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These Houseplants Won’t Hurt Your Cat

Cat on table with plants around

Let’s talk cat-friendly plants – the greenery that invites tranquil vibes into your home without endangering your kitty’s health. This guide isn’t just about keeping your indoor garden flourishing; it’s about aligning your love for plants with your cat’s well-being.

The truth is that there’s no need to curb your green thumb just because you share your home with a feline friend or two. Crafting a lush indoor environment that’s both beautiful and cat-friendly is easier than you may think. Let’s dig in.

These Non-Toxic Indoor Plants Are Cat-Safe and Whisker-Approved

Your feline friend might not give two meows about home decor, but curious cats may take an interest in playing with those particularly captivating plants. Here’s the good news: in small quantities, the non-toxic plants on this list won’t cause a trip to the vet. They’re also easy to care for and fantastic for creating a calming environment — something both you and your kitty can appreciate.

  • Spider Plant (Chlorophytum Comosum): This resilient little number is a popular houseplant that’s easy to care for, especially for new plant enthusiasts. Much like a set of whimsical whiskers, the spider plant’s bouncy leaves arch and dance; full of temptation yet safe for those playful paws. Fittingly, it’s also known as the Ribbon Plant.
  • Areca Palm (Dypsis lutescens): With bushy fronds that fan out with grace, the tall, tropical, and totally cat-proof areca palm is perfect for adding some tropical beach vacation vibes to your living room. Just make sure it’s got enough light, and it’ll feel like a lush and sunny haven where cats are more than welcome to hang out.
  • Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exalta bostoniensis): Fluffy, frisky, and lush, the Boston Fern’s fountain of greenery could be compared to the bushiest of cats. This one loves a cool place with high humidity and bright, indirect light, so it won’t be in the way of your cat’s sunbathing sessions, either.
  • Polka Dot Plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya): With its splotches of pink, white, or red, the Polka Dot Plant is a stylish addition to your plant collection, not unlike a feline friend’s distinctive spotted coat. It’s as if the playful dots of a Bengal or an Ocicat were splashed across the leaves, adding a lively pop of color to your space.
  • Friendship Plant (Pilea involucrata): The soft, quilted leaves of the Friendship Plant, with their deep crinkles and grooves, resemble the intricate patterns of your cat’s favorite scratching post. Also known as a Pilea, the ease of care and resilience of this plant make it a great choice for homes graced by the pitter-patter of little paws.
  • Moth Orchids (Phalaenopsis): Gorgeous and safe, these elegant beauties are perfect for a touch of sophistication. Plus, they’re divas in the best way, requiring low maintenance for their soft, velvety blooms. The long-lasting flowers branch out like a confident tail held high, and you’ve got to love that kind of beauty and grace.

Note: many plants have a scientific name and several cuter, easier-to-say names. Take care with these various nicknames when researching and shopping for cat-friendly plants.

Common Safety Concerns with Non-Cat-Safe Houseplants

When venturing into the world of indoor gardening, it’s important to recognize that not all houseplants are safe for our feline friends. Certain plants can pose significant risks, leading to symptoms ranging from mild irritation to severe health issues.

Here’s what to keep in mind when searching for house plants that are safe for cats:

  • Toxic Compounds: Some plants contain chemical irritants that can irritate a cat’s mouth, throat, and stomach when consumed. This can lead to drooling, vomiting, or diarrhea. More severe toxic reactions can include difficulty breathing, lethargy, or changes in heart rate. For instance, plants like lilies are highly toxic to cats and can cause kidney failure.
  • Physical Hazards: Plants with sharp edges or thorns can cause physical injuries to curious cats that might try to play with or chew on the foliage. Give them the perfect cat toy for their personality so they’re less tempted to play with your plants.
  • Allergens: Some plants release pollen that can be irritating to both human and cat respiratory systems, potentially triggering allergic reactions.

Taking proactive steps with these considerations in mind and conducting thorough research helps to create a safe and appealing indoor garden without posing risks to your cat.

If you believe your cat has consumed a potentially harmful substance, including toxic plant materials, immediately contact the Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) at (888) 426-4435 or reach out to your local veterinarian right away.

Calico cat on a window sill with knocked over plants, pushing a glass candle holder off of shelf with paw

Tips for Protecting Your Cat in a Plant-Filled Home

Cats do tend to love their own spaces, but it’s important to make every accessible area of your home a cat-friendly environment. Don’t leave their safety up to chance.

When you come across cat-safe plants that didn’t make our shortlist, take the following steps to help determine if it’s safe for your home.

  • Do Your Research: Visit resources dedicated to pet health such as the ASPCA’s Toxic and Non-Toxic Plant List which offers a comprehensive list and details about the toxicity levels of various plants.
  • Look Up Scientific Names: When researching a plant, make sure to use its scientific name rather than its common name to avoid any confusion, as some plants may share names but have very different properties.
  • Consider Plant Placement: Even if a plant is deemed safe, its placement in your home matters. Ensure plants are placed where your cat cannot easily access them to avoid any risk of physical injury or ingestion. This includes hanging plants and stands that may come crashing down if playtime gets a little too rambunctious.
  • Beware of Plant Care Products: It’s also important to consider the products used in plant care like pesticides, fertilizers, and other gardening accessories that pose potential risks to pets.
  • Consult Your Veterinarian: If you’re still unsure, your vet can provide reliable advice about the safety of specific plants, including insights based on their experience with any known allergens or health conditions your cat has.

So there you have it, cat moms and dads. Get ready to transform your living space into a lush, cat-friendly oasis where your cat can satisfy their jungle instincts, and you get to enjoy the purr-fect indoor jungle. It’s a win-win for everyone — happy cat, happy plants, happy you.


By Dylan Austin

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