How To Keep Your Cat From Eating Your Houseplants

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This post is for all the cat & plant parents out there! Pets and plants are two elements which can make your house feel like a home, but sometimes the two don’t quite get along.

You’re probably reading this because:

a) you want your plant babies to flourish in peace

b) you want to give your cat the freedom to explore

c) your heart is conflicted because it feels like you can’t have both

I know the feeling.

So how do plants and cats live harmoniously under the same roof?

More specifically, how do you keep your cat from eating your plants?

This is Alfie. We adopted him in May 2019 and he joined our urban jungle. After giving away my toxic plants, I was still nervous about what he would do to the remaining plants. To be honest, I had my fingers crossed he was the type of cat that just didn’t care about plants.

For the most part, it was true!

While he would do a daily round of sniffing the leaves, most plants didn’t appeal to him at all, except for one: the Spider Plant.

Now, the spider plant (chlorophytum comosum) is listed as a non-toxic plant. But I think you’ll agree when I say I would rather this plant live a happy, long life.

I had the feeling he liked this plant so much because its leaves resemble grass. As soon as I realized that, I went and bought seeds to start growing cat grass.

My other spider plant sits on a table among other various indoor plants, so to prevent Alfie from chewing that one too, I simply moved it to the back of the table where he couldn’t reach it, and he seems to leave it alone now.

These two solutions worked out okay for me. But if your cat is cheekier than Alfie, here are some more tips from other cat & plant parents.

Check it out:

  1. If you can tolerate the smell of vinegar, mix three parts water to one part vinegar and spray this on the leaves. Citrus is also said to be effective.
  2. Keep all your plants up high in a hanging planter, or a high shelf with no room for a cat to jump onto.
  3. Give them access to cat grass or catnip plants that they can chew (and enjoy!)
  4. Keep them busy enough to not even consider plants – such as lots of climbing and scratching posts, toys and access to window sills or the porch.
  5. Buy fake plants for them to play with, and keep your real plants in a more hidden and secure spot.
  6. Mix cayenne pepper in water and spray it over the plants. The smell can be strong enough to keep the cat away and it’s safe for your plants.
  7. Put pine cones on top of the soil
  8. Or lemon/lime/orange peel
  9. Use a spray bottle and spritz the cat with water (while they’re in the act of eating a plant) and eventually they will associate their bad behavior with getting sprayed.
  10. Keep the pathways to window sills and perches clear, so your cat doesn’t knock any plants over on their way to their favorite spot.

So which plants are toxic to cats?

This database by the ASPCA is the most thorough list on the internet, and I use it every time I consider adding a new plant to the collection. Plus, they list both the scientific name and the household name!

If you’re looking for pet-friendly plants to add to your collection (perhaps you need to replace some toxic ones), these are a couple of my favorite Pinterest graphics:

An important note: any plant can make your pet sick if it is consumed too much, as well as the possible consumption of soil and fertilizer. Use this article as a guide only and see your local vet if your pet shows any signs of agitation.

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