Outdoor PestsWildlife

How To Keep Cats Away from Plants

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Cats and plants can coexist beautifully in a home, but sometimes our feline friends can take a little too much interest in our greenery. Whether they’re using your potted plants as a litter box, gnawing on leaves, or digging in the soil, it can be frustrating for plant-loving cat owners. But don’t worry, there are plenty of ways to deter your cat from your plants while keeping them safe and happy. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll discuss various methods, including deterrents, physical barriers, cat-safe plants, and more, to help you keep your cats away from your plants.


To keep cats away from plants, use deterrents such as aluminum foil around the plants or citrus scents that cats dislike. Consider physical barriers like placing plants out of reach or covering the soil with rocks. Offer cat-safe plants like catnip or cat grass to satisfy their need to chew on plants. Training your cat to avoid plants using positive reinforcement can also be effective. Remember, it’s important to ensure the plants in your home are safe for cats as some can be toxic to them.

Why Are Cats Attracted to Plants?

Firstly, it’s important to understand why cats are attracted to plants. Some of the most common reasons include inherited behavior from their wild ancestors, taste, boredom or stress, playfulness, and digestive aid. It’s essential to ensure that the plants in your home are safe for your cat, as some plants can be toxic to them. Providing your cat with cat-safe plants like catnip or cat grass can satisfy their need to chew on plants.

Immediate Measures to Protect Your Plants

If you need immediate solutions to prevent your cats from getting close to your plants, consider these options:

  1. Use aluminum foil around the plants or on the soil.
  2. Hang plants out of reach or place them on high shelves.
  3. Close the door to the plant room if you have one.
  4. Use a greenhouse cabinet to protect your plants.
  5. Plant cat-repellent plants like lavender, citronella, or rosemary.
  6. Cover the soil with rocks or orange peels to create a barrier.

Potential Risks for Cats

It’s vital to understand the potential risks or dangers to cats if they ingest certain types of plants. Some common poisonous plants for cats include lilies, sago palm, tulips, hyacinths, azaleas, rhododendrons, daffodils, oleander, peace lily, pothos, and philodendrons. Symptoms of toxic plant ingestion in cats may include vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea, drooling, nausea, and weakness. Consult your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your cat has ingested a toxic plant.

Training Your Cats to Stay Away from Plants

Training your cats to stay away from plants involves a combination of deterrents and positive reinforcement. Here are some methods to consider:

  1. Use a motion-activated mister, like the SSSCAT from PetSafe.
  2. Manually spray your cat with water when they approach the plant.
  3. Use citrus essential oil, citrus rinds, or lemon juice.
  4. Place aluminum foil around plant pots.
  5. Relocate the plants to less accessible areas.
  6. Use cat deterrent sprays.
  7. Use positive reinforcement to reward your cat when they ignore the plants.

DIY Methods and Home Remedies

If you prefer a more hands-on approach, there are several DIY methods and home remedies to keep cats away from plants. These include using a motion-activated mister, placing orange peels or mothballs around the plants, planting cat-repellent plants, spraying a mixture of essential oils diluted with water on the plants, covering the soil with rocks, aluminum foil, or chicken wire, spraying a vinegar-based repellent, and creating physical barriers.

Creating a Cat-Friendly Environment

Finally, creating a cat-friendly environment that also allows for plant cohabitation involves selecting non-toxic plants, providing safe spaces for both cats and plants, and offering alternative plants for your cat to interact with. Increase environmental enrichment, observe your cat’s behavior, and consider creating a designated cat garden.

In conclusion, it’s entirely possible to have a home filled with both cats and plants. With a little patience, creativity, and the strategies outlined in this guide, you can keep your plants safe from your feline friends. Remember, it’s about creating a balance that respects both your cat’s natural instincts and your love for plants.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some cat-safe plants that can be kept indoors?

There are quite a few cat-safe plants that can be kept indoors. Some of them include spider plants, areca palm, boston ferns, bamboo, and Swedish ivy. Always check with a credible resource or consult your vet before bringing a new plant into a home with cats.

How long does it take to train a cat to stay away from plants?

Training times can vary widely depending on the cat and the methods used. On average, it can take a few weeks to a couple of months to effectively train a cat to stay away from plants. Consistency, patience, and positive reinforcement are key to successful training.

Do all cats have the same reaction to catnip?

No, not all cats have the same reaction to catnip. About 70-80% of cats are affected by catnip. The sensitivity to catnip is hereditary. Some cats may become very active and playful, while others become calm and sedate. Some cats may not show any reaction at all.

Can cats eat grass?

Yes, cats can eat grass. It’s not entirely understood why cats eat grass, but it’s a common behavior. Some theories suggest that grass-eating helps with the elimination of furballs, provides some trace nutrients, or is a way for cats to induce vomiting if they’re feeling unwell. However, it’s important to ensure the grass they’re eating hasn’t been treated with pesticides or herbicides.

Can I use cayenne pepper to deter cats from my plants?

While cayenne pepper or other hot spices can deter cats, they’re not recommended because they can cause discomfort or even injury to the cat. Stick to cat-safe deterrents like citrus peels or essential oils diluted with water.

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