Everything You Need To Know On How To Keep Cats Out Of Plants

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How To Keep Cats Out Of Plants

Love cats and house plants but can’t have both in the same place? 

Yes, having both in one space can really be tough and frustrating. But the good thing is that it is possible to keep cats and indoor plants and still maintain harmony in your home. 

So, if you’re someone who has a green thumb and who has a deep fondness for cats, just hang on tight.

We are here to give you a couple of nifty tricks on how to keep your plants safe and your cats happy at the same time and more. 

Read on for our comprehensive guide on knowing how to keep cats out of plants.

Why Is Your Cat Eating Plants?

Before we go through the list of to-dos to cat-proof houseplants, it’s good to get to the bottom of your feline friends’ weird fixation for plants. 

Cats, as you know by now, are carnivorous in nature. But, despite their love for anything meaty, they’re also playful, mischievous, and oh so CURIOUS. This makes your indoor plants an easy target for your perky kitty.

Apart from being inquisitive, there are a few more reasons why cats love plants. Here are some of it:

Plants Are Tasty

Yes, you read it right. Most cats find eating plants satisfying simply because they taste good. Cats, like babies, love to discover things by putting them in their mouths, nibbling them, and chewing on them. If they like the taste and texture, then expect them to come back for more.

Plants Serve As A Great Pastime

When boredom strikes, your nosy kitty can’t help but be amused with objects that move. After all, they are born predators who love to hunt. 

So, if you have spider plants or climbers around your home, expect your cat to develop a liking for these. Their slightest movement can attract your cat’s attention and trigger your little kitty to play with it.

Nibbling Plants (Like Grass) Is Ingrained In Their System 

Your cat’s plant nibbling habit is actually an inherent behavior passed onto them by their ancestors. 

By chewing on plants, your cats’ digestive tract activity is increased. The increase in gut muscle activity helps your cat throw up unwanted stuff in their tummy (think hairballs and parasites).

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Dangers Of Houseplants To Cats

Now that you know the whys behind your cat’s nasty plant-munching quirk, let’s find out all the possible risks of having potted plants around your cats.  

If you think that only your plants are in danger when your cats are around, think again. Yes, cats tend to ruin household plants by nibbling on the leaves, knocking over the pots, scattering dirt, and worse, using it as their litter box.

But, the sad truth is that your cats’ lives are also at stake. Fact check: Those pretty, innocent-looking plants can also be dangerous to your pet. Read on to find out how.

Some Plants Are Toxic To Cats 

Just like vegetables and fruits, some indoor plants are also harmful (even deadly) to cats.

As nature-loving cat owners, you ought to know or at least have a list of all the toxic houseplants that can pose a risk to your cat’s health.

This way, you’ll know that your cat is out of harm’s way by picking only cat-safe plants to beautify your home

When it comes to toxic houseplants, the list is long, but here are some of the most common and popular yet unfavorable indoor plants that you should keep out of your cats’ paws’ reach.

For a comprehensive list, check out ASPCA’s toxic and non-toxic plant list.

  • Snake or good luck plant is also known as mother-in-law’s tongue or golden bird’s nest
  • Dumbcane or charming Dieffenbachia
  • English Ivy, aka “Branching Ivy, California Ivy, and Sweetheart Ivy”
  • Jade or dollar plant
  • Monstera Deliciosa or split-leaf philodendrons
  • Lilies (these are extremely toxic, and a small amount can cause kidney failure)

Non-Toxic Plants Can Also Have Adverse Effects

Non-toxic plants are still plants. Since your cat lacks the enzymes to digest plant matter, you’ll find your cat having bouts of diarrhea or upset stomach whenever they overeat.

As such, it’s best if you keep an eye on your cats to ensure that they don’t overindulge. 

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What To Do With Cats & Plants

Keeping your home cat-friendly is attainable, and you can do this without letting go of your dream of having a garden inside your home. The solution? 

As mentioned, there are a few handy dandy tips you can do to keep cats out of houseplants and your cats safe. If you wish to give it another try, let’s start with the basics:

1. Keep Toxic Houseplants Off Your Cat’s Space

First things first, you’ll have to make sure that your plants are non-toxic. In case you have plants in your home that are harmful to cats but letting go of it is not an option, then you’d have to put those somewhere your cat couldn’t reach.

When it comes to feline-friendly plants, here’s are a few that you might want to include in your garden:

  • Brazilian Orchid
  • Money tree
  • Blushing Bromeliad
  • Calathea
  • Prayer plant

2. Address Litter Box Problems

One of the greatest pet peeves of a plant parent is to discover their cat using their treasured potted plant’s garden soil as their new litter box. So, how do you stop cats from doing the nasty deed in your home garden?

You don’t have to look far to answer this. One common reason your cat is taking a dump on your potted plant is that they don’t like their current litter box.

