Cats are curious animals, and plants can be the perfect place for them to douse their curiosities. Cats enjoy not just playing with leaves and digging into the soil but also eating the leaves! Almost every feline parent goes through this phase when their cat starts snacking on their plants.
The good news is that with a bit of planning, keeping the kitty from your precious little plants is possible. Cats must never chew house plants because it is never easy to say what toxins are hiding in the leaves. Besides, some of the house plants are way too expensive to become your cat’s meal.
Cats eat houseplants for a variety of reasons:
- For plant nutrients and fiber,
- Because they like its taste
- They get attracted to the fluttering leaves.
- Cats may suffer emotional ailments just like all of us. Anxiety attacks can prompt it to perform certain actions repeatedly to self-soothe. Some of the instances are excessive grooming, vocalization, and nibbling on plants.
- Cats may also eat household plants because it serves as a distraction from their emotional discomfort.
- They may eat them out of boredom too.
Are plants bad for cats?
A majority of houseplants are poisonous to your furry friends. Here is the list:
- Arrowhead fern
- Boston ivy
- Lily (can cause kidney failure)
- Christmas trees
- Creeping fig
- Tomato (the leaves)
If you thought your dream to have houseplants got shattered because you adopted a feline, here is something that will make you happy. Below are some of the plants that may not be toxic for cats. They can, however, produce stomach discomfort, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea in some cats.
- African violet
- Oregon grape
- Boston fern
- Prayer plant
- Spider plant
- Sweet William
- Grape hyacinth
- Variegated wandering Jew
Please note that the non-toxic plants, when sprayed with chemicals and pesticides, can turn poisonous for your feline. If you have recently bought plants home, your florist may have treated them with insecticides, and you may want them to not be within your cat’s reach. The best way to keep your kitty safe is always to assume that the plant is poisonous.
Things you can do to discourage kitties from your plants:
If you have a choice, you could give away your plants to someone that does not have a pet that needs to be away from houseplants. But if you are adamant that you want to keep your plants and the cat, here are a few suggestions. You can employ these to make sure that the cat is a good distance away from your green babies:
- Keep the plants in a room that is not accessible to the cat. However, it is easier said than done.
- If the planters are small, you may place them at a height or mount them on the wall. You could even use macramé for hanging them from the ceilings.
- You can make the plants unpalatable to your felines by applying some non-toxic substances to the leaves. It will make the leaves smell or taste bad. One of the classic examples of this kind of substance is Bitter Apple. It repels cats because they hate its odor. Thankfully, the smell does not bother humans, and it is safe for the plants. Check out similar products in your pet supply shop, or you could even do an online search. Another product that all of us have at our homes is vinegar. Rub diluted vinegar onto the leaves to put off your cats from touching them. Vinegar is completely safe for your plant babies.
- You can startle the kitty the moment you think she is very close to your planters or is just about to munch on the leaves. Say NO in your training voice. You could use a squirt gun alternatively. Please continue using the above methods to change its behavior. But make sure you do not overly frighten it because then it can become counterproductive.
- You could put sharp-edged decorations on your planters or even sharped ridged rocks on the soil to stop the kitty from holding them.
- Suppose your kitty is playing or eating with your houseplants because of boredom. It will do you a world of good if you keep it stimulated by playing with her and giving her activities. Here are some of the ways you can keep her stimulated:
- Spend quality time playing with her
- Provide posts for scratching
- Perches and hiding places
- Well stocked bird feeder
- Give random treats to her or hide them in the house for it to discover
- Keep rotating the toys.
- Introduce more games that they like
- Use cardboard boxes innovatively for it to learn while playing.
- Go for the plants that cats are naturally averse to. Rosemary is an indoor plant with a beautiful scent, but the scent does not agree with the kitties. Then there are thorny plants such as Cactus and roses. Once they get pricked in the paw, they will think two times before coming near them.
Call the vet if you suspect your kitty has eaten a poisonous plant:
Keep all the numbers, so the vet clinic and animal poison control center were handy. If you need to see the vet after hours, seek an appointment at the emergency and do not delay. Take the plant or at least a piece of it for identification at the vet.
Things that you can do to save your plants:
You could purchase Kitty grass that comes in small containers. All you need to do is to sow the seedlings and water them, and you will have them sprouting in a day. It will keep your kitten satisfied if you add more greens to her diet too.
Wheatgrass is easy to grow and very safe for cats. Sow wheat berries in moist soil and when it begins sprouting, keep the plant in a sunny spot.
Catnip is another great alternative to wheatgrass. It is a plant that is easy to grow. It also gives the cat vitamins and fiber that aid its digestion.
Cats are extremely sensitive to smell. Using scents that will make your plants unappetizing for them is the easiest thing to do. Cats hate fruity smells, so try throwing the peels of lemon on the soil of your plants. You may even sprinkle some pepper on and around the planters. Remember not to use concentrated oils, or it may affect your plants adversely.
If you find that despite using all the above hacks, you can’t still control your cat’s plant-eating spree, you must talk to your vet. Cats do eat plants and soil if their diet is lacking some essential nutrients. Regular houseplant eating can also indicate gastrointestinal issues. Do yourself and your kitty a favor and get it thoroughly evaluated by a vet for your complete satisfaction.