How to Keep a Cat Away from a Potted House Plant?

Are potted house plants the new pets of our times? Or do cats and small indoor planters have the same kind of appeal to an average person in the United States?

The latter perhaps is the more accurate and understandable statement. While dogs and cats are great pets, people are now more inclined toward keeping houseplants in their homes.

As a matter of fact, one might actually be shocked to learn that while 25.4% of American households have a cat, 66% have at least one indoor house plant.

Most Americans who live without their families or have hectic routines usually prefer keeping a cat over all other kinds of pets as it is generally less demanding, easier to manage, and a great form of company.

American Plant Exchange White Bird of Paradise Real Live Plant, 10" 3G Pot, Indoor Outdoor, White Flowers

Moreover, such people usually also want a form of at-home therapy or wish to practice a peaceful hobby to relieve their stress and enjoy relaxing by caring for their potted house plants.

The love for a pet cat and a potted house plant is in constant competition with one another while everyone may be familiar with the term pet parent, most millennials have also managed to popularize the term plant parents.

Hence, people are equally interested in caring for their cats and house plants and are unwilling to let go of either of them.

While this does not sound like a problem, people are usually surprised to see how challenging the coexistence of a house cat and an indoor plant can be.

If no system of control or barrier is placed between the two, the cat will not take too much time to destroy your house plant collection to appease its curious and inquisitive nature.

Remember, cats are curious creatures (there’s even a saying about them). As such, they might try to use your plants as a litterbox or even destroy their leaves.

Continue reading to learn why house cats like messing up indoor potted plants, why the two should be kept apart, and how you can keep your cat away from your potted house plants.

Let’s get started!

Why Are House Cats Tempted to Mess Up a Potted House Plant?

People who love keeping house cats usually have a peaceful and calm personality and enjoy that their furry friend shares this trait with them.

While cats can be occasionally hyperactive, they are still much easier to manage than most dogs. This is mainly because cats don’t require much maintenance. They tend to take care of themselves.

However, unlike dogs, it is usually twice as hard and challenging to train a cat.

People with cats and house plants are usually well aware of how their furry companions love chewing on the plant’s leaves, love biting off the potted flowers, and enjoy using the house plant’s soil as their toilet.

For any house plant parent, such treatment of their plant babies is nothing less than a nightmare. However, it brings us to one question: why do cats love messing up our house plants?

Cats, by their nature, are inquisitive, territorial, and curious. No matter how old or young a cat is, chances are it loves to explore, sniff, and taste every new thing that has been brought into its living space.

Most cats usually approach the newly potted house plants to get familiar with them, as they are always uncomfortable around someone or something they do not recognize.

To do this, a cat may scratch the house plant, chew on its leaves, and may even spray urine on them to mark the plants as part of their territory.

Moreover, unlike dogs, cats, by their inquisitive nature, love the outdoors. Since house cats are rarely allowed to leave the house, they try to appease their inherent nature by staying close to the house plants.

Hence, they like to tug and chew on the leaves, just as they will do to the outdoor plants if they are allowed to leave the house.

Furthermore, it is common for cats to nibble on plants to make up for any fiber deficiencies, get additional nutrients, or even just because they like the taste.

Besides the nutrients, many cats tend to nibble on grass or outdoor plants when sick or have a bad stomach.

Since the potted house plants are the only option a house cat has, they become its instant and only target.

Moreover, most plant parents constantly complain that their cat continues to poop inside their potted house plant’s soil.

This usually happens when the homeowner does not clean the cat’s litter box on time or places the litter box in an inconvenient place for the cat.

Since cats are among the few animals who love to stay clean at all times, they prefer pooping in the house plant’s soil instead of its dirty litter box.

Furthermore, once a cat has developed a habit of pooping inside the house plant’s soil, teaching the cat how to behave and poop in its litter box is tricky.

This is difficult to do even if you regularly clean the litter box and show your cat that it’s clean. Cat’s are creatures of habit, and once they develop this habit of pooping in the plants, it’s very hard to get rid of it.

Hence, if you are not willing to kick out your cat, and nor do you want to get rid of your potted house plants, you must find a way to keep them together in harmony.

Continue reading to learn why you need to keep your cat away from the potted houseplants in your home.

Read What to do if a House Plant Gets Frozen?

Why You Should Try to Keep Your House Cat Away from Your Potted House Plants

Most people who have gotten a cat or an indoor plant for the first time are usually not prepared for the destruction that is to come. This is especially true if they bring both in at the same time.

