Our New Interior Define Sofa VS. The Cat (A Four Month Review)

Do you remember that we got a new sofa for our living room in June? This velvet sofa from Interior Define (not sponsored) was the most expensive piece of furniture I had ever purchased, and I decided to go for it because I was tired of purchasing one cheap sofa after another. Since Matt and I got married 20 years ago, all we’ve had are cheap or secondhand sofas. I wanted something new. I wanted something that I didn’t have to upholster myself. I wanted something that was of quality. And most importantly, I wanted something that our cat couldn’t destroy with her claws.

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After searching high and low, ordering loads of fabric samples from various places, and reading reviews, I finally decided on the James 2-seat sofa from Interior Define. I ordered it in the Galaxy Performance Velvet fabric, which was one of the recommended cat-friendly fabrics. I also selected the 88″ width, the 40″ depth, the bench cushion, and the down alternative reversible seat cushion.

So how has the new sofa withstood four months in the same house as our cat? PERFECTLY!

If you have a cat, you know that the corners are generally the areas that get the most abuse since they make the perfect scratching pad. You can see the damage that our cat did to our last sofa…

And those pictures really don’t show the full damage. In person, those areas were pretty threadbare.

But the new sofa, four months after it was delivered, has zero cat claw scratches on the corners!

It’s the fabric. I’m telling you, it’s the fabric. If you have cats, and you’re tired of them scratching your furniture, try high performance velvet. It’s amazing stuff!

Every time I bring a piece of furniture into the house that’s upholstered in velvet, our cat loses interest in trying to scratch it. High performance velvet is such a tightly woven fabric that, as long as you keep their claws trimmed, cats have a very hard time getting their claws into it. And if they try to scratch and can’t get any resistance, they lose interest.

That has been my experience with velvet furniture over and over and over again. And that’s why I keep buying velvet furniture. 😀

The two purple chairs in our living room are velvet.

The settee in the music room is velvet.

music room after - 18

And now the sofa in our living room is velvet. Our cat doesn’t even try to scratch any of them.

The thing about velvet, though, is that you do have to get used to the fact that it never looks perfect, kind of like microsuede or any other fabric that has a nap to it. If something brushes up against it, it’s going to push the nap in the other direction and make those areas appear darker. So I always have those areas on the back where I put my newly-delivered packages until I get a chance to open them.

At first, I thought that would really bother me. I am, after all, a perfectionist, and I like for things to appear neat and tailored and clean and perfect. But surprisingly, the light and dark areas in the velvet only bothered me for about the first day, and then I got over it.

That’s just the nature of velvet, after all. And if I was going to let that bother me, I’d have to spend my life “brushing” the nap of the velvet to keep it perfect. So I had to decide very quickly that I was going to let the velvet be velvet.

But the sofa is very comfortable and used by all. Our cat, Felicity, likes to sleep on it and play on it. Our dog, Cooper, likes to rub up against it. (He weighs 100 pounds, so he’s not allowed on the furniture.) I love to lounge on it. Guests like to sit on it and “pet” the velvet. 😀 So it’s gotten quite a bit of use. But Felicity won’t claw at it. She tried the first day it was delivered, realized it wasn’t satisfying at all, and moved on. Unfortunately, she moved on to my office chair, which has woven fabric that’s just loosely woven enough that she can claw away at it even with her claws trimmed. That desk chair will eventually be replaced with…you guess it…a velvet chair.)

But you can see that Felicity gets up here and plays. She leaves marks every time she jumps up on to the sofa. But her claws don’t cause damage to the fabric. All she does is push the nap of the velvet in a different direction so that it appears darker. But she just can’t get her claws through the fabric to cause any damage.

And one of the best things is that it’s VERY easy to clean. So when she gets up there, rolls around, plays, and sleeps on the sofa, leaving her fur behind, it cleans off so easily.

I imagine that it cleans off so easily because this is polyester velvet. Cotton velvet, in my experience, tends to be a lint and fur trap, which is precisely why it’s my least favorite. I personally find that polyester velvet looks better, feels better, and cleans off better. Most of the time, getting fur off of polyester velvet is as easy as wiping a cloth over the surface. Doing that a couple of times a week, plus regular vacuuming with an upholstery attachment, keeps it clean and fur-free. (Well, as fur-free as furniture can get with two pets in the house.)

Anyway, I just wanted to share with y’all my love of polyester velvet furniture for cat owners, and to give you a look at how our new sofa is holding up against our cat. I couldn’t be more pleased with it!

Again, this is the sofa that we have — the James two-seat sofa in the Galaxy high performance velvet. But even if you’re looking elsewhere for a cat-friendly sofa, I highly suggest looking for something upholstered in a high performance polyester velvet. As long as you keep those claws trimmed regularly, your velvet sofa and your cat can live in peace together in the same house, and you won’t have to resort to sprays, training tapes, plastic wrap, shock mats, and all of the other strategies cat owners use to try to save their furniture from their cat’s claws.



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    1. Haha – I laughed out loud at that.

      My two furry girls were rescued as kittens. I adopted them when they were about six months old and unfortunately because they’d been moved around between the shelter and fostering they were pretty skittish when I got them. I wasn’t able to accustom them to being picked up or have their claws trimmed. I’m still working on it and try to touch and handle their paws whenever they will allow it. Sigh.

