Colorful, fragrant and such a variety of indoor plants attract the attention of not only their owners and their guests, but also pets. Cats always show special interest in green and flowering pets. The presence of fluffy pets should be considered not only when choosing plant species. Some houseplants will need special precautions against cats, while others will need to be used wisely.
How to protect houseplants from cats?
“Cat problems” of plants
Cat owners often complain that their furry pets are eating houseplants. But there are other “cat problems”: indoor plants attract the attention of cats, they just play with plants or soil in pots, digging, turning over containers, crushing greens and picking flowers, and sometimes they just lie on certain plants. Mischief and overeating are different phenomena, and you also need to deal with them in different ways.
Cats’ attention to plants and gnawing on their leaves is often attributed to a lack of vitamins or a sign that the diet should be reconsidered. But when it comes to analyzing the reasons that prompted fluffy pets to pay attention to indoor plants, you should not trust myths and rumors. Cats eat houseplants for only one reason – they do not have enough coarse plant food, which speeds up and simplifies the process of regurgitation.
Houseplants for cats are actually a grass substitute. If your pet enjoys outdoor walks in summer, then his love for indoor plants completely disappears, but in winter it manifests itself in almost all cats.
It is easy to understand the mechanisms that lead to gnawing on indoor plants if you analyze the range of plants that attract pets. Cats love cereals, and often look for a replacement for them among plants with hard leaves, not only among ornamental grasses, but also palms with their feathery fronds, and even Kalanchoe.
Cats can play naughty with any houseplant. From gorgeous flowering indoor roses and Saintpaulias, farmed seedlings, large palms and lianas to humble indoor aloe succulents and even green onions grown on the windowsill, sometimes cats’ preferences seem quite quirky and atypical.
Correct behavior of cats and their owners
The first and foremost means of “peaceful coexistence” of cats and houseplants is proper training and behavior correction. Potty training, rewarding good behavior, and ignoring houseplants are the best ways to prevent any problems.
Do not confuse encouragement and training with punishment: even if your cat smashed your best flowerpot or ruined a favorite palm tree, never use abuse, screaming, or physical violence as a method of dealing with the problem. Cats react negatively to punishment, which makes the problem worse. But encouraging good behavior and soft learning work reliably and always.
When teaching your cat that it is wrong to play or eat houseplants, do not forget that cats who have nothing to do or who are stressed and anxious are harmful. Spend time with your pets, provide your cat with toys, use special programs, do not block access to windows and observation of the outside world – and you will reach your goal sooner.
Of course, there are also direct means of dealing with this problem. But they will never replace the correct treatment of the cat.
The cat eats a houseplant. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Mick Telkamp
Add plants specifically for cats to your collection
The easiest way to solve the problem of cats eating house crops is to grow plants that they can feast on freely. If you put a pot with more attractive greenery next to a highly decorative plant, your green pet will suffer less from the attention of a fluffy guest.
Growing grass specifically for cats doesn’t mean they won’t be attracted to the plants. But the alternative in the form of a constant source of tough leaves will still reduce the risk of gnawing on indoor crops, helping to create truly optimal conditions for the pet.
Cats primarily pay attention to cereals – plants with sedge-like leaves and forming dense spikelets of inflorescences. The ideal treat for them is green wheat, barley or oats.
There is also a special mixture of grass seeds “For cats” on sale. Ready-made, grown green grass and sods in pots can even be bought at pet stores. But it’s easy to grow cereals yourself. If you have a garden, then wheatgrass or grass turf can be transplanted into pots and transferred to rooms.
Sowing herbs for cats is carried out in any universal substrate, rather thickly. Under a film or glass and in a bright place at normal room temperatures, the grains germinate in a few days, and the growing green “brush” looks very decorative. Caring for such “grass” is reduced only to watering. It is better to start with several small containers with different grains, by the attention to which it will be possible to judge the preferences of your cat.
Cereals are usually sown at intervals of 1 week so that fresh herbs are constantly in the house. While the grasses are growing, they are protected by a cap, allowing the cat to feast on grains only after the formation of a well-rooted sod with “waxy” blades of grass.
Alternative ways to distract your cat from houseplants:
- introduction of high-quality cold-pressed vegetable oil into the diet;
- buying or collecting fresh grass (wheatgrass or young cereals);
It is better to take fresh grass from your garden; in urban conditions for cats it is better not to collect it, with the exception of park and protected areas with a ban on walking animals.
The cat can take away the dirt if it is in the pot. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Carrie Higgins
Correct organization of the plant collection
Correct placement of houseplants from among the “attracting” cats is the main means of fighting against overeating, and undermining the soil, and with other feline pests. It is necessary to organize the coexistence of domestic plants and animals so that contacts are minimized in a natural way.
The easiest option is to put the plants that the cat loves, higher, in hard-to-reach places – at the same time, it is the most controversial. Firstly, not always hard-to-reach places or high placement are unattainable for cats, which can climb to any height and overcome any obstacles. Secondly, the plant itself will not be comfortable in any place – both in terms of the level of lighting, and in terms of access to fresh air or temperatures.
