Ways to Keep Cats Out of Your Indoor Plants

by Jack Grover
cat beside green leaf
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It can be frustrating when cats chew on leaves, knock over pots, or use the soil as their personal litter box. But fear not! You can implement effective strategies to keep your plants safe and intact.

Below, we explore various ways to deter cats from damaging your indoor greenery.

One method is using a repellent spray with strong scents that cats find unpleasant. You can also add a layer of stone mulch or heavy pebbles to the soil to discourage them from digging.

Altering the placement of your plants and creating unpleasant surroundings can make them less appealing to curious kitties. Additionally, providing cats with their own designated plants, such as mint or cat grass, can divert their attention away from your precious house plants.

Here’s how to create a cat-free plant paradise.

Try a Repellent Spray

If you’re fed up with your feline friend treating your indoor plants like their personal playground, why not give repellent spray a try? It is an effective way to keep cats away from plants, as it creates an unpleasant scent or taste that cats find repulsive.

There are lots of homemade repellent spray recipes available to try.

  • One option is to mix mustard and pepper with water.
  • Another recipe is to boil some lemon or other citrus fruits in water, then use the liquid as a spray.
  • Citrus essential oils such as lemon zest diluted in water can also be effective.
  • Lavender and eucalyptus essential oils are two more options cats tend to avoid.

Make sure to thoroughly coat the leaves and soil of your plants with the repellent spray. Reapply the spray regularly, especially after watering, as it may wash away over time.

At the same time, don’t use vinegar as a repellent for cats, as it can harm your plants.

If none of the above suit your taste, there are other strategies you can use to keep cats away from your indoor plants.

For example, you could place coffee grounds around the plants or flower pots, as cats usually don’t like the smell. You can also rub fresh onion on the plant pots or place garlic cloves in them.

Add a Layer of Stone Mulch

If you have a mischievous feline companion, adding a layer of stone mulch to your indoor plants can help keep them from wreaking havoc. Cats have a natural instinct to dig and explore, and the rough texture of stones can deter them from using your pots as a litter box.

When selecting stone mulch, go for larger stones rather than small pebbles. This way, you’ll make it harder for cats to move or scatter the stones.

Additionally, choose stones that are too large for cats to swallow accidentally.

To apply the stone mulch, cover the entire surface area of the pot with a thick layer. Make sure that no soil is visible, creating a barrier between your cat and the tempting dirt below.

Stone mulch can also make your plant display look more stylish and polished. Therefore, it can provide protection against unwanted interactions with cats while adding an aesthetic touch to your home.

However, providing alternative outlets for cats’ natural instincts is crucial. Consider getting scratching posts or designating specific areas with loose soil for your furry friend.

cat playing with doll

Use Citrus Scents

Cats have a natural aversion to citrus scents, making them an effective repellent for keeping cats away from your indoor plants.

For instance, you can make a homemade spray by boiling lemon or other citrus fruits with water. Once the mixture is cooled, transfer it to a spray bottle and spritz it onto the leaves of your plants or around their pots.

Alternatively, you can dilute citrus essential oils in water and use them as a repellent. Lemon zest is particularly effective. Mix a few drops of the oil or zest with water in a spray bottle and apply it to areas where cats are likely to be attracted.

If you don’t want to use sprays, you can place citrus peels around the plants or around the flower pots. Cats detest the strong smell of oranges, lemons, and other citrus fruits, so they’ll be less inclined to approach.

Keep in mind that these methods can help deter cats from your indoor plants, but it’s essential to ensure that the scents aren’t too overpowering for humans or harmful to pets. Use them in moderation and observe how your cat reacts.

Alter the Placement of Your Plants

If you have cats at home, you may find yourself having to protect your prized plants from their curiosity. Fortunately, there are several ways to strategically place your plants in order to discourage cats from accessing them. 

Here are three practical solutions to alter the placement of your plants and keep them safe:

  • Elevated Shelves: Placing your plants on high shelves or bookcases is an excellent way to keep them out of reach of cats. Not only does this protect your plants, but it can also add an interesting, vertical element to your indoor garden.
  • Hanging Planters: Hanging baskets or wall-mounted containers are great options for keeping plants from being knocked over or accessed by cats.
  • Room Segregation: Limiting access to certain rooms is an effective method to protect your plants from feline interference. Consider dedicating certain rooms, such as bedrooms or bathrooms, to your beloved greenery.
cat beside a window

Use Aromatic Herbs

Aromatic herbs are a great way to protect indoor plants from curious cats. Not only do these herbs provide a pleasant scent in your home, but they also act as a natural repellent for cats.

