Is your cat’s taste for houseplants driving you potty? Are they starting to nibble at your greenery and causing a fuss? Eating plants is pretty normal behaviour for a moggy – however, you need to be especially careful that the plants you have in your home are safe for them to be around.
In this guide, I’ll be taking you through a list of low light houseplants that are safe for cats to nibble and be around. If you don’t mind your cat taking a fancy to the odd frond, make sure to swap out for the few safe indoor plants for cats I’ve listed towards the end of this guide.
Why Do Cats Eat Houseplants?
That’s the million pound question. Ultimately, cat lovers everywhere know that their pets love to play, and that they are super inquisitive! Curious cats often touch and taste all kinds of objects to learn about the world around them. When cats live in the wild, they are normally carnivorous – however, to supplement their diets (and sometimes just because they like the taste), they will often choose to eat plants, too.
Indoors, cats are just as eager to explore their surroundings. The mere touch of a leaf, even accidentally, might be enough to capture their interest – and this can even be enough to engage their attention for a little while! If they like the taste of a plant enough, they might set about pruning it for you!
Essentially, it’s all about curiosity – which we know cats have plenty of in abundance! It’s all the more reason why we should be careful to protect them. Luckily, there are steps you can take to stop your cat eating houseplants .There are also more than a few low light plants that are safe for cats to be around. Keep reading, and I will fill you in on some low light indoor plants worth keeping an eye out for.
Are Houseplants Toxic to Cats?
As you likely know, houseplants come in all manner of varieties – some flowering, some not. Indoor plants are generally categorised based on how much light they need. However, regardless of the types of plant you set up at home, you might not have thought about whether or not they are toxic to eat! Some pets can become seriously ill from consuming specific types of plant, meaning it is always a good idea to research a bit about flowers and blooms before you buy.
Some houseplants are certainly toxic to cats. Cats that have a toxic reaction might start showing signs of lethargy or fatigue or may vomit. In some cases, recovery from eating a toxic plant is relatively quick as the poison is cleared when they are sick. However, it may still enter the bloodstream. If you are in any doubt that your cat has consumed at least part of a potentially toxic plant, then you must seek assistance from your vet. It may result in severe illness or may even be fatal to them.
Low Light Houseplants That Are Safe for Cats
Thankfully, there are ‘cat safe’ houseplants which are widely available to buy and pot at home from high street garden centres. In many cases, plants are labelled with warnings – which are always worth reading very carefully.
To help you get started, below is a list of cat friendly houseplants. These low light indoor plants are considered safe choices for those cat owners whose pets take anything from a light nibble to making a full vegetarian meal of their greenery!
However, of course – do keep in mind that if you choose any of the following plants for your home, they may end up getting misshapen or even destroyed altogether – depending on how plant-hungry your cat actually is!
These striking plants are popularly grown in hanging baskets, which of course, is already a bit of an adventure playground for a cat! A major advantage with spider plants lies in the fact that it regenerates very easily. This means that if you need to cut it back, new shoots will emerge. It has long, intriguing tendrils, which you can cut and root to grow new plants. They are completely non-toxic to cats and are some of the easiest low light indoor plants to cultivate.
Bamboo is an easy plant to grow, and it recovers well if damaged – making it a great choice for a cat-friendly household. If your moggy does choose to chow down on this plant, you can easily regrow leaves with a strong enough stalk and can root even weaker stalks if you give them enough care and attention. They won’t grow as wildly as spider plants but are still fairly hardy on the whole.
Basil has dual benefits for everyone, as they double up as both a houseplant and a culinary addition. It adds lots of flavour to salads and can even be added to drinks. Of course, they can also provide a handy nibble or two for your cat, as it is regarded as non-toxic. However, it’s probably not a good idea that they take on too much of this herb as it might upset a feline stomach.
Dill is a sweet, grassy herb that most cats are likely to find pretty tasty. Like sweet basil, some people grow it outdoors or in window boxes. However, you’ll normally find a fresh pot of dill pretty easy to find in your local supermarket. Dill is normally kept in the kitchen and, again, can be used in various dishes. Do keep in mind that herbs such as dill and basil do not always last long in low light, but light conditions aren’t normally an issue – as they are generally bought to eat, rather than to cultivate.
These are short lived plants which cats often love the taste of – from the leaves right down to the stems. They can, however, stain in blue, purple and pink – meaning that if your cat comes to you with a colourful mouth, you’ll know what they’ve been dining on! This plant has soft, curved leaves, and will replace themselves to an extent – however, cats are known to pretty much destroy them! They don’t tolerate strong sunlight.
This exotic looking plant is vibrantly coloured and has fleshy stalks which snap easily – meaning that you can easily take these cuttings to regrow again if you need to. They will easily root in water from a single joint, or you can even give them a bit of a kick start in compost if you want to. Best of all is the fact that this striking looking plant is completely cat friendly and won’t need much looking after. That’s all the more beneficial, given the fact that the average moggy is likely to go wild for this superb shrub!
Impatiens (or Bizzie Lizzie)
This is a plant which isn’t tolerant of strong sunlight and therefore thrives in more shaded areas. They grow rapidly, and flower often if you water them carefully enough. However, too much water can cause their stems to rot, and too little can cause them to droop. They are going to need a fair bit of care and attention! They come in a variety of colours such as red, white, and pink, and their trembling nature can really attract the attention of a cat. They are easy to root, but then again, as they are not very tough, a cat can easily make light work of this plant within a matter of days.
When finding the right houseplants that are non-toxic to cats, you’re going to need to look for greens and blooms which can be easily salvaged, or which will look after themselves if need be! All the low light indoor plants listed above are easy to salvage after a cat’s snack or two, or to trim back and support. You can even take cuttings and root some of the above for ease, too.
However, do be careful if you choose to stake some plants to give them support. This could prove to be dangerous for your cats if they accidentally spike themselves while exploring. Support your plants as carefully as you can, but support your cat, too!
A good way to make sure your home is abundant with plant life as well as safe for your cat is to make sure you buy plants that are not only non-toxic, but those which you don’t mind sacrificing to your moggy in the long run. You might want to buy a plant that is specifically for them to eat. Of course, investing in indoor plants that don’t need much light is always a good idea.
Best of all, you might want to invest in ‘cat grass’, or Dactylis Glomerata’, which is a low light house plant alternative that can be grown in a shallow container inside the home. You can easily start off growing this cat-intended grass snack outdoors, before moving it into an indoor pot once it’s around 5cm tall. It’s an odd phenomenon in that it’s generally grown for cats to much on instead of more prized blooms!
Take a look out for the low light houseplants that are safe for cats listed above to get started, and otherwise, always read warning labels and do your research on any specific plant life you might be keeping an eye out for.