How to repair a cream leather sofa with cat scratches

Updated November 21, 2016

Cats add entertainment and companionship to our homes. Unfortunately, cats may add scratches and punctures to our furniture. Repairing any cat-scratched furniture is a tricky job, and repairing cat scratches on leather sofas may be a bit daunting. Leather sofas are expensive and the finish on them is soft and easily damaged by sharp claws. However, with the use of proper procedures and tools, cat-scratched leather is effectively mended. You can also use kits to restore your sofa's colour, even if it is light cream, leaving you with a repaired leather sofa you can still show off in your home.

Cut away any strings or strands of fibre sticking out where the scratches are on the leather. Use scissors for this step, and be careful. You want to cut away the strings and fibres as closely to the base as you can without further damaging your sofa.

Use a scalpel or razor knife to cut away any bits of raised leather in the damaged area. Again, be careful to cut away any damaged leather that is sticking up without further damaging your sofa.

Remove any leather that you could not cut away by sanding the damaged area with 320-grit sandpaper. Sand until the bits of leather are removed.

Prepare the damaged surface for filling by smoothing it with 1200-grit sandpaper. This may seem like a lot of sanding, but the sandpaper used in the previous step was to remove torn leather while the 1200-grit sandpaper in this step smooths the area for repairs.

Clean the area using an alcohol-based leather cleaner. Wipe the cleaner over the area, allowing it to air dry for 10 minutes before proceeding to the next step.

Apply heavy leather filler to the damaged area by spreading it over the scratches and punctures with a palette knife. The filler fills up the scratches to provide an even surface on the sofa.

Allow the filler to dry for five minutes. Sand the damaged area again with 1200-grit sandpaper.

Apply a coat of colourant to the damaged area with a sponge. Allow the colourant to dry, applying the second coat by sponge (if little coverage is needed) or by spray bottle (for blending colours or if more coverage is needed).

Evaluate the repaired area. If scratches are still visible, simply repeat Steps 6 through 8 until the area looks repaired.

Apply the sealant included in your colourant kit (this is most often a lacquer-type product). Allow the sealant to dry.


Keep in mind that any repaired leather never looks quite the same as or as good as the undamaged, original leather. Do not expect perfect results when doing leather repair, simply look for an improvement in the appearance of the sofa. Warmer temperatures are better working conditions for leather repair (think between 23.8 to 29.4 degrees C). Blending colourant around the repaired area (in up to a 12-inch area around the damage) helps draw the eye away from the repair and also helps blend colourant into the sofa in case the colour of the colourant and sofa are not exact matches.


Always exercise caution when working with scissors, scalpels or razor knives to avoid potential injuries.

Things You'll Need

  • Scissors
  • Razor knife/scalpel
  • 320-grit sandpaper
  • 1200-grit sandpaper
  • Alcohol-based leather cleaner
  • Heavy leather filler
  • Palette knife
  • Leather colourant kit (in cream colour)
  • Sponge
  • Small, fine-mist spray bottle
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