Cats and Houseplants: What You Need to Know
“Curiosity killed the cat.”
I love cats. They’re like little, take-home versions of the majestic and powerful feline rulers of the animal kingdom; tiny Simbas that every so often grace us with a little cuddle on the couch. Trouble is…I also love houseplants. And as every feline lover knows, houseplants aren’t always safe for our curious cats. But having cats doesn’t mean our houses have to be plant-free, it just means we need to do a little extra self-educating to keep our fur-babies safe.
Why Cats Eat Houseplants:
Cats are carnivores, right? So why does our indoor green garden intrigue them so much? Well, while we may think they’re pretty senseless to find chasing a laser pointer for an hour to be entertaining, they’re actually incredibly intelligent.
They know that the green stuff is packed with beneficial vitamins and nutrients that keep them healthy and strong. They also know that a little dose of the good stuff can be amazing for their digestion, especially when it comes to breaking down hairballs.
Plus, beyond the health benefits, it doesn’t help that many of our favourite houseplants bare a striking resemblance to a lot of their playthings. Little leaves vibrating in the wind or tendrils dangling down, begging to be pounced on? We honestly shouldn’t even be surprised!
How to Keep Cats Out of Houseplants:
Just because our cats may feel like stealing a taste of our prized plants, doesn’t mean that we should let them.
If they need a fix of green try bringing in a few plants dedicated just for them. Choose plants they prefer, like cat grass or oat grass and replenish often with a little overseeding as needed. As we all know, catnip is also an excellent choice to keep them occupied, but replacing it every day after they annihilate it getting their fix won’t be saving you any time or stress.
If bringing in other plants just isn’t for you, you can try protecting the ones you have by putting them up on a high shelf or in a hanging basket. If your cat is too much of an acrobat for that to work, try adding a layer of rocks on top of the soil (think bigger, not litter). Or you can try spraying something unsavoury on the foliage, like lemon juice, vinegar, or Bitter Apple.
Toxic vs Non-Toxic:
As much as we do our best to keep them away, accidents happen, and our poor cats could find themselves in some pretty serious danger with just a casual taste test. It’s our job as owners to know what’s safe and unsafe to protect them better.
Toxic Houseplants for Cats:
Toxic houseplants for cats can often mean just a little discomfort, like drooling, weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, or irritation of the skin, mouth, and stomach. These plants won’t usually cause serious, lasting side effects, but should be approached with caution:
“¢ Asparagus Ferns
“¢ English Ivy
“¢ Pothos Plant
“¢ Fiddle Leaf Fig
“¢ Snake Plant
“¢ ZZ Plant
Other toxic houseplants can come with much more serious consequences, like seizures, kidney failure, coma, or even death. These plants should be avoided by any and all cat households:
Safe Houseplants for Cats:
Houseplants aren’t all bad for cats, and many can be kept in the house without fear for our pets’ safety. These houseplants all come with little to no side effects for cats:
“¢ Boston Fern
“¢ Staghorn Fern
“¢ Maidenhair Fern
“¢ Spider Plant
“¢ African Violets
“¢ Air Plants
“¢ Prayer Plants
“¢ Christmas Cactus
Tips to Remember:
If you’re ever in doubt about bringing a plant into your cat-friendly home, never be afraid to use a little Google power to double-check. Remember always to assume it’s poisonous until you know.
If you find yourself with a suddenly sick cat and a chewed up plant, always seek immediate veterinary care. Try to bring a sample of the plant with you and make sure to note each and every symptom to ensure your pet gets the effective and immediate care.
Having cats doesn’t mean not having houseplants and creating a healthy habitat for both is simple with the right information. With this guide and the power of Google on your side, you can feel confident in getting your cat-friendly indoor garden started today.