Choose cat safe houseplants – Here’s how

31 Aug, 2022

Choose cat safe houseplants – Here’s how

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If you are a pet owner and keep cats at home then you will know the challenge of also keeping indoor plants. All cat lovers know the dangers of leaving cats home alone with indoor plants. Cats simply love playing and teasing and often unfortunately damaging indoor plants. In this article we offer some cat safe houseplants for you to consider keeping at home despite sharing your space with felines.

How to choose cat safe houseplants

cat safe houseplants
Most cats see plants as play things, you need to choose carefully to minimise damage

Cats are notorious for nibbling on houseplants. This behaviour is common and thought to be an instinct from their ancestor’s days in the wild. Your cat may be searching for a meal with extra fiber and nutrients, or they might be bored.

Unfortunately, many houseplants contain toxic elements that can cause your precious pet to fall ill. As a responsible pet parent, you’ll want to avoid this scary scenario.

However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t also fill your home with lovely houseplants. There are many dog and cat-safe houseplants available to choose from, each with attractive foliage and easy care instructions.

5 Cat safe houseplant options

Below are our five favourite cat-safe houseplants. These nontoxic plants are beautiful additions to any room, and they won’t upset your cat’s stomach if your furry friend gets a hold of them.

Spider Plant

Spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum) are partial sun, partial shade houseplants. They are fantastic plants to keep in the home due to their air purifying capabilities.

They produce long, thin, arching fronds. The plant is often found in a shade of green with white or off-white variegation down the center of the leaves. As the plant matures, it produces smaller spider plants called “pups.” These miniature spider plants resemble spiders on a trailing web.

Spider plants are easy to grow. They are fast growers that require:

  • Neutral potting soil
  • Moderate light
  • Consistent and even moisture

Their preferred temperature range works well with the average temperature of a house.

Cats are often attracted to houseplants with long or dangling fronds. Depending on how high you place your spider plant, you’re likely to find your cat batting at the ends and taking a nibble or two.

Eating a large amount of a spider plant can cause your cat to vomit. However, a few bites now and then won’t upset their stomachs.

Prayer Plant

One of the most coveted cat-safe houseplants is the Prayer Plant (Maranta leuconeura). It produces stunning, showy foliage in light, yellow-green, and dark green. The veins of the leaves are bright pink, while the undersides are a dark reddish-purple colour.

Prayer plants have a few specific needs but are generally considered beginner-friendly houseplants. They prefer:

  • Bright, indirect sunlight
  • High humidity
    Well-drained soil

Prayer plants need to be watered evenly to keep the soil moist.

Under the right conditions, the prayer plant undergoes nycintastic movement. Nycintastic movement is a fancy term that means the plant’s leaves move in response to the amount of light in their environment.

During the daytime, the leaves open up and lay flat. At night the leaves close, coming together like praying hands. This circadian rhythm is a way for the plant to remove water from its leaves and store its energy more efficiently.

cat safe houseplants
Most cats are curious about plants

Boston Fern

A common indoor and outdoor houseplant is the Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exalta bostoniensis). Also known as the fishbone plant or the sword fern, the Boston fern is a herbaceous perennial tropical plant. This plant produces long feathery fronds. Each frond consists of smaller, blue-green leaflets.

As a young plant, the fronds grow vertically. The fronds begin to arch downward as the plant matures. Boston ferns can grow up to 3 feet tall and 3 feet wide.

Boston ferns prefer acidic, well-drained soil that’s consistently moist. They also prefer warm temperatures and a humidity level of around 50%. A Boston fern plant will suffer if it’s exposed to major temperature fluctuations, and it should be kept away from:

  • Vents
  • Air conditioners
  • Drafty windows

Boston ferns make great table top and corner plants. Their elegant, arching foliage makes them an attractive choice in hanging baskets.

No matter where you decide to grow your Boston fern, you can rest assured that your cat will be safe.

Ponytail Palm

Ponytail palms (Beaucarnea recurvata) are unique-looking cat-safe houseplants. They’re also beginner-friendly as they’re low-maintenance.

Contrary to what its name suggests, the ponytail palm is neither a palm nor a tree. It’s a succulent that stores most of its water in its thick, bulbous trunk.

Ponytail palms produce thin, curly, dark green leaves out of their trunk. These leaves also have a soft, serrated edge. Ponytail palms are native to the arid, desert conditions in southeast Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize. As a result, they’re naturally drought-tolerant and require well-drained, rocky soil.

It’s also important to place this plant in a sunny window to ensure it receives the right amount of bright, direct light each day.

Getting the hang of the water needs of a ponytail palm is where most new plant owners make mistakes. The plant needs to be watered deeply but infrequently. In the wintertime, this houseplant should be watered less to mimic the amount of rain it would receive in the wild. A good rule of thumb is to let it dry out entirely between waterings.

In nature, ponytail palms can grow up to 30 feet tall. Ponytail palms grown in containers will generally grow 6 to 8 feet tall.

Rattlesnake Plant

The Rattlesnake plant (Calathea insignis) is a member of the calathea and the prayer plant families. These cat-safe houseplants are coveted for their bright, ornamental foliage. They’re also excellent additions to homes with low light.

Rattlesnake plants are tropical evergreen plants native to Brazil. They produce long, sword-shaped leaves with wavy edges. The tops of their leaves are light green with dark green, oblong spots down the centre. The bottoms of the leaves are a deep purple colour.

Rattlesnake plants aren’t difficult to care for. They require a moderate amount of filtered light to keep their colours vivid.

Rattlesnake plants like to be kept moist but not soggy and should be planted in a natural, well-draining soil mixed with:

  • Sand
  • Perlite
  • Peat moss

A rattlesnake plant thrives when grown in 50% or higher humidity levels.

Final thoughts on cat safe houseplants

Whether you’re looking for a low-maintenance or visually-striking houseplant, there are plenty of cat-safe houseplants available. These plants make fantastic additions to any household and will keep your furry friend healthy.

 

Further reading about cats, cat sitting and housesitters

At Housesitmatch.com we like to share useful blogs and practical advice about housesitters, housesitting and pet sitting. We hope you find this small selection of our blogs on house sitters useful.

Housesitters keep pets safe at home and save money

Why we love ginger cats

Orange cat varieties – What makes them special?

The cat food guide

Top 10 tips on cat sitting 

 


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LamiaW

LamiaW

Founder and Director of HouseSitMatch - I'm a hands-on Admin on the site. Please ask any questions and as soon as I can I'll happily answer and assist where I can.

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