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Cats and Houseplants. Can They Live in Harmony?

by WongRachel

Cats and houseplants. Can they live in harmony?

It's really common today that a plant parent is also a furry parent. Both your green baby and your fur baby brings you love and joy. However it also led the question of how do people make sure the cats don’t destroy the plants? And how do you know if plants are toxic to cats? Can they really live together?

Living with Plants and Cats

Never assume that cats instinctively know what plants are toxic for them. Our cats are domesticated animals and knowing what is good or bad for them is not necessarily part of their experience.
Some cats are not interested in plants at all and can be left alone in a room with toxic plants without any problems, but if you’re the parent of a furry feline that loves to nibble on fresh plant leaves, make sure to avoid these plants:

TOXIC PLANTS TO CATS

• Sago Palm and other Cycads
• Any bulb plants, like Lillies, Hyacinth, Daffodil, Amaryllis
• Asparagus fern
• Dieffenbachia
• Oxalis triangularis
• Azalea
• Dracaena
• Aloe
• Sansevieria
• Anthurium
• Monstera deliciosa

This list is not complete and please always check if your plants are toxic! Also note, that for most plants your cat would have to ingest a substantial amount to become ill.

CAT-SAFE PLANTS

Plants recommended by the plant- and catlovers from our panel:
• Spiderplant
• Hanging plants (out of reach, if your cat can reach it, they are attractive because of the movement)
• Kentia palms (some cats love to eat juicy sweet palm leaves, which destroys them)
• Olive trees
• Cacti (although they can hurt the cats with their spines!)
• Echeveria and Haworthia succulents
• Zamioculca
• Peperomia (the cats don’t like the taste!)
• Ferns
• Calathea
• Tillandsia air plants
• Grasses
• Strelitzia (mildly toxic)
• Plants with big leaves (less tempting)
• Staghorn ferns (can be mounted and hung out of reach)
• Lemongrass
• Maranta

SUCCESS TIPS

• Start with plants that are non toxic to cats and observe how your cats behave with them. Make certain rooms off limits to the cats to keep more toxic plants.

• Put your plants in a place where the cats can’t reach them, for example on a fridge or plantshelfie. Or in a room that you can close when you are not around to watch your cat’s behavior.

• Use plant hangers to hang plants from the ceiling where your cats can’t reach it. Or use wall-pots (only works if your cats are not too acrobatic!)

• Make sure if you put a plant up high, that there is no way for your cat to jump up there. No empty space for your cat on the #plantshelfie or he or she may tip over a planter.

SUCCESS TIPS

• Play with your cats and tire them out. A happy and tired cat will leave your plants alone.

• Cut chicken wire and lay it flat on top of the soil. This will prevent your cat from digging up the soil and making a huge mess or using it as a litter box. You can also use some larger stones or gems to (partly) cover the soil.

• Provide a clean litter box and a nice scratching pole, so that they have everything they need and doesn’t use your plants as a litter box or pole.

• Accept that your cats will nibble on (some of) your houseplants and that they won’t look its best with some cat scars. Learn to live with your imperfect plants. After all, it’s your cat’s home too!

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