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Keeping Cats Out of House Plants

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A cat in a house plant.

House plants are often quite attractive to your cats inspiring digging, munching, and sometimes use as a cat box. This is a guide about keeping cats out of house plants.


Solutions: Keeping Cats Out of House Plants

Read and rate the best solutions below by giving them a "thumbs up".

Tip: Citrus Peels to Keep Cats Out of Plants

My sweet kitty just loves when I dig up the dirt to plant my flowerbeds and thinks that she's discovered a new litter box! After trying other methods: sprinkling in hot pepper (nope), cayenne pepper (nope), even adding clam shells into the soil (nope), I tried this.

I heard that animals don't like citrus and so after making orange-lemonade (3 oranges, 3 lemons and sugar to a gallon, YUM). I slivered up the peels and sprinkled them around in my flower bed under petals so they didn't show. You may also even add soil to empty citrus fruit peel halves and plant some small flower seeds and use them as pots! It worked! No more kitty visits!

I ended up doing the same around my vegetable garden fencing since a groundhog started making his rounds there soon after! Hope this helps all my creative friends out there! :D

By AHA! from Sterling, PA

Tip: Use Net Produce Bags to Protect Plants From Cats

I use fruit and veggie net bags to protect my floor plants from my bad kitties that like to dig and leave 'unmentionables' in them. I cut a bag into a circle to fit the diameter of the pot, then cut down the middle. Using clear packaging tape, I tape each side to the rim of the pot up to the base of the plant in the middle. My cats hate the netting and you can water and fertilize right through the net. Here's to loving bad kitties!

By krisanthemum from Pataskala, OH

Tip: Keeping Cats Out Of Houseplants

I recently adopted two male cats from a shelter. They are about two years old and are well behaved in every aspect except one started using my large potted houseplants as a litter box. After researching various remedies on line, I bought a bag of "rough" decorative gravel/rocks from Home Depot for about $5 and put them on the surface of the soil and problem solved! I watched my cat stand on his hind legs, paw at the rocks just once, and then went directly to the litter box. There are different kinds of rocks in different colors. I got mountain granite and it's a tan color. An added benefit is that it helps retain soil moisture.

    By oscarsmom [1]

    Tip: Use Tin Foil to Deter Cats from House Plants

    I have read questions on how to keep cats out of your house plants. Simple, use tin foil. Lay tin foil around the plant on the dirt. Don't push it down onto the dirt or you will start to get some mold. Just lay it on top. Your cats will hate it, and your plants will be fine. Also, they do make colored tin foil if you don't want the plain silver.

    By Laurie from Osakis, MN

    Tip: Keeping Cats from Using House Plants as Litterbox

    Simple, but very effective! After years of trying almost everything to stop Brooklyn, our cat, from leaving his deposit in my overwintering houseplants I finally hit on this method which seems to have stopped him in his tracks. If you own pets you more than likely have a disposable sticky roll or two for removing hair from clothing. Simply peel off as many strips as needed. Lay them sticky side up on top of the soil. There is no need to cover every square inch, just place them close enough that your cat has no comfortable room to enter and get squatted. There is enough room to water your plants and if need to easily replace. Works like a charm!

      By JoAnne G. [1]

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      Here are questions related to Keeping Cats Out of House Plants.

      Question: Keeping Cats Out of Potted Plants

      Does anyone know how to keep cats away from potted plants?

      By Tammie from Wildomar, CA


      Most Recent Answer

      By Chris11/04/2010

      Spray the cat with water every time it goes near the plant. Let the cat see the sprayer. When you leave the house, put the spray bottle in front of the plant and the cat will leave it alone. At least it worked with our cat.

      Question: Keeping Cat from Digging in House Plants

      My house cat (kitten) is getting into my houseplants. He is sitting and digging. What can I do to keep him out?

      By Patty


      Most Recent Answer


      Definitely avoid moth balls and I can tell you from experience that pebbles on top of the soil will work plus the pebbles help keep moisture in the soil so it's a win win solution ;-)

      Question: Keeping Cats Away From Houseplants

      How can I keep a cat away from my houseplants?

      By Pamela from Shreve, OH

      Most Recent Answer

      By Janette [91]02/05/2014

      Cats hate the smell of citrus. Put a few orange,lemon or lime peels around the base of the plant. No more worries. Hope this helps.

      Question: Cat Pooping in House Plants

      How do you stop cats from pooping in houseplants?

      By Quana from Dayton, OH

      Most Recent Answer

      By Dena Roberts [35]10/20/2010

      Also, change your cat litter. The cat seems to prefer the texture and smell of the earth over the texture and smell of your present litter. Try different litters until you find one the cat will use. I am a foster parent for a no-kill cat shelter, and presently have 9 cats. I have 10 litter boxes and 3 different kinds of litter. Some cats use the clumping, some will use only the non clumping clay litter and 2 cats will only use the recycled newsprint litter! None of them like the "super absorbent silicone" litter! Good luck. You may just have to use potting soil in your litter box!

      Question: Cat Digging in House Plants

      How do you keep cats from digging house plants?

      By Shell from Chambersburg, PA

      Most Recent Answer

      By Candy Killion [10]07/21/2010

      Set them on sheets of aluminum foil, cats hate the feel and the noise.

      Question: Keeping Cats Out of House Plants

      I have two 5 month old kittens. The one has started to lay in the plant. He is not digging in it, eating it, or using it as a litter box. He just likes laying in the plant on the dirt. The only thing is he ends up dragging dirt everywhere when he gets out. Is there a way to keep him from getting in my plants?

      By Tina W.

      Most Recent Answer

      By bevjulien [2]08/16/2013

      I have had good luck crumpling aluminum foil all around the exposed soil. It keeps my cats out of the plants and does not harm the plants.

      Question: Preventing Cats From Spraying on Plants

      I have stray and neighborhood cats that spray on my front porch, and also my plants and flowers. They are killing my garden! Does anyone have an idea on how to prevent them from spraying on outdoor plants? I've heard of the pepper and coffee grounds, but I don't think they are sniffing, they just lift and spray. Help!

      Hardiness Zone: 9a

      Nicole from Chowchilla, CA

      Most Recent Answer

      By Ava (Guest Post)05/15/2007

      If YOU can stand the smell, I had a neighbor who would put moