I Tried This Couch With My Cat Who Scratches Everything, and It Is Actually Cat-Proof

Find out how I went from not believing a cat-proof couch exists to resting easy with a pet-friendly Burrow sofa. Kitty claws don't stand a chance.

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Updated on April 10, 2024

I don’t know about you guys, but when I hear a couch is cat-proof, I am extremely hesitant to believe it. In fact, I’d been searching for a sofa that could stand up to my super scratcher for years (yes, literally years). I read countless articles about which fabrics to buy, but I was always left feeling like the writer didn’t actually have a cat or at least hadn't tested the fabrics for themselves. And if I read one more article that touted leather for its smooth feel that cats wouldn’t want to scratch, I thought I would explode. My cat has already destroyed a leather chair, puncturing hole after hole until the batting came out. So when I discovered Burrow, a furniture brand that claims to have an entire sofa line in pet-friendly fabric, I was skeptical. But when it comes to products, I’m a research queen, and this is what I found.

Stitch, the super scratcher himself, on the Burrow Nomad Velvet 5-Seat Corner Sectional

Photo by: Keri Sanders

Keri Sanders

Stitch, the super scratcher himself, on the Burrow Nomad Velvet 5-Seat Corner Sectional

About Burrow

Burrow is a relatively new online furniture company (officially launching in 2017) that got its start when two University of Pennsylvania business students were comparing their nightmare sofa-buying experiences and decided to do something about it. By the next year, they had started Burrow with the intention of giving consumers a quality, affordable sofa that could be directly purchased online and delivered without extra shipping charges. According to this article by CNBC, Kabeer Chopra and Stephen Kuhl, the co-founders of Burrow, designed their sofas by reverse engineering a traditional sofa in a way that could be shipped within the FedEx and UPS commercial weight guidelines. By creating modular sofas that could be shipped in separate boxes and easily put together by buyers, they not only minimized the shipping cost, but they also managed to create a stylish sofa that could be completely customized and easily assembled.

What Makes It Better Than Other Modular Sofas?

So what makes Burrow different from other sofa-in-a-box brands? Aside from being delivered in a way that is much more manageable for the average person, Burrow is focused on delivering a high-quality product completely produced in the U.S. that will last. When so many products are intentionally designed with a short shelf-life in mind, the concept of a sofa that can move with you from home to home and can even be built onto over time is enough to set this company apart. But on top of that, it’s the attention to detail and the desire to create a product that continuously serves the consumer that gives Burrow a leg up. Unique features like a built-in USB port and a sleep kit that is designed to custom fit their Nomad sofas and sectionals demonstrate the thoughtful design that goes into every offering.

What Makes It Pet-Friendly?

By now, you’re probably wondering what is it about Burrow's Nomad Collection that makes it so pet-friendly? To start, they use a tightly woven, non-toxic synthetic fabric that stands up to scratches and resists stains. And they don’t make this claim lightly. The fabric is actually tested against a custom 3D-printed claw that simulates thousands upon thousands of scratches on the same piece of fabric. Because the weave of the fabric is so tight and strong, claws can’t snag and tear the individual threads. On top of that, the non-porous fabric isn’t absorbent, so spills (or accidents) can be easily wiped up, and the fabric can be cleaned with a water and bleach solution because the material itself is colored with a deep dyeing process instead of simply getting coated in dye.

It’s easy to find raving reviews by cat owners who adore the Nomad woven fabric and consistently say that while their cat did scratch it, the most damage done (over several months, mind you) was the tiniest bit of fluff that wouldn’t even be visible if you weren’t intentionally looking for it. And while those reviews are a testament to the woven fabric options, the Nomad performance velvet fabric may be an even better choice to stand up to those razor-sharp pet claws. I even asked the experts at Burrow which fabric option was best for cat owners, and they pointed me to the velvet, saying it “is a great option for homes with furry friends as the lack of loops in the weave helps prevent snagging from paws and nails.” On top of that, it passed a 100,000 double-rub test, which is how velvet is measured for durability. Generally, anything that measures over 15,000 double rubs is considered appropriate for heavy-duty residential use. So you know this velvet means business, and just like the woven fabric, the velvet is incredibly easy to clean — simply blot up any liquid and spot clean with water and a mild soap or detergent (skip the bleach with the velvet fabric).

