How To Choose A Pet-Friendly Fabric

They may pee on our beds and chew up our shoes, but after all the cursing has passed, we still love our pets, no matter how many headaches they cause. When a client is looking for a new sofa, one of the first questions I usually ask is pet status – it’s important that what you bring into your home not only looks good, but matches your lifestyle. Lots of people walk into the store specifically looking for leather because of concerns about shedding and durability, but with a few judicious choices, don’t be scared of upholstery either!

Here's some of our four-legged friends

The main thing that you want to look for when choosing a fabric is how tight the weave is – if you’re able to slip the tip of a ballpoint pen under a thread, I would avoid it. Even if your cat or dog doesn’t deliberately scratch, claws will eventually get caught and pull the threads. An example of a nice tight fabric we offer would be the “Polo” collection – a tweed-like polyester fabric available in lots of great colours (which at the time of this writing, the Lure, Tribeca and Manhattan floor models are covered in). Save a looser weave for a pillow instead if you really love it.

Here's Simba after a brush. Doesn't he look happy?

Another reason the Polo fabrics are popular is the texturing and depth of colour – fur will show less clearly on a textured fabric that uses several different colours of threads than on one that is relatively flat. When it comes to shedding, hedge your bets – unless you really really feel strongly one way or another, I would suggest picking a shade that your pet’s fur won’t contrast too strongly with, and keep a lint brush or roller handy (believe me, with a dog whose undercoat drops twice a year, I sympathize with your battle. This photo was taken after only one minute of brushing! But ain’t he cute?).

Here's Phoebe and Tiamo out for a shopping trip. Looks like Tiamo's being put to work!

Another easy way to extend the life of your sofa would be to invest in arm covers (starting at approximately $70 / pair) – the arm is usually the favourite launch site for cats, and rear claws can leave tell-tale marks. It’s a modest investment that can make a big difference in the long run. Even if you don’t love the look of them, you can just throw them on for when you’re out of the house and your feline prowls with impunity. I’ve read several sites that give advice on how to deal with cat-clawing (such as double-sided tape on the couch arms for the first week or so), but another thing to think about would be your pet’s history. Cats generally have personal preferences about what they will destroy – if they’ve avoided microfibre in the past, it might be wise to think about another piece in that texture.

If you have specific questions regarding your pet and furniture, feel free to post them below, or reach out to an associate at your local Urban Barn – even bring them in to the store! We’ve got a lovely parade of pooches at our King Street location (I’ll admit, we stock treats behind the desk), so enjoy a little gratuitous cuteness here on us!

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