Cats and Plants: A Breakup Guide

Tips and tricks to keep curious paws away from your indoor plants.

Cats: we love them, but their innate curiosity and propensity to play can put your house plants at risk for batting, nibbling, knocking over, and general plant destruction.

Many cat owners wonder, is it toxic? If they eat it, could they die? How do I keep my cat safe and stop it from terrorizing my plants?

First Things First: Is It Toxic?

Most indoor house plants will not significantly harm your animal. They may experience discomfort, excessive saliva production, or an upset stomach- but overall, nibbling on a houseplant will not cause much suffering for your cat (or dog!)

Some indoor plants that are toxic to animals and should be kept away from them are:

Poinsetta, Cyclamen, Azalea, and any member of the Lily family. They can cause serious harm and potentially very high vet bills. If you have animals make sure to keep these plants out of your home.

A Few Common Non-Toxic Indoor Plants Are:

Pony Tail Palm, Spider Plant, Money Tree, Parlor Palm, Bird's Nest Fern, Prayer Plant, Staghorn Fern, Bostern Fern, Swedish Ivy, String of Hearts, Air Plants, and all Pilea and Pepperomia species.    

cat and plant

We carry a lot of pet-safe, non-toxic plants at Palm and Pine that you can find here.

It is up to you to decide how comfortable you are introducing mildly toxic plants into your home. Do your research and consult your vet. Always trust your gut.

Ways to Keep Your Plants Safe From Curious Paws:

1) Play! Keep your cats engaged and stimulated. Giving them plenty of attention and toys will deter them from targeting your plants as play objects.

2) Cat-proof your window wills, tables, ledges, and anywhere cats love to lounge. Creating elevated spaces specifically for your cat that are clear and open will make them less likely to jump onto that one perfect southeast-facing window ledge that houses your most prized Philodendron.

3) Cat grass is great if your cat doesn't have access to the great outdoors. Give them the option to chew on some indoor grass. Plants aren't a staple in a cat's diet- they typically only chew on plants to aid in digestion and clear their stomachs. You can find planted cat grass at most pet supply stores.

4) Make your plants smell. Cats are highly sensitive to scent. Typically, cats are deterred by citrus, peppermint, and spicy smells. Placing lemon or orange peels on top of the soil, or sprinkling cayenne pepper or peppermint around the base of your planter will generally alert your cat to back off.

4) Make them completely inaccessible by hanging or mounting your plants to keep them out of reach of those tiny, yet highly destructive, little paws.

Have questions about keeping your pets and plants safe- the Plant Doctor is here to help!