Car Seats: Leather or Cloth with Kids?

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sunnyday
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Car Seats: Leather or Cloth with Kids?

Post by sunnyday » Wed Feb 26, 2014 5:09 pm

My wife and I are shopping for a new car. She would like leather. We have a 1 year old and may have another or two. What would you recommend: cloth or leather?

Onyxmeth
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Re: Car Seats: Leather or Cloth with Kids?

Post by Onyxmeth » Wed Feb 26, 2014 5:12 pm

I would go with leather.

goodenoughinvestor
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Re: Car Seats: Leather or Cloth with Kids?

Post by goodenoughinvestor » Wed Feb 26, 2014 5:15 pm

leather (after the first episode of car sickness you will conclude it was well worth the extra cost).

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rob
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Re: Car Seats: Leather or Cloth with Kids?

Post by rob » Wed Feb 26, 2014 5:36 pm

As someone who went with cloth.... LEATHER
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harrychan
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Re: Car Seats: Leather or Cloth with Kids?

Post by harrychan » Wed Feb 26, 2014 5:42 pm

We went with cloth. We have a 2012 Subaru Legacy and it has one of those water / dirt resistant material which can be cleaned and worked out for us. One thing that is a must whether you get cloth or lather, make sure you get a dark color. Do not get white or opaque.
This is not legal or certified financial advice but you know that already.

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Re: Car Seats: Leather or Cloth with Kids?

Post by livesoft » Wed Feb 26, 2014 5:45 pm

I avoid cars with a dark interior (especially black) because in the hot spring, summer, and fall months, the seats will burn you.
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Re: Car Seats: Leather or Cloth with Kids?

Post by sscritic » Wed Feb 26, 2014 5:49 pm

livesoft wrote:I avoid cars with a dark interior (especially black) because in the hot spring, summer, and fall months, the seats will burn you.
And if you wear shorts in those months with leather seats, you get the thrill of peeling your thighs off when you get out as your sweat works as a glue to hold you in place.

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BrandonBogle
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Re: Car Seats: Leather or Cloth with Kids?

Post by BrandonBogle » Wed Feb 26, 2014 5:51 pm

livesoft wrote:I avoid cars with a dark interior (especially black) because in the hot spring, summer, and fall months, the seats will burn you.
I guess this would very much depend on your personal circumstances. Mom's IS has black leather interior and sits in the driveway in Miami year-round without getting too hot (the seats, the car will be sweltering, but the seats aren't so hot that you can't sit in them). However, it does have tinted windows. But that likely could be very different than neighborhoods in Arizona with melting plastic mailboxes.

My 4Runner has (not dark, not light) gray leater seats. The years it was in Florida weren't a problem either. Now in NC, it sits in a garage or parking deck all day, so there isn't even snow on it when I'm ready to head out! Incidently, I will attempt to install seat heaters into the truck this weekend to make things more comfortable! :)

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BrandonBogle
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Re: Car Seats: Leather or Cloth with Kids?

Post by BrandonBogle » Wed Feb 26, 2014 5:51 pm

sscritic wrote:
livesoft wrote:I avoid cars with a dark interior (especially black) because in the hot spring, summer, and fall months, the seats will burn you.
And if you wear shorts in those months with leather seats, you get the thrill of peeling your thighs off when you get out as your sweat works as a glue to hold you in place.
This I have experienced MANY times :(

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bottlecap
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Re: Car Seats: Leather or Cloth with Kids?

Post by bottlecap » Wed Feb 26, 2014 6:07 pm

I'd go leather, although I'd go cloth if it were just me.

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Last edited by bottlecap on Wed Feb 26, 2014 9:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Car Seats: Leather or Cloth with Kids?

Post by Browser » Wed Feb 26, 2014 6:31 pm

Just don't get the light colored leather seats. A friend bought the Acura RDX with the light leather interior about 11 months ago. The seats have picked up a bluish stain from bluejeans. They've tried everything and it can't be removed. I was thinking about the light leather seats until I saw that. Now it's going to be the black leather. My guess is that would be a better color for kids.
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Re: Car Seats: Leather or Cloth with Kids?

