How to keep your cat from killing your plants

A housecat sniffing a plant outside

There’s only one way to keep your cat from killing your plants, and that’s to get rid of your cat.

We joke; if you’re anything like us, there’s no way you’d ever dream of sending your cat to the giant sandbox in the sky. However, that’s exactly why it’s so important to keep your kitties away from your plants—many common varieties are toxic to cats and dangerous when ingested.

Here are seven simple solutions to keep your greenery—and your feline friends—alive and healthy.

Place your plants strategically. There are a few—make that very few—spots that cats have a harder time reaching than others. To keep your plants safe, hang them from the ceiling, place them on a high shelf in a sunny space, or try using a plant stand.

Use behaviour modification techniques. You’ll have to keep a close eye on kitty for these to work, but it can’t hurt to try. When your cat starts gnawing on your plants (rather than just rubbing them or sniffing them out), make noise, clap your hands, or use a spray bottle filled with water to scare them off.

Place aluminum foil in larger pots. Got a big potted plant that your pet likes jumping in? Line the dirt with aluminum foil, which cats don’t like walking on.

Decorate your plant’s soil. Kitties will steer clear of anything that’s unpleasant to walk on. Common techniques include placing cut straws, toothpicks or kebab skewers in the dirt. Or, if you’re not into the look of cut-up straws (we don’t blame you), try using toys or brick-a-brack in the soil. Lego pieces, marbles and decorative rocks lend that artistic edge to your cat deterrent.

Spray your plants. Load a spray bottle with diluted vinegar, lemon juice and water, or even hot sauce and water. Test an area of your plant first to ensure it won’t do any harm and then coat the leaves. Your cat should be repelled by both the taste and smell. Reapplication might be necessary.

Plant catnip or cat grass and place it in pots around your cottage. If there’s something feline-friendly to munch on, you can bet what your cat will go for first. These healthy greens may also aid in your cat’s digestion.

Tried all of the above and nothing worked? That doesn’t mean you can’t keep plants around. It just means that you may have to switch out your leafy greens for cacti, take a terrarium planting workshop, or invest in an indoor greenhouse.

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