Houseplants can liven up your décor, bring nature indoors and even clean your air. But, if you have cats, you might need to take extra precautions when bringing plants into the home. Some plants are poisonous to cats. Cats can also dig up the soil, nibble on leaves, or use the pots as a litter box. Here’s how to prevent cats from eating your plants.
My Cat Is Eating Houseplants!
Have you ever seen your cat chomping on the leaves or flowers of your indoor plants? Sometimes, cats amuse themselves by batting around the stems. Maybe your cat rips off the grassy stalks of your palm plant and runs around the house with them. You might have a problem if your cat is actually consuming the plants, though.
Cats are primarily carnivores. Because they eat so much meat-based food, they may try to get more fiber in their systems from time to time. In the wild, cats get their fiber from the stomach and intestines of their prey. They may also supplement their fiber intake by eating grass. In your home, a pet cat might try to eat your potted plants or floral bouquets for the same reason. It’s like eating a salad for extra roughage.
Cats don’t have the enzymes necessary to digest plant fibers. Their bodies can’t make use of the solids, so the grass either works as a laxative or gets regurgitated. Some experts believe that cats eat grass to remove other indigestible objects from their systems, such as feathers or fur. Drs. Foster & Smith say that eating plants may provide cats with nutrients that they’re missing from their diets. Some felines simply crave veggies now and then. If they don’t have a safe option, they might try to chew on your houseplants.
Does My Cat Like Plants?
Not all cats like to eat plants. Some will ignore grass and other vegetation. Others chow down on the green stuff like rabbits. If you’re concerned that your cat is eating too much plant material, you might want to have her checked out by her veterinarian. It could be an indication that there’s something else going on. You should also know which plants are safe for your pet to eat.
Poisonous Plants for Cats
Lilies are toxic to cats. Even just licking the pollen or drinking water from a vase filled with lilies can cause kidney failure. Peace, Peruvian and Calla lilies aren’t fatal to cats. They can cause minor irritation and make the cat drool, foam, or paw at his mouth, however. The more hazardous lilies are true lilies, including tiger, day, Easter, Western, Japanese, Asiatic hybrid, Show, wood, red, stargazer, and rubrum lilies. These may be found in bouquets, pots, or even outdoor gardens.
Some holiday plants are also poisonous to cats. Poinsettias are mildly toxic. Cats that eat this flower or part of the plant can develop itching and pain around the mouth. They may salivate a lot. You don’t usually need immediate medical attention if your pet eats this plant unless symptoms are severe. Mistletoe, on the other hand, can cause seizures, collapse, gastrointestinal irritation, and low blood pressure.
You might love growing daffodils, paperwhites, and amaryllis indoors. These plants, including the bulbs, are dangerous to your feline friends. If your cat has eaten part of one of these plants, it may exhibit symptoms similar to mistletoe intoxication. Take your cat and the plant to the vet immediately.
What to Do If Your Cat Has Eaten a Poisonous Plant
According to the Pet Poison Helpline, it’s imperative to get help quickly if you know that your cat has ingested a toxic substance. Bring your cat and the plant to the vet as soon as you can. If you’re not sure if your cat has eaten a plant, you might want to consult with your veterinarian to be safe. Get your cat checked out if he is showing any symptoms of plant poisoning, including:
Refusal to eat or drink
Difficulty breathing, chewing or swallowing
Excessive urinating or drinking
An irregular heartbeat
You can try to get the cat to rinse out its mouth if it has eaten something irritating. This is easier said than done. Have you ever tried to force a cat into anything? Giving the cat chicken broth or water-packed tuna can help eliminate acute mouth pain.
Growing Cat Grass
Did you know that you can grow grass that is safe for cats to eat. Some felines enjoy gnawing on this greenery. This grass might still make your cat throw up, but it’s not harmful. It can even help them dislodge hairballs and relieve an upset stomach.
Some types of cat grass that you can grow indoors are:
Dactylitis glomerata (orchard grass)
Avena sativa (common oat)
Keeping Your Cat Away From Houseplants
Cats are frisky creatures that can get into just about any area of your house. Have you ever found your cat on top of the kitchen cabinets? Even you keep plants out of your reach, your cat may still be able to access them. Keeping hazardous flowers and plants out of the house is your safest bet.
If you’re dealing with cats who eat plants, you can try a few techniques to avert the behavior. Sticking the handles of plastic forks into the soil with the tines facing up can prevent your cat from digging. Cats don’t like the scent of citrus. You can toss orange and lemon peels into your pots to keep pets away. Placing plants in decorative cages can deter curious paws. Your kitty probably doesn’t like to step on aluminum foil. Therefore, covering the dirt with the silver stuff can act as a deterrent.
Cat Safety First
If all else fails, you might have to keep your plants in a room that’s off limits to your pet. Although it’s nice to spruce up your home with plants, it’s even better to have the companionship of your kitty for as long as possible. If you get flowers or plants as a gift, don’t leave them out if you’re not sure of the species. See our comprehensive list of plants that are dangerous to cats for more information.