Indoor plants can be a great way to add some color and vitality to your home, and some of them even have air purification properties, which can be beneficial to your health and the health of your pets! Plus, if you like to cook, growing your own herbs makes it easy to flavor your food using items from your own garden. However, if you have pets, you have to be careful about the plants you bring into your home.
With dogs, it’s a little bit easier, because most of them can’t get up to high places like cats, so it’s a lot easier to keep toxic plants away from your canine companion. However, most cats are able to jump and climb to some pretty impressive heights, which means you have be extra careful when buying indoor plants. Even if you put a toxic plant in hanging planter well out of your cat’s reach, there’s a chance it might drop leaves or seeds onto the ground, which your curious kitty might consume. Consequently, I think it’s best to avoid this at all costs by making sure all of my house plants are cat-friendly.
Also, if you notice your cat is eating your plants, it can actually be a sign your cat is missing something in their diet, such as moisture, fiber, or folic acid. Another possibility is that your cat is eating your plants to make themselves throw up because they’ve consumed too much indigestible material, such as feathers or hair.
Thankfully, there are lots of beautiful indoor plants that are non-toxic to cats, and the ASPCA has actually compiled a pretty comprehensive list to help you choose the right ones for you and your pets. We’ve selected several of our favorites to share with you, and while these plants are non-toxic, it’s important to remember that ingesting too much of anything can be hazardous to your cat’s health. Consequently, if your feline friend eats any of these plants, they’re unlikely to get seriously ill, but there’s still a chance they may regurgitate them. There’s also a slight risk bits of certain plants might get stuck in your cat’s stomach, but it’s pretty unlikely.
Succulent — Blue Echeveria
While succulents make great plants because they’re relatively low maintenance, not all of them are pet-friendly. Succulents like aloe vera and jade plants are actually poisonous to cats, and if ingested, they can cause vomiting and a number of other symptoms. However, the blue echeveria, is non-toxic to both cats and dogs, and it can actually flower in the spring. However, this succulent doesn’t tolerate the cold well, and it needs lots of sunlight to thrive.
Hanging Plant — String of Hearts
If you’re worried about your cat knocking your plants onto the ground, hanging plants can be a great option. Unfortunately, a lot of common hanging plants are toxic to pets, including English ivy and the ominous sounding Devil’s Ivy, which can both cause vomiting, mouth and tongue irritation, and increased salivation. Even if you plan to hang your plants well out of the way of your cats, they can still drop leaves which your kitty might be tempted to consume. In order to avoid this risk altogether, it’s best to choose a cat-friendly hanging plant like string of hearts. It’s non-toxic, it doesn’t need a lot of water, and it can grow up to six feet long, but it needs to be in a sunny spot in order to thrive.
Fern — Boston Fern
Did you know a number of ferns are members of the lily family? The emerald fern, the plumosa fern, and the lace fern are just a few of the ferns in the Liliaceae family, and if consumed, cats and dogs can experience diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Fortunately, the Boston fern, also known as the sword fern, is cat-friendly, and it doesn’t need a lot of sunlight, but it does require frequent watering, pruning, misting, and fertilizing. While it’s not super low maintenance, Boston ferns are one of the best plants for indoor air purification, which should help you and your kitty breathe a little easier!
Herb — Basil
If you love to cook almost as much as you love cats, then there’s a good chance you’ve tried growing your own herbs. However, a surprising number of common herbs are actually toxic to cats, and eating oregano, tarragon, and bay leaf — among others — may cause vomiting and diarrhea. You also want to avoid having chives in your indoor herb garden, as ingesting them — especially in large quantities — can cause anemia in cats. Fortunately, there are a lot of non-toxic herbs, including basil, sage, and rosemary, most felines can consume in small amounts.
Flowering Plants — African Daisy
There are lots of different types of daisies, and while many of them are cat-friendly, some of them aren’t, including the seaside daisy and the showy daisy. While these daisy varieties can cause diarrhea and vomiting if your cats eat them, the African daisy — also known as the gerbera daisy and Barberton daisy — is non-toxic. Plus, these African daisies come in a wide range of beautiful colors, and they have excellent air purification properties, allowing them to remove large amounts of chemicals like benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene from your home.
Palm Plants — Areca Palm
If you want to add some life to your home, a potted palm can be a great option, but if you have cats, there are a few you should avoid. The cardboard palm and sago palm are both extremely toxic to cats and dogs, and eating just a few of their seeds can be fatal. Thankfully, the areca palm is just as attractive as the cardboard palm and sago palm, and it’s pet-friendly. However, their leaves will turn yellowish-green in direct light, so the areca palm requires bright, indirect light and regular watering.
While the dracaena and the spider plant are both popular houseplants, the dracaena is toxic to cats, and ingesting it can result in vomiting, anorexia, dilated pupils, hypersalivation, and depression. Fortunately, the spider plant is cat-friendly, extremely resilient, and very easy to care for, making it ideal for people who don’t have green thumbs. Plus, not only does the spider plant produce flowers, it filters out common indoor pollutants, but it needs bright, indirect light in order to reach its full potential.
Orchid — Phalaenopsis Orchid
While flowering plants usually make wonderful gifts, quite a few of them are toxic to cats, so it’s important to do your research before buying one for yourself or a friend. Members of the Amaryllidaceae family — which includes daffodils, amaryllis, and the Clivia lily to name a few — are toxic to cats, and consuming them can cause low blood pressure, convulsions, tremors, diarrhea, vomiting, and cardiac arrhythmia. However, Phalaenopsis orchids are not poisonous to cats, although eating them might upset your cat’s stomach, and there’s a bit of a learning curve when it comes to caring for them, something most cat parents should be able to relate to!
We hope we’ve helped you find the purrfect plants for your home, and please leave a comment if you have a favorite cat-friendly house plant that didn’t make our list! Also, if you love plants and cats, be sure to check our favorite cute and quirky planters and pots for cat lovers and our essential items for people who love plants and cats.