Post by sport » Wed Feb 26, 2014 7:05 pm

In the old days, we had a black car with black vinyl seats. We had to keep beach towels on the seats during the summer so we could sit on them because they were so hot.
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Re: Car Seats: Leather or Cloth with Kids?

Post by 6miths » Wed Feb 26, 2014 8:37 pm

We have 4 children now pretty much grown but have had leather in most of our vehicles. The two that I can think of that had cloth did not do as well.
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G-Money
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Re: Car Seats: Leather or Cloth with Kids?

Post by G-Money » Wed Feb 26, 2014 8:41 pm

Really wish we had sprung for leather. :(
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Re: Car Seats: Leather or Cloth with Kids?

Post by Leesbro63 » Wed Feb 26, 2014 8:47 pm

Browser wrote:Just don't get the light colored leather seats. A friend bought the Acura RDX with the light leather interior about 11 months ago. The seats have picked up a bluish stain from bluejeans. They've tried everything and it can't be removed. I was thinking about the light leather seats until I saw that. Now it's going to be the black leather. My guess is that would be a better color for kids.
+1

sunnyday
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Re: Car Seats: Leather or Cloth with Kids?

Post by sunnyday » Wed Feb 26, 2014 9:12 pm

Thanks for the replies. Leather it is. I think we'll be getting gray as the color. I'm a bit concerned about summer heat (I live in NC) but we have a garage and my wife's work has a parking deck so it will be under the shade most of the time.

Also, any recommendations on putting something between an infant car seat and the backseat to protect the backseat from getting deformed?

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Re: Car Seats: Leather or Cloth with Kids?

Post by Browser » Wed Feb 26, 2014 9:19 pm

Searched the net a bit to research the light leather staining problem and found that it is due to dye transfer from clothing and other sources. It actually recolors the light leather, which is why it can be difficult or impossible to remove. I noted that other things like mustard, ketchup, etc. can do the same thing which could be a problem with kids. In any event, it looks like you'd be spending some time trying to care for the light leather dealing with stains and such. The problem seems to extend to tan, grey, parchment and all the light color palette. Also, I noticed that in the RDX, the light leather seats come with the same light colored upholstery in the cargo area which means you'd probably be smudging that area up too. Definitely should be black back there. Love that light colored leather look -- too bad.
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bottlecap
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Re: Car Seats: Leather or Cloth with Kids?

Post by bottlecap » Wed Feb 26, 2014 9:27 pm

Gray is a good choice. It doesn't get too hot and shouldn't stain. We got ours used with grey leather seats and have no issues living in Tennessee.

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Re: Car Seats: Leather or Cloth with Kids?

Post by Rupert » Thu Feb 27, 2014 9:20 am

sunnyday wrote:Thanks for the replies. Leather it is. I think we'll be getting gray as the color. I'm a bit concerned about summer heat (I live in NC) but we have a garage and my wife's work has a parking deck so it will be under the shade most of the time.

Also, any recommendations on putting something between an infant car seat and the backseat to protect the backseat from getting deformed?
I use folded towels under my kids' carseats, but my cars are old and I don't care how deformed the seats are. I think a company called One Step Ahead sells a product that allegedly keeps carseats from being deformed by, well, carseats. Check their website for the product but then check Amazon to see if they sell the same thing cheaper (they often do).

Re what color interior to go with, I've got one car with beige leather interior and one with black. I hate the black - I hate it passionately. It shows the dirt and grime much more prominently than the beige. The beige masks a lot of things (half chewed banana bits, crushed Cheerios, sand from the playground, etc.).

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Re: Car Seats: Leather or Cloth with Kids?

Post by sscritic » Thu Feb 27, 2014 9:33 am

Which are you going to keep longer, the car or the kid? The required (by state law or by recommendation) time your child spends in a car seat seems to increase every few years. If my child is going to be in some sort of car seat or booster for 10 years, then seat deformation wouldn't be my biggest worry.

