Sprucing up your home with plants is one of the best ways to make any living space feel more welcoming, brighter and generally more vibrant. However, when you’re a pet owner, you can’t just choose a handful of plants at random and bring them home, especially if you happen to have cats that spend any amount of time indoors. Certain plants that are perfectly fine for humans to be around can cause serious health risks for pets, and unfortunately, these are some of the most common house plants to find at garden supply stores. Fortunately, there are still plenty of option to choose from that allow you to both keep your furry friend safe and add the perfect measure of nature to any room of your home.
Plants to Avoid
First off, it’s crucial to know which plants not to allow in your home. Cats chew on things sometimes. That’s just how things go. It’s your job to ensure that anything that might be chewed on isn’t toxic or severely harmful to their health, especially where plants are concerned. While cats should ideally not ingest plant matter at all, there are some plants that you should avoid having in your house whatsoever because even the pollen they produce can solve some serious health issues. These include:
While each of these common household plants are beautiful, they can cause serious gastrointestinal distress for cats who happen to get a little too curious about their flavor and could lead to some hefty vet bills if too much happens to be ingested. Avoid using these plants as décor in your home, and instead opt for some pet-safe options.
Of course, your pet may come into contact with these despite your best efforts if they go outdoors without supervision. If this is the case, it’s a good idea to keep a few key items on hand. Putting your cat in a t-shirt (if you can get them to stay in one) is a great way to keep the pollen off of their fur, and using a few bath wipes when they come indoors helps to keep potentially dangerous toxins off of their fur and skin.
Holly might be off the table for the holidays, but the beautiful, reliable Christmas cactus is still an option for those looking for a bit of festive flare. It blooms during the winter season in the northern hemisphere and is easy to take care of, so you can enjoy this cat-friendly house plant with little extra care while showering your feline friend with cat treats and cozy Christmas pet clothes during the end-of-year festivities.
Keep in mind that not all ferns are safe to keep indoors, but the Boston fern (or Nephrolepis Exaltata) is a safe option for those looking to incorporate that beautiful spread of jungle-like leafy green into their décor. The leaves, unlike most ferns, are non-toxic to cats, so your curious little critter will stay safe. The same might not be said for the plant itself when your cat gets an eyeful of those tantalizing fronds.
Hen and Chicks
Also known as blue echeveria, this is a one of the most common succulents to find in homes across North America. The flower-like shape and blue-green color make it an attractive addition to any house plant collection, and the spiky, short stems make it a less-than-ideal cat target so it’ll survive your cat’s presence.
These plants can be demanding when it comes to lighting and humidity, but when it comes to adding a splash of beautiful color to any space, there’s no better flowering house plant. They’re sensitive to temperature changes and should therefore ideally be grown indoors. While they are by no means edible, they’re non-toxic to cats.
Baby Rubber Plant
Native to Florida and ideal for indoor lighting conditions, the waxy leaves of the baby rubber plant (peperomia obtusifolia) are excellent alternatives to those found on the true rubber plant. The broad-leafed plant is also known as the American rubber plant, and it adds a level of freshness to a room, and the multicolored green leaves are a great hiding place for sneaky cats of all shapes and sizes.
This plant, known by many, many names, produces attractive white flowers that are non-toxic to any animals that might wander up and decide to try a nibble. When not in bloom, the leafy plant still managed to look vivid and vivacious with its mass of bright green leaves.
While most ivies are not safe for pets, Swedish ivy (plectranthus verticillatus) is perfectly fine to grow in or around houses where pets live. They thrive in hanging baskets and other high places, too, so there’s less danger (but not less temptation, of course) for cats to attack these wide, waxy leaves.
If you’re looking for a conversation-starter that won’t cause distress to your pets, then the prayer plant is an absolute must-have. The leaves are often multicolored, and when evening comes they fold together, a defensive mechanism that’s protected the species throughout the ages. Hopefully, this same defense will continue to keep those leaves safe from your feline’s friend’s inevitable attention.
The Hindu Rope, the Porcelain Flower – this plant goes by many names, but all “types” are the same. The little star-shaped flowers grow in clusters that range from white to pink, and are sweet-smelling, allowing you to liven up your chosen space in more ways than one.
One of the most common plants found in houses and outdoor landscaping plans alike. It’s a forgiving, dry-leafed non-flowering plant that has long fronds that some compare to a spiders’ legs – thus the name. Your cat are sure to find the spindly, almost string-like leaves irresistible, but fortunately, this plant is non-toxic.
Ideally, a cat shouldn’t chew on or consume any plant matter, regardless of the type of plant, and it’s always a good idea to have your vet’s number on hand just in case your pet eats a bit too much of your non-toxic leafy household friends. Having plenty of easily-accessible and stimulating cat toys on hand can reduce the temptation for your furry friend to harass your houseplants, as can making an effort to keep the plants in question out of reach. It can certainly be a challenge, but you can build a space in which you cat and plants can coexist with a bit of information and planning.