However, it only takes them a few days to learn why they must keep the cat and the house plant apart. Some reasons for keeping your house cat away from potted indoor plants are as follows:

  • Potted house plants are primarily introduced to a living space, a bathroom, a kitchen, or an office to improve the visual aesthetics of the area.
  • As a matter of fact, most indoor planters are budget-friendly items to give your home an instant makeover.
  • However, if your potted house plant is missing leaves or has chewed-up stems due to a cat attack, they will no longer have their visual appeal.
  • On the contrary, the destroyed potted house plants will bring down the outlook of your space and will make it look dirty and unkempt.
  • Many potted house plants are no small investment. They cost a fair amount of money, and if your cat ruins it, that’s a huge loss for you.
  • For instance, if you plan on buying fruit-bearing bonsai trees to enhance the outlook of your house, you will be spending nothing less than 10,000 USD.
  • If your house cat attacks and destroys such an expensive plant, it will result in significant financial loss and mental stress.
  • Many houseplants can be toxic and can cause a lot of health issues in cats. A cat can also develop an allergic reaction or a painful rash after chewing on certain potted plant species.
  • Hence, if you do not actively try to keep your cat away, you might jeopardize the cat’s health.
  • Caring for a potted house plant can be an excellent form of at-home therapy for many people.
  • As a matter of fact, according to research, spending time caring for plants can significantly reduce a person’s stress levels, help with anxiety, and reduce employee absenteeism.
  • If the cat destroys the potted house plants, the pet parent might get emotionally devastated and will suffer from the loss of a therapeutic hobby.
  • If a cat develops a habit of pooping and peeing in the potted house plant’s soil, the ammonia fumes from the cat’s excretions can affect the health of the people who breathe it in.
  • The toxic fumes can cause nausea, tremors, vomiting, and muscle and joint pain and trigger swear allergies in some people.
  • Moreover, the cat’s excretions are also bad for a potted house plant’s soil and can lead to the plant’s premature death.
  • Furthermore, the extremely strong stench of the cat’s feces and urine can create an uncomfortable and unbearable living space.

Read Why Your House Plant is Sticky

What Are the Top Tips to Keep Your Cat Away from the Potted House Plants?

So now that you know the dangers of having your cat destroy your house plants and use them at their own personal toilets, what can you do?

Here’s all you need to know about keeping your cat away from your potted houseplants.

Verbally Discourage Your Cats from Approaching the Potted House Plants

The moment you introduce a new potted house plant to your living space, your pet cat is bound to give it a thorough inspection.

This is exactly when you need to be present to discourage your cat from attacking or nibbling on indoor plants.

You can do this gently by affirmatively shushing your cat every time it decides to approach the potted house plant.

This tip may perhaps take some time, but it is often very effective. When the cat is discouraged and shushed enough times, it eventually loses interest in exploring the newly potted house plants. 

Place a Tall Wooden Fence Around the Potted House Plants when Leaving Home

Protecting the potted house plants from a cat attack is easier while you are still at home. The real damage is done once you leave for school or work.

This is when the cat no longer has anyone to stop it in its exploration, and it can spend an extended period messing up the house plants.

However, you can prevent this from happening by placing a tall wooden fence around the potted house plant before leaving your home.

Doing so will create a protective barrier between the cat and the plants that will not only save the plants from getting destroyed but will also ensure the cat’s safety as it will no longer be able to consume any toxic leaves.

Spray the Potted House Plants with a Cat Repellant

A highly effective yet simple tip to prevent your house cat from attacking your house plants is by spraying cat repellant all around the plants, especially when you have to leave the house.

You can buy a cat repellant from a pet store or make it at home by using organic lavender oil and citrus juice.

The odor of the repellant will be extremely strong and distasteful for the cat and will thus keep it far away from the house plants.

Allow the Cat Some Outdoor Time Under Your Supervision

Since a cat is highly curious and inquisitive by nature, forcing it to abandon its inherent characteristics is not fair.

Hence, if you want to protect your house plants without being unfair to your cat, allow the cat some outdoor time under your supervision so it can enjoy sniffing and nibbling on the outdoor plants.

Cover the Potted House Plant’s Soil with Pebbles

If your pet cat has developed the horrible habit of pooping and peeing in the soil of your potted house plants, you can try covering the soil with small garden pebbles.

However, while doing so you also need to be sensitive to your cat’s needs and should thus ensure that the cat’s litter box is clean at all times. 

How to Keep a Cat Away from a Potted House Plant
How to Keep a Cat Away from a Potted House Plant

Read How to Get Rid of White Flies on Houseplants

Final Thoughts

If you love your potted house plants as much as you love your little furry companion, you need to find a way to keep both safe from one another to ensure a harmonious coexistence.

Fortunately, you do not have to kick either of the two out and can practice simple tips and tricks to protect the two from one another.

While teaching a cat how to behave may be challenging, you can always use harmless cat repellants, pebbles, and fences to keep the cat away from the potted house plants. Doing so will not only ensure your cat’s safety but will also protect your potted house plants from dying prematurely.

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