The Trupanion blog
7 Indoor Plants Safe for Cats
By: Jill Regal
While indoor plants can filter the air, reduce our stress, and beautify our spaces, they’re often toxic to cats. Some plants and flowers may cause oral ulceration or irritation just by chewing on them while other plants like lilies can be extremely toxic and even fatal for cats.
But that doesn’t mean you need to forgo houseplants entirely. We sat down with Trupanion veterinarian Dr. Caroline Wilde to learn more about how to choose cat-friendly houseplants.
Seven houseplants that are safe for cats
Wondering what your cat-friendly houseplant options are? This greenery is veterinarian approved!
American rubber plant
If you live in a small space and are looking for a low-maintenance plant, the American rubber plant could be a good choice due to its compact size and minimal water requirement.
Although American rubber plants are safe for dogs and cats, not all rubber plants are pet-friendly. “When researching and purchasing plants, consider using the plant’s scientific name to confirm that it is safe for your cat,” Wilde says. “The common name may cause confusion or be potentially toxic.”
A solid choice for pet parents, spider plants are easy to maintain—and easy to look at too. Known for their long, thin leaves with pointed tips, they look great in a hanging planter or atop a tall cabinet (definitely a bonus for pet parents with cats who like to nibble on plants).
Since they’re native to the tropics, spider plants thrive in warm, humid environments, but they can easily adapt to indoor living in colder climates. To keep your spider plant healthy, plant in a pot with good drainage, keep the soil moist, and give it access to indirect sunlight.
If you prefer bold patterns, the prayer plant—whose name comes from the way its leaves curl up at night—could be a great choice. Even better, you have ample options among prayer plants: One popular choice is the neon prayer plant, where the leaves are striped with red—or you could go with the striking leaves of the rattlesnake plant.
Prayer plants require a bit more care than a spider plant and does best in a warm, humid environment with access to indirect sunlight. Spritz it occasionally with water to keep the prayer plant happy.
If you’re into cooking, consider growing herbs on your kitchen windowsill—but pay attention to the particular herb to make sure it’s safe for cats. For example, herbs like basil, sage, cilantro, mint, rosemary, and thyme are cat friendly while oregano and marjoram are toxic to cats.
Keep in mind that different herbs prefer different growing conditions—for example, rosemary does best with less water and several hours of sunlight per day. If you have an outdoor space, you could even keep your herbs outside in the summer and bring them inside in the winter.
If you’d like a plant to keep your cat entertained, wheatgrass is a great choice because it’s safe for cats to munch on. Plus, it’s filled with nutrients and vitamins and is a great source of fiber for your cat’s diet, according to Wilde.
An added bonus: wheatgrass is easy to care for and is great for the dark corners of your home. Plant from seeds or choose an inexpensive version that’s ready for your cat’s chompers.
Christmas cactus (and other pet-safe succulents)
Looking for a beautiful flowering plant? Take a peek at the Christmas cactus (or Easter cactus—or holiday cactus—depending on who you ask). Safe for cats, the Christmas cactus is a succulent with bright pink flowers that prefers indirect light and needs a fair amount of water to thrive.
If you’re a cat parent who like succulents, the good news is that there are many other pet-safe succulents you can stock up on. We love a good mix-and-match of succulents that will add visual interest to your home.
This tiny tree isn’t a palm tree at all: it’s actually related to the famous Joshua tree.
We love the cat-safe ponytail palm because it’s super easy to care for (AKA it can survive infrequent watering)—plus, it’s, well…cute. Like many houseplants, the ponytail palm prefers several hours a day of indirect sunlight. Place atop a surface in the sunniest room of the house, water when you remember, and enjoy the jaunty cat-friendly touch this plant adds to your space.
Cats and house plants: additional tips to keep your cat safe
So what happens after you bring the plant home? With the exception of wheatgrass, we recommend placing plants—even pet-safe ones—out of reach of curious cats. That’s because even cat-safe plants can cause stomach irritation and vomiting if your cat ingests too much (plus, a chewed-up plant probably isn’t the look you’re aiming for).
Looking for more ways to help your pet live a happy, healthy life? Our cat guide covers topics ranging from treat recipes to common health issues experienced by cats. That said, cats can be unpredictable in any scenario. While you’re looking at cat-safe houseplant options, be sure to look into medical insurance for your cat if they’re not already covered.
You want your cat to enjoy their time at home. By bringing the outdoors inside, you’re able to beautify your space and provide enrichment for your pet. It all comes down to doing your research (reading this post is a great start!) and monitoring your cat’s behavior. As with any toy or food ingestion, please seek medical care for your pet if you have any concerns.
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While you’re browsing our pet blog, please note that the views expressed here are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect those of Trupanion. Our articles are reviewed by veterinarians for accuracy, but they are not a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. Always consult with your own pet’s veterinarian for advice.