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10 Cat-Friendly Houseplants for a Happy, Safe Home

cat-friendly houseplants

When it comes to creating a safe environment for our feline friends, choosing the right houseplants is vital. Many common houseplants can pose a threat to our beloved cats, as they may be toxic if ingested.

However, plant lovers shouldn’t feel the need to remove all of their beloved houseplants from their homes. 

There are plenty of cat-friendly houseplants available that are not only non-toxic but also provide a beautiful, enriching environment for our pets, which is important for their health and satisfaction.

This is especially relevant for indoor cats. As their main environment is inside, it’s important to ensure they are sufficiently stimulated to prevent boredom.

Pet-friendly houseplants not only add aesthetic appeal but also help purify the air in our homes - a benefit for both you and your pets.

Understanding the Importance of Cat-Friendly Houseplants

cat-friendly houseplants

Cat-friendly indoor plants are those that are non-toxic to cats and won't cause harm if nibbled on or accidentally ingested, making them safe for kitties to be around.

In addition to selecting non-toxic houseplants, there are other precautions you can take to prevent your cats from nibbling or playing with your houseplants. 

  • Placing plants out of reach or using hanging planters can make it more difficult for curious cats to use your houseplants as chewing material. 

  • Providing alternative sources of stimulation such as scratching posts or interactive toys can also divert their attention away from your houseplants.

By carefully selecting cat-safe houseplants and implementing preventative measures, you can create an inviting indoor space that both you and your feline companion will enjoy. 

When it comes to keeping our furry friends safe, it's always better to err on the side of caution when choosing indoor foliage. Even if you don’t see your cat showing interest in your houseplants, it doesn’t mean they won’t one day take a liking to your indoor garden. Remember to prioritise their safety.

Are Cat-Safe/Non-Toxic Houseplants Safe for Cats to Chew?

So, let's say you've opted to make your home a cat-safe-plant-only zone. Does that automatically mean it's completely safe for your cat to nibble on the leaves of these cat-friendly plants? Unfortunately, the answer is not necessarily.

Even non-toxic plants have the potential to cause adverse reactions if your cat consumes too much of the plant material. 

Therefore, if your cat is prone to chewing on the leaves of your plants, it's best to move them into an unreachable area, even if they are non-toxic.

Here are some tips to keep your cats safe around non-toxic houseplants:

  • Strategic Placement: Place plants out of reach or use hanging planters to make it challenging for curious cats to access them.

  • Stimulate Alternatives: Provide alternative sources of stimulation like scratching posts and interactive toys to divert their attention from houseplants.

  • Vigilance is Key: Even with non-toxic plants, monitor your cat's behaviour around them. If they show signs of interest or start to nibble the foliage, put the plant in an unreachable spot.

  • Consult a Vet: If you observe any unusual symptoms in your cat or suspect ingestion of a non-toxic plant, consult with your veterinarian promptly.

Click here or see the bottom of this article for further info on ensuring the safety of your cat when it comes to toxic and non-toxic houseplants.

The Top 10 Cat-Friendly Houseplants That Are Safe and Non-Toxic

1: Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

spider plant cat-friendly houseplants

Spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum) are a popular choice among plant enthusiasts due to their attractive striped leaves and air-purifying qualities. 

When it comes to cat-friendly houseplants, the good news is that spider plants are considered safe and non-toxic for cats.

While spider plants may be appealing to some cats, they pose no significant danger if ingested. The ASPCA lists spider plants as non-toxic to cats. This means that even if your curious cat decides to take a nibble on the leaves, there should be no cause for concern.

Overall, spider plants make an excellent choice for cat owners who want to add some greenery to their homes without worrying about the safety of their felines. Plus, their easy care requirements make them an ideal addition to any indoor jungle.

2: African Violet (Saintpaulia)

african violet cat-friendly houseplants

Another great choice for cat-friendly houseplants is the African Violet. African violets make beautiful additions to houseplant collections, with their vibrant purple flowers and relatively easy care requirements, they're suitable for both experienced and novice plant owners.

