That’s Why We Can’t Have Nice Things…

I thought hard but couldn’t find a slightest perfume connection for this story. So, this one is just a Perfumed Reflection of Life.


In my “previous life” furniture was something that stayed with people throughout their life if not passed through generations. Of course, back then even in my native country a lot of things, including furniture, were made to last. One wouldn’t expect to replace every 5 or even 10 years something like this:




OK, maybe we didn’t have exactly that type of furniture in our humble abodes, but you’ve got the idea.

After moving to the US, for a while we were very minimalistic: we didn’t have too many pieces of furniture (it wouldn’t have fit into our apartment anyway), and pieces that we had were either secondhand or “assemble yourself”-type plywood pseudo-furniture. Those clearly weren’t meant to survive the next move let alone the next generation.

But once both finances and square footage allowed, we started getting what would pass for real furniture. And most things that we bought have served us for a long time already. For example, a nice dinner set – a table and a set of six chairs. They weren’t the most expensive or fancy, but I think they were the best of what a couple of generations of my family ever had back in the days. We weren’t using them too often, so I thought we’d keep them for the next… lifetime or so.

Rusty was about seven when he started paying an extra attention to our chairs. One of the reasons was that I was spending more and more time sitting at the table to avoid a couch that was too soft for my back. So Rusty followed me. But it couldn’t be just that, somehow they got a stronger appeal for him: he would sleep on one of them, then wake up and use it as a scratching post. He knew he wasn’t supposed to, he knew we didn’t approve, but being a cat he didn’t care. Within a year chairs were trashed completely.

After some consideration, we decided to buy a new set. Partially I blame a sales person at the store where we buy our furniture: as we were shopping for something else, I asked if they worked with or could recommend any re-upholstery company in the area. He said that they didn’t, and then he checked the records and matter-of-factly said that those chairs already were in the end of their life cycle… and since I had my doubts as well (I was afraid that re-upholstering in combination with the necessity to take those 6 chairs first to and then from where it can be done would cost more than those chairs costed us initially), we talked ourselves into a new set.

New chairs were slightly more expensive than the first set, but they matched other furniture in the dining area, looked good, and allowed us to invite guests over again without apologizing or feeling embarrassed. … Rusty liked new chairs even more, and despite all our efforts (for a while we were even putting them up every evening!) in two years they looked even worse than the previous set in more than 10.


Rusty and Chair


If you were wondering how exactly he managed to do that, we didn’t see it but I think it happened like this:


Rusty and Scratching Toy


What was even more ironic, our old chairs were doing just fine: a friend who needed more chairs took them off our hands when we were planning to throw them out, re-upholstered and was using since then. And since to do that project our friend had to buy some equipment (and even then it was cheaper than to buy new chairs), he offered to help us with our “new” chairs’ problem.

Having considered different options, I decided to go with vinyl hoping that Rusty wouldn’t confuse it with a scratching post. So far, so good: out of all 6, Rusty spends most time on the one that is covered by a blanket (the one that is converted into a pet cave). Unfortunately, updated chairs are less comfy in daily use, so I’ll have to figure out something before the next winter. But they look nice, fit with “metal” details of the table and sideboard and are easier to clean from Rusty’s hair before entertaining guests in nice clothes.


Rusty and Updated Chair


Images: my own


31 thoughts on “That’s Why We Can’t Have Nice Things…

  1. Hah! Cats are no respecters of furniture and our three new members of the family are set on shredding our sofas …. At least they haven’t started on the walls. Yet. Dear old Leo (my Rusty lookalike) gouged a huge hole in the plaster of one wall, and tore strips of wallpaper off another. And smiled at me while he did so.


  2. Love the photos of Rusty!! Truffle likes to scratch the back of sofas, but that’s it, and only occasionally. She uses a post the rest of the time. I keep the sofas all covered with throws to be on the safe side, and also to prevent muddy paws landing on pale fabric, which is a big issue for owners of outdoor cats. Enjoy your new chairs and Happy Easter!


  3. Love that old pic of Rusty. He has clearly always had that soulful look in his eyes. How could anyone ever be mad at a face like that?!
    I bought a lot of new furniture for my new home and it’s hard not to feel guilty about replacing items that are still fit for purpose. However I feel I’m at an age where I can justify investing in nice things and they bringing me so much joy. I won’t be replacing any of them for a looong while though :)


    • Wait, what do you mean “old picture”? It was taken three weeks ago minutes before we took off that old fabric and replaced it with less appealing material :) But yes, that look was priceless.

