I live in an apartment with my cat. Through the use of a water bottle, I've gotten him to stop, but he's left quite a few deep scratches and gouges in the molding around some of the internal doors. I'd rather get this fixed before my lease expires, as I have a feeling the apartment building would charge me quite a bit more than the actual cost of repairs.

What kind of options do I have? Is it fairly straightforward to replace door molding?

Edit (side note: I'm pretty embarrassed about this, so try to be nice!):

Example 1 (best case scenario):

enter image description here

Example 2 (worst case scenario):

enter image description here

  • Can you post some pictures of the damage? It might be repairable
    – Steven
    Nov 5, 2012 at 3:03
  • Sure! Uploading a few right now (best and worst). Nov 5, 2012 at 3:54
  • 3
    Worst case of catch scratch fever I've seen. FWIW, at least with example one, I think that's stock MDF trim Home Depot sells. It's pre-primed. Might be easiest to just pry off the old, buy new trim, and paint.
    – DA01
    Nov 5, 2012 at 8:23

2 Answers 2


The smaller scratches could easily be filled with wood filler and painted.

The only decent way to fix the worst ones is to replace the trim, IMO. Or you could just paint it as is and hope that noone notices.

The trim seems to be made of MDF.I would also argue that this damage could still fall under normal wear and tear. I would never use mdf for trim in my rental units. It just doesn't last.


Make a cardboard cutout of the MDF shape and go to your local suppliers, see if you can find a like for like replacement. If you find an exact match and you have the skills and tools for the job then replace the trim. Don't do this if you don't know how, it could go wrong and leave you with worse problems!

If you cannot find a like for like replacement you'll need to patch it up with wood filler. First sand, then do a rough patch-up of the worst area, using the template you made to keep it roughly to shape. Let it cure, then do a fine patch using the template again to keep it all to shape. Sand, then paint.

Cats like MDF because their claws sink in, it's a problem. Next time get a sisal rope cat tree or two and place them strategically to catch their attention as it's always easier to get them to stop if they have something else to go for. Keep their claws trimmed as well. The first time you trim them the cat will complain a lot, but if you do it every couple of weeks they get used to it.

  • Totally agree about the first trimming of a cat's claws. It can be useful to wrap the cat in a mat or small rug the first couple of times. Leave one leg out to work on at a time. Not doing this can net you some pretty bad scratches, even from the back feet, as they fight from the clipping process. Of course if you start with small kittens they learn early on that everything is OK. Adopt an adult cat and you have a training project to do!!
    – Michael Karas
    Nov 5, 2012 at 10:27
  • Yeah, not fun! Helps to have 2 people as well, one to hold and comfort, and one to clip.
    – GdD
    Nov 5, 2012 at 10:36

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.