How to Keep Cats Out of House Plants

Cat hiding in planter

No solution is foolproof, but there are ways to make it much harder for your cat to ruin your house plants. If you're tired of seeing your greenery shredded and soiled, no pun intended, give some of these tips a try.

Turn a Plastic Carpet Runner Upside Down

A plastic carpet runner can be a deterrent to cats with sensitive feet. Turn the runner upside down so the little cleats that help it grab the carpet now point up and place your plant on top. Most cats won't like feeling their paws pricked as they approach the planter even though the cleats are harmless. You can try this with floor planters or use heavy shears to cut the plastic into smaller pieces to use on shelves and bookcases.

Put Plants in Decorative Bird Cages

If you have smaller plants that your cat loves to knock off window sills and shelves, try putting them in decorative bird cages. All you have to do is remove the top of the cage from its base, arrange one or more plants inside, and latch the top back on. For extra protection, hang the cage from a hook or curtain rod.

Cover Soil With Pebbles

Rocks can keep your cat from digging the soil out of your pots and make the pots a less-desirable place to relieve herself. The trick is to cover the top of the soil with smooth pebbles that are at least on one-inch or preferably larger. Don't use smaller gravel because your pet may mistake it for litter and look at it as an invitation to use the planter as her new litter box.

Spray Plants With Bitter Spray

ginger cat chewing on fern

If your cat likes to chew your houseplants, making them taste bad could solve the problem. Spray the leaves (top and underside) and stems lightly with bitter spray and let it dry. Put each plant back in its usual spot and keep an eye on how your cat reacts when she attempts to bite a leaf. It might take a few tries, but she will probably decide she no longer wants to make a salad out of your prized ficus.

Try Using Foil

Cats typically don't like the feel, taste or smell of aluminum foil, so it can be another good deterrent to your cat's obsession. Try wrapping the pot in foil or at least putting crumpled foil on top of the soil.

Put Plants in a Screened Aquarium

If you have a collection of small to medium-size plants, putting them in an aquarium with a screen top might be all you need to keep your cat in look-but-don't-touch mode. The screen top allows some air circulation, but your cat will have to keep her claws to herself.

Cover Soil With Citrus-Scented Landscape Fabric

Most cats dislike the smell of anything citrus. Try covering the soil around your plants with a layer of landscape fabric that has been cut to fit in the top of the planter and sprayed with diluted orange essential oil. Add about 20 drops of the oil to about 16 ounces of water in a spray bottle, mist the cloth well on both sides, and then place it on the soil around the plant. Refresh the citrus spray weekly to help keep kitty away.

Sprinkle Lemon Peels Around Plant Base

Most cats aren't fond of lemon, so don't throw away the peels after you juice your lemons. Instead, slice them in strips and arrange them on top of the soil around the plant. This solution is more effective if you renew the peels on a weekly basis. You can also mix lemon and orange peels if you like.

Give Kitty His Own Plant

cat with container of grass

Sometimes the best solution to lure your cat away from your plants is to give her some of her own. Many pet supply stores sell cat grass kits that allow you to grow safe grass your cat can nibble on whenever she wants. If you place a planter with this grass where your cat can easily reach it, she may be satisfied enough to leave your plants alone.

Keep Trying Until Something Works

While some cats are die-hard plant marauders, it is possible to keep your cat out of your plants. With a variety of options at hand, you're bound to find something that works with your pet! Just keep trying until you find an effective solution.

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How to Keep Cats Out of House Plants