After years of not having cats, I forgot that they love to, at the very least, try eating plants. So when my two little rescue cats were old enough, they definitely started eating the house plants I had around the house! I do not have much of a green thumb so the fact that I’ve managed to keep several house plants alive is a bit of a miracle. This means that I was annoyed at this new habit my cats had picked up (in addition to obviously being worried that my cats might get sick). Thankfully, I was able to move my house plants to an area of the house that was inaccessible to the cats, particularly since I have a few plants that are actually toxic to them.
If you do want to have both cats and some plants in your home, there is a way for both flora and fauna to coexist! First and foremost, the ASPCA has extensive lists of toxic and non-toxic plants that you can have as a cat owner. Individual cats will react differently to some plants but generally speaking, some cat-safe plants for your house and garden on this list include basil, several types of daisies, climbing and trailing begonia, cilantro, hens and chickens, prayer plant, rosemary, sunflowers, hyacinth, thyme, venus fly trap, and several types of squash.
If you like ferns and have pets, the Boston Fern is for you! Ferns do really well in parts of the Pacific Northwest because of the relatively high humidity we see, which means any ferns in your home will do well in high humidity rooms like bathrooms. Boston ferns are fun to look at but they’re also low-maintenance plants that help clean the air.
Calathea is a genus of neotropical perennial plants and many are popular cat-safe houseplants! The plants in this genus are also known as prayer plants and a specific one is the Calathea Peacock, a gorgeous plant with colorful, wide leaves. Not only are calatheas pet friendly but they’re easy to take care of too. They need watering once every week or two but do like higher humidity. They also do well in medium to bright indirect light and in 65°F-85°F (18°C – 30°C). Prayer plants are incredibly wonderful house plants to have around if you also have cats!
Catnip & Cat Grass
If you have a cat that still likes to munch on your houseplants, consider growing some catnip and cat grass indoors! Many cats absolutely love dried catnip so growing some indoors can be a great treat. However, it’s important to make sure your cats aren’t ingesting large quantities of the catnip in short periods of time, as too much of the plant can actually be toxic and cause issues like vomiting, diarrhea, and the overstimulation of the central nervous system. If you notice your cat being just a bit too interested in the catnip, try limiting their access to it by moving it around the house to inaccessible spots and bringing it down for short periods.
As far as cat grass goes, it isn’t actually a specific type of grass; rather, it is a blend of grasses grown from wheat, barley, or rye seeds. These grasses are particularly great to have around if you have cats that like to munch on plants, as they’re a safe and fibrous snack! While cats are obligate carnivores, cat grass can provide extra nutrients to your cat’s diet and for some cats, the grass can be fun to munch on.
If you want a taller plant, consider a money tree! This plant can get to be several feet tall and does well in medium to bright indirect light. It prefers to stay in the same spot and needs deep but infrequent watering. Money trees have bright green palm-looking leaves and braided stems, which are shaped that way when young, supple trunks are slowly braided as they grow. Indoors, these trees typically grow 3-6 feet tall in pots but in the wild, they’ve been known to grow up to 60 feet!
Like Boston Ferns, spider plants love humidity and are great air purifiers! These hardy, resilient plants have thin, long leaves and are great for those with a black thumb. The leaves are green or striped green and white that can grow 12-18 inches long and mature plants can regularly grow small, star-shaped flowers.
Pacific Northwest Nurseries and Plant Shops
- Babygreens Bellingham, WA
- Fern Plant Shop Spokane, WA
- hammer + vine Portland, OR
- My Garden Nursery Bellingham, WA (Keep an eye out for the nursery’s cat – Mr. Dilly Pickles!)
- Swansons Nursery Seattle, WA
Common Terms for Indoor Plant Care
Bright light: direct sunlight, often found in a sunny southern or western facing window; 5-6 hours of sunlight every day
Indirect light: east-facing windows, shadier spots of bright rooms
Friable soil: a crumbly textured soil; malleable enough to form a clump but easily disintegrates when you try to break it apart
Loamy soil: a friable mix of clay, sand, and humus/compost
There are so many other house plants you can have that are non-toxic to cats that one list just isn’t enough! While the above plants are just a few that are considered non-toxic to cats, it’s always important to keep an eye on your cats and these plants. If your cats seem particularly interested in one plant and keep nibbling at it, it might be good to move that plant to an inaccessible to your cat. As always, make sure to also keep an eye out for any changes in your cats and for symptoms like vomiting, diaherrea, and lethergy.
Do you have cat safe house plants? What are your favorites? Let me know in the comments!