Posted in Health

Kitty Smorgasbord

What do you do when your cat looks at your plants like all night buffet at the local Golden Corral?

It is both frustrating and dangerous. Even if your feline doesn’t go for the dangerous ones who wants a plant that looks like this??

Here are 5 Ways to Get Your Cat to Stop Eating Your Houseplants

  1. Place your plants strategically.
  2. Make your plants stink (to your cat ) …
  3. Choose plants your cat hates.
  4. Choose plants that ‘safe’.
  5. Use a mechanical method.

PLACE YOUR PLANTS STRATEGICALLY

The quickest/easiest way it to place the plant up where the cat can’t access it. This can be a bit tricky since cats can really jump, or you may not have a good place that is out of cat reach. We have a philodendron that is up on top of the kitchen cabinets. It is less accessable but they still can get up there via the refrigerator. The other problem with this is it tends to get neglected as far as watering goes since you have to climb up to get to it. (Good thing philodendrons are drought resistant). You can place it on the top of the cabinet, or bookcase or hanging it up works well.

MAKE YOUR PLANTS STINK (TO YOUR CAT)

Cats don’t like the taste or smell of citrus. Mix together water with lemon, lime or orange juice, and spritz this on the leaves of your plants. Just the smell is often enough to keep your cat away. You can also mix 1 part vinegar with 3 parts water and spray directly on the leaves of your plant. If he/she does decide to take a nibble, one taste of citrus should prevent further plant snacking, and the mixture won’t hurt your plants!

CHOOSE PLANTS THAT YOUR CAT HATES

Choose plants that your cat would think twice about chewing on after the first chomp! Miniture roses, cactus and other thorny plants would fall under this category. Two other plants that tend not to be very agreable are rosemary, which grows very well inside and has a nice smell, but not to most cats, and the thick, rough leaf texture and aroma of Geraniums is also not very appealing.

CHOOSE PLANTS THAT ARE ‘SAFE’

First, be aware of that some plants can be fatal. The majority of plants may cause drooling, vomiting and diarrhea when ingested by cats but not death.

True lilies including Tiger, Easter and Day lilies are highly toxic! Even small ingestions of parts (petals/leaves, the pollen, or water from the vase) can result in severe, acute kidney failure.

Luckily there are some plants that will not harm your cat if chewed on. This a partial list of cat-safe” plants:

  • African Violet
  • Baby’s Tears
  • Bromeliads
  • Blue Ehervia (chicks and hens)
  • Burro’s tail
  • Christmas Cactus
  • Parlour Palm
  • Phalaenopsis (moth) orchar
  • Spider plant
  • Wandering Jew

You can also buy “cat grass” for them to chew on as a sacrifical offering. My only problem with cat grass is I can never keep it alive. I think must need A LOT of water.

MECHANICAL OPTIONS

If all else really fails you can go to devices that sends out a spray of harmless air along with a slight noise; it makes the experience of going for your plants quite unpleasant. My husband went straight for this option and order a Ssscat from Petsafe. It has an infared eye that trips when it detects heat. Our cat Snickers tried it once and we have not seen him up near our plants since. (It pretty much scared the begeebers out of him).

I actually think it has gone off on my husband and myself more than it has on the cats. We forget and reach in to tend to the plants and it scares the crap out of us everytime. Snickers on the other hand learned the first time and that was that. (Who is the smart one here??)

A FINAL THOUGHT

If your cat’s plant-eating seems to be getting more and more out of hand, you may want to talk to your vet. In a some cases, cats eat plants (or soil!) because their diet is lacking some essential nutrient. The behavior can also be a symptom of gastrointestinal issues, so it’s best to have your cat evaluated thoroughly just to be sure.

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