      Getting new apartment is an appropriate time to sort out what stays and what needs to be replaced. You should enjoy it.


  4. Oh Rusty, you naughty boy. And you look so angelic and all😄 My last cat used to challenge himself to see how far up the door curtain he could get from a running leap.


    • I saw cats doing that! :)
      Fortunately for us, we have either wooden or plastic blinds where Rusty has access to them – so no jumping. But he tries to chew those that are “softer” – in our bedroom and office. That’s why he’s not allowed in there without us.


  5. Rusty is the boss of the house, isn’t he? We were all set to buy a new sofa when I decided to try out a soft slipcover (before buying one for my in-laws). Our 13 year old beagle, who had not previously been invited on the sofas without a blanket covering, decided that the slipcover was a blanket and therefore open season. We have decided not to replace the sofa – I don’t know that we can retrain him (and he’s old and cute, so….)


    • Oh, things we do for love! :) But yes, I agree: it’s extremely hard to retrain our furry family members once they got used to something. It seems they are a much better trainers ;)


      • Those are the sort of wires my naughty cat goes for. I’ve had to replace or repair mobile charger wires and laptop charger wires so many times. I still can’t trust him and he’s now over 4 years old.


  6. Ah, those two first Rusty pictures are amazing… and well, there are one or two things where I’m really sticking to Vega not using them as scratch posts, but that means giving up on everything else, including leather sofa. After all, it’s her home as much as mine.
    The one thing that works, in terms of getting her to not scratch is a Drinks can with a few coins in, which I shake. I did that only a couple of times, and she has never touched the ( pretty, old and hand turned) table legs again.


    • It’s our second leather sofa (the previous one I had to re-home because it was too soft for my back), and Rusty doesn’t damage it on purpose – only by running on it. But I don’t mind: you’re right, it’s his home as well (and he clearly thinks that the couch is his since he sleeps on it during the night.


  7. Naughty Rusty, acting like a cat! Instagram has sponsored ads for a rubber scratcher you can stick around a corner. The ad showed a cat in ecstasy rubbing himself against the reverse scratching post.


    • I’m afraid that won’t do: he has a scratching post and that scratching toy – and still he prefers chairs and stairs. We’ve just recently put a new carpet there , mostly because of Rusty – in this case not because he destroyed the previous one, but since its time had come, and we knew that Rusty loved running the stairs, which would have been much more dangerous to do had we gone with a hardwood replacement to match our floors elsewhere. So now we’re trying to explain to him that those comfortable stairs weren’t meant for his laying on his side on one of them while trying to shred the next one. I don’t think it’s getting through though… :)


  8. Oh, Rusty! It’s that look of baffled innocence…

    Most cats in my life have done some serious damage to soft furnishings, but Atkins has *wrecked* one leg of our dining table–the solid victorian pine just seems to be her ideal scratching post, and nothing I do will dissuade her. No spritzing, sticky tape, obstacles, or citrus will put her off. Survived unscathed for 150+ years, bar the odd scratch and ink stain, then gets trashed by a small tuxedo cat. She has finally fallen in love with the real cardboard pyramid scratching thing too after it sat ignored for a year, but I still find new gouges in that table…


    • It’s just amazing! I’d love to know what is going on in those pretty heads :)

      Surprisingly, for the first 7 years of his life Rusty hasn’t done any significant damage to our furniture, at least not intentionally. And then suddenly he went for those chairs first and then for the carpet on stairs.

      I’m not even really complaining – just keep being astonished by every next thing he chooses to destroy.


  9. Hey Undina,
    Pets of all sorts can be home wreckers.
    After Mum died I took her pride and joy. It was a huge, comfy, avocado flesh green four seater leather lounge. I loved it as much as she did and it was so freaking comfortable from any angle. My first Greyhound Gucci one night decided to excavate and I woke up next morning to a living room with foam, stuffing and leather pieces all over it. By this time the couch was at least 30 years old and it was going to cost me nearly $10,000 to get it fixed. All advice was to replace it, so that’s what happened. I still miss that beautiful big couch.
    Portia xx

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I enjoy the photo of Rusty looking a bit guilty. I’m sure that’s an illusion though. I have a cat and she never feels guilty about anything!


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