      My late and much lamented Siamese boy accepted any kind of attention from me – it was ALL good – he’d lay on his back in my lap and purr his brains out as I clipped his nails. LOL.

  1. We have an Interior Define Sectional that we love, although not in the performance velvet. It’s definitely the nicest sofa we’ve ever had too, and has held up to 3 cats amazingly well over the last 5 years we’ve had it. I know we’ll have it for a long time. And there are a lot more fabric options on the site than there were when we bought ours.

  2. Thank you! I have passed this information along to the cat parents in my family. If only leather worked the same as the velvet. :<

  3. Is there ever a problem with static electricity with polyester? I’m always so worried about that in a sofa. It looks beautiful!!! Thanks for the info!

  4. It’s soooo nice to be pleased with a purchase these days… Especially when Online (sight unseen) is here to stay. Good quality from these newer companies is a breath of fresh air! Looks beautiful!

    1. It’s not squishy at all. I was so thankful for that! I can’t stand a sofa that is so squishy that you feel like you have to climb out of it when you get up. This one is firm, but not hard. I find it very comfortable.

      1. Thanks. Useful info. Hate to admit this but as I’ve matured I find height & firmness as critical to safety, being able to get up without a struggle is important as comfort. Have improved multiple pieces in this way during reupholstering.

        Passed your super info on to fellow cat lovers.

          1. Hi Kristi, I’m seriously considering the James 2-Seat Sofa. What is the comfort level? Is it very plush or firm? Did you try it out first before you purchased?

  5. THANK YOU! I am about to recover my sofa and two fireside chairs. I have three cats to watch out for. I knew when you bought your sofa that kitty scratching was one of the criteria you considered. I am looking at a velvet too. Now I am pretty well decided. Also, I appreciate your giving info on the difference between cotton and polyester velvet. That makes a lot of difference to me since all kitties are medium or long-haired so fur does collect. I have some good cleaning tools but would rather not have to use them everyday. Any other tips?

    1. My other two tips are:

      1. Folex — This cleaner is a must for me. It works like magic on my velvet upholstery (especially those dark purple chairs) and keeps them looking beautiful. Be sure to spot check in an inconspicuous place to make sure it works on your fabric before using it al over.

      2. An Uproot scraper tool — This works quickly and easily to remove fur from velvet when you don’t want to drag out the vacuum cleaner.

      I found both of those on Amazon.

  6. Microfiber fabric works just like the velvet does with the cat claws! And it feels very similar too. We have an antique sofa, a comfy cushy couch, love seat, club chair and ottoman all covered in microfiber and a swivel rocker in velvet. None of these pieces show any wear or tear from our cats. But we did have to replace a tapestry sofa that they absolutely had a heyday with … and destroyed!!

  7. If you’re fine with the back, then this suggestion solves a problem that doesn’t exist and you should ignore!

    But I find the marks really noticeable because they’re only on one side. I agree that leaning in to the color difference is the only way to keep your sanity … but I would suggest “messing” up the other side a bit, too. Then the whole back looks the same, so it won’t catch your eye the way the right side does right now in the photos.

  8. Am wondering how you think the high performance polyester velvet will do with three Siberian Huskies. And, is it hot in the summer? Thanks!

  9. Ugh I don’t know what kind of super hero nails my cats have, but they have destroyed our ID performance velvet couch. No matter how short we keep their nails they have managed to snag it! We now have to keep our once gorgeous couch covered in blankets.

    1. I don’t think it’s your cats specifically. I have one cat, with only back claws and I have never, ever had an issue with her back claws impacting a couch before. I have had my Interior Define Tatum section in peacock blue for 3 weeks and it has a multitude of snags from her rear claws. I am beyond irritated to have picked a performance fabric and it is just not holding up. I read a few others on the ID website that said the same and I deeply regret not giving more credence to their feedback. I have no idea how the author’s couch is seemingly not impacted. Lucky her. I think I will be buying a new couch again in a year.

      1. I’m so sorry to hear that! I can’t imagine how frustrating that must be. My cat tries to claw on our sofa all the time. She loves sleeping on it and playing on it, but even now, in February 2024, the sofa is unscathed. She still hasn’t managed to get her claws into the fabric or cause any damage to it.

  10. I’m so glad I came across your blog. I’m in the process of deciding on the same James sofa from Interior Define. And I definitely want it in a velvet. I’m trying to decide on the “Bloom” (blush pin) velvet or going more traditional with a blue. Decisions, decisions. I have a 30-minute call with them scheduled for this Saturday and luckily, I live outside of NYC so my niece and I will be taking the train into the city November 7 to go directly to their store.

    Your pictures of the sofa are AWESOME, and your home is beautiful.

  11. The high-performance velvet fabric seems to be a game-changer! It’s not just about aesthetics but also about practicality for pet owners. It’s refreshing to see an honest take on the fabric’s characteristics. The fact that your cat doesn’t attempt to scratch any of the velvet furniture is a testament to the thoughtful choice you made. Your living room setup with the purple velvet chairs and the James sofa creates a cohesive and stylish look.