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How do I keep cats out of my piano? #2940142 01/29/20 09:32 AM
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Christian C. Offline OP
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I have a 1969 Steinway L which is a priceless family heirloom. About a year and a half ago my wife adopted a pair of cats, who we love dearly. Shortly after she brought them home, I bought a top of the line GRK quilted piano cover to protect the piano. If memory serves, it was about $300. To my horror, I recently discovered that the cover has permanently imprinted the pattern of the quilting into the lid of my piano. I have a Steinway finish expert scheduled to come out and assess the damage next week and determine what needs to be done to fix it. It's a sad story, I know. But the point of my post is this. Going forward, how do I protect my piano from my cats? Getting rid of the cats is not an option, nor is getting rid of my wife. I'm rather fond of her too, you know? Keeping the cats in a room separate from the piano is also not an option. I already have half of the downstairs of my house closed off to protect my audio room, which has many thousands of dollars worth of phono cartridge, cables, and speakers. Does anyone have a practical solution which they can suggest? Thanks very much!
Chris C.

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Re: How do I keep cats out of my piano? [Re: Christian C.] #2940148 01/29/20 09:40 AM
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j&j Offline
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Hmmm.... the quick, inexpensive solution might be to sew a plain cotton sheet to the underside of the quilted piano cover.


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Re: How do I keep cats out of my piano? [Re: Christian C.] #2940158 01/29/20 09:53 AM
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Thanks, that's probably a good suggestion. I'll talk to the finish guy next week and ask him if cotton is a safe material.

Re: How do I keep cats out of my piano? [Re: Christian C.] #2940171 01/29/20 10:15 AM
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P W Grey Offline
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There is an old thread here somewhere that deals with this extensively. Maybe someone can find it.

Pwg


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Re: How do I keep cats out of my piano? [Re: Christian C.] #2940181 01/29/20 10:39 AM
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Figure out what cover is going to work for you, and keep the piano closed and covered when not in use. Get a "Tattle Tale" pet alarm and place it on the cover when you're not playing the piano to train them not to jump up on it, if you're especially concerned.

My cat walks on top of my padded cover occasionally, but I don't mind. I just take a lint roller to the cover every now and then.


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Re: How do I keep cats out of my piano? [Re: Christian C.] #2940183 01/29/20 10:42 AM
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Hi Peter. Thanks for your suggestion. I did a search on "cats" and wasn't able to find anything in the forums pertaining to my situation. Which doesn't mean it's not there, I just wasn't able to find it. So far the best plan seems to be sewing a plain cotton sheet into the cover. We'll see.

Re: How do I keep cats out of my piano? [Re: terminaldegree] #2940197 01/29/20 11:03 AM
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Terminal Degree, the cover I have has worked to keep the piano safe from the cats, but it was the cover itself that damaged the piano. There are no claw scratches in the finish. So I guess I was wondering if there was an alternative to using a cover. The pet alarm, or even a couple of them, might work. But one of the cats is a little ninja who is wickedly smart, so it's not a slam dunk solution in my mind. Maybe worth a try though.

It sounds like your padded cover has worked well for you. I wonder why my GRK cover caused the damage that it did. It has a synthetic suede-like lining on the inside. I wonder if this material reacts with other pianos the same way, or is there something unique about the lacquer in my Steinway? It is the original finish. I know this because it was bought new by my family from a Steinway dealer in 1974. It's the last thing I would have ever expected to happen with a high end piano cover.

Thanks again for your input.

Last edited by Christian C.; 01/29/20 11:04 AM.
Re: How do I keep cats out of my piano? [Re: Christian C.] #2940241 01/29/20 12:25 PM
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Synthetic materials are petroleum based, that's what reacts with finishes. The older non urethane finishes are more sensitive. A cotton liner will solve the problem, or contact the manufacturer for an exchange to a different product.


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Re: How do I keep cats out of my piano? [Re: Christian C.] #2940242 01/29/20 12:30 PM
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Just get some mice and place them somewhere far from the piano , cats follow mice , works every time , like in tom and Jerry


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Re: How do I keep cats out of my piano? [Re: Christian C.] #2940243 01/29/20 12:30 PM
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My wife (who makes quilts) says that the problem is likely that moisture is being trapped under the cover and imprinting the pattern on the lid. The cover you have is made of polypropylene and nylon (according to their web page) and it can't breathe.

The solution is to have a cover that's made of a natural fabric (cotton or wool) so the moisture doesn't get trapped. That would probably be better for the mechanics of the piano as well.

She recommends 100% cotton twill, which is thicker material that can still breathe. Just be sure that it's soft enough that it won't scratch the finish.


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Re: How do I keep cats out of my piano? [Re: MarkL] #2940254 01/29/20 12:48 PM
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Mark, that's great information. I wish I'd known that when I bought the cover! Thanks very much!

Re: How do I keep cats out of my piano? [Re: Jitin] #2940255 01/29/20 12:50 PM
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Jitin, I assure you that would be the happiest day of my cats life! The problem is that one cat truly is a ninja and I'd be going through six dozen mice a day. "Burp!"

Re: How do I keep cats out of my piano? [Re: FrankCox] #2940256 01/29/20 12:51 PM
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Frank, that sounds like the solution. Thanks very much to you and your wife!

