment
Furniture Clinic     (1 year ago)
Products can be purchased via our website, or over the phone.
Tutorial Shopping List
items used in this tutorial
Leather BinderLeather Binder
From £10.95

Leather Repair KitLeather Repair Kit

Leather Repair Touch Up KitLeather Repair Touch Up Kit
From £29.95

Leather Colourant KitLeather Colourant Kit
From £50.00

or Sending sample for colour match.

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