If you’re a cat owner with a green thumb, you may be wondering whether your plant collection poses any risk to your feline friend. Unfortunately, many popular house plants, including the Peace Lily and the Monstera, are toxic for cats and may cause oral swelling, vomiting, or upset stomach if your cat bites or swallows them.
While there’s a good chance your cat will never disturb your plants, some cats do enjoy chewing on leafy greenery from time to time. With this in mind, you should consider your cat when selecting your plants. Fortunately, there are many cat-friendly houseplants that will make beautiful additions to your home.
Prayer plants, known by their scientific name Maranta leuconeura, are non-toxic to cats. Prayer plants are so named because their leaves lay flat during the day and move into an upright position when the sun goes down, resembling praying hands. They are a tropical plant that thrives in indirect sunlight, and they come in many different varieties. Thanks to their oval leaves featuring interesting veining patterns, prayer plants make an intriguing addition to your decor.
The eye-catching zebra plant is known for the elaborate stripe patterns on its leaves. These plants, also known as rattlesnake plants or by their scientific name Calathea insignis, are often mistaken for prayer plants because their leaves also rise at night. These cat-friendly house plants thrive in warm, humid environments and prefer indirect sunlight.
Areca palms, or Dypsis lutescens, are recognizable for their delicate, narrow fronds. They can be grown indoors or outside, where they can reach up to 35 feet tall in ideal conditions. The full fronds of these palms may be appealing to cats, as they make excellent hiding spots and offer shade. Fortunately, Areca palms are safe for cats should they decide to chew on them. These plants thrive in humid conditions and can’t tolerate temperatures below 10 degrees Celsius.
With thousands of different species coming in all kinds of different colours and sizes, it’s no surprise that Orchids are so popular. Known by the botanical name Orchidaceae, these elegant plants do best in bright, indirect sunlight. They require very little water and are happy in small pots, making it easy to find spots for them throughout your home. Orchids are cat-friendly house plants, but they are delicate, and a rambunctious kitty could easily knock them over. Keep this in mind when selecting a place for your Orchid.
Spider plants, Chlorophytum comosum, are completely safe for cats. These popular house plants are known for their thin, variegated leaves, which arch over the side of a pot in a shape reminiscent of spider legs. They grow best in partial shade and can thrive in pots of any size. They grow up to 2 feet tall and are easy to propagate. If your cat knocks one over, you can just start a new one! Since they are non-toxic, there is no need to be concerned if your cat develops a taste nibbling on the leaves of your spider plant.
If you already have plants at home, check whether they pose any risk for your cat. The ASPCA maintains lists of plants known to be toxic and non-toxic to cats, making it easy to cross-reference with your collection. If you happen to find that some of your houseplants are harmful to your cat, just place them out of reach.