Cats have an annoying habit of eating houseplants. And they never eat the gross, shriveled ones that are on their last legs. No, if you shelled out big bucks for a Fiddle Leaf Fig? You can bet your cat’s going to try to scale that thing to eat the leaves as soon as you bring it home.
And wait…aren’t some houseplants bad for cats?
Allowing your cat to eat plants is never advisable, because you never know exactly what kind of toxins could be hiding in the leaves. Also, plants are expensive! Here are four ways to get your cat to stop eating your houseplants.
1. Make Your Plants Stink (to Your Cat)
Cats are really, really sensitive to smell. One of the easiest ways to keep them from eating, digging, and otherwise playing with your plants is to make them smell unappetizing. There are several natural ways to do this: Cats hate the smell of citrus, for example, so try throwing a lemon peel or two into the soil of your plants (but don’t use concentrated citrus oils as it can be toxic). You could also sprinkle cayenne pepper around a plant…one sniff and your cat will back off for good.
2. Choose Plants Cats Hate
Some plants just aren’t cats’ cup of tea. Rosemary is beautiful and grows well indoors, plus it smells great! Cats disagree. Cactus, roses, and other thorny plants are smart choices because, well, they’re prickly. One pinprick to the paw and your cat will think twice about messing with them. Did you know there’s actually a real plant called Scaredy Cat? Yeah, it…uh…it scares cats.
3. Spray Your Plant’s Leaves
It’s relatively easy to find over-the-counter pet sprays that are designed specifically to keep pets away from houseplants. They’re made from non-toxic ingredients but it’s always smart to check with your vet before letting your cat near any OTC substance. As an alternative, you can always mix 1 part vinegar with 3 parts water and spray directly on the leaves of your plant. Your cat won’t be tempted to nom and the mixture won’t hurt your plants!
4. Place Your Plants Strategically
If it’s possible, settling your plants in the most off-limits part of your home is the easiest way to keep your cat at arm’s length. Sunny bedrooms, bathrooms, and even sun rooms work well. If that’s not an option, consider placing plants high enough your cat can’t get to them, or even hanging them in baskets from the ceiling if your cat’s a jumper. Making the plants as inaccessible as possible is your best strategy for really, truly keeping them cat-free. Just don’t forget to water them.
If your cat’s plant-eating seems to be getting more and more out of hand, talk to your vet. In a some cases, cats eat plants (or soil!) because their diet is lacking some essential nutrient. The behavior can also be a symptom of gastrointestinal issues, so it’s best to have your cat evaluated thoroughly just to be sure.
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