Your Guide to Living with Houseplants & Cats

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If you are a cat owner, you know that every cat is unique in their own way. While some cats are sleepy and slow, more prone to lounging and stretching, others are energetic and always looking for play.  How your cat interacts with houseplants is largely reflective of their personality: some cats will ignore your houseplants as if they don’t exist, while others will do quite the opposite. Unfortunately, my cat, Phoenix is the latter. 

Phoenix is a large cat, and a hungry one. For him, two meals a day is not enough. Whenever he’s left alone, he resorts to eating houseplants. I’ve never actually caught Phoenix in the act of munching on my monstera, but I have come home numerous times to find broken pots on the ground, leaves with nibble marks, and the inevitable vomit that results (my favorite). 

Some houseplants are toxic for pets, and it’s important for parents of cats and dogs to pay attention to what is, and what it isn’t. Given Phoenix’s proclivity for mischief and poor food choices, I have to consider carefully what houseplants are allowed inside.

Toxic Houseplants to Plants to Avoid 

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LILY

It’s important to note that lilies are only poisonous when consumed. Your vase of lilies safely set far from your cat’s ability to knock over or otherwise access should be fine. However, lilies are among the most toxic plants to cats, leading to kidney failure, seizures and death. In fact, even drinking water from vase that contained lilies is serious matter and your pet should be seen by a Veterinarian immediately. You cat could experience irreversible kidney failure if not seen within 48 hours. 

The most dangerous lilies for cats include 1:
  • Asiatic Lily
  • Daylily
  • Easter Lily
  • Japanese Show Lily 
  • Oriental Lily 
  • Rubrum Lily
  • Stargazer Lily
  • Tiger Lily
  • Wood Lily 

Other Highly Toxic Houseplants include 2:
  • Azaleas 
  • Aloe
  • Cyclamen
  • Mistletoe
  • Daffodils

While you want to avoid highly toxic plants lilies there are still less toxic houseplants that you should still remain cautious off. These have less serious consequences, but your cat might experience vomiting, diarrhea, weakness and irritation of skin, mouth and stomach. Usually, these reactions won’t last long but you should still be on the look out and  contact your Veterinarian if these issues persist. 

Toxic Houseplants to be Cautious of include: 

• Asparagus Ferns
• English Ivy
• Dieffenbachia
• Dracaena
• Pothos Plant
• Philodendron
• Fiddle Leaf Fig
• Snake Plant
• Poinsettia
• Primrose
• ZZ Plant

Safe Houseplants for your Cat

Now let’s move into a more positive direction and talk about houseplants that are suited for homes with cats! These have   little to none side effects to you cats. Make sure to do your research and double check that a houseplant is safe for cats before bringing it into your home. When in doubt, you can always google it!

Here are the houseplants that are non-toxic to cats:
  • Ferns
  • Spider Plant
  • African Violets
  • Air Plants
  • Prayer Plants
  • Cast Iron Plant
  • Bamboo
  • Hoya
  • Echeveria and Haworthia Succulents
  • Sedum
  • Christmas Cactus
  • Peperomonia (tastes yucky to cats)
  • Calathea
  • Zebra Plant
  • Palms 

You can view a full list of non-toxic houseplants by clicking here! (ASPCA)

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Tips for your Cats & Houseplants to Co-Exist

In my personal experience, I have found it best to buy succulents that are difficult to nibble on . It also helped to put my houseplants on a higher table with little room to jump on.  However, this is a solution for my particular case and may not work for other cats. Especially since I know a good amount of cats that love jumping onto high counters. Check out the tips below for ideas on how to keep your cat out of your houseplants. (Preventive Vet)

 

1. Relocate your houseplants to inaccessible areas 

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An obvious solution is to place your houseplants where your cat cannot reach them. You can use hanging plants or wall shelves with no room to jump on. You can get creative as well, such as using an enclosed terrarium or a hanging air plant. If your houseplants are out of sight, then they will be out of their mind. (Hopefully..)

2.  Give your cat their own plant

Go to your local pet store and pick up a cat grass or catnip plant for your cat to eat instead of your houseplants! With their own plants to chew on, it’s a healthy way to keep them occupied. 

3. Deter your cat with a citrus oil scent

Another way of safeguarding your cats from houseplants is to cat proof them. This involves spraying your plants with unappealing scents and putting lemon/orange peels in pots to deter them away. 

You can also sprinkle some cayenne pepper around the leaves to 

4. Entertain them from Boredom
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One of the main reasons that your cat might be getting into your houseplants is because their bored. Having cat trees, scratchers or toys around the house will provide your cat with an alternative method of distraction. This will help deter them from your plants. Make sure to take the time to play with them as well, so they will be too tired to even think of Houseplants. 

5. Set up Barriers between your cat and houseplants

You can create a barrier from your cat by caging your houseplants using chicken wire. Another barrier idea is placing a layer of rocks or stones across the soil to prevent your cat from digging into the soil. 


Now that your informed about the houseplants you can bring into the house and ways for your cat to co-exist with them, check out the houseplant haven section at Homestead Gardens! We offer a variety of cat friendly houseplants to fit your needs. We also have cat toys and scratchers in our Farm and Pet section as well!