My Burrow Experience

Once I settled on velvet, I ordered the free swatches to help me determine which color was the best fit in my home. I’m so glad I didn’t skip this part as it helped to see the fabric in the room I would put my sofa and observe how it looked in the light and blended with my other furnishings. While I had originally planned to go with the feather gray color, after seeing the samples in my home, I settled on the moodier graphite gray, which was a better match for my cat’s dark gray coat and would hide hair better between cleanings. I even ran the velvet along my existing couch to pick up stray cat hairs and see how easy (or difficult) it would be to clean. Firstly, I was shocked by the amount of hair it picked up, but I was ecstatic by how easily it came off of the velvet with a lint brush. The vacuum was even easier. Finally, to really put my mind at ease before placing such a large order, I decided on one last test. I took a safety pin to the velvet swatches and went a little crazy. I scratched the fabric up and down and even poked multiple holes in it. It was looking a bit worse for wear by the end of it, but then something magical happened: As I used my hand to smooth it back out, I could hardly tell what I had just done. That’s when I finally trusted this was the right choice for me, and I took the plunge.

Delivery + Setup

I ordered the Nomad Velvet 5-Seat Corner Sectional in graphite gray with black metal legs, which I deemed better for accidentally banging with the vacuum (just me?). Each piece of the sectional arrived in its own labeled box with built-in handles, making carrying it inside so much easier. Reviewers adore this feature, many stating that they couldn’t even fit a sofa through their doorway or into their awkward basement or attic space before discovering Burrow. The box labeled “Arms” contains the easy-to-follow instructions and lets you know the order to open the other boxes to keep the entire assembly process as streamlined as possible. There are no tools required, but I did need a helper. While several reviewers stated they had no trouble putting their chairs or sofas together alone, I couldn’t have put the sectional together without an additional person. With my brother’s help, we had it assembled within half an hour, and the entire process went incredibly smooth.

Photo by: Keri Sanders

Keri Sanders

How Has It Stood Up So Far?

I’ve been using the sectional for four months now, so I can confidently say that my cat has not made a dent in the fabric. It looks just as good as the day I got it, and I can’t recommend this sofa to cat owners enough. I only wish I had found it sooner. It turns out that he really is much less interested in scratching the velvet than he was in my previous couch, which was a loose weave and possibly the worst choice for a cat mom like me. When he does get a wild hair and dig his claws in, I can’t even see that he did, and I’ve looked extremely hard. The evidence of a kitty clawing session simply isn’t there. Unsurprisingly, the velvet does collect hair, though it isn’t nearly as bad as I expected. Burrow includes a velvet brush with your purchase, and while it’s really designed to restore the nap, it also works well to pick up the hair. However, I’ve found vacuuming to be the quickest and easiest option as the hair comes right up, leaving a couch that looks like new every time.

Photo by: Keri Sanders

Keri Sanders

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The Little Extras

One of my favorite features of Burrow furniture is the fact that you can work with their customer service team to purchase individual pieces to add onto your furniture or change it entirely if you decide you want something different at a later date. For example, if at any point I decide I'd rather have two sofas instead of a sectional, I could simply separate the sectional and order two new arm sets plus as many extra seats as I'd like. While I've been very happy with the sectional in my space, I did recently add on one more seat and the chaise option. The extra seat makes the sectional look like it was custom made for my living room, while the chaise is the perfect addition for movie nights and can be converted back to a regular seat at any time. For someone like me who hates making decisions, this sort of flexibilty and customization gives me peace of mind and confidence that the Burrow sectional will fit my needs no matter what.

As I mentioned earlier, each Burrow seating option comes with a built-in USB port, which I think is one of the most evident signs that this company truly considers the consumer and how they live. While I’ve found it useful for general couch lounging and endless web surfing, it’s also the perfect companion to their Nomad Sleep Kit, which includes a fitted sheet with a side pocket to hold and charge your phone overnight. The sleep kit can be ordered alone or added onto any Nomad sofa order at a discounted rate. It includes a memory foam topper, a custom sheet set, a quilted cotton blanket, a perfectly sized pillow and even a sleep mask — all inside an easy-to-carry storage bag. Each piece is custom fitted for the Nomad sofa or sectional, though admittedly, I also tried it out on a friend’s non-Burrow sectional and found it to be a comfortable — though not perfectly fitted — addition. Many reviewers state they find it much more comfortable than sleeping on couch cushions alone and think it’s more convenient than an air mattress or sleeper sofa.

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Final Thoughts

If I haven’t made it clear, I love this sectional. I no longer stress about my cat destroying what I consider an investment piece. Any messes or spills have wiped right off. I haven’t even needed to bring water and soap into the mix. I could (and often do) sit on it comfortably for hours reading, working or binging TV — something I couldn’t say of my previous, much less comfortable sofa. Essentially, I feel extremely confident recommending the Nomad line to cat owners or anyone, for that matter. I would buy from Burrow again, but I don’t expect I’ll need to for a very long time.

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