How To Keep Cats Out Of Houseplants

Plants add color and interest to your home. Some of them provide air purification and have loads of benefits for the family.

But there always seems to be a problem as your feline enjoys your indoor plants as much as you. The problem is they love it for all the wrong reasons.

So to find out more about how to keep your cat and plants protected, make sure to read on.

Why Do Cats Love Potted Plants?

cat with plants

Cats are known to chew on plants, and yes, it can cause havoc to your foliage, or they knock things over. Some cats use it as their litter box. Or pets can play with the leaves until all of them fall off.

So having a cat and houseplants do not always go together. But you love your pet and your plants and wonder why they do it.

Well, felines are curious by nature, and when anything moves, it becomes prey. Do you remember putting up your Christmas tree for the first time?

Oh yes, you do, as your cat jumped all over it after the shiny balls and tinsel. Well, if the fronds or leaves tease them, they react. Sometimes they enjoy digging holes and, even worse, defecating in your planter.

It is not personal, even if it causes frustration, as your poor exotic plant looks like cheese with holes.

Why Do Cats Eat My Plant?

Most exploring cats do this through their mouth, so eating plants is part of growing up. While it might not sound enticing to you, we did the same as newborns.

As toddlers, we put everything inside our mouths. So if the plant tastes good, they return for more, but your plant is safe if it is a cat dislike.

The problem is that you may have a toxic plant in the home, which can cause severe reactions for your pet. Even a non-toxic plant can result in vomiting, nausea, or an upset stomach.

Another exciting thing is that many cats are curious, and their tongues are covered with papillae. So, even if your curious kitties do not intend to ingest the leaves, they can still get caught in the hairs and forced down the throat

So constantly monitor your cat and what they are chewing or invest in safe plants for your feline friends.

Cats Love The Texture of Indoor Plants

Cats are instantly attracted to plants with long leaves. Hence, cats tend to chew on them. Many veterinarians say it might be that they love the texture. Still, having an upset stomach and getting fiber to move things along is also possible.

Yet, if you have ponytail palms and your fur baby thinks it is grass, count yourself lucky as it is a non-toxic plant for your cats.

Felines Love The Movement of Leaves

a cat and a plant

This must be the number one reason your plant looks like Swiss Cheese. Felines are natural hunters; if something moves, they prance at it.

Another fact is that your cat might be bored and looking for something to do as they are fed up with being left at home behind closed doors.

Cats Chew on Plants to Ease Stress

Most cats are prone to anxiety and stress. It can result from chewing fur, suckling blankets, ingesting a non-food item, and eating plants. We recommend watching your cat’s body language at home when chewing. You are dealing with a stressed cat if it looks unsettled or is always on high alert.

These are some reasons your cats like to prance at your spider plants. But if you’re concerned and want to prevent this from happening, read our section below to cat-proof houseplants.

How to Keep Cats Away From Plants Safe

Whether you have a cat chewing on your plants or using it like a cat’s litter box, there are some ways you can make cats dislike your houseplants. You love your feline and exotic plants and do not want to eliminate them. So the best way is to make your foliage unappealing.

Stop Cats With a Natural Repellent Spray

Cats hate the smell and taste of anything that is citrus. You can take a spray bottle with some citrus essential oils diluted in water to spray around the plant pot.

Alternatively, you can make lemon juice or use orange to lime diluted in water to spray on your plant’s leaves to ward them off. Another positive reinforcement is placing citrus rinds or lemon peels on the soil.

The smell alone should do the trick to prevent your cats from eating up your plants, and you must spray often. But keep the spray confined to only around the plants.

Smells that Cats Hate

As you know, using chicken wire around houseplants is not very chic, and as cat noses are sensitive, why not invest in specific scents to use sparingly to keep cats away from plants:

  • Citronella

  • Lavender

  • Eucalyptus

  • Rosemary

As mentioned above, be careful using citrus peels as essential oils, as you do not want your cats not feel safe in your place.

Enclose Garden That Cats Can’t Get Inside

enclose outdoor garden

The fastest solution is to move your vandalized plant out of reach. You can install floating shelves or use plant hangers hanging from the ceiling. In contrast, heavy vegetation might work best placed in an off-limits room.

Or you can place a physical barrier around your potted plants keeping cats away. Doing this is effective if you have toxic plants to prevent felines from getting sick.

Alternatives are covering the base of the plant with mulch or stone to deter cats from digging.

Prevent Cat Digging in Pots

To keep cats away from plants to dig holes in the soil, it helps to add aluminum foil over the soil. Cats do not like the shininess of aluminum foil and the noise it makes. Other techniques include making a sticky surface using double-sided pads, as they do not enjoy sticking to their paws.

Clean Their Litter Box

cat's hightech litter

There is a big possibility that the root of the concern is your cat’s litter box if they are using your household plants instead.

Make sure their box is clean and easy to access. If the problem persists, it helps to change the type of litter you use. Some feline friends can get picky when you use the same litter products for years.

So if that box is old, invest in a new litter box.

Make The Plant Pots Inaccessible

If all else fails, you may need to place your houseplants where your feline friend cannot do any harm. The best way to achieve this, especially with more miniature houseplants, is using hanging baskets or macrame plant hangers.

Or you can use containers mounted to the walls. Still, a reminder is that even if you have lilies hanging them does not mean it is safe as the floating pollen can still get onto your cat’s fur, so keep it in mind.

Be Creative And Provide Your Cat With Entertainment

cat with toys

If your feline is not part of the outdoor cat family, they might be bored. Invest some money in puzzle toys for cats, such as the indoor hunting feeder filled with hidden cat food. Your cat likes hunting, and it will nurture its natural hunting instinct.

Or, if your feline has loads of toys and is not interested in playing with them, you can always use a pheromone spray instead.

Place Cat Grass or Catnip To Your Cat’s Favorite Spot


Okay, your cat loves chewing on your outdoor plants. So why not solve the problem by giving them their plant? Having a pot of catnip is something that will get any cat’s attention.

Even having a container of cat grass that is a mix of oats and barley is also healthy. The notable thing is that cat grass is packed with nutrients to promote your feline’s health.

In contrast, catnip produces euphoric behavior in your cats.

Unusual Cat Behaviors to Look Out For

When growing plants and your cat decides to chew on a houseplant you are not sure about is toxic, then we recommend looking out for the following symptoms:

  • Coughing

  • Decreased appetite

  • Gagging

  • Pawing mouth or nose

  • Sneezing

  • Vomiting

If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately. For more information on cat flower and plant toxicity, please check the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center list here.

We hope that tips help to cat-proof houseplants in your home. Yes, most cats adore your indoor plants, but some alterations and providing your cat with things they love might do the trick.

Frequently Asked Questions

To save your green thumb a lot of trouble with your plant pots, it helps to train your cats to use their litter box. Also, ensure that the litter box remains clean, and if all fails, then you will need to cover the top soil with some tin foil, pine cones, pine needles, or rocks.

The best is to make your plants look unappealing. Some great ways are to cayenne pepper sprays, use citrus sprays, or place houseplants up high. You can grow grass like catnip to keep them distracted from your houseplants.

For cats, it is customary to nibble on plants out of curiosity or to help with digestion to remove furballs. We recommend you grow some grass like cat grass called catnip.

A good rule is that the cat grass must not exceed 10% of your cat’s caloric intake.

To keep cats away from plants, you can provide them with grass made for cats, but it does have a short lifespan to live up to 21 days.

The grass is safer than most houseplants when eaten in moderation and not treated with herbicides or pesticides.

Whether you want to buy, sell or simply reach out to other plant enthusiasts, Plantly is the right place to be!

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