Indoor plants are a great addition to elevate the beauty of any corner of your house. Providing a natural source of oxygen is another addition to the excellent list of indoor plants.
While providing visual treats and boosting our mood with decorative foliage, bright flowered indoor plants become vulnerable to many issues. Cat intervention is one such problem.
Being curious by nature, cats seem to grow a different keenness for indoor plants and are found to enjoy houseplants as much as we do, but often for the wrong reasons.
So, in this article, we shall discuss how to keep cats out of indoor plants?
To keep cats out of your indoor plants, you can sprinkle some cayenne pepper, spray orange and lemon oil, spray some garlic solution or move the plant to a spot where cats cannot reach them. Try replacing the plant with some pet-safe plants and hang other plants using a hanging basket.
So, let’s find out ways of keeping your cats away from your indoor plants for the best interest of both.
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Reasons to safeguard your indoor plants from cats
Cats like to chew on indoor plants and wreak their foliage. You will end up with a damaged plant or one that has lost most leaves.
Cats dig in the potting soil mix and often use houseplants as litter boxes, defecating the planters. This is highly unsanitary and is enough to kill your favorite decorative friends.
Some cats are extremely nosy and play around the houseplants knocking things over that come in their way just to have fun.
Although it is pretty depressing to witness your favorite plants becoming a complete mess, you need to understand that your cat is not goofing around and destroying the plants out of spite. There is nothing personal between them.
It is essential to find the reasons behind your cat going after the houseplants. Here are some facts regarding the unaltered focus of cats over your indoor plants.
Why do cats eat plants?
Other than toiling around the houseplants, cats also enjoy consuming them. Understanding the reasons will help us deal with these issues.
Cats enjoy the taste of plants.
Cat’s exploration mostly begins from the mouth. Just like human infants, whenever they find something unusual, they put that into their mouths. If it tastes good, your cat is going to go back to google it again.
Cats love the texture of the plants.
It is not very uncommon to witness your pet cat gnawing on grass when it is taken outside. The possible cause could be the cat was attracted to those long reeds of grass or the texture of the grass.
In many instances, cats eat grass to get extra fiber whenever they have some gastrointestinal issues.
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Cats love the movement of the leaves.
This is probably an apparent reason for cats to love plants. Constant moving leaves appear like prey to these carnivores, and they get attracted towards the plants.
One of the most favored houseplants that are incredibly tempting with their long leaves is the spider plant. It would be best to dedicate one plant as collateral damage, and this is the one!
Cats chew up plants out of boredom.
Cat lovers can not omit that leaving your feline friend for a more extended period can lead to unwanted behavior among them. Those behaviors occur due to boredom which leads to destructive aggression among cats.
Your plants, along with some other household objects, are the easiest targets. As a result, these things will end up being damaged for taking the brunt of your cat’s aggression.
Why do cats dig in the planter?
Digging soil is an instinct of cats. So if you are annoyed with this issue, just remember you are not alone.
If you ever notice that your cat is digging the soil, defecate at that spot and cover it with the soil. They are doing it for a reason.
Generally, cats do this to hide the scent from any predator or any prey. But as long as your cat is staying indoors, they don’t have to worry about it. But again, it is their instinct, and you can not make them understand your point.
If they are just digging and not doing any further action, you can implement some strategies (discussed further in this article). Stay connected with this article to know about those ways.
Why do cats use planters as litter boxes?
As stated earlier, it falls under instinct for cats to dig, especially soft soil where they do their feces. So, you will often find random signs of them on the outdoor planters.
However, if your feline friend uses an inside planter as a litter box, it can be due to a box setup problem or a maintenance mistake.
After dealing with your feline friend’s tantrum, growing indoor plants in a healthy atmosphere might seem tricky. While most cat lovers give up growing houseplants, remember it is not that hard to safeguard your plants from your cats.
We are here with some tips for troubleshooting so that you need to compromise neither in having a cat nor in growing indoor plants.
Tips to keep cats away from plants
There are different ways of keeping your cats away from indoor plants. Here are a few that can help.
Make your plant unappealing.
Fill a spray bottle with diluted lime/lemon/orange juice and spray it on the leaves to keep off any feline invasion as cats have a strong distaste for citrus products.
Make your plant inaccessible.
Try to find our spots that are not easily reachable for cats, although they can roam around anywhere easily.
Select a strategic spot like an old fish tank as a planter or a terrarium. These pieces are a bit pricey, but they will serve the purpose well.
Don’t hang your plants as cats are excellent leapers and can easily reach their target. Understand their abilities to undertake any action against their mishaps.
Give your cat its plant.
This is an effective method to keep your cat away from your desired plants. Provide them cat grass that is a seed that contains wheat, barley, or rye.
It is a safe and effective alternative. For extra care, we recommend you seek advice from your veteran about using this kind of product.
