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Cats & Plants: How to Live Together in Harmony

Do you avoid having houseplants because you share your home with a cat(s)?

I used to.

Do you have a houseplant and your cat(s) constantly chews on it, sleeps in it, or knocks it over (i.e. destroys it)?

You are not alone, This used to happen to me, too.

I love plants. I love to garden. And I love cats.

So how do we - as cat and plant lovers - share our home with everyone harmoniously?

I promise you, there is a way! It's been a long journey, but I've finally figured it out. I not only share my home with my personal cats, but also with a revolving door of foster felines. And I share my home with quite a few houseplants, too. I really do (and they are all healthy, thriving and happy plants --- and cats)!

Choose the Right Plants

First and foremost, make sure you choose the right plants.

What is the right plant(s) for you?

*Choose cat/pet friendly (non-toxic to pets) - a great example is the Spider Plant (one of my favorites!) / Latin name: Chlorophytum comosum.

*Choose a plant(s) that you can provide the right environment for (i.e., temperature, lighting, soil, watering requirements, humidity level, etc.).

*Find a location(s) in your home where the plants can be kept out of reach from our four-legged furry friends.

That's it! Those are the basic requirements for combining houseplants and our beloved cats into our happy homes.

But WHERE do I Put my Plants?

Good question. For non-cat people, this might seem easy to answer. For all of us fellow cat lovers, it can be difficult.

First, consider the age and agility of your cat(s). Young cats and kittens are more likely to jump up high and "inspect" the plants. Older cats generally prefer to avoid the super high jumps and by placing your plants high on a shelf, they may become disinterested in them all together.

If you share your home with a young feline, consider placing plants higher than they can jump (a very high shelf - with no way for them to leap frog onto other furniture to get to the plants), or located the plants in a closed room (i.e., bathroom or office).

Personally, I have plants in two of my bathrooms (doors are kept closed), in my office (up high!) and in my living room (again, up high.... too high for anyone to jump). Remember, I have a revolving door of foster felines - so when I have a new, young, highly active feline, they generally show a lot of interest in the living room plants. However, the fact that they are placed high has kept everyone from even trying to jump to "attack" the plants.

Are you starting to come up with ideas of where you can safely place your houseplants?

Following these basic rules and answering the questions above will help you cohabitate peacefully and happily with both your cats and plants.

Remember, it may take some time.

Move the plants around.

Try out the lighting.

Test out your cats reactions/interest levels.

You'll get it if you follow the above tips and take a few weeks to move things around until everyone is happy and settled.

I can tell you from experience. It is more than worth the effort.

I love being greeted by my cats every time I walk in the door.

I also love walking into a room and looking at my houseplants. It always brings a smile to my face, no matter how difficult my day has been.

But I haven't gotten to this harmonious point without a lot of trial and error.

I had a foster cat (young and very energetic) once who jumped way higher than I have ever known a cat to jump - just so she could dig all of the dirt out of my large spider plants and proceed to sleep in the pots. Needless to say, during the time I was fostering her, I had to move my plants to a closed room until she was adopted to a wonderful home (a home that was not interested in having any houseplants :-)

I had a foster cat once who, although she couldn't jump to disturb the plants, she would sit beneath them and cry, wishing she could chew on them. I solved this dilemma by introducing new interactive toys to the cat and distracting her with something she found more interesting than a still sitting plant. It worked fairly quickly and we never had any concerns or issues arise again.

I've also had a (blind) cat who would race me to sneak between my feet to go into the bathroom where she knew I kept several happy plants. If I turned my back for a mill-a-second, she would chew off all of the leaves of one particular plant in records time! her speed was actually pretty impressive. Although my plant looked pretty awful. Everything worked out, however, The plant bounced back with some extra love and attention. My cat was blissfuly happy at what she'd accomplished and we all lived happily ever-after. I just have to keep a close eye that she doesn't sneak into the bathroom again. When she does slip in she always runs to sense if the plant is still there (although now I catch her in time).

My best advice to share is that if you love cats and you love houseplants, keep trying. There is a way to all live together happily!

Like most things in life, it's about finding a strategy/plan that works best for you and your household. Get creative! You may discover a place to put a houseplant that you never considered before. Wishing each of you all the best in creating your best, happy home!


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