As of 2012, almost two-thirds of American households owned pets. Among these pet owners, 36.5% owned at least one dog and 30.4% owned at least one cat. Of course, plenty of people cohabitate with a mixture of dogs and cats in their homes. Within any home that includes a dog or cat, the owner needs to keep in mind the potential destructive effects of teeth and claws when considering options for interior decorating.
Puppies, as well as older dogs, enjoy chewing on furniture. The can tear through the lining that covers the bottom of a couch or chair and they will happily gnaw on a leather seat. Because dogs can be trained easily, these behaviors and their negative impact are generally short-lived.
Cats are a different situation. Unless you choose to declaw your cat or use a product such as Soft Paws to cover the claws, you will have to find ways to reduce damage to your furniture and window coverings. Instinctively, cats scratch fabrics to sharpen claws, impose their scent, and help them stretch their spines. While furniture upholstered in micro-fiber is more immune to scratching than is other fabrics, it is still susceptible to damage. There are behavior modification techniques that reduce furniture scratching, such as placing a scratching post close to the cat’s favorite piece of furniture or spraying a citrus scent on your furniture, but these are not perfect because cats are much more difficult to train than dogs.
A corollary to the above issue is the fact that cats enjoy shredding fabric. If your curtains are a gauzy material and are relatively close to the floor or window sill, your cat will take advantage of this shredding opportunity. Generally, once he has found a portion with which to play, he will return to it regularly until it is in tatters. As you might guess, such behavior mitigates against the choice of gauzy curtains for a household in which a cat resides.
Another issue you may encounter with your cat is its enjoyment of climbing draperies. As a member of the feline family, a cat is a natural climber. Your curtains and drapes are sewn from fabrics into which they can embed their claws. While it is enormously entertaining to watch your cat rapidly scale your six foot curtains, it is quite exasperating, as well. After you rescue your cat who is stranded at the top of your drapes, you will notice small holes and tears in the fabric. Repetition of these climbs will require that you add your drapes to the rag pile.
The sensitive cat owner is in a quandary if she wants to protect her window coverings. She does not want to declaw her cat because that is akin to cutting off a person’s finger tips. Her alternative is to choose blinds for her window coverings. Cats are unable to climb blinds and there is an enormous variety of materials, colors, and styles from which to choose.
Blinds are constructed of either wood, plastic, or metal. Though some vertical blinds have slats that are covered with fabric, the narrow width of the slats of the blinds and the fact that they easily swing will deter your feline from trying to climb these blinds.
Similarly, horizontal blinds and shutters are simply inhospitable to a climbing cat. When they are open, there is nothing for the cat’s claw to grab and when they are closed, the surface of the blind does not allow any purchase for the cat.
Your disappointed feline might be consoled by the fact that blinds are perfect for enabling cats to look outside. If you keep the blinds in place, but open them fully, the 2” space between two parallel slats is the perfect height to allow your cat to peer out the window at your yard. Drapes and curtains cannot similarly accommodate your cat.
If you have a cat, whose claws are intact, install blinds over your windows.