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Plant Safety and Your Cat

There seems to be a surprising amount of crossover between cat-lovers and indoor gardeners. What is it about caring for and nurturing small, living things that makes the Venn diagram of these two lifestyles a nearly overlapped circle? Looking around the cat-free spaces in the shelter here at Cat Adoption Team, you can’t help but notice a high number of potted greenery living its best life.Venn diagram with overlapped circles for Cat People and Plant People with a kitty-and-plant graphic in the center

Many of us want both cats and plants to co-exist in our spaces. But doing so safely can be challenging. There seems to be an endless list of plants that are toxic to our four-legged pals. But fear not, it is possible for both to thrive together.

Four leafy plants in fancy hanging jute and macrame plantersInquisitive cats will gnaw on nearly anything, so you do have to get creative. If you’re one of the few cat owners lucky enough to have cats that won’t—or can’t—climb, the simplest solution is to put those bits of greenery out of reach. A high shelf is a good option. Or maybe you fancy those hanging jute macrame planters with the vines spreading across the ceiling. If you opt for a decorative option, make sure the cascading parts get tucked up, lest your cat let curiosity get the best of him.

As smart as your cat may be, don’t assume they instinctively know what’s toxic and what’s safe. Cats are domesticated, so knowing what’s good or bad for them may not necessarily be part of their lived experience. It’s up to us humans to help keep them safe!

Common houseplants toxic to your cat:

  • Sago Palm and other Cycads
  • Any bulb plants, like Lillies, Hyacinth, Daffodil, Amaryllis
  • Asparagus fern 
  • Dieffenbachia
  • Oxalis triangularis
  • Azalea
  • Dracaena
  • Aloe
  • Sansevieria
  • Anthurium
  • Monstera deliciosa

Cat-friendly houseplants:

  • Catnip
  • Parsley
  • Valerian
  • Cat thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Wheat grass

If you grow grass for your cat, make sure it’s safe for them to ingest and ALWAYS keep it cut short. Sometimes, the grains that can grow from these plants can cause vomiting or diarrhea in cats. If you don’t have a green thumb, but enjoy the aesthetic that greenery offers, you can always find high-quality silk or plastic options. All the beauty and none of the watering (or cat vomiting!).

For a full list of plants for your cats to enjoy and avoid, the ASPCA offers a helpful resource.

About Cat Adoption Team

Cat Adoption Team (CAT) is the largest cat shelter in the Pacific Northwest. We offer adoption, foster care, and veterinary services to homeless cats and kittens.

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