Are you getting frustrated because your cat just won’t leave your houseplants alone? Are you tired of sweeping up dirt and broken plant pots? Is your cat chomping every new leaf that sprouts? Are you worried that eating your plants might be making your kitty sick?

We understand what you’re going through. And don’t worry—you don’t have to get rid of all your plants. As long as you grow cat-friendly houseplants and employ a few plant-preserving strategies, you can keep your cat and your plants happy. Here’s what to do if you don’t want your cat to eat your houseplants.

Five Ways to Stop Your Cat from Eating Your Houseplants

  1. Keep plants out of reach. Try placing them on a high shelf, inside a terrarium, or in a room your cat doesn’t have access to. 
  2. Try sprinkling a little cayenne pepper on the leaves of your plants to keep your cat from biting them. Mist them with water first to help it stick.
  3. Place a bowl of vinegar next to your plants. Some cats will be deterred by the smell of the vinegar and won’t approach the plant area.
  4. Cover the soil with tinfoil. If your cat likes to dig in your plants’ dirt, the sensation of tinfoil on their claws might keep them away.
  5. Give your cat their own plants! Catnip or wheatgrass might be just what your kitty needs to satisfy their leafy cravings.

Is Your Kitty Trying to Tell You Something?

If your cat won’t leave your houseplants alone, they might just be trying to get your attention. Cats do get bored, especially when they’re by themselves most of the day. Try spending a little extra time playing with your cat every day. Interactive games and toys will help curb the boredom and satisfy your kitty’s urge for excitement.

Or, if your cat likes to knock your houseplants over, it might be because the plants are in “their” spot. Like plants, cats love sunshine. They also like to observe what’s going on outside. If the plants are blocking all the nice, sunny windowsills, your cat might be trying to get them out of the way. Make sure your kitty has a comfortable window perch where they can keep an eye on the squirrels and take a nap in the sun.

Which Houseplants Are Safe for Cats?

Sometimes, there’s simply nothing you can do to keep your cat from chewing up your houseplants. In that case, you want to make sure that the plants you keep inside are not toxic to cats. Many common houseplants are poisonous—some more than others. For instance, cats are often attracted to spider plants, even though they’re mildly toxic. Chewing on the leaves makes them feel “high” (much like catnip) but they’ll probably end up vomiting later on. 

This doesn’t mean you have to ditch your favorite green friends. You can keep your cat from eating your houseplants by hanging them from the ceiling, enclosing them in a conservatory, or placing them on high shelves out of your cat’s reach. You can also make sure that all your new houseplants are cat-friendly.

In general, the following plants are safe for cats: 

  • African Violets
  • Bamboo
  • Cactus
  • (Most) Ferns
  • Hoyas
  • Orchids
  • Pansies

What to Do If Your Cat Ate a Toxic Plant

If you’re worried that your cat might have eaten a poisonous plant, call your vet right away. Some plants (like daffodils and lilies) can be extremely dangerous for cats, and you’ll need to act quickly to save your cat’s life. If it’s after hours, call your local 24-hour emergency vet or the Pet Poison Helpline for assistance. 

Veterinary Care for Cats in Gilbert, Arizona

Anasazi Animal Clinic is a full-service veterinary care center, and we’re here to help your cat maintain the best of health. We provide urgent care appointments, so if you’re worried about a plant that your cat ate, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. Or if you’re wondering how you can help your houseplants and your cat get along, ask us at your next visit! Contact us to make an appointment today. 


Photo by Matthew Halmshaw on Unsplash used with permission under the Creative Commons license for commercial use 4/12/2024.