Train your cat.
Just like dogs, cats can also be trained. All you need is patience, consistency, and time. Training your cats to stay away from the plants and redirecting them to adopt an alternative behavior is possible with the proper motivation and incentive.
Tips to prevent cats from digging the soil
Cats love to dig the soil, but you can prevent that with these ways.
Make the soil unappealing.
Following their instinct, cats will continue to dig soft mud or soil, regardless of wherever they find it. To prevent this, just follow the tip of applying citrus products, but in a different form.
Keep some pieces of landscape fiber spritzed with citrus and put them on the soil. You can even take some slices of the rind and place them around the planter to ward off any feline intervention.
Remember not to spray the soil with citrus solution, making the soil acidic, altering the pH level. This can cause severe harm to the plant.
Cover the soil.
This strategy is easy to adapt. Cover the soil with aluminum foil. Cats don’t like the scratching sound and the feel of aluminum foil, and hence they will keep a distance from the plant.
You can also line some heavy decorative stones on the soil if you don’t want to go with the foil idea. This, too, will prevent the cats from messing with the soil mix. Moreover, it will add extra beauty to the pot.
Tips to prevent cats littering in the planter
Your feline friend might often use planters as their litter box. As explained earlier, cats like to dig soft mud.
However, you need to be assured by a veteran that your cat is not having any underlying medical issues for creating messes all around the house.
Once you are confirmed, you can apply some of the stated tips to prevent your cat from littering on the soil mix or in the planter.
Your cat might be unhappy with the litter box it has been given.
- Clean the litter box: Cats like clean litter boxes. If you are not cleaning their litter boxes regularly, they would probably find other spots to carry on their business. Try to keep more than one box for them.
- You need one more box than your number of cats. Like if you have one cat, you need two litter boxes. For two cats, you need three such boxes. Just like humans, cats, too, don’t like to share their personal items.
- Be specific about the size of the litter box: Most cat lovers are ignorant about this issue. Imagine having a limited-sized bathroom that is way too small for proper usage. Will you be comfortable? Definitely not.
Cats, too, are very particular regarding the size and shape of their litter box. The litter box should be big enough, at least as long as your cat can move freely.
This is a thumb rule that the litter box should be as wide as your cat. The length should be equal to the length starting from their nose to the tip of the tail length.
Few other tips
- Using a spray bottle is an effective technique to ward off your feline buddy away from the houseplants. Give your cat a spritz of water whenever they come near the plant. In most cases, they develop an aversion to the plants due to this.
- Create an unpleasant surrounding: Placing something loud or unpleasant like pop-up toys near the plant could be a significant deterrent. You can also use tin foil plates or place sticky surfaces as cats don’t like to walk on them.
Attaching some double-sided tapes around the pot can also greatly scare your cat and restrict its roaming around the plant.
- Provide plants for your cats: You can distract your mischievous leaf-chewing cat away from your plant by simply providing them something similar to eat. Keep a pot of mint, catnip, lemon balm for them to chew on as they are entirely harmless.
- Plant those kinds that cats won’t chew on: Cats typically dislike a few plants, primarily for their strong odor or due to their texture.
Here are few such plants:
Cactus and roses are among those kinds with which cats will never try to mess if they have got an encounter for once. These thorny plants are enough to scare them.
Cats have a strong dislike for Rosemary as it is highly aromatic.
Scaredy cat plant: the name says it all. This plant deters cats due to its strong odor.
Growing such houseplants never gives your cat a chance to mess around. And you can enjoy peaceful planting.
Watch for the toxic plants.
By adopting the above-mentioned methods, you can ensure that your cats don’t chew on your houseplants. Still, you should be cautious that they are not gobbling up plant parts as some plants can be pretty much dangerous for their health.
A few to keep an eye out for are:
- Aloe vera
- Jade plant
- Peace lily
These plants, along with a few more, are poisonous if chewed. Make sure to be overprotective in this case.
Create a plant room for such plants and keep the door closed to keep cats out. Cage these plants with wire shelving units.
Unusual signs to look for.
Even though you are pretty sure about the indoor plants, they should be non-toxic for your feline friend. Remember that consuming much of the leaves can create gastrointestinal complications among cats.
Other risks depending on the leaves’ shape and size like stomach upset, and nose obstruction by some foreign particles can occur.
Some unusual behavior includes:
- Loss of appetite
If you notice any of those symptoms, do not delay contacting your veterinarian.
You can parent both indoor plants and cats together. But you need to be careful and understand the best ways to handle them.
It is hard to compromise with any one of them. So be patient and act sensibly. You will undoubtedly overcome this not-so-complicated issue with proper care and love.
Try to keep your cats away from your indoor plants and ensure you provide all the requirements to your cats, so they don’t need to go to your indoor plants.