Posted on 02 August 2009 by

Cats and Houseplants

cats-and-houseplantsBy Vanessa Richins

I recently moved into a new apartment and discovered that one of my roommates owned a cat.

One of the cat’s newest hobbies is to jump up on the table where my houseplants are to investigate.

She’s even managed to start chewing on them.

My poor snake plant has a chunk taken out of one spike, and I think the pothos, schefflera and ficus are also under possible attack.

As much as I think cats are nice, I’d also like to have nice, healthy plants. I recently asked for suggestions from my beloved Twitter friends.

Bitter apple or pepper spray:

Several people suggested that I spray the plants with a bitter apple or pepper solution. These tastes horrible and deters the cat from chewing. You can buy bitter apple spray at pet stores. As for pepper spray, you could simply add some Tabasco to some water and spray on your plants.

Aluminum Foil:

Someone suggested that you could place aluminum foil on the surfaces where you don’t want the cat to go. The noise it makes when the cat jumps up is supposed to scare them away. I tried this already by placing foil all over the table. She still jumps up (sigh), but she does seem wary of the foil and tries to avoid it.

Water Bottle:

I’ve been trying to find a water bottle; for some reason, all the stores I’ve visited have been out. You just fill it with water and spray the cat when it jumps up around your plants. Since it’s water, it’s safe, but quite startling and annoying for the cat.

How do you keep your cats away from your houseplants?

5 Responses to “Cats and Houseplants”

  1. Blake Says:

    I have a coffee can with coins inside of it, which makes a surprisingly loud noise when shaken. It is kind of sad to see him so utterly frightened, but he is quick to learn and it has been a very effective training tool. (Although each time a new plant is brought into the house, I have to “retrain” him for that specific plant because he doesn’t associate it with the coins yet). Good luck!

  2. Maggie Says:

    I have used cayenne pepper successfully. Although, one of my cats is persistent and went right back to eating the plants after I washed off the pepper. Out of the 3 she was the only one that refused to stop. So eventually, I put the plants outside.

  3. sue Says:

    Instead of a water bottle, look for a water pistol, which should be in good supply in the shops at this time of year!

    I personally grow cat grass in a pot for my kitty, she much prefers the taste of it to my other plants, and so they are spared her attentions!
    Good luck

  4. Lauren Says:

    I buy cat greens from Renee’s Garden Seeds ( The blend of grasses seems to make my cat less ill than the grasses that just have wheat grass in them and she stops eating my plants (an added bonus)

  5. Terri Says:

    Upside down mousetraps or double sided tape!

    Also pothos and schefflera are both toxic to cats, so please make sure kitty doesn’t have access to them.

    The upside down moustraps make a tremendous noise and jump into the air, scaring kitty away. If you have time, you can pad the bar of the mouse trap with foam and put them right side up so kittie’s paw gets slapped. Test the foam out first on your own finger though! Un-padded traps can break kitty feet.

    Double sided tape on a piece of cardboard is also supposed to be effective. Put the cardboard tape side up around your plants and the cat shouldn’t like the feel of the glue on the paws. I tried this and my cats just liked the taste of the glue and used to sit on the tape and lick the glue off… *sigh* other people have said this works though 🙂

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