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How to repair dog and cat scratches on leather upholstery?

Dog scratches on leather furniture are usually corrected with a new finish and perhaps a gentle sanding. Cat scratches or more substantial damage that can be felt with your fingertips would benefit from repair.

Leather creates a fine dust when sanded. Mix this dust into wet super glue, and you have an instant filler. This repair method is exceptional for cat scratches as well as small nicks or cracks on steering wheels, gear shifts, seats, and leather auto interiors. The video below demonstrates on a leather ottoman.

NOTE: This method is only suited to genuine leather. More severe damage (think scratching post), areas requiring flexibility, and synthetics should be repaired with Soft Filler. Please read this article specific to repairing cat scratches on synthetics like vinyl, bonded or faux leather.

Video contents:

  • 0:33 – Using super glue and a toothpick to tack down little flaps
  • 1:55 – Sanding with 320 grit wet-or-dry sandpaper
  • 2:04 – More super glue on flaps and gouges
  • 2:17 – More sanding
  • 2:35 – Color, dry, and reassess
  • 3:12 – More glue to fill gouges, feathering and texturizing with a paper towel
  • 3:52 – Sanding with a finer 500 grit wet-or-dry sandpaper
  • 4:40 – Color and dry
  • 5:04 – Stippling the color to get a better finish and hide streaks
  • 5:24 – Before and after comparison

Print or download our free leather repair instructions. Click here for troubleshooting.

CAUTION: Studies of workers in shoe factories and tanneries show sufficient evidence that leather dust causes sinonasal cancers. CC has been using this method since 1987, Lesandre since 2000, and still clean bills of health.


This procedure is amputation of the bone to the last knuckle, not mere 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 decrease use of a litter box and increase biting. Cats are smart creatures and can be easily trained with a spray bottle of water (set on shoot-to-soak) and pheromone sprays. Give them a scratching post where they can engage in their natural behavior. You can also trim their claws with pet nail clippers. Others report success using Soft Paws or other claw caps.

Reader Interactions


  1. Lillian says

    Can your product be used successfully without having to repaint or try to match color.? Leather chair is mauvish/pinkish. Cat scratched.

  2. John H says

    Great video/tutorial. My main question is, after the final coat of restorer, the leather looked quite different(flat finish) as compared to the rest of the couch(semi-glossy).

    Will your product buff out by hand with a terry cloth towel or a car buffer? How long to wait after application before buffing?

    • lesandre says

      Buffing with a dry rag (and use) will slightly polish the color. But for a semi-gloss finish, sounds like you need some Clear Prep+Finish. I’d mix it with equal parts color and use to add luster and blend surrounding areas.

  3. Ann Daugherty says

    I have a large scale hunter (dark) green sofa, love seat, wide chair and ottoman. They are very soft and comfy but I think would work as I see similar styles in your before and after gallery. I’m thinking Taupe — will that cover OK? Also have cat scratches and a few pin holes from back claws climbing up the arms. Assume your filler will take care of that as directed?

    Thanks in advance. This may be the perfect short term fix until I move in a couple of years.

    • lesandre says

      Any holes need to be subpatched before repair. We’d need you to submit photos in the evaluation for us to advise you better. Color changes are inherently more maintenance and not recommended if the leather is already rather worn and dogs will continue to use the piece(s).

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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.