You’ve spent endless amounts of time and money curating your indoor jungle; your plants are perfect! The last thing you want for your leafy friends is for them to be knocked over, nibbled on or dug up. But who would do such a thing to your beloved plant babies? Well, if you have fur babies, you already know. Cats.
Sworn nemesis of houseplants everywhere, our sweet little furry troublemakers are always on the lookout for new leaves to munch, or a new place to use as a litter box. Combining your love for cats and plants can be difficult, but not impossible! We’ve conducted some research on some remedies to this common issue and put together this guide to help you keep your kitties away and out of your houseplants!
Sprays & Repellants
One of the easiest ways to deter your cats from turning your plants into a salad bar is to use a spray that has an unpleasant smell on the leaves. There are many different recipes and concoctions you can use that are safe for plants and cats, here’s what we’ve found to be most effective!
As most creatures, cats do not like the smell or taste of vinegar, so using this can be quite effective (not to mention it also helps to keep away household pests). Use 3 parts water to 1 part vinegar and mist the soil, leaves and pot 1-2 times per week.
Citrus Oils & Peels
If you can’t stand the scent of vinegar, this may be a better option for you! Cats are not big fans of anything citrus, so misting your leaves with lemon, lime, orange, or grapefruit oil will definitely be a turnoff for your furry friends. Use 16oz of water with 20 drops of any of these oils and spray your plant 1-2 times per week and watch your cat lose interest! Just be sure that the oils you use are organic, and don’t over saturate the solution, as it may burn the leaves.
Using citrus peels can also work, simply by placing the peels directly on top of the soil and replacing them when they dry out.
Bitter Apple Spray
This one is sure to leave a bad taste in your cat’s mouth! Bitter Apple Spray is non-aromatic, non-toxic, and safe for your plants- but tastes awful! Spray your plants with this to stop those naughty nibblers!
Stop the Digging!
Curious cats will often dig around in the potting soil out of boredom or--unfortunately, to use as a litter box. Not only is this a big mess, but it can actually kill your plants! There are a few things you can do to cease the digging.
Pebbles or Pinecones
Tightly packing pebbles or pinecones on top of the soil in your potted plants can look appealing and decorative- but it’s functional too! These things make it difficult to get to the dirt in the pot, so your cats will be less inclined to dig around.
Seriously, chopsticks. Stick them down into the soil with the pointy end up, sticking out. Place this all around inside the plant. The sticks won’t hurt your cat, but they certainly won’t like trying to dig through them.
Double-Sided Sticky Tape
We know, it’s not necessarily aesthetically pleasing, but it’s a fast and reliable method. Place the tape all round on the surface where your houseplant is residing, and along the top of the pot. Cats hate getting stuck or being sticky, so soon they will associate that spot with being a sticky-no-go, and will start to leave your plant alone.
Keep the Kitties Entertained
Most of the time, when a cat is bothering your plants, it’s because they’re bored. Keeping your pets entertained and active will help them ignore your houseplants, so they can grow in peace.
Toys & Scratching Posts
The more, the better! Keep an abundance of toys, scratching posts, cat trees, boxes---whatever-- around the house to help your fur babies stay engaged and away from your plants. The more fun they have with their toys- the less they’re thinking about snacking out of boredom.
Some cats are just really stubborn, and really love to eat leafy things. So, the solution for that hard headed cat would be to plant a garden, especially for them! You can buy a cat garden kit at pretty much any pet store, but if you’d rather create your own, here are a few plant suggestions that are safe (and delicious!) for your kitties!
- Cat Grass
- Cat Nip
- Cat Thyme
Plant these in a dish and place them near your cat’s food and water so that they can easily access them. More likely than not, they’d rather eat these plants than your plants that are harder to get to and less tasty.
Every cat is different, but one of these methods is bound to work for you! So, if you’ve got a plant murderer for a pet, give these solutions a try! Of course, to be safe, we always suggest only keeping houseplants that are non-toxic for your furry friends, you can see a list of pet-safe plants here.
Let us know what has worked for you!