One of the key advantages of these gorgeous plants is that they are non-toxic to cats. This means that even if your curious feline decides to take a nibble, there should be no cause for concern.

With proper care, these lovely plants can provide beauty and joy while keeping your feline companion safe.

3: Areca Palm (Dypsis lutescens) 

areca palm cat-friendly houseplants

The Areca Palm is a popular houseplant known for its beautiful fronds and ability to purify the air. It not only adds a touch of tropical finesse to any space but is also considered safe for cats.

This palm plant is listed as non-toxic by ASPCA. While it is always important to monitor your pets around plants, especially if they have a habit of chewing on foliage, the Areca Palm poses no significant threat to your feline friends.

Along with being cat-friendly, this plant also hosts an array of benefits such as improving indoor air quality by removing toxins such as formaldehyde and xylene from the environment, which can be appreciated by both you and your pets.

4: Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exalta bostoniensis)

boston fern cat-friendly houseplants

The delightfully lush Boston Fern is a popular houseplant known for its frilly fronds and air-purifying properties. The Boston Fern is another plant variety considered safe and non-toxic to cats.

This type of fern poses no significant risk if ingested by cats. This makes it an excellent choice for cat owners looking to add a touch of greenery to their homes.

Just like the Areca Palm, Boston Ferns also help purify the air by removing toxins, making them a great choice for your indoor plant collection.

While the Boston Fern is non-toxic to cats, it’s important to note that not all fern varieties are the same. For example, the Asparagus Fern (Asparagus setaceus), is a variety that is NOT safe for cats.

5: Orchid (Orchidaceae)

orchid plant cat-friendly houseplants

Orchids, which belong to the family Orchidaceae, are tropical flowering plants that are safe for cats. Unlike your average houseplant, these three-petaled beauties come in a variety of colours and are suitable for both minimalist and maximalist interior design styles.

This makes them the perfect choice for cat owners who want to add a touch of elegance to their homes without compromising the safety of their feline friends.

Unlike some other flowering plants, orchids pose no significant threat if ingested by your cat. However, it's important to note that some cats may still experience mild gastrointestinal upset if they consume large quantities of orchid leaves or flowers.

6: Peperomia Plant (Peperomia argyreia)

peperomia plant cat-friendly houseplants

Peperomia plants are a popular choice for cat owners due to their non-toxic nature.

Belonging to the Piperaceae family, Peperomias come in many different shapes, sizes and colours. Known for their small, succulent-like leaves, these cute little plants are both versatile and relatively easy to care for.

A few popular varieties of peperomia include Peperomia obtusifolia (Baby Rubber Plant), Peperomia caperata (Emerald Ripple Peperomia), and Peperomia argyreia (Watermelon Peperomia).

7: Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata)

pony tail palm cat-friendly houseplants

The Ponytail Palm, scientifically known as Beaucarnea recurvata, is a popular houseplant that is not only visually appealing but also safe for cats. This unique plant features a bulbous trunk and long, arching leaves that resemble a ponytail, hence its name.

This gorgeous tropical plant is generally considered non-toxic to cats, however, it's important to note that some cats may still experience mild gastrointestinal upset if they consume large quantities of plant matter.

In addition to being safe for cats, the Ponytail Palm also requires minimal care and maintenance, making it an ideal choice for busy individuals.

8: Prayer Plant (Maranta leuconeura) 

prayer plant cat-friendly houseplants

The Prayer Plant (Maranta leuconeura) is another great choice for cat owners! These popular houseplants are known for their unique appearance, sporting vibrantly patterned, oval-shaped leaves. In addition to its beautiful, tropical look, most varieties of prayer plants are considered non-toxic and safe for cats.

Part of the Marantaceae family, Prayer Plants come in many different varieties such as Maranta, Peacock Plant and Red Veined Prayer, all with unique leaf patterns.

As well as being cat-safe, prayer plants are also relatively easy to care for. Requiring low, indirect sunlight and weekly to bi-weekly watering, these unique and eye-catching plants would make a great addition to your houseplant collection.