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Re: Car Seats: Leather or Cloth with Kids?

Post by NorCalDad » Thu Feb 27, 2014 9:45 am

As someone who now has stained cloth seats in the back, I also vote leather.

But my honest opinion is neither. With a 1-year-old and potentially more on the way, stick with what you've got if you can for a few more years. Then re-evaluate when your kids are school-age. We have one preschooler and another child on the way. Every time I think about getting a new car, I just look at the mess my son has made and that does a pretty good job of dissuading me from the purchase.

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Re: Car Seats: Leather or Cloth with Kids?

Post by buckstar » Thu Feb 27, 2014 9:59 am

No doubt - "leather" is easier to clean and is hardier than cloth seats. I use quotes because most "leather" out there is faux leather such as Mercedes' MB-Tex and BMW's Leatherette. True leather is much, much more expensive, harder to care for and more fragile than the fake stuff most car manufacturers use.

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Re: Car Seats: Leather or Cloth with Kids?

Post by jlawrence01 » Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:04 am

If you are going to have leather seats with small children, do NOT give them either pens or markers. That is the one thing that can really destroy leather seats. Unfortunately, several of the drivers in my fleet disregarded that. Both are very difficult to get out of leather seats.

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Re: Car Seats: Leather or Cloth with Kids?

Post by donall » Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:09 am

buckstar wrote:No doubt - "leather" is easier to clean and is hardier than cloth seats. I use quotes because most "leather" out there is faux leather such as Mercedes' MB-Tex and BMW's Leatherette. True leather is much, much more expensive, harder to care for and more fragile than the fake stuff most car manufacturers use.
Agree that leather seats are not all leather and so are easier to clean. But when kids are wee, there is quite a lot of eating and drinking in a car, so perhaps seat covers may be the best temporary fix.

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Re: Car Seats: Leather or Cloth with Kids?

Post by dad2000 » Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:39 am

Leather without a doubt.

When we were using child restraint seats, we put some inexpensive rectangular floor mats between the leather seats and child seats. The mats prevent permanent indentations and protect against other sticky stuff like dried up food & drink.

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Re: Car Seats: Leather or Cloth with Kids?

Post by DTSC » Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:54 am

Leather is definitely if you find it affordable. However, you can save the money and buy new seat covers every year or two instead

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Re: Car Seats: Leather or Cloth with Kids?

Post by pennstater2005 » Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:56 am

I went with cloth and wish I had chosen leather. Tried to save a buck. It's not so much my kids but cleaning it is a pain in the :twisted:
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Re: Car Seats: Leather or Cloth with Kids?

Post by NoVa Lurker » Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:58 am

donall wrote:
buckstar wrote:No doubt - "leather" is easier to clean and is hardier than cloth seats. I use quotes because most "leather" out there is faux leather such as Mercedes' MB-Tex and BMW's Leatherette. True leather is much, much more expensive, harder to care for and more fragile than the fake stuff most car manufacturers use.
Agree that leather seats are not all leather and so are easier to clean. But when kids are wee, there is quite a lot of eating and drinking in a car, so perhaps seat covers may be the best temporary fix.
Even uglier than seat covers - in my car's back seat, which is fabric and has two car seats (baby rear-facing, and toddler front-facing), I lay towels flat across the back under the car seats. Every few weeks, I remove the car seats and launder the towels. Our toddler finishes breakfast on the way to daycare each morning, so it can get messy back there, but it all falls on the towels.

Seat covers might be better than towels, but why pay for them if you own extra towels anyway?

My wife's car has leather for the interior. She is not a fan of my towel approach, for aesthetic reasons. With the leather, the kids have not done any permanent damage to her car's backseat so far, but it takes more time to clean than the towel approach.

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Re: Car Seats: Leather or Cloth with Kids?