But there are several plant placement rules that will help minimize potential harm:
- it is better to place indoor plants on walls or hanging;
- choose heavy, stable containers for plants that are not easy to turn over even for an adult cat;
- it is better to prefer alternative options to placement on the windowsill, and if this is not possible, organize the collection so that there is more free space on the windowsill (some of the plants can be put on racks or hung like ampels);
- any racks and stands must be additionally secured so that they are not only reliable, but also stable.
If some plants are especially fond of your cat, it is worth, taking into account all the disadvantages of conventional methods, choose more reliable methods. True, the options for protecting plants from among feline pets are quite limited:
- Plant protection with decorative fences or walls.
- Placing plants in florariums and flower showcases (only for people from the humid tropics).
- Placing plants in niches or on racks with additional protective strips or grates.
Place covering material on top of the potting soil. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Carrie Higgins
Decorate the covering material in the pot with burlap. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Carrie Higgins
Place the plant pot, covered with burlap, in a decorative planter. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Carrie Higgins
To combat the excessive love of fluffy pets for indoor plants, you can use both artisanal and special means.
You can get advice about repellents from any veterinarian or pet store. Today, along with a wide variety of pet care products, they also distribute a special spray that scares away cats – with the eloquent names “Antigryzin” or “Antigadin”.
Such a “cat repeller” often contains natural substances, including essential oils, the smell of which cats perceive as unpleasant and repulsive. Animal repellents are intended either for home gardens or for indoor use. But choosing the wrong type of product can significantly spoil the atmosphere in the room.
You can cope with the task of scaring cats and other methods
Using plants that cats can’t stand
After observing your beloved pet for a while, you can notice which plants the cat does not like (often representatives of the bulbous family, indoor citrus fruits or aromatic herbs are counted as such). By growing unloved crops in small containers, you can surround the best plants from your collection with them, protecting them from cats.
Using deterrent odors
Cats cannot stand the smell of alcohol, ordinary table vinegar and all citrus fruits, sometimes they react similarly to the aroma of black, allspice pink or hot red pepper. Using citrus essential oils or natural essences, alcoholic infusions and even fresh peel, you can create a natural “repeller” from indoor plants.
Soaking cotton wool with alcohol, essential oils or vinegar is a temporary measure. As soon as the smell evaporates, the agent stops working, so such traps always have to be refurbished.
Use of scrap materials
Using sticky, rustling materials or toys with a remote control to scare away young cats. Double-sided tape, rustling foil or cellophane, small cars are placed around indoor plants to scare off sounds or unpleasant experiences, these methods are controversial and require analysis of the preferences and whims of a particular cat.
Of course, to scare off plants with a machine, you need either a keen assistant, or a lot of time. But both methods are a great alternative if conventional remedies do not help.
The soil in the flowerpot is protected by toothpicks from being torn apart by the cat
Protecting the soil from being torn apart by cats
Cats are often attracted not so much by the plants themselves as by the potted soil. Digging in the ground for sanitary purposes or for fun is a great pleasure. But any such tearing turns into disaster for the plants themselves and everything that surrounds them. Fluffy ones are especially attracted by large pots and tubs. It is believed that cats picked up from the street are most often undermining the ground, but this is more a theory and a question of the quality of cat training.
There are several ways to cope with the problem of soil tearing:
- use heavy or dense mulching materials – cones, large shells, heavy stones or coarse gravel;
- combine decorative mulching with deterrent odors;
- cover the soil surface with a metal or plastic mesh;
- use special protective grilles.
It’s not just plants that need to be protected
In the process of landscaping your home, you should think about having a pet first. Indeed, in the modern assortment of indoor crops there are many plants with the status of poisonous, which can cause significant harm to a pet. Indoor plants containing toxins, irritants or allergenic substances in their tissues and aerial parts should be used in a minimal amount and only where contact with a cat is excluded.
When choosing any houseplant or evaluating your collection for safety for pets, pay special attention to whether it belongs to the category of poisonous and whether there are special restrictions on its use in landscaping. Such common indoor plants as spathiphyllum, dieffenbachia, philodendron, begonias, hippeastrum, hydrangea and dozens of other crops are poisonous and dangerous for cats, not to mention the most poisonous crops of oleander, sweet clover and dope.
Even modest spring crocuses for cats are a serious risk factor. It is better to remove any poisonous plants from the collection altogether or display them in completely closed rooms.
If a plant accidentally remains in the collection, and you did not know its properties, but it attracted the cat’s attention, you should not hesitate and immediately seek help. The symptoms of food intake in cats are similar to those of human food intake. But to the usual disorders, there is also a pronounced inflammation of the oral mucosa.
The safest option is to immediately contact a veterinarian, but if it is impossible to quickly get professional help, then the animal needs to be vomited to reduce the lesion.