Cats will find anything to entertain themselves with, but there’s something about a houseplant that draws them in every single time. Whether they like to chew on it, eat it, sniff it, play with it, or lay by it – your cat will spend hours next to its favorite plant and will get rowdy if you move it or take it away.
While this is normal behavior for most domestic cats, owners must ensure their houseplants are safe and edible before introducing them to their furry friends.
Why Aren’t Some Plants Safe & Edible for Cats?
From a cat’s perspective, a plant is a plant – they’ll play with it if they want to. That’s why owners need to be their cat’s best advocate when introducing houseplants to the room – if not for us, they might be putting themselves in danger by eating and licking those plants!
In general, avoid houseplants containing saponins (anthraquinone glycosides, triterpene glycosides), phenanthridine alkaloids, and raphide oxalate crystals. These compounds are toxic when ingested or consumed by a cat.
Of all the houseplants in existence, lilies are some of the most toxic and dangerous for your cat. Other plants to avoid include Aloe, Snake Plant, Corn Plant, and Jade.
8. Spider Plant
Most cat owners have a little box where they keep all their cat’s toys – when they’re not sprawled out across the floor, of course. If you were to look at life through your cat’s eyes, a spider plant looks a lot like a basket or bowl overflowing with cat toys – especially if your cat loves to play with a feather wand.
The long leaves resemble grass (which cats love), but it’s also a lot thicker than grass – making it more fun to chew and nibble on. Just keep an eye on your cat’s behavior around the plant. While on-toxic, ingesting too much might give your kitty a slight tummy ache.
7. Christmas Cactus
The Christmas cactus is one of the best cat-safe plants for those who want to introduce a little color to their room. The green leaves are accompanied by beautiful pink flowers that make this plant the perfect centerpiece – not just for your cat, but for the interior of your home!
Don’t worry – both the flowers and leaves are considered non-toxic for cats and dogs. You might find this plant being called a Thanksgiving cactus or an Easter cactus, but the only difference between them is the month in which they bloom. All three types are safe and edible for cats.
Nothing will bring your cat back to their roots than introducing a little lemongrass into their life. Nibbling on grass is something their ancestors did when they had an upset stomach. However, it also contains quality levels of folic acid – an essential vitamin the body uses to support cell growth and improve digestion.
While lemongrass in its natural state is safe and edible (in moderation) for your cat, it’s important to keep your cat away from lemongrass that’s made into an essential oil. This is because cats (and dogs) don’t produce glucuronyl tranferase (a liver enzyme that helps the body break down essential oils).
5. Ponytail Palm
Who doesn’t want a mini palm tree in their living room? I know your cat does!
The ponytail palm can grow to more than six feet tall when kept indoors and 30 feet tall when planted outdoors, but it’s a slow-growing plant – so you and your cat have some time to enjoy it before it gets too big.
One of the reasons why cats love the ponytail palm so much is its long, stringy leaves – it’s like a tree made of feather wands. You’ll see your cat rubbing up against it, swatting at the leaves, nibbling on the ends, and getting a good sniff out of it – and they’ll enjoy every moment!
4. Kangaroo Fern
If you’re wondering why this plant is called a ‘kangaroo fern,’ it’s because the flowers it produces resemble that of a kangaroo paw. Don’t be fooled, though – this plant isn’t a true fern because ferns don’t flower. And while it’s native to New Zealand and Australia, it looks better in your living room with your cat.
What cat owners will love about this plant is how easy it is to maintain. It doesn’t need a lot of sunlight (indirect sunlight is okay) and just needs a little water every now and then. Other than that, you can place it in any corner of the house and watch it slowly grow for years with limited care.
3. Areca Palm
If your cat is looking for more of a tropical vibe, the Areca Palm is the way to go. Its busy structure is sure to ignite the curiosity in your cat – giving them something to swat at and nibble on (if they can reach its leaves). Like most plants, you’ll want to monitor how much your cat chews and nibbles on it.
To ensure a suitable environment for your new palm to grow, make sure you set it in a warm and bright spot – these plants love indirect sunlight, so give it plenty of that. Misting the leaves and exposing the plant to humidity will also help it thrive indoors.
2. Kimberly Queen Fern
Not all ferns are safe and edible for cats, but the Kimberly Queen Fern is one of their favorite. Its long, sophisticated, sword-like leaves give your cat something to play with, while the bright green appearance helps you add some color to your room – everyone wins!
If you have a dark or shaded area of the home that needs some life, this plant will help you achieve that. It thrives in low-lit environments and only requires a touch of direct sunlight. Just place it in a planter and watch it grow – the longer the leaves get, the happier your cat will be!
Wheatgrass is one of the most popular plants safe for cats – not just because it resembles the grass they love to roll around in outside, but because of its therapeutic effects and nutritional properties. Many people consider it a superfood, so you can feel a lot better about your cat nibbling on it.
Some of the benefits of wheatgrass include improved detoxification (due to chlorophyll), improved digestion (due to fiber), and enhanced joint health (especially in aging cats). If you want to truly spoil your cat, make a small indoor garden bed and fill it with wheatgrass so they can lay on top of it – like a bed!