If you want your cat to poop in the right place, here are a few things that you need to keep in mind:

Keep Your Cat’s Litter Box Clean

Cats are control freaks, and an unkempt litter box irks them. Dirt or soil-filled pots make for a great litter box alternative if you forget to clean up their current one. If you are too busy to clean their litter box always, you can always opt to get an Automatic Litter Box.

Ensure That The Litter Box Is Big Enough 

Cats tend to move around before doing the deed. So, if their box isn’t big enough to allow them to move freely, then their only choice is to look for another place that’s wide enough for them – which is most likely your garden.

Always Have A Spare Litter Box

At times, having just one litter box is not enough. This is especially true for homes with multiple cats. So, if you have two cats at home, make sure to have one litter box for each cat plus a spare one (so, that’s 3 litter boxes all in all).

3. Train Your Cats To Stop Pestering Your Plants

Cats seem to do what they want to do. But despite their willful nature, your cats are trainable

Yes, keeping cats off your home garden and houseplants is truly achievable, although it will take a few tries, or perhaps more. So, make sure to bring with you loads of patience. Also, keep a spray bottle with water handy.  

A typical training technique, spraying your kitty a gentle mist every time they approach your house plants is a nice, humane way of saying they have to keep away. Consistency, however, is vital.

Apart from using a spray bottle, you can also make a loud sound or clap loudly to startle them. Wind chimes and motion-activated devices will also work.

4. Give Your Kitties Their Own Plant

Since cats are innately curious and playful, letting your cat have a plant for them to nibble or chew just makes sense.

Remember, though, that this “chew” plant should be somewhere easily accessible for your cat so that your cat won’t have to look for other plants. 

Apart from giving your tabby a cat-safe plant, you also have an option to buy cat grass kits from your local pet stores.

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More Clever Tricks On How To Keep Cats Out Of Plants

Keeping cats and their paws off your garden’s loose soil and favorite houseplants is indeed challenging. Thankfully, there are a few more tricks available to keep cats out of houseplants.

Make Plants Uninviting

To make a plant or its pot unattractive to cats, you can either change its smell, texture, or taste.

Make your plants smell stinky (at least for your cats). Citrus scents are some of the things we enjoy as humans. It’s a different story for cats. Cats tend to steer clear of anything that smell of citrus.

As such, putting citrus fruit peels like lemon peels or lime peels on your plant’s pot would help. You can also use lemon juice as a repellent spray and spray it all over the whole plant. This will keep cats at bay and make your home smell good. 

Alter the taste of your plant. Substances that serve as a good deterrent include bitter apple, cayenne pepper, and pepper.

Simply mix this with water in a spray bottle and then spritz this over the leaves and the garden soil. You can also sprinkle the cayenne pepper directly on the plant and the surrounding soil.

Check how your cat reacts to the substance. Your persistent cat may try a few times, but soon they’ll get the message that they are not supposed to chew or eat the plant. 

Change the texture of the soil. If you want to keep cats from digging and off the soil, another thing you can do is to put aluminum foil around the planter. The same technique works if you want your cat to stay away from your Christmas tree.

If the look of aluminum foil puts you off, you can always settle with pine cones, eggshells, stone mulch, or large pebbles. Alternatively, you can also cover the plant’s base with chicken wire or mesh fabric. 

Grow Plants That Deter Cats  

It is true that your cat loves plants. But if you can’t get your cats out of houseplants because your cat likes them so much, then maybe it’s time for you to grow plants that cats hate. 

There are a couple of houseplants cats detest, including lavender, rosemary, and other plants that are highly aromatic.

Cats dislike these because of their strong scent. Note, however, that while cats would most likely avoid this because of their aroma, these plants are toxic to cats. So, keeping these plants somewhere where they can’t reach it is still best.

Sticky Putty Can Do Wonders

If your cats knock things a lot, including your plants, then one thing you can do is to put sticky putty at the bottom of your pot. This will keep your pot in place.

Create A Barrier Between Your Cats & Plants

If your cat decides to keep eating your plants despite the use of citrus repellents and the like, then the only thing you can do to keep your indoor or outdoor house garden safe is to create a barrier. 

You can either create a fence using some chicken wire. This is especially recommended if your garden is outside and is constantly attacked by outdoor cats. 

For smaller plants found indoors, you have an option to put these inside a decorative birdcage and hang it somewhere beyond your cats’ reach.

Fish tanks and mesh shelving units also work but always consider the places where to place them. Now, if you have many plants to keep safe, consider setting up a room dedicated solely for your plants (like a sunroom).

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Final Thoughts

It’s undeniable; cats love plants. Unfortunately, the love they have for plants often brings more harm than good. Now, if you’re a plant person who also loves cats, you’d most likely find yourself in a pickle.

The tips above would most likely work, but you’d have to try a mix of everything. A little (or should we say a ton) of patience and understanding is also required. 

You’re a pet parent, after all. As a parent, your job entails a bit of sacrifice, a couple of sleepless nights, and some cleaning up.

But, fret not! At the end of each day, seeing your feline friend happy and healthy makes a whole lot of difference. 

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