Re: How do I keep cats out of my piano? [Re: FrankCox] #2940316 01/29/20 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by FrankCox
My wife (who makes quilts) says that the problem is likely that moisture is being trapped under the cover and imprinting the pattern on the lid. The cover you have is made of polypropylene and nylon (according to their web page) and it can't breathe.

The solution is to have a cover that's made of a natural fabric (cotton or wool) so the moisture doesn't get trapped. That would probably be better for the mechanics of the piano as well.

She recommends 100% cotton twill, which is thicker material that can still breathe. Just be sure that it's soft enough that it won't scratch the finish.



This was my thought also.

Pwg


Last edited by P W Grey; 01/29/20 03:09 PM.

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Re: How do I keep cats out of my piano? [Re: Christian C.] #2940476 01/30/20 04:30 AM
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I'm very sorry that happened to your family's piano ChristainC.
Hopefully it will serve as a cautionary tale and prevent the same from happening to someone else.
If you would indulge my curiosity, did you contact GRK about what happened? I can only imagine how distressed you were on discovering this...frankly I would raging still !!

Best of luck with the finish expert, no doubt it will be as good as new.

Re: How do I keep cats out of my piano? [Re: Christian C.] #2940575 01/30/20 10:16 AM
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Thank you, Suzy. I did contact GRK the same day that I discovered what happened. The woman I spoke to was very cordial, however I haven't heard anything back from them since. I'm still waiting for the finish expert to assess the damage. That will determine how I proceed with GRK. However, yes I am outraged that their top of the line piano cover has damaged my piano. It just doesn't seem like that should ever happen. But I don't want to speculate until I have the facts. I agree with you too, that I'm confident that the piano can be repaired, which is what counts the most. And once it is repaired, I want to prevent this from ever happening again. And if I can share my experience with others, then some good may have come out of this nightmare.
Chris

Re: How do I keep cats out of my piano? [Re: Christian C.] #2940593 01/30/20 11:00 AM
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Sad story. Hope you get it all fixed back to original status.

You might also consider telling GRK we're all very curious here at PW to see how they will live up to solving your problem...

As for the cats, I suppose it's the claws that's the real threat. Are there some sort of soft paw-boots you could put on them. Since they apparently won't need their claws for mice-hunt... wink

Last edited by Ajax69; 01/30/20 11:04 AM.

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Re: How do I keep cats out of my piano? [Re: Ajax69] #2940664 01/30/20 12:58 PM
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Thanks, Peter! I'm going to keep my post more focused on how to prevent further damage going forward. At least for the moment. I will let you everyone how it went with GRK, for better or worse, when the time comes. You raise an interesting point about the cats though. The one cat is just poetry in motion, she just naturally moves like an NFL running back or a martial artist. Shortly after we got the cats, I was riding my mountain bike in the local mountains, and I came to a particularly challenging section and thought to myself, "You know, Chai could ride this." Which sounds kind of funny, I know. But I also realized at that moment that I couldn't take her claws away from her. So neither cat is declawed for that reason. And no, we've never had a mouse. There was, however, great interest one day when they had a cricket cornered. Then her brother got mad at her because she killed the cricket and they couldn't play with it anymore. Lol. The paw boots are a wonderful thought, but I don't think that they would last a day. So my hope is to find a way to prevent scratches in the piano with a cover that's thick, but breathable and won't react with the finish. Or find another practical solution which I simply haven't thought of. Thanks again!

Re: How do I keep cats out of my piano? [Re: Christian C.] #2940685 01/30/20 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Christian C.
Thanks, Peter! I'm going to keep my post more focused on how to prevent further damage going forward. At least for the moment. I will let you everyone how it went with GRK, for better or worse, when the time comes. You raise an interesting point about the cats though. The one cat is just poetry in motion, she just naturally moves like an NFL running back or a martial artist. Shortly after we got the cats, I was riding my mountain bike in the local mountains, and I came to a particularly challenging section and thought to myself, "You know, Chai could ride this." Which sounds kind of funny, I know. But I also realized at that moment that I couldn't take her claws away from her. So neither cat is declawed for that reason. And no, we've never had a mouse. There was, however, great interest one day when they had a cricket cornered. Then her brother got mad at her because she killed the cricket and they couldn't play with it anymore. Lol. The paw boots are a wonderful thought, but I don't think that they would last a day. So my hope is to find a way to prevent scratches in the piano with a cover that's thick, but breathable and won't react with the finish. Or find another practical solution which I simply haven't thought of. Thanks again!

OT: It's amazing how cats that are siblings can be so different from each other. We have two cats. One, a tabby, is naturally athletic. He will leap off the 3rd floor balcony after bats and land in the courtyard below, no worse for the wear. His brother is a magpie who is terrified of heights, and can't even get to the 3rd floor of their cat tree without a human assist. When he tries to jump a short distance, he first stretches out a paw to make sure that he can touch the other side first, before trying to jump. I find this very interesting since both cats were raised in the same environment and are at least fraternal twins.


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Re: How do I keep cats out of my piano? [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2940713 01/30/20 03:11 PM
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That is so true, Tyrone! My little ninja is all of 7lbs and her brother is 20lbs. But she definitely keeps him at bay. He's big lover-boy and she's a tom-boy who lives to cause trouble. It's amazing how different they are.

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