Keeping Cats Off Houseplants

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  • There are many varieties of houseplant which are poisonous to cats, so to be safe it is best to avoid an expensive and traumatic trip to the vet by preventing your cat from eating the plants in the first place.

    No method is 100% effective. Some cats will eat plants regardless of what you do, others can be discouraged. My personal preference is to avoid keeping potentially toxic plants in the house. There are a number of plants you can safely grow which if your cat nibbles on will cause no ill effects. But if you must keep toxic plants, try the methods below.

    How to keep cats off houseplants?

    • If at all possible, keep the plants in a difficult to reach location. This is easier said than done as cats are great climbers and jumpers. Place them in hanging baskets or hard to reach spots such as the top of bookshelves.
    • Provide your cat with a safe alternative in the form of a planter with cat grass or catnip for your cat to chew on.
    • Spray the plants you don’t want your cat to chew with an unpleasant solution such as bitter apple. Some people recommend Tabasco sauce, however, there is a small risk that your cat will get some onto its fur and possibly transfer it to the eyes.
    • Provide your cat with plenty of toys to prevent it from becoming bored.
    • If the above methods fail, you may have to keep any toxic plants in an area your cat has no access to.
    • Place upside-down mouse traps either in the planter or around the planter. These won’t hurt the cat but will act as a deterrent.

    What are the symptoms of poisoning in cats?

    Symptoms will vary depending on the plant consumed but may include:

    If you suspect your cat may have ingested a toxic plant, seek immediate veterinary attention.


    • Julia Wilson, 'Cat World' Founder

      Julia Wilson is the founder of Cat-World, and has researched and written over 1,000 articles about cats. She is a cat expert with over 20 years of experience writing about a wide range of cat topics, with a special interest in cat health, welfare and preventative care. Julia lives in Sydney with her family, four cats and two dogs. Full author bio