Plotting Pot Plant Murder: How To Keep Cats Out Of Houseplants

It’s a tale as old as time: you’ve just acquired a gorgeous new houseplant, and a few days (or hours) later — oh, the horror! Your fluffy feline has chewed through more than half the leaves of your precious bird’s nest fern. If this sounds familiar, find solace in the fact that you’re not alone.

Many cats enjoy digging dirt out of pot plants, while others may fancy chewing on leaves, potentially leading to a damaged plant and a sick kitty. Thankfully, you don’t have to choose between your plants and your cat — in fact, there are several things you can do to keep cats out of houseplants for good. 

Today, we share six handy solutions to prevent your cat from damaging your precious houseplants.

Rethink Your Plant Placement

Keep Cats Out Of Houseplants

Sometimes, keeping your plants safe can be as simple as rethinking your plant placement. Two of our favourite options for storing plants out of harm’s way are floating shelves or attractive hanging planter pots. Of course, this will take some DIY work; however, you can also use home maintenance services to get the job done. Alternatively, suppose you live in a rental and don’t have permission to start drilling holes or nailing screws into your walls and ceiling. In that case, other options include using a terrarium or keeping your plants in an empty fish tank or large dome birdcage. 

Provide Cat-Friendly Green Alternatives 

You know what they say — if you can’t beat ‘em, join’ ’em. Instead of seeing your favourite plants succumb to the fate of the curious claw, consider purchasing or growing safe and especially appealing plants to cats. Some fantastic cat-friendly plants include the classic Cat Grass, Valerian, Catnip and Cat Mint, which you can purchase at any reputable nursery.

Alternatively, you could consider getting some inexpensive seeds in bulk to grow these pet-friendly plants at home. Offering your furry friend these safe alternatives will save your pot plants from untimely death and provide your cat with a source of healthy fibre that aids digestion and elimination. Talk about watering two plants with one hose!

Use A Citrus-Based Repellent

Did you know that cats have an extremely sensitive sense of smell, and citrus smells are widely reported as being repugnant to them? Suppose you’ve ever witnessed the painfully hilarious expression of disgust on a cat’s face upon smelling a freshly cut lemon or orange. In that case, you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about. 

Thankfully, this strong dislike of citrusy scents can be used to your advantage if you’re trying to protect your pot plants. You can find many citrus-based cat repellents online or at most pet stores, all of which prove to be incredibly effective in keeping cats away from plants and other items in the home. If you’d rather go the natural route, you could also prepare a homemade solution of citrus juice and water, which can then be sprayed on your plants to keep the kitties away. Another option is to place orange and lemon peels in your pots to help deter them. 

Whatever option you go with, be sure only to use certified pet-friendly products free from harmful chemicals or citrus oil extracts like those found in insecticidal sprays, shampoos, insect repellents, and fragrances that are toxic to cats and should be avoided. 

Note: Many articles will advise cat parents to use repellents made of onion, garlic or herbs, but we strongly advise against doing so. Onions, garlic, certain herbs and other alliums can be incredibly toxic to your furry friend, so you’ll want to keep these ingredients as far away from fluffy as possible. 

Add A Layer Of Stone Or Mulch

If your cat is an avid digger (or, even worse, confusing your pot plants for a litter box), you’ll want to perk your ears up. Yet another simple yet worthwhile solution to your feline pot plant problems is to add a layer of pebbles, stone or mulch on top of your soil. Creating a physical barrier is one of the best ways to stop a cat from digging into a plant, as cats generally dislike areas covered in stones or pebbles — they hate coming into contact with uncomfortable surfaces, as we mentioned earlier. 

Of course, like most cat-related things, this will take a little trial and error. If your cat is batting small pebbles or stones around, consider switching to a slightly larger pebble with more weight. 

Top Tip: As a bonus, stones are a great way to make your potted plant look attractive and help keep moisture in your soil for longer. A win-win situation, if there ever was one! 

Keep Fluffy Away With Some Foil

Keep Cats Out Of Houseplants

Another effective way of keeping cats away from pot plants is to create an unappealing environment that detracts rather than attracts your cat’s attention from your prized greenery. The simplest (and cheapest) way to do this is to head to your local supermarket and purchase a roll of aluminium foil. Cats dislike the sound and feel of aluminium foil on their paws, so this can often be an incredibly effective deterrent when trying to keep your furry friend far from that expensive Pink Princess Philodendron that you recently splashed out on. 

For starters, try wrapping your planter or pot in a layer of foil or placing crumpled bits of foil on top of the soil. Remember not to push any foil deep down onto the dirt, as this may result in a lack of oxygenation and potential mould growth in soil that may harm your plant. Moreover, because the foil is lightweight, it can be placed close to the stem of your plant without damaging it. It is also easy to remove if necessary, which is always a plus! 

Provide Other Forms Of Entertainment 

Lastly, let’s talk about keeping your precious fur baby entertained. A lot of the time, cats will resort to messing with pot plants simply because they are bored to bits. Contrary to popular belief, cats require as much attention and stimulation as dogs or any other pet. If you find that your cat is using its murder mittens to destroy your pot plants regularly, chances are he or she is bored and in need of other entertainment. This is where purchasing several interactive cat toys and devoting a small part of the day to playing with your cat can be very handy. 

Be sure to encourage your cat to play with toys and rotate them regularly to prevent over-familiarity and boredom. With more to do and less time to get up to no good, there is a much lower likelihood of your pot plants getting destroyed or being used as makeshift toys when your fur baby needs entertainment! 

And there you have it — 6 proven methods guaranteed to keep your cat away from your precious pot plants. If you’re ready to say goodbye to chewed-up foliage and carpets covered in dirt, consider taking one (or all) of these helpful tips on board! 

Do you have some tried and tested tips for keeping fluffy away from your indoor plants? Share your ideas, tips and tricks in the comments section below! 

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.