As many cat owners will know, cats have a very strong sense of adventure, and they are always curious to explore their surroundings.
This behavior is perfectly harmless in most cases, but it can lead to occasional issues, especially if there are things in your household that you want your cat to leave alone.
Houseplants are a prime example, with their sticky-out leaves and dangling flowers representing a constant source of fascination for some cats.
So the obvious question arises, how do you keep cats out of plants? Luckily, there are many different clever (and not so clever) ways to do so, and I’ll go over them in this article.
How To Keep Cats Out Of Plants
Being nosy creatures, cats often like to play around with plants.
The dangling leaves look like a great toy, and the soil in potted plants can also be an attraction, you might find your cat digging around or trying to using the soil as a litter box. The following methods are good ways to prevent these issues.
This simple method involves using a spray bottle or a water pistol and training your cat to stay away from plants. Fill the spray bottle or water pistol with water and give your cat a quick spray whenever you see them getting too close to the plants.
If you do this regularly, your cat will associate the plants with the discomfort of being sprayed with water, teaching them to stay away. If you do try this method, spray your cat as discretely as possible, to ensure that they don’t start to see you as the source of the unpleasantness.
Make The Surroundings Unpleasant
Cats hate sticky surfaces, so try setting up a barrier of double-sided tape on the surface your plants are positioned on. This is particularly effective if your plants are on a ledge or a table where your cat needs to jump up to access them.
Once they realize they can’t reach the plants without touching the sticky stuff, they will usually stop trying. Surrounding the plants with foil is another option, as cats hate the sound and feel of it.
As long as there is no way for your cat to get around the foil, this method can work wonders.
Use Loud Noises
Loud noises can also be effective repellents for cats. You can booby trap your plants by placing a motion-activated can of compressed air just next to them.
When your cat gets too close, they will be blasted with a short burst of compressed air – a harmless way of encouraging them to stay away. These gadgets can be picked up at most pet stores and are common pet-training aids.
You can also get creative with things you have in your home. Anything that can be positioned close to the plants in a way that makes a loud noise when disturbed can be used as an effective deterrent.
If your cat likes to dig around in the soil, arrange a layer of large pebbles around the plant’s base. This will cover the soil, while still allowing water to seep through. Cats won’t like the feel of these pebbles, and they will be less inclined to dig down into the soil.
You can also use foil, pine cones, shells, or broken ceramic pieces for a more attractive look.
Enclose The Plants
If you have a collection of potted plants, one option might be to put them all in a terrarium or similar enclosure. This can maintain air circulation to the plants while preventing your cat from reaching them. You can also achieve the same result with mesh plant cages.
Re-position Your Plants
If you’re running out of options, changing your plants’ position can be an easy way to stop your cat from playing around with them. You may be able to place the plants on a high shelf that is out of reach of even the most determined cat.
Failing that, hanging baskets or containers that mount directly to the wall can both be effective solutions. Just make sure they are away from any access points such as tables or shelves, as these may tempt your cat to make a jump for them.
Why Do Cats Eat Plants?
Although cats are carnivores, they do like to nibble on plants regularly. The main reason for this is to aid digestion, as many plants contain high levels of fiber.
This improves digestive health and prevents cats from becoming constipated or suffering from intestinal blockages.
Cats might throw up after eating plants, which is usually intentional, they’re using them to remove indigestible material such as hair from their stomachs. These are the two main theories, but cats can be attracted to plants simply out of boredom.
As plant leaves bounce in the air, playful cats will often use them just to have fun, sometimes eating them in the process.
How To Keep Cats From Eating Plants
Even if you don’t mind your cat nibbling on your plants, eating plants can be hazardous for cats as many types are toxic to them. For this reason, it’s a good idea to stop your feline friends from engaging in this behavior, and there a few ways to go about it.
Provide Cat Grass
One of the best ways to stop a cat from chewing on houseplants is to simply provide them with their own miniature garden.
Cat grass is an excellent place to start and can be grown from seeds of either wheat, barley or rye – all of which can satisfy a cat’s urge to chew. You can also grow plants such as catnip, which will undoubtedly distract your feline away from regular houseplants.
Check out our full guide about cat grass.
Scented Cat Repellents
Cats have an extreme aversion to certain smells, something that you can use to your advantage. You can purchase several sprays specifically designed to deter cats from most pet stores.
Try spraying one of these around and on your plants, and it should encourage your cat to leave them alone. Home-made sprays can be effective too, especially when they incorporate citrus smells.
Lemons, limes and oranges are all disliked by cats, but be sure not to use any essential oils, as these can be dangerous to them.
If you notice your cat chewing on one of your plants, clap your hands and scold them gently to let them know it is not okay. If they don’t stop eating of their own accord, carry them away from the plant and place them somewhere with a suitable distraction.
Doing this over an extended period of time will teach your cat to avoid eating your plants. Only employ this tactic while your cat is eating, however, otherwise, it may be counter-productive.
Choose Plants That Cats Hate
If all else fails, you may need to decorate your home with plants that cats don’t like. Rosemary, cacti and other thorny plants can all be great additions to your house that will not attract the attention of your cat.
Just make sure that the plants you choose are not dangerous. Lilies, chrysanthemums and aloe vera plants should always be avoided due to their toxicity to cats, but other plants can cause problems too.
Be sure to check online about any specific plant you decide to bring home.