Pet Care

Are Indoor Plants Safe for Cats?

Should you have indoor plants if you own a cat? Here are the plants that are safe and unsafe for your feline friend.

6
min read

Cats are famous for their love of plants. You've likely seen your cat batting around a bright green stem or chewing on a leaf or two (or three). And, while this is a natural behavior among felines, some plants can be toxic to cats if ingested. If you're considering bringing indoor plants into your home, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about keeping them safe for your kitty.

In this article, we’re going over the pros and cons of having indoor plants in the home, as well as discussing ways to keep your cats safe from indulging in too much curiosity. Finally, we’ll be covering the top toxic and non-toxic indoor plants for your sweet cat. 

How to Keep Your Cat Away from Indoor Plants

Regardless of the type of plants that you grow indoors, it’s best to keep your cat away from them. This will prevent them from getting too comfortable viewing houseplants as a toy in general. Here are some things you can do to keep your cat away from indoor plants:

Keep them out of reach

You may not be able to completely stop cats from doing what they want, but you can make it difficult for them. Make sure all your plants are either on high shelves or hanging from the ceiling, out of sight and reach of curious kitties. If possible, try putting up a screen or netting around the plant so that if they do get close enough to the pot, they won't be able to get inside and cause damage.

Spray citrus juice or repellent onto the leaves

Cats don't like the citrus scent—it's much more pleasant for humans than for felines. Another cat deterrent to try is spraying citrus water onto the leaves of your plants. You could even simply place orange and lemon peels on top of the soil in your pots! 

The Most Dangerous Houseplants for Cats

While it’s generally a good idea to keep your cat away from all the plants inside your house, there are some that you should be especially mindful of. This is because certain common houseplants are downright deadly to cats. These houseplants are the most dangerous to cats.

If you have a cat, you must be incredibly careful about the plants you keep in your home. Some plants can cause serious harm or even death to your pet. 

Lilies

Lilies are a popular flower that many people like to grow indoors. However, they are ridiculously toxic to cats. Even something as small as pollen grains or the water from a vase can be enough to kill a cat. 

Tulips

Like lilies, tulips contain alkaloids and allergic components that can be harmful to a cat’s digestive system. This is because tulips are part of the lily family, and should be kept far from cats if possible.

Sago Palm

Every part of this common houseplant is extremely toxic to cats, including the fronds and seeds. A cat suspected of ingesting the sago palm should be brought to see a vet immediately.

Hyacinth

These flowers are bright and beautiful, but even sniffing them could cause harm to cats. Hyacinths are incredibly toxic to cats and should be avoided.

Asparagus Fern

Another surprising member of the lily family, asparagus ferns leaves and berries are quite toxic to our feline friends. They’re poison to dogs, too!

Devil’s Ivy

This plant is incredibly irritating to the mucus membranes, so even just a nibble could result in excessive salivation and burning/swelling of the tongue.

Precautions to Take with Dangerous Houseplants

If you’ve decided to bring home some plants that could be dangerous to your cat, it’s important to take time to research them and prepare. 

  • Research the plants you're considering bringing home. There are many online databases and reference books available for this purpose.
  • Keep dangerous plants away from your cats and make certain rooms off-limits to them entirely so that they don’t have a chance to get close to them. If you have a large house, consider keeping harmful plants in a room that's only accessible via a door with a lock on it (such as an office), or by using baby gates, etc.

10 Indoor Plants that are Completely Safe for Cats

If you're looking to bring the greenery indoors without worrying about how your cat will react to it, there are plenty of plants that are completely safe and unlikely to be a problem. They're also fairly easy to care for and will help purify the air in your home. Here are ten of them:

  1. African Violet
  2. Baby Tears
  3. Friendship Plant
  4. Polka Dot Plant
  5. Peperomia
  6. Orchid
  7. Bromeliad
  8. Ponytail Palm
  9. Spider Plant
  10. Venus Fly Trap

Signs that Your Cat May be Sick from an Indoor Plant

If you have harmful or questionable plants in your home, it’s important to closely monitor your plants and your cats. You should also be aware of potential symptoms that your cat might experience if they consume these plants. Some of the most common signs that point toward poisonous plant ingestion include:

  • Salivation
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Twitching
  • Unsteady gait
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Uncharacteristic sluggishness
  • Heavy breathing

If your cat is displaying signs or symptoms of toxic plant poisoning, it’s important to take them to the vet immediately. Time is of the essence when it comes to treating poisoning in anyone, and it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

cat debit card

Conclusion

While houseplants can be a wonderful addition to any home, many of them also pose a risk to some of the family members inside. If you’re a cat owner and considering accenting your home with living plants and small trees, you must do your research first. Many plants are totally safe for indoor cats, but some can cause irreversible harm and even death. Don’t be afraid to ask your vet for advice about safe and unsafe houseplants and other ways that you can keep your cat safe.

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