Sometimes it seems no matter what you do, you can never keep cats out of houseplants. Their curiosity will always get the better of them. I know with my cats, I had to go to great lengths to keep them and my houseplants apart. This led me on a journey of research to finally fix this problem!
Here are 8 simple tried and tested tips to keep your cats out of houseplants.
1. Make Your Plants Stink (To Your Cat)
Cats hate the smell of citrus so try throwing a lemon peel or two into the soil of your plants (but don’t use concentrated citrus oils as it can be toxic). You could also sprinkle cayenne pepper around a plant. Pepper with its scent and effect on cat mucosa drives the kitten away from further intentions.
2. Make a Blend of Essential Oils
At your nearest grocery store, buy mint oil, or a similar herb. Mix water with few drops of the oil and spray directly on the leaves of your plant. Your cat won’t be tempted to nom and the mixture won’t hurt your plants!
3. Grow Spices and Similar Herbs
Cats generally do not like intense scents, and herbs are in this category. Instead of classic indoor herbs, get a few jars of herbs, and cats will not touch such plants, or simply place smaller jars of herbs around a plant that you do not want the cat to touch.
4. Spray Your Plant’s Leaves
Buy pet sprays that are designed specifically to keep pets away from houseplants. They’re made from non-toxic ingredients but it’s always smart to check with your vet is it safe to use. As an alternative, you can always mix 1 part vinegar with 3 parts water and spray directly on the leaves of your plant. Your cat won’t be tempted to nom and the mixture won’t hurt your plants!
5. Place Your Plants Strategically
If it’s possible, settling your plants in the most off-limits part of your home is the easiest way to keep your cat at arm’s length. If that’s not an option, consider placing plants high enough your cat can’t get to them, or even hanging them in baskets from the ceiling if your cat’s a jumper.
6. Grow Pet Grass
Growing pet grass is a great way to provide your cat with healthy greenery. Once mature, place the grass near your pet’s food bowl and reinforce positive behavior.
Cats are often attracted not so much to the plant itself, but to the potted area. Digging in the soil for sanitary purposes or for fun is a great pleasure. But any such pleasure turns into a disaster for the plants themselves.
7. Use Rocks
Try adding a layer of rocks on top of the soil (think bigger, not litter).
8. Aluminum Foil and Adhesive Tape
Cats do not like to walk on aluminum foil and do not like sticky surfaces. Use these two facts to your advantage. Put aluminum foil or double-sided tape on the area around the plants and it is almost certain that the cat will not even come close to such surfaces. After a while, remove the tape or foil and check – your cat may give up on the plants over time.
You can also cover the soil surface with metal or plastic mesh or use special protective grilles.
Why Do Cats Eat Houseplants?
In some cases, cats eat plants (or soil!) because their diet is lacking some essential nutrients. They also know that a little dose of the good stuff can be amazing for their digestion, especially when it comes to breaking down hairballs.
Some people believe that cats “eat” indoor plants out of boredom because it is some way of having fun. If your cat’s plant-eating seems to be getting more and more out of hand, it’s best to talk to your vet.
As well as houseplants, you’ve also probably noticed cats love earwax too (gross, I know), we have an article on why cats love earwax which explains why this is.
My Cat Has Eaten a Potentially Poisonous Plant. Will They Survive?
Every plant is going to have a different amount of toxins in it. For example, when selectively breeding for flower color, we may be increasing or decreasing the toxicity of a plant. Plants that are under more stress (insect damage, drought, etc.) may have increased amounts of toxins in them. The number of toxins can also change during the growing cycle.
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