Houseplants make your home feel cozy in an instant. But as a pet parent, you may not realize some plants are toxic to pets, especially cats. “Cats are naturally curious in order to survive,” says Susan Sikule, DVM, owner of Just Cats Veterinary Clinic in Guilderland, New York. “In the wild, they need to explore to hunt and find good hiding places. In your house, your cat wants to explore your plants, too.” Fortunately, there are many cat safe plants you can bring home without worrying about your fur baby’s safety.
You also can try to keep plants out of your cat’s reach on a high shelf or in hanging baskets, though that’s not always foolproof. “Cats being cats, they will somehow figure out how to get to them or injure themselves trying,” says Dr. Sikule. For cats who like to dig in pots, place landscaping stones on top of the soil to make it less appealing.
No matter how careful you are, one plant you should never have in your house is lily, even in bouquets. “Lilies by far are the most deadly plant for cats, and even a small amount can cause irreversible kidney failure,” says Dr. Sikule. Even a few grains of pollen or drinking water from a vase that contains lilies can be fatal for your cat.
If you suspect your pet has nibbled on a toxic plant — even if you’re not entirely sure — call your vet ASAP. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Also, remember that any plant can cause GI distress or vomiting if ingested in large enough quantities, so keep your curious kitty away from your houseplants!
Ahead, the best options for cat-safe plants:
Olive trees have beautiful, silvery foliage and wispy shapes. You’ll need very bright light in an east or south-facing window, or use an LED grow light. They like to dry out slightly between waterings.
The striking, sculptural form of the staghorn fern makes them particularly appealing. Plus, you can display them mounted on wood or in hanging baskets to keep them out of your cat’s reach.
They like bright, indirect light and need to dry out a bit between drinks. Soak the entire fern if it’s mounted on wood in a bathtub for 10 to 15 minutes, let drip dry, and rehang. For those in pots, sit the pot in water for 10 minutes or so, letting it soak it up moisture from the bottom.
Christmas cactus can live for decades in the right conditions! These plants need bright, indirect light and should be watered when they’re slightly dry. They form buds in response to the hours of daylight; to get them to rebloom next year, give it 12 to 16 hours of complete darkness from late September on.
Cast Iron Plant
The spider plant has been popular forever because it’s so easy-care. Its long, strappy leaves arch gracefully from the pot, and it produces long stems with plantlets, which you can snip off to make new plants. These dangling babies might be especially enticing for cats, so keep it up high or in a hanging pot in bright, indirect light. Water when it’s slightly dry.
Bird's Nest Fern
This fern is less finicky than many other types, and its thick leaves help it retain moisture, meaning it’s more forgiving if you forget to water it occasionally. Give bird's nest fern bright, indirect light, and water when slightly dry.
You guessed it! This plant looks like it has a big, messy ponytail. Give ponytail palm bright indirect light. It’s drought tolerant because it stores water in its bulb-shaped base, so it can go a few weeks between waterings. The dangling fronds may entice kitties to play, so keep it out of reach, if possible. It’s also slow-growing, so buy the size you want.
Norfolk Island Pine
Arricca Elin SanSone has written about health and lifestyle topics for Prevention, Country Living, Woman's Day, and more. She’s passionate about gardening, baking, reading, and spending time with the people and dogs she loves.
10 Best Outdoor Cat Houses for Adventurous Kitties
The Best Country Dog Name Ideas
All the Food Network Stars and Their Beloved Pets
8 Best Cooling Dog Beds