4 ways to protect your houseplants from curious cats

Learn how to make your plants unappealing, choose cat-repelling plants, use safe sprays, and more.

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Sep 13, 2023

Cats have a knack for nibbling on houseplants, and it can be quite frustrating. It's especially infuriating when they target your expensive, thriving foliage rather than the struggling ones.

Beyond the financial frustrations, some houseplants can be harmful to cats. To ensure your furry friend stays safe and your greenery remains intact, here are four ways to deter your cat from munching on your houseplants.

Make Your Plants Unappealing (to Your Cat)

Cats have highly sensitive noses, so manipulating scents can be an effective deterrent. You can employ natural methods to make your plants smell unattractive to your feline friend. 

Try these approaches:

Citrus peel

Cats dislike the smell of citrus. Place a couple of lemon or orange peels in the soil of your plants to discourage your cat from getting too close. Avoid using concentrated citrus oils, as they can be toxic to cats.

Cayenne pepper

Sprinkle a small amount of cayenne pepper around your plants. The moment your cat takes a sniff, it will quickly back away and think twice before returning.

Opt for Plants That Cats Dislike

Certain plants are not on a cat's menu. Consider incorporating cat-repelling plants into your indoor garden.

Some options include:


This fragrant herb is not to a cat's liking, making it an excellent choice for your indoor garden.

Cactus and roses

Prickly plants like cacti and roses deter cats due to their thorns. A minor prick from these plants will discourage any further curiosity.

Scaredy Cat plant (Coleus canina)

True to its name, this plant deters cats with its odor, which cats find unpleasant.

Use Safe Sprays on Your Plant's Leaves

Pet-friendly sprays designed to keep pets away from houseplants are readily available in stores. These sprays are typically made from non-toxic ingredients but check with your Parker & Ace veterinarian before using any over-the-counter substance around your cat.

Alternatively, you can create a homemade deterrent by mixing one part vinegar with three parts water and spraying it directly on the leaves of your plants. This mixture won't harm your plants and will discourage your cat from nibbling.

Strategically Place Your Plants

Consider the strategic placement of your plants to keep them out of your cat's reach. Ideal spots include sunny bedrooms, bathrooms, or sunrooms where your cat spends little time. If you lack suitable locations, position your plants high enough that your cat can't access them, or suspend them in baskets from the ceiling if your cat is a climber.

Making your plants as inaccessible as possible is the most effective way to keep them cat-free; but, don't forget to water them.

When to Seek Veterinary Advice:

If your cat's plant-eating habits become increasingly problematic, consult your Parker & Ace veterinarian. In some cases, cats may eat plants due to nutrient deficiencies, which could be a sign of gastrointestinal issues. It's essential to have your cat thoroughly evaluated by a vet to address any underlying health concerns.