Post by Nowizard » Thu Feb 27, 2014 11:03 am

I prefer cloth and have had cloth with children. A fairly light color, such as gray, but not white was ideal for us. There is no problem with throw-up as long as you have used waterproofing spray which is easy to install yourself, saving the extra cost from a dealer. Leather is more expensive and requires regular conditioning if you are going to keep it in shape. We have had both and found that gunk is more difficult to clean from leather which is not as flexible. We have had both leather and cloth, and we have had cloth in two separate models of cars. The Honda cloth is not nearly as good in our experience as the Toyota cloth. This is a personal choice but reasonable care will avoid upchucking in the car, and it would not be fun to clean it up from leather or cloth. Why make the experience more difficult by adding expense unless you just prefer leather and can easily afford it. Do not worry about durability of cloth as compared to leather. Unless you love the appearance of aged, creased leather, which many do, you will find cloth actually looks better than leather if you keep cars a long time.

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Re: Car Seats: Leather or Cloth with Kids?

Post by BrandonBogle » Thu Feb 27, 2014 11:19 am

My 4Runner is 8 years old and has zero cracks or creased in it, all while I have NEVER given it any special treatment. That said, I don't have kids and even after 8 years, it only has 70k on them, so I may be an outlier with little usage. My mother's last car, a Corolla, had cloth and by its 5th year, the seats were in pretty bad shape. This was with me as a teenager, so I there wasn't much to clean up. We also didn't do anything special to that one. Oh well. As many things in life, YMMV.

Personally, I would go with the leather and call it a day.

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Re: Car Seats: Leather or Cloth with Kids?

Post by smackboy1 » Thu Feb 27, 2014 11:47 am

sunnyday wrote:MWe have a 1 year old and may have another or two.
Leather/pleather seats and while you are at it, get rubber floormats for the back - the kind that can contain an entire spilled drink.
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Re: Car Seats: Leather or Cloth with Kids?

Post by Polaris » Thu Feb 27, 2014 1:48 pm

We've had both and I found the cloth seats to be better for when the kids were in infant/toddler car seats (a snug installation was much easier to achieve). Our leather seats also had some permanent indentation damage from the car seats even though we had a non-slip pad between the two surfaces. Now that they're older I like the leather because it's easier to clean.

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Don Christy
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Re: Car Seats: Leather or Cloth with Kids?

Post by Don Christy » Thu Feb 27, 2014 5:54 pm

Cloth or synthetic leather. It can be cruelty free. Why use animal skin?

I have synthetic "leather" in VW Jetta Sportwagen and like it.
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Re: Car Seats: Leather or Cloth with Kids?

Post by Mumfie » Thu Feb 27, 2014 7:01 pm

Many years ago we bought a beautiful Lincoln continental. It was red and had white leather seats. We did not have it very long before my (teething) son left his chew marks on the (thin! Thin!) leather. But - If you ever get a fur coat, you will need to have leather: cloth will pull on the fur.

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Re: Car Seats: Leather or Cloth with Kids?

Post by 02sbxstr » Thu Feb 27, 2014 7:41 pm

Cloth in the Tiguan, black leather in the Audi and navy blue leather in the Porsche. Cloth only because there was no option. Why anyone would opt for cloth is beyond me: it pills, it stains, it fades. Leather is easily cleaned by a conditioner. As to it being hot in the summer, I keep a towel on the seat.

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Re: Car Seats: Leather or Cloth with Kids?

Post by obgraham » Thu Feb 27, 2014 9:38 pm

Cloth. Cloth. Cloth. Anyplace can clean cloth, but only some places can clean leather.

Nothing but trouble with leather. Cold on your backside in winter, burns your butt in summer. I can't understand why anyone likes leather!

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Re: Car Seats: Leather or Cloth with Kids?

Post by Browser » Fri Feb 28, 2014 12:09 am

obgraham wrote:Cloth. Cloth. Cloth. Anyplace can clean cloth, but only some places can clean leather.

Nothing but trouble with leather. Cold on your backside in winter, burns your butt in summer. I can't understand why anyone likes leather!
Because it's classy, I guess. Spring for the heated and cooled seats if your backside is sensitive... :mrgreen:
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Re: Car Seats: Leather or Cloth with Kids?

