If you like to have plants in your home, it’s a good idea to first check whether or not they are toxic to animals. Many plants such as orchids are not poisonous, but there are some plants you should be careful of.
Cats and Houseplants
If you have a cat you will know that they enjoy nibbling on your houseplants, particularly the leaves. While this may not make your plants look very good, this behaviour can also be harmful to your cat. Many plants are safe for cats to eat in moderation, but some plants are not. You also need to be careful if the plants have been sprayed with pesticides or if the pot has fertiliser in it.
Here are just a few plants which won’t harm your cat.
- Christmas cactus
- African violet
- Spider plant
- Most ferns
This is not an extensive list, so always check before you buy or plant new plants.
Potentially harmful plants
Some of our most popular plants and flowers can actually be very harmful to cats and other pets, so before you go out and buy any, check out this list first.
- Daffodils and tulips. It’s well known that daffodil bulbs are toxic to humans, but they are also toxic to cats, as are their leaves.
- These contain highly toxic substances, and in some cases can prove fatal if a cat eats them.
- These are mildly toxic to cats and can cause vomiting.
- These are not a good choice as the flowers stalks and bulbs are all toxic.
- If these are eaten they contain an irritant, while the bulbs are toxic.
- These can cause sickness and diarrheoa and if a large amount is eaten they can even cause heart failure.
- These are poisonous to cats, dogs and humans.
If you think your cat has eaten anything toxic, even if only mildly, then get them to a vet as soon as possible. Some poisons may not kill them but if left untreated they could cause lasting damage.
How to stop cats nibbling
Many people wonder why cats eat plants. The do this because in the wild they would hunt small animals but also nibble on plants so eating your house plants is nothing to worry about in itself.
As their digestive system is designed to breakdown meats, you don’t want your cat to eat too many plants if possible. There are a few ways you can try to stop them and keep your plants in good condition at the same time.
- Many people don’t consider the fertiliser which may be used to grow plants. This can be harmful. One easy way to stop your cat from getting to this is to put rocks or small pebbles on top of the soil.
- Spraying the leaves with something which tastes nasty will soon stop them from nibbling. Cinnamon or cayenne pepper are both good choices and a mix of vinegar and water also works well.
- If you can, out your plants out of their reach. With cats, this can be difficult as they are such good climbers but if you fill a shelf with plants, they will have nowhere to sit to nibble on them.
- If you have the room you could also create a separate plant area. If you have a conservatory that’s a nice sunny place to keep them. Alternatively, put them all in one room and close the door whenever you are not in there.
- One great idea is to use hanging pots. Not only will these be out of reach of your cat but they make an interesting feature in any home.
When you have a cat it can be like having a child in the house: you have to find ways to stop them from getting to everything. Once you are aware of the potential dangers it’s easier to find a way for cats and plants to live together. If you’re not sure then always check up on a plant before you go ahead and buy it.