Plants and Pets

Cats and HousePlants

Cats love to chew on houseplants and dig in the soil. They need to do this especially when they don’t have easy access to real grass. Cats collect painful hairballs in their body and the only way to get rid of them is to regurgitate. Chewing on grass to helps a cat vomit up the hairballs; eating houseplants is the next best thing.

Since cats are great climbers, moving plants out of the way is not really an option, but there are several other ways to keep cats from eating your plants.

Try growing some pots of cat grass, you can usually find this at a pet store. This diverts their attention from your plants to plants of their own.  Some people recommend growing catnip, but that can make some cats manic and others drowsy.

You can mist the leaves of your houseplants with a mild mixture of cayenne pepper and water or citus juice and water. Cats don’t like these sprays nor do a lot of other plant pests, so it’s doubly effective. Putting pieces of orange or lemon rind in the soil is a good deterrent, because cats don’t want anything to do with citrus products.

Cats don’t like walking on tin foil, so a few strips of  tin foil on top of the soil can prevent them from munching on the plant.

Place a few cactus plants around your regular houseplants as a barrier. A cat is smart, it only needs to be pricked once and it will stay away from the area.

If you think your cat has eaten a poisonousPlants are a great addition to homes and offices, but it’s important to know whether your plants are dangerous to children, pets, or even adults. Some plants contain chemicals such as oxalates, solanine, glycosides, or alkaloid lycorine that may cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, swelling and redness of the mouth, throat, and lips, and trouble breathing. Touching parts of certain plants, especially the sap, may cause various skin irritations. The weight and age of the human or pet involved, and the part and amount of plant eaten determine how severe the reaction to the toxins will be. Although plants may be listed as non-toxic, they can still cause individual allergic reactions. If there is any question after a houseplant has been ingested or touched immediately call the Poison Control Center 1-800-222-1222 The Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious Plants [Paperback]is an excellent reference to keep around if you have young children and pets. houseplant, you shouldn’t wait for the symptoms to appear, by then it may be too late. Signs of poisoning include: diarrhea, depression, lethargy, kidney failure, vomiting, foaming at the mouth, seizures, and coma. The ASPCA National Animal Poison Control Center is a 24-hour emergency service (1-888-426-4435).  Since it is answered by licensed veterinarians and toxicologists there is a charge.

Here are a few of the most toxic plants to cats. It does not include all plants that are dangerous, only some of the most common and most dangerous. Always check the toxicity of all your plants if you have cats in the house.

Amaryllis, Azalea, Caladium, Croton, Daffodil, Dieffenbachia, English Ivy, all Lilies, Marble Queen, Peace Lily, all Philodendron, Pothos, ZZ Plant