Post by likegarden » Fri Feb 28, 2014 8:51 am

We also just bought a new car, but insisted on cloth. We did not want to sit on leather and considered use of heating and air conditioning inside the seats as overkill. We remember the past of very cold and very hot vinyl seats. We always kept a large bath towel of same color as the seat material under the car seat of our grandson, has no spilling, no mess on the cloth of the seats. Our now 10 year old grandson sits on such a large towel now without the baby car seat. We also clean all seats once a year with a hand-held steam cleaner, are doing that for all cars every year for many years since small steam cleaners became available.

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Re: Car Seats: Leather or Cloth with Kids?

Post by rustymutt » Fri Feb 28, 2014 9:16 am

We've had leather in all our cars & trucks, but the last vehicle we got cloth, and we love it. Cool in summer, warmer in winter. Don't spend the extra for leather.
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Re: Car Seats: Leather or Cloth with Kids?

Post by Browser » Fri Feb 28, 2014 10:21 am

Don Christy wrote:Cloth or synthetic leather. It can be cruelty free. Why use animal skin?

I have synthetic "leather" in VW Jetta Sportwagen and like it.
I thought about that too, but then what are we going to do with all those cowhides from animals slaughtered for our hamburgers? Maybe we should become vegans too.
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Re: Car Seats: Leather or Cloth with Kids?

Post by Browser » Fri Feb 28, 2014 10:23 am

I'm not even sure if you can buy high-end cars without leather can you? Acura, BMW, Lexus, Infiniti, Audi, Caddy, Lincoln, etc. Do any of these come with cloth?
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Re: Car Seats: Leather or Cloth with Kids?

Post by jlawrence01 » Fri Feb 28, 2014 3:59 pm

Browser wrote:I'm not even sure if you can buy high-end cars without leather can you? Acura, BMW, Lexus, Infiniti, Audi, Caddy, Lincoln, etc. Do any of these come with cloth?
Rarely, and if they are available, it usually takes a special order.

The most difficult luxury car to sell on the secondary market (used) is a vehicle with cloth seats.

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Re: Car Seats: Leather or Cloth with Kids?

Post by JonnyDVM » Fri Feb 28, 2014 4:25 pm

I think the lesson I got from this thread is spring for leather, don't let kids ride in the car at all, and don't wear pants when driving so as not to dye the leather seat.
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Re: Car Seats: Leather or Cloth with Kids?

Post by likegarden » Sat Mar 01, 2014 10:46 am

But JonnyDVM, with a cloth selection you would not be able to buy a luxury car, and would save a lot of money.

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Re: Car Seats: Leather or Cloth with Kids?

Post by BobStrauss » Sat Mar 01, 2014 1:03 pm

My black leather seats have never burned me, and I park my car in the sun in Texas.

Leather is so much better than cloth (though leatherette is best imo). Cloth seats hold smells and are less hygienic, but you can clean leather seats with conditioning wipes every so often, quickly and easily. Whenever I ride in someone's car with cloth, it often smells like either Febreze, overpowering air fresheners, or farts. Yuck.

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Re: Car Seats: Leather or Cloth with Kids?

Post by Browser » Sat Mar 01, 2014 1:14 pm

BobStrauss wrote:My black leather seats have never burned me, and I park my car in the sun in Texas.

Leather is so much better than cloth (though leatherette is best imo). Cloth seats hold smells and are less hygienic, but you can clean leather seats with conditioning wipes every so often, quickly and easily. Whenever I ride in someone's car with cloth, it often smells like either Febreze, overpowering air fresheners, or farts. Yuck.
After a few years, I wonder if cloth seats accumulate pounds and pounds of dust mites. :shock: They tell you that your bed mattress gains several pounds after awhile from dust mite accumulation -- mitey worrisome. :(
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Re: Car Seats: Leather or Cloth with Kids?

Post by CMartel2 » Sun Mar 02, 2014 12:38 am

If you have dogs, especially larger dogs, you might want to reconsider leather. Their claws can pierce through leather seats. For us, neoprene seat covers made a lot more sense--easy to clean, comfortable, and pierce-free.

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