9: Rattlesnake Plant (Calathea insignis) 

rattle snake plant cat-friendly houseplants

The Rattlesnake Plant, scientifically known as Calathea insignis, is another popular choice for cat owners who want to add some greenery to their homes without compromising the safety of their furry friends.

The Rattlesnake Plant is both visually appealing and considered non-toxic and safe for cats. Sporting patterned leaves, this tropical beauty is a Calathea from the same family as the Prayer Plant.

Containing no harmful toxins or chemicals that could potentially harm cats if ingested, these unique plants are another safe choice for your cat-friendly, indoor garden.

10: Zebra Plant (Aphelandra squarrosa)

zebra plant cat-friendly houseplants

Named for its vibrant, striped leaves, the Zebra Plant (Aphelandra squarrosa) is another kitty-safe houseplant that can add a touch of tropical beauty to your home.

Containing no toxins or chemicals which are known to be harmful to cats, you can feel confident in bringing home a Zebra Plant if you have resident felines.

In addition to being cat-friendly, the Zebra Plant is another option that is relatively low maintenance. It thrives in bright but indirect light and needs regular, light watering, keeping the soil moist but not soggy.

While the plants listed above are generally considered safe and non-toxic, it's worth reiterating that some cats may experience mild gastrointestinal upset if they consume large quantities of any plant material. In such cases, it is advisable to monitor your cat's behaviour and consult with a veterinarian if you notice any unusual symptoms.

Cats may not be able to determine if something is harmful to them. Therefore, even if your cat has not previously shown interest in your houseplants, it is still not safe to bring one home that could potentially put them at risk, even if it is out of their reach.

If you have a mischievous cat who tends to chew on plants, you can take precautions by placing your plants out of reach or using deterrents such as bitter apple spray on the leaves. This can help discourage your furry friend from investigating the plant too closely.

Additionally, regularly check all of your plants for any signs of damage by your cat, such as bite marks. If any are present, it’s wise to remove them from your cat’s reach.

You can find all of the plants listed in this article and more on the ASPCA website, along with a list of plants which are toxic and not considered safe for cats if ingested.

Important Notes: 

  • Though the plants mentioned in this article are generally considered safe and non-toxic for cats, cats can experience mild gastrointestinal upset if they consume large quantities of any plant material. In such cases, it's best to monitor your cat's behaviour and consult with a veterinarian if you notice any unusual symptoms.

  • If you notice your cat munching on any part of any type of plant, it is advisable to remove the plant from their reach, as even non-toxic houseplants can cause adverse reactions in some cases. 

  • It is always wise to observe your cat's behaviour around new plants and consult with your veterinarian if you have any concerns or if you think your cat may have ingested a plant that could be toxic to them.

  • If you suspect that your cat has ingested a toxic plant or if you know they have, it is crucial to take them to the nearest emergency vet immediately. Do not wait until you notice signs of illness before seeking veterinary care, as poisoning can have a quick onset and can rapidly become fatal if not treated immediately. 

  • If your pet exhibits any worrying symptoms, such as vomiting, fever, lethargy, salivating, diarrhoea, or breathing difficulties, take them to an emergency vet right away, even if you are unsure whether they have ingested something toxic.

  • The plants mentioned in this article are classed by the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) as non-toxic and considered safe for cats if ingested.

  • Make sure to keep your houseplants out of reach of your cat, especially if they tend to chew the leaves.

Disclaimer: The information in this blog post is for general informational purposes only. While efforts have been made for accuracy, individual cat sensitivities may vary. It is advisable to consult a veterinary surgeon for personalised advice.

The cat-friendly houseplants mentioned are classified by the ASPCA as non-toxic, but cats may experience mild gastrointestinal upset with large plant consumption. If your cat shows interest or ingests a plant, remove it and monitor for adverse reactions.

This article provides general guidance; it is not a substitute for professional veterinary care. Prioritise your cat's safety, take precautions, and seek immediate vet care for suspected plant toxicity. Regularly check plants for damage by your cat, and for a comprehensive list of toxic plants, refer to the ASPCA website.

Maintaining a safe environment for your pets requires ongoing awareness of their behaviours and needs.


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