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12 Best Indoor Plants for Cats

Are you looking for the best indoor plants for cats, so that you can enjoy some greenery indoors without worry about their safety? Many people are under the impression that cats and plants don’t mix. There are two common and very real reasons for this.

First, many plants are toxic to cats. Secondly, many cats like to eat plants. Some cats also like to dig in the dirt, knock plants over, or even use the pots as litter boxes. And if you love plants, it can be heartbreaking to see your furry friends have destroyed them. But this doesn’t mean you can’t have both! You just need to learn how to make it work. Let’s start by looking at plants that are safe for cats. 

Cat peeking from behind a houseplant

If you have cats and plants, or you’re thinking of getting one or the other, read on to learn about the best indoor cats for plants, as well as how to help them live harmoniously in your home.

Best Indoor Plants for Cats

When it comes to plants and cats, you want to be sure your cats are safe, and you will also want to be sure your cats are not destroying your plants. While some kitties will completely ignore any houseplant, others will obsessively go after the plants until there is nothing left. It’s hard to know what kind of cat you have until you test it out.

If your cat is digging in your plants, trying to use them as a litter box, or chewing on the leaves, there are also some home remedies you might try. Some plant and cat parents report them as useful, while others say their cats didn’t get deterred at all.

Cat deterrents

Cats don’t like the smell of citrus so you can spray citrus around your plants or put orange peels in the plants. You must be cautious of citrus oils (like essential oils) because they are toxic to cats. The easiest solution is to create a plant room (like in a sunroom) and keep the cats out of that particular room.

Some people have success with putting black pepper in their plants to keep cats out. And others put aluminum foil around their plant areas until kitties learn to stay away. You really have to just try these remedies and see how your cat responds. But never take any chances with toxic plants. 

You could also build a cage around your plants to protect them. Some people find that cayenne pepper in the plants also keeps cats away, and it doesn’t harm the plants.

Cat Safe Plants

Let’s take a look at some cat-safe plants you can add to your home today!


beautiful red and yellow bromeliad

Bromeliads are cat safe and there are many varieties such as the Christiane Flaming Sword, the Donna, Medusa, Silver Vase, and Guzmania Bromeliad Orange, Red, Rose, White, and Yellow. They have nice green leaves and colorful flowers that bloom on them. They are relatively easy to care for.


calathea plants

Another great category of cat-safe plants is calatheas. There’s the Beauty Star, Makoyana, Ornata, Vittata, and Zebrina, to name a few. Most calatheas don’t grow much over 12 inches so they are good for small spaces and on tops of tables or shelves. They are very easy to care for.


potted ferns

Some ferns are cat-safe and some of them are not. It can be very tricky with ferns so if you’re not certain, it’s always best to avoid them. Some good ferns for cats include lemon button fern, silver lace, rabbit’s foot, maidenhair, button fern, bird’s nest Leslie and autumn ferns. This is not an exhaustive list, however.

Plants That Are Safe For Cats

Now, let’s branch out from this and look at some specific plants that are safe for cats.

1. Areca palm (Dypsis lutescens)

Areca Palm - Live Plant in an 10 Inch Growers Pot - Dypsis Lutescens - Beautiful Clean Air Indoor Houseplant

While some palms are highly toxic and dangerous to pets (like the Sago palm), the Areca is a nice, safe alternative. If you’re looking for a large, dramatic plant to brighten up any room, but that also won’t make your feline friends sick, this is a good choice.

There are different varieties, such as Golden Butterfly Palm, Yellow Palm, Cane Palm, and Golden Feather Palm. Areca palms can grow from 6-12 feet, depending on care and environment, and they do best in moist soil with a lot of bright, direct light.

2. African violet (Saintpaulia)

Six African Violet Plants- World's Best Blooming House Plant by Jmbamboo

The African violet is a small, flowering plant that also happens to be safe for cats. They are great for small spaces because they usually don’t get any bigger than 12 inches tall, and they come in a variety of purple and pink hues.

They do well without bright light, so you can keep them in a corner or in a bedroom without worry about them dying. They make a great way to bring a color pop to your space.

3. Air plants (Tillandsia)

100 Air Plants Bulk | Live Tillandsia Plant Lot | Bulk Wedding Favors | DIY Party Gift | Air Succulents Set | Box Wholesale Lots by Plants for Pets

We have seen these grow in popularity recently, so they are more easily found than ever before. They are low maintenance, usually stay smaller than 12 inches, and can be hung or mounted from fun spots within your home. Because they are also pet safe, you don’t have to worry about them hurting your kitty. They do best in bright, indirect light and can be soaked in water once a week (less in the winter).

4. Aluminum plant (Pilea cadierei)

SmartMe Live Plant - Houseplant, Aluminum Plant 'Pilea Cadierei' 4" Live-Plant, Watermelon, Terrarium

Aluminum plant is sometimes also called a watermelon plant because its leaves have the same patterns as a watermelon. This plant does well in medium to low light and it only needs to be watered when the top inch or so of soil gets dry. This makes it pretty easy to care for, too.

5. Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera)

Red Christmas Cactus Plant - Zygocactus - 4" Pot

If you’re looking for a holiday plant that won’t be toxic to your cat, this is the best choice. Unlike many other festive plants that are toxic, the Christmas cactus is relatively safe for cats. You should still discourage your cats from eating it because it can cause an upset stomach, but it won’t be fatal.

Learn more about caring for Christmas cactus.

6. Friendship plant (Pilea involucrate)

Silver Cloud Pilea Friendship Plant - 2.5" Pot -House Plant/Terrarium/Fairy

Another great plant that is friendly to cats is the Friendship plant. It’s actually a close relative to the aluminum plant and it got its name because it’s very easy to split this plant and give it away as gifts to friends who can have their own. They propagate easily and they are low maintenance. They’re also not very big, so they are great for shelves or bedside tables.

7. Lipstick plant (Aeschynanthus)

Curly Lipstick Plant - Aeschynanthus Rasta - Easy Blooming House Plant -4" Pot

This fun plant has blooms that look a bit like tubes of lipstick, hence its name. It’s a tropical plant that does best in bright light and can also do well outdoors in the right climate. It can grow up to 20 inches tall and it also likes nice, moist soil.

8. Prayer plant (Maranta leuconeura)

Red Prayer Plant - Maranta - Easy to Grow House Plant - 6" Hanging Basket/from jmbamboo

The prayer plant is related to the Calathea and got its name because its leaves curl up at night, making it look like it is praying. It’s a small plant that does well on shelves or tables, and it’s pretty easy to care for. It grows in medium or low light and it’s okay to let the top layers of soil dry a bit before watering again.

9. Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

Reverse Variegated Spider Plant - Easy to Grow/Cleans The Air - 4" Pot

Here’s a plant so versatile it comes up on virtually every list, but it’s also safe for cats. The spider plant is a pet-friendly houseplant that is also super easy to grow. It’s forgiving and tolerates various lighting settings as well as watering. It does best in bright, indirect light and it likes it when the toil soil dries a bit between watering.

10. Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata)

United Nursery Boston Fern Live Indoor Outdoor Plant Hanging Basket 28-30" inches Wide

The Boston fern is a pet-safe plant option. They look really great, especially in a hanging basket and they are non-toxic to cats. They shed a lot, so be aware that they will drop shed leaves on the floor, especially if your cat touches it or brushes up against it.

11. Hawthornia (Haworthiopsis attenuata)

Live Window Haworthia Succulent | Star Window Plant | Indoor Succulents Gift Decoration (4 inch)

This plant is commonly called zebra plant or zebra Hawthornia, and it’s a type of succulent that is also cat friendly. While succulents are small, cute, and easy to care for, many of them are not safe for cats. Luckily, this one is!

12. Swedish ivy (Plectranthus verticillatus)

Sprig & Stone Plectranthus Australis - Swedish Ivy (Green)

Swedish ivy is sometimes also called Creeping Charlie. It’s a safe houseplant for cats and it looks really pretty with its light green leaves. They can also bloom small lavender flowers that smell really nice. It’s easy to care for. Despite its name and look, it’s not actually part of the ivy family.

Keeping Cats Safe

What does “non-toxic” really mean when it comes to pets and plants? This is a very important question to ask if you have cats and plants. Just because a plant is listed as non-toxic, does not mean that it can’t still make your cat sick when ingested.

A lot of cats like to munch on plants and there are many that can give them nausea or vomiting, bowel symptoms, or other uncomfortable side effects and these plants may not be listed as toxic. As a general rule, it’s best to keep your plants away from your cats if they like to chew.

Cat grass

SmartyKat, Sweet Greens, Cat Grass Seed Kit, Cat Treats, 100% Certified Organic, Natural, Oat Seeds, 1 Oz

Finally, we can’t talk about cats and plants without bringing up cat grass. If you do have a kitty who loves plants, you may decide to purchase or grow some cat grass for them. Cat grass is not actually a plant at all, but a specific type of grass mixture that is grown from seeds of barley, wheat, oats, and rye.

You cannot just take some grass from outside your home and bring it to your cat because this could have harmful insecticides in it. Even if you don’t use them on your lawn, there can be a runoff in the soil from neighboring lawns.

Cat grass is grown indoors and made specifically for cats. Some people find it is a great deterrent to keep their kitties away from their other plants. You can find it in pet stores, online, and you can even ask your vet about it. But a lot of people choose to grow it on their own. If you’re into gardening and indoor plants and have a cat who loves cat grass, growing your own might be a great idea.  

Conclusion of Best Indoor Plants for Cats

Now that you have learned a bit more about the best indoor plants for cats, you can start shopping for some new, kitty-proof plants. If you already have plants in your home, do an assessment to see which ones are safe for cats or which ones you may need to remove from access.

The more you learn about plants, the better you will be at keeping healthy indoor plants while also keeping your cats safe. This is what a responsible cat owner and plant owner will do and we’re glad to help!

Best indoor plants for cats
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Lisa Clark is a freelance writer who grew up on farmland, then moved to the city, and has now retired back to her rural roots. She's having fun teaching her kids about gardening, planting flowers, and collecting houseplants.

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