If you're like most feline folks, you've sacrificed having any plants inside your home for the health and safety of your cat (and for the sake of the plant).
Great news, though — many beautiful plants are non-toxic to your cat and will add some greenery to your home. And in some cases a little additional color as well!
That's why we've put together a list of plants that will not only enhance your living space but also keep you from making an unexpected trip to the vet's office. Remember, even "pet-safe" plants can still cause an upset stomach or an obstruction depending on how much is eaten. Check out our article on Keeping Your Cat Out of Your Houseplants.
Top Cat-Friendly Indoor Plants
Safety Note: All of the plants we have listed have been reviewed for their non-toxicity, listed with the exact picture, and linked to our specific choice. We cannot guarantee non-toxicity and recommend that you confirm the plant is safe before purchasing any deviations from these.
Commonly called "Baby Rubber Plant." A safer alternative to the Rubber Plant (which can cause mild toxicity to humans and pets), the Baby Rubber plant is native to Florida and the Caribbean. It enjoys indirect light and is relatively easy to maintain. This will brighten up any kitchen window counter ledge or office bookshelf. Its small size gives you unlimited options in where you decide to place your Baby Rubber plant.
Commonly called "Prayer Plant." This colorful native of Brazil has white veins on the top of the leaves with a grey-purplish green mixture on the bottom. With the leaves being close and pointed towards the sky like a couple of hands, it lives up to the name Prayer Plant. Although the Prayer Plant doesn't need a lot of sunlight, the soil needs to stay moist, and it should be fed every two weeks.
HaworthiaBuy on Amazon
Commonly called "Zebra Cactus." Haworthias, a popular succulent, are convenient in size and come in many variations. Some are thin and bristly, while others can be thick. Some have spots while others are marked with lines or stripes. Regardless of the species you choose, they are safer for your feline, and the sharp pointy exterior provides a natural deterrent to your cat's curiosity.
Keep in mind, that with some low-lying succulents, there's the potential that a cat can injure themselves if they were to run into one of the sharp pointed ends. They can sustain damage to their eyes, tongue, oral cavity, esophagus, stomach, and/or intestines (if swallowed). However, you can always try placing the Haworthia up higher and out of reach.
Commonly called "Hens and Chicks." Hens and Chicks generally have a blue hue. They have a flowery look, which makes this succulent another popular pick for pet owners looking to add some more color inside. It doesn't need a lot of water but loves sunshine. Put several of these Hens and Chicks in a planter box, and you have a great centerpiece for your table runner.
Commonly called "Spider Plant." The name says it all when you look at this non-toxic alternative, but still much more attractive than its name would lead you to believe! The beautiful long grass-like leaves will provide a hiding spot for your furry friend when they're feeling mischievous. And if your cat is a chewer, this plant looks just as good hanging so you can hang it out of their reach. And fortunately, macrame plant hangers popular in the 1970s are making a comeback along with the Spider Plant!
Commonly called "Moth Orchid." The Moth Orchid is one of the most common orchids and a great alternative to the Easter Lily, which is highly toxic to cats. This ray of sunlight is a great addition to any home looking for more than just greenery. The Moth Orchid is relatively easy to care for and grows well inside, blooming most of the year.
The Money Tree is a nice addition to your indoors, giving you a tropical feel. The braided stem and bright green palm-looking leaves, make it a tree and palm. The Money tree's name stems from the Feng Shui belief that it brings positive energy and good luck to the owner. Who couldn't use a little good fortune! And just think of the positive vibes you'll produce in your house as your cat is happy and healthy.
Commonly called "Areca Palm." Although some species of palm can be toxic to cats, the Areca Palm is non-toxic and can be set nearly anywhere inside. Its wispy palm fronds will probably intrigue your cat's curiosity, possibly causing them to swipe or potentially chew anything they can reach. It's important to keep in mind that although non-toxic, you want to make sure they don't chew up whole fronds because it could cause a gastrointestinal obstruction.
Commonly called "Parlor Palm." The Parlor Palm is as common as you can find, considering it's one of the most heavily sold houseplant palms in the world. And for good reason — it's relatively easy to care for, adds a tropical ambiance, and is another palm that is non-toxic to cats. Place a number of these in any room. With the right pieces of furniture, you'll transform any living space into a British Colonial style. They're also great in numbers near a set of french doors.
Commonly called "Dwarf Banana Plant." If you are looking for a counterpart to the palm, the Dwarf Banana Plant is an even more dramatic and safe choice for cats. This plant is a nice alternative to the Hurricane Plant (if you are looking for something more tropical). The giant paddle-like leaves make this native of South East Asia a bold statement in any home. The perfect spot for the Dwarf Banana Plant is near a south-facing window, and it likes to thoroughly dry out between waterings. This is a great choice if you are looking for something tropical and with larger leaves than the Areca Palm.
Keep in mind that even with cat-friendly plants, paying close attention to any abnormal behavior your cat may be showing is essential. Although your plants may be safe for cats from a toxicity standpoint, your feline may consume enough of a leaf to cause an upset stomach. Depending on the leaf's shape and how much they eat, there's a risk of a possible gastrointestinal obstruction or even a foreign body in their nose.
Unusual Cat Behavior to Look Out For:
- Decreased Appetite
- Pawing at Mouth or Nose
If you notice any of these symptoms or anything else concerning, contact your veterinarian immediately. For additional information on plant and flower toxicity, ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center Hotline is a great resource.
Now, you should be ready to not only spruce up your living space but do it without the anxiety of risking your cat's health and safety. There are a number of other non-toxic plant options that you can research on ASPCA's Toxic & Non-Toxic Plants search engine. So take your time finding the right plant for your place and your cat's personality. And take the time to see what really works.
You may find that one plant may be more attractive to your cat than another, and be vigilant in where you place them. Your cat may not even bother the plants at all. At least if they do, you were smart enough to get safer greenery. And if you find living plants don't work in your particular situation, you always have the option of silk or plastic plants.
Share your favorite non-toxic houseplants or tricks to keep your cat away in the comments below!