Rosemary, lavender, and lemon thyme are all excellent choices. Growing these aromatic herbs near your house plants can create an environment cats don’t want to be a part of.

You can also use these herbs in the form of sprays or oils to further repel cats. Diluting essential oils derived from these herbs in water can create an effective homemade repellent.

Mist the leaves of your plants with this solution on a regular basis, especially after watering or when you notice signs of cat interest.

Nevertheless, be sure to choose pet-safe herb varieties and consult a veterinarian if you think your cat is having an adverse reaction.

Clean the Litter Box

Keeping your cat’s litter box clean is essential for maintaining a healthy home environment. It benefits your cat’s physical and mental well-being. But it also helps keep your house plants safe from becoming a bathroom alternative.

Here are some of the key reasons why it’s important to keep your cat’s litter box clean:

  1. Prevents alternative options: By providing your cat with a clean and comfortable area to do their business, you reduce the chances of them looking elsewhere for relief.
  2. Maintains hygiene: Regularly scooping out waste and replacing dirty litter helps keep the litter box area clean and hygienic.
  3. Reduces odors: Odor-neutralizing products help keep the litter box smelling fresh, discouraging cats from seeking out other areas.

Cleanliness is key to keeping your cat happy and healthy, so make sure to set aside some time at least once a week to clean the litter box. This simple task can help keep your cat content and your house plants safe.

Provide Safe Alternatives

To promote the health and well-being of both your cats and house plants, provide safe alternatives for cats. Instead of preventing your cats from interacting with plants, offering them their own type of greenery can help redirect their attention away from your indoor plants.

Here are a few safe alternatives that you can offer your cats:

  • Cat Grass: Cats love to chew on grass, and providing them with cat grass can satisfy their urge while safeguarding your other plants. Cat grass is easy to grow indoors and is commonly found in pet stores.
  • Mint: Cats are attracted to the scent of mint, so growing some in an accessible area can help to distract them from your other plants. 
  • Thyme: Another aromatic herb that cats find appealing is thyme. Having a pot of thyme in a space where they spend time can prevent them from nibbling on your house plants.

By offering these safe alternatives, you create a mutually beneficial situation for both you and your cats. Your cats get the satisfaction of chewing on greenery while your indoor plants remain free from damage.

black colored cat sitting

Final Thoughts

When your indoor plants are falling victim to the mischievous antics of your furry feline friend, it’s time to take action.

There are several effective ways to keep cats out of your indoor plants.

Using a repellent spray with strong scents or a spray bottle can deter cats from chewing on leaves and knocking over pots.

At the same time, adding a layer of stone mulch or heavy pebbles to the soil can prevent them from digging.

Altering the placement of your plants, creating unpleasant surroundings, and using double-sided tape or loud noises near plants can also keep cats away.

Following these strategies ensures your indoor plants remain safe and undisturbed by curious feline companions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use vinegar as a repellent spray to keep cats out of my indoor plants?

Vinegar is not recommended as a repellent spray. While it may deter cats, vinegar can harm the plants. It’s best to use other methods like citrus scents.

How can I train my cat to stay away from my house plants?

To train your cat to stay away from your house plants, try using the spray bottle technique. Whenever you catch your cat near the plants, give them a quick spray of water. It will create an unpleasant association and discourage them from going near the plants in the future.

Are there any specific plants that cats are attracted to and should be avoided?

Yes, there are. Some common examples include azaleas, peace lilies, and tulips. If ingested, these plants can be toxic to cats, so it’s best to keep them out of reach.

What are some signs that my cat has consumed a toxic house plant?

Signs that your cat has consumed a toxic house plant include vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, difficulty breathing, tremors, seizures, and liver failure. If you suspect this has happened, contact your veterinarian immediately for guidance and treatment.

Is it safe to use essential oils around cats to deter them from my plants?

Using essential oils to deter cats from your plants is unsafe. Many essential oils are toxic to cats and can cause serious health issues. Using non-toxic methods like repellent sprays or creating unpleasant surroundings is best.

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