If you are a plant lover who also has plants, it’s important to know how to choose cat friendly plants. A lot of people don’t realize there are many common indoor and outdoor that can actually be toxic to your feline friends.
And if you do know that many plants are not safe, it can be scary to think about bringing any plants into your home at all. However, if you learn which plants are safe for cats, you can still enjoy both. Let’s take a look at what plants are safe for cats.
Are All Houseplants Cat Friendly?
First, it’s important to know that all houseplants are not safe for cats. There are some plants, even many common ones, that people bring into their homes, that have toxic properties that can be dangerous to your cats. You may want to bring more green into your home but it’s important to be sure you’re not bringing a hazard inside that can harm your pets.
Toxic plants can cause a range of symptoms from mild to very severe and even death. There can be health effects like gastro symptoms or stomach upset from indoor plants that are toxic. Very dangerous plants can cause more serious symptoms like kidney failure, liver failure, and worse.
Potted plants that are cat friendly include spider plant, ponytail palm, prayer plant, and many others that we will list below so that you can get informed yourself. It is the responsibility of pet owners to keep only cat safe plants in the home.
Why do cats eat plants?
All cats don’t eat plants, but some seem to have a desire to nibble or munch on greenery wherever they can. There are different theories about why cats eat plants. Some people just believe they do it when they are bored. Others think they may be trying to fill in some nutrients they are lacking in their diets. Whatever the reason they do it, it’s important you keep your cats safe.
You can put your plants out of reach of your cats, but most cats will find a way if they really want something. They are smart and creative when they want to be. Some pet and plant owners put some plants in cages or inside glass cabinets to keep the cats away. Some people also find that giving your cat a distraction can help keep them away from your plants.
If you have a cat that loves to nibble on plants, consider getting some cat grass for her to enjoy. You can grow it yourself at home, or you can just purchase some. This is a great, cat-safe alternative and it can also help distract your kitty from going toward your precious plants.
What does it mean for a plant to be cat safe?
In general, a cat-friendly house plant is one that does not create any negative effects if your cat was to accidentally ingest some of it. Ideally, our cats would never eat any of our plants. However, pet owners know how curious they can be and there’s no 100% sure way to make sure a cat doesn’t get to your plants unless you don’t bring them into the house.
Although cats should never be eating houseplants, when you choose cat-safe ones, you can rest easy knowing that if they do ingest some, they will be okay. Even a cat safe plant can cause some oral irritation, stomach upset, or other mild symptoms. But they won’t be as serious or life-threatening as toxic plants.
It’s important to choose pet-friendly plants so that you don’t have to worry about your cat’s safety. Even if your cat has never gone after your plants before, you can’t guarantee they won’t randomly decide to one day. And that’s when accidents can happen.
If your cat is an indoor only cat (which is safest for cats anyway) then you can have outdoor plants that are toxic because your cats won’t have access to them. Save the pet-safe plants for the indoor plants.
Do you have a dog too? Here are some dog friendly landscaping ideas.
What Plants Are Safe for Cats?
Having plants in your home is great for Feng Shui and for your own enjoyment. But if you also have cats in the home, it’s important to make sure you’re bringing in cat-safe ones.
Here are some plants that are safe for cats:
And here is a list of more cat-safe plants:
- African daisy (Gerbera jamesonii)
- American rubber plant (Peperomia obtusifolia)
- German violet (Exacum affine)
- Fern holly (Cyrtomium falcatum)
- Baby rubber plant (Peperomia obtusifolia)
- Baby’s breath (Gypsophila elegans)
- Bamboo (Phyllostachys aurea)
- Climbing begonia (Cissus dicolor)
- Trailing begonia (Pellionia daveauana)
- Boston fern (Nephrolepis exalta bostoniensis)
- Brazilian orchid (Sophronitis spp.)
- Zebra plant (Calathea insignis)
- Calathea (Calathea spp.)
- California pitcher plant (Darlingtonia californica)
- Camellia (Camellia japonica)
- Canary date palm (Phoenix canariensis)
- Candle plant (Plectranthus coleoides)
- Carrot fern (Onychium japonica)
- Cast iron plant (Aspidistra elatior)
- Cat ear (Calochortus spp.)
- Chickens and hens (Echeveria elegans)
- Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii)
- Creeping Charlie (Pilea nummulariifolia)
- Dallas fern (Nephrolepis biserrate)
- Dwarf palm (Chamaedorea elegans)
- English hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata)
- Figleaf palm (Fatsia japonica)
- Fish tail fern (Cyrtomium falcatum)
- Flame African violet (Episcia reptans)
- Friendship plant (Pilea involucrata)
- Ghost plant (Sedum weinbergii)
- Golden butterfly palm (Dypsis lutescens)
- Hawthornia (Haworthia species)
- Jasmine (Jasminium species)
- Money tree (Pachira aquatica)
- Moss agate (Episcia reptans)
- Mother fern (Asplenium bulbiferum)
- Nerve plant (Fittonia verschaffeltii)
- Old man cactus (Cephalocereus senilis)
- Parlor palm (Chamaedorea elegans)
- Peacock plant (Kaempferia)
- Polka dot plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya)
- Silver table fern (Pteris sp.)
- Summer hyacinth (Galtonia spp.)
- Trailing peperomia (Peperomia prostate)
- Umbrella plant (Eriogonium umbellatum)
- Variegated wax plant (Echeveria sp.)
- Watermelon begonia (Peperomia argyreia)
- Wax plant (Hoya carnosa ‘krinkle kurl’ )
- Zinnia (Zinnia species)
Cat Friendly Plants – Conclusion
As you can see, there are many cat friendly plants to choose from. If you love cats and plants, it’s important to take some time to do a bit of research and ensure you get plants that will not harm your cats. Even if you never expect them to eat them, accidents can happen.
Do you have a favorite cat-safe plant from this list?
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.