What Houseplants are Safe for Cats? 15 Feline-Friendly Plants

Cat sitting on the field surrounded by plants

Houseplants are good for the body and soul. They are lovely to look at, and they freshen the air by removing toxins from it. Cats are also good for us. Studies show cats help lower blood pressure and pets also help reduce anxiety in children and adults. Unfortunately, not all cats and houseplants are compatible. So, what houseplants are safe for cats?

Having houseplants and cats together is problematic. Some houseplants are not safe for cats. Cats like to eat them, play with them, and chew on them. So, your houseplants should be non-toxic for your feline friend. How do you know what houseplants are safe for cats?

Cat playing outside the house near the chair and some pot plants

Photo by Dương Nhân from Pexels

Fortunately, researchers have studied the effects of various houseplants on cats. They've found several that are safe to have with cats. Before you buy plants and put them around your home, know that some of these plants are easily confused with others that can be toxic. So, be aware of what houseplants are safe for cats before you take them home. 

After you’ve selected houseplants that are safe for your cat, you have to decide if your cat is safe for your plants. If your cat cannot keep its paws out of your plants, you can hang your plants or put them on shelves that are out of Tiger’s reach. 

These 15 plants are some of the safest and prettiest plants you and your cat can enjoy.

Air Plants

Air plants are all the rage in home design, and the good news is that all varieties of them are safe for cats. However, cats can damage fragile plants quickly. So, if you are hanging them, put them out of reach so you can enjoy your tillandsia for a long time. 

However, if your cat has damaged an air plant, there is still hope. Despite being fragile, air plants can recover from a beating by a cat. They often create baby plants - called pups - and will put their energy into generating new leaves after being damaged by a busy kitty. Give your air plant time to recover, and it should.

African Violet

One of the most popular houseplants is the African violet, and fortunately, they are entirely safe to have around cats. They only need low light, moderate temperatures, and some humidity, so they are easy to maintain. If you add African violets to your home, use specialized potting mix and their favorite fertilizer. 

These are non-toxic for cats. Humans often confuse them with violas and sweet violets, which are edible flowers. Cats can get upset stomachs from eating too many of the flowers on an African violet plant, and you might experience the same thing.

Baby Tears

This classic little plant is usually an accent plant in hanging baskets or around indoor trees. However, it makes a pretty pot on its own. It's a safe plant for cats, but it also deters them from digging in the soil. So, use it on its own or plant it in the pot around your larger plants to keep your cats from making a mess.

Bamboo Palm

Bamboo is one of the fastest-growing plants on the planet, so why not add one to your home. They are safe for cats, and they clean the air quickly. They'll make you think of the tropics, and they are easy to maintain. Since they grow so quickly, you might have to buy new pots occasionally, but that's the joy of owning beautiful plants.

Banana Plant

The banana plant is a houseplant with big leaves and looks like the better-known weeping fig. But, unlike the fig, the banana plant is safe for cats. It does require maintenance with regular watering, nutrient-rich soil, and lots of bright light - think tropical sun. Your hard work pays off if the dramatic plant thrives in your home.

Boston Fern

When you think of ferns, you probably think of Boston ferns. They are the iconic frilly beauty that adds style to every space. They thrive in high humidity and indirect light. They are easy to take care of with regular watering. Best of all, they are safe for cats.

Butterfly Palm

This pretty palm brings the tropics to you. The butterfly palm has lovely thin leaves that sway in any light breeze. It’s a safe plant for cats, but the swaying leaves will get your cat’s attention. Be prepared to see your cat swat and bite at the leaves. Keep the plant in full sun and only water it after the soil dries completely. 

These do look like the bamboo palm, but they do not grow as quickly. So, if you prefer a plant that will not need a new pot every few months, then the butterfly palm is a better choice for you.

Echeveria Succulents (Hens and Chicks)

These little succulents are usually found in gardens, but with the growing popularity of succulents, they are making their way into homes. These plants are short and sturdy. They grow nearly everywhere they are planted, even in cracks in the sidewalk. They don't have any leaves that rustle in the breeze, so cats might not be too interested in them. 

This plant likes bright light, so put them near the sunniest window. You only need to water it once or twice a month. Gardeners will know them the best as hens and chicks, but they may not know which variants of the plant is which.

Haworthia Zebra

These are beautiful little succulents that have studded white bands on the leaves. They love bright light, and they need soil that can quickly drain. They look like small aloe plants, but they are safe. Aloe is not, so be sure that you are buying the correct plant. These do not need much maintenance, so if you forget to water plants, this is the right choice.

Money Tree

Despite the name, money doesn't grow on the leaves. This durable plant is an excellent choice for households with playful cats because they can tolerate nearly anything, even neglectful watering. With proper care, the money tree grows big and tall. Cats might not find them too impressive, but the leaves can take a big of pawing and gnawing. 

The money tree does need sunlight, but medium sunlight is enough. They need water every ten days or so.

Orchids

If you love drama, the orchid is the perfect plant for you. And, like all pretty things, you probably want more than one. Fortunately, they are not toxic to cats. Orchids do not bloom all year, but in the winter they will brighten your days for a few weeks. 

Orchids are delicate plants that are easily damaged, so you might want to keep your cat away from them. The plants like to have their roots bound, which is why they are usually in small pots that seem to defy physics. They also like partial light.

Polka Dot Plant

This is a pretty, delicate plant with polka-dotted leaves in pink, red, and white. It's easy to care for and requires some light and water. While it's not toxic, some cats get upset stomachs if they eat a lot of polka dot plant leaves.

Spider Plant

Spider plants can grow nearly everywhere they are planted. These look great hanging from a hook on the ceiling, and they look great in a pot on a shelf. They are durable, easy to propagate, and completely safe for cats. The little spiderettes are fun for cats to paw, and if one breaks off and a new one will grow. The best way to get one is from a friend.

Sweet Basil

Most herbs are not safe for cats, but this is not the case for sweet basil. It’s not a plant that does anything for cats if they eat it, but it isn’t toxic. It is nutritious for humans, but cats do not get any nutrients from it. 

If you are looking for a plant that cats don't particularly like, this might be the one for you. Cats do not choose to eat it because they like the way it tastes. They don't even like the way it smells, and after tasting it, they might stay away from it later. Basil is an easy plant to care for, and you can use the leaves in your favorite recipes that call for fresh herbs.

Venus Flytrap

It might be a carnivorous plant, but it won’t eat your cat. The Venus flytrap is an oddly pretty plant with frilly teeth and fit together and devour yummy insects. They like humidity and bright light. Cats might not find them overly interesting as nothing hangs or moves like a spider plant or palm, but you will love that they eat gnats and small insects that get into the maw.

Featured Image: Image by Krzysztof Niewolny from Pixabay

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