Cats and Houseplants – Keep Cats Away from Plants!

Could you please tell me how to keep cats away from plants. No matter what I try, my cats keep tearing my plants to pieces.

We love our cats and we love our plants. It’s important to know how to keep cats away from plants since many are toxic to cats and can make a small animal very ill. 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.

Purchase Cat Grass

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 poisonous 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 considered dangerous, only some of the most common. Always check the toxicity of all your plants if you have cats in the house. Check out our Plant Wizard to read about all of the plants that may pose a threat to cats.

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