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How to repair cat scratches on vinyl or faux leather?


Repairing cat scratches on vinyl or faux leather is very painstaking work. As professional repair artisans, we learned to walk away from this kind of damage, because perfection is impossible.

The results are almost as good (not to mention faster and cheaper) by tacking down or trimming away any flaps staining the exposed fabric with a similar color. However, the holes will remain and the surface will not repel water nor reflect light without filler.

Here’s how to repair cat claw damage using Soft Filler:

  1. Trim away any fibers or threads.
  2. Subpatch any holes through the material.
  3. If any flap stretched and does not lay down into the void evenly, cut it away completely. Use a large needle and a flexible fabric glue (or even Soft Filler) to tack down every little flap.
  4. Allow to dry.
  5. Wipe the surface clean with rubbing alcohol.
  6. Use the needle to apply a tiny dab of Soft Filler to each little hole or areas of damage.
  7. Level it smooth with a plastic spreader or glossy business card.
  8. Allow to cure, and repeat until an even surface is achieved. The filler may shrink as it cures, so additional applications may be necessary (typically 2-3), and even then it may look uneven and pock-marked. Alternatively, do a large pass of filler over an area of damage. Allow to cure. Repeat until the surface is level.
  9. If necessary, use rubbing alcohol to smooth any uneven areas.
  10. Apply a final thin layer of Soft Filler and emboss the wet filler with saran wrap or a gloved hand to impart texture. Allow to cure.
  11. Apply color and clear finish.

Click here for Soft Filler video and written instructions and troubleshooting.


This procedure is amputation of the bone up to the last knuckle, not merely removal of the nail. It’s banned in many countries and opposed by the Humane Society and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Declawing can make a cat less likely to use the litter box or more likely to bite. Train your cat with a spray bottle of water (set on shoot-to-soak), pheromone sprays, and a scratching post where the activity is permitted. You can also safely trim their claws with pet nail clippers.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Sheena says

    Hello my name is Sheena and I have a slight scratch very minor but I would like to fix it on my couch. It is from my dog laying on the floor and stretching and when doing so his nails swiped the bottom of the couch. I’m not sure If I can send pictures but most of your examples are very extreme and mine is not so I’m at a loss.

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The Knowledge Hub is a library of articles and videos complied to help our customers complete their DIY leather and vinyl restoration projects.