How To Keep Cats Out Of Houseplants

How To Keep Cats Out Of Houseplants

Do you have a problem to keep cats out of houseplants? If you do, you are not the only one.

Having a pet is a wonderful thing. A pet is there to keep you company when you are alone, comfort you when you are sad (yes, even cats do that), and cheer you up when you are down.

Nobody is immune to the silly faces, crazy sleeping positions and cute sounds they make when they want your attention.

Jumping kittens instantly put a smile on your face, and when they grow up, having a curled up cat to warm up your feet in winter is priceless, trust me.

Cats show you that they can love you while still being independent.

Caring about a cat is easy, give it food, water, play a little, and keep the litter box clean – that is all they ask for.

Or is it? I had a cat growing up, or rather, my grandmother did, and I remember she struggled with keeping her outside the houseplants.

I thought it was sweet when the cat was sleeping in a flower pot, encircling the base of the plant, my grandma was not thrilled, though.

What Are The Problems Your Cat Can Cause?

What Are The Problems Your Cat Can Cause?

There are several things that can trouble a cat owner regarding the plants.

Sometimes, cats chew on the leaves of the plants leaving them damaged.

They also dig the soil from the pots for no other reason than to play. Especially kittens.

The other thing is, they use the pot as a toilet.

This is maybe the biggest problem since a cat’s urine is very strong and can cause the plant to die.

Have you experienced some of these problems?

Before choosing to get rid of either your plants or your cat, I found a few different ways to keep your cats out of your houseplants.

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How To Keep Cats Out Of Houseplants

1. Use Citruses

How To Keep Cats Out Of Houseplants

There are several ways in which you can use citruses to keep your cat from eating the leaves of your favorite plant.

a) Citrus Oil

You can spray a solution of 16oz ow water and 20 drops of any kind of citrus oil on the leaves of the plant, top, and bottom. You can use lemon, orange, lime or grapefruit.

Cats do not like any of it. Repeat a couple of times a week, and you will see the change in the cat’s behavior soon.

If you choose this method, make sure that the oils are organic, and that you do not use a more concentrated solution, because it may (rarely, but it happens) damage the leaves.

Also, avoid ready-made solutions.

Or at least carefully check the ingredients, as sometimes they include some substances that are very toxic to your cat.

b) Citrus Peels

Another thing that you can do is to place citrus peels around the plant, directly on the soil.

It may not be pretty but it does the job, and you know both your cat and your plant are safe. Just change them when they dry up.

The citrus smell and taste will keep your cat away, but will, at the same time double as an air freshener for your home.

Before I proceed, take a look at the list of plants that are actually dangerous to be near your cat:

  • Lily
  • Kalanchoe
  • English Ivy
  • Dieffenbachia
  • Cyclamen
  • Castor Bean
  • Autumn Crocus
  • Yew
  • Spanish Thyme
  • Pothos
  • Marijuana
  • Lily of the Valley
  • Oleander
  • Sago Palm
  • Tulip
  • Amaryllis
  • Hyacinth
  • Narcissus
  • Chrysanthemum

2. Apply Oils on Leaves

There are some more oils, and sprays you can use: eucalyptus oil (apply carefully since it can burn the leaves), and bitter apple spray- it is non-toxic for your cat, not harmful for your plant, and you will not notice the scent.

For more persistent cats, you can spray on a solution of cayenne pepper on the border of the pot, however, be very careful with this because it can cause severe irritation of eyes and mouth when the cat is grooming.

3. Provide The Cat with The Alternative

How To Keep Cats Out Of Houseplants

If you have a very stubborn cat that will not stop nibbling on your plants regardless of how much repellent you put, or even if they have got a stomachache before but still insist on eating the plants, you should give them something that they can eat.

There are specific plants that are safe for your cat to eat. In every pet store, there is a cat grass kit you can buy and grow your own cat grass.

You may also want to plant your own cat garden consisting of the plants that cats enjoy chewing and can even benefit from. Catnip and Cat grass are just some of them.

Place the bowl with cat-friendly grass near the feeding bowls or the cat’s favorite sleeping place so your pet will know that it is for her to use.

4. Use Sticky Repellent

Double-sided tape is a great way to keep cats out of houseplants, it is easy to set up and you do not have to worry about changing it too often.

Okay, it does not look very decorative. Actually quite the opposite but it is fast and safe for both the cat and the plant.

Place the tape around the pot or even just on the rim of the pot if you have noticed that your cat uses it as a support to reach the leaves.

Look at your cat’s habits and place accordingly.

The cats will not like the sticky surface and will quickly start avoiding the area.

Using sticky tape for training cats is one of the most painless and quickest methods there is.

5. Pebbles, Shells, And Pinecones

How To Keep Cats Out Of Houseplants

This approach will not help you keep your cat away from chewing the leaves but it will help you keep them away from digging the soil and using it is a toilet.

Cats like to dig in the feces so the pebbles will make that impossible if you place them tight together.

There will be no place for the cat to dig and your pant will be safe. Combine with spray repellents to be completely on the safe side.

A bonus of this technique is that it is very decorative, you can even use broken glass or ceramic tiles (be careful with glass though, make sure that the edges are not sharp, just in case).

For more stubborn cats, you can try to use chopsticks (or something similar).

Make the chopsticks about 6in long and place them in the pot-prickly side up.

If your cat wants to make in the pot, it will more likely quickly run away from the prickly surface.

It will not hurt your cat’s paws; however, it will not be pleasant.

6. Unpleasant Surroundings

If you are able, place something that makes noise around the pot.

It will startle the cat, and it will probably not come around after a few tries.

Use a spray bottle to sprinkle your cat with water when it tries to eat the plant or urinate in the pot.

These work only if you are persistent and are able to watch your cat for the bigger part of the day.

7. Provide Entertainment

How To Keep Cats Out Of Houseplants

Play with your cat. It will keep cat away from plants and digging the soil out of boredom, and will also be a great distraction from the unwanted behavior as cats react better to praise rather than punishment. Or just buy a bunch of things cats like!

8. Move Your Plants

Either move your plants on higher shelves if your cats are not extremely agile (pay attention to the light the plant needs) or use pot hangers.

Another option would be that you do not allow cats in the room where you keep your plants.

What Are The Problems Your Cat Can Cause?


1. What causes a cat to eat your plants?

Sometimes they are just bored and need attention. Other times, the need to eat plants can indicate that your cat has a stomachache and it is trying to find a remedy.

2. Is it dangerous if a cat eats plants?

Usually, it is not dangerous just annoying and leaving your plants looking chapped (we do not want that, either), however, it depends on the plant. If it is toxic, the juices can cause poisoning or stomachache, and even end by visiting a vet.

3. What plants cats won’t eat?

Cacti and roses-thorns obviously make an impediment, geraniums, and citruses- they do not like the aroma, Rosemary-they smell great but not to your cat, Coleus Canina – or Scaredy – cat plant, attractive looking, but cats do not like it.There are also spider plants as a big mystery and many others.

4. Why do cats pee in the plant pots?

There are several reasons for that. The most common is that the litter box is not clean, so they are looking for a  clean place to pee and poop. That’s why you should clean the litter box regularly and avoid moving it frequently. Also, a stressed cat, one that lives in a loud environment or somewhere where it is constantly scared, is more likely not to have a good routine for going to the toilet.

Final Thoughts

These are my ways to keep cats out of houseplants. Have you tried them yet? If you have, please share your experiences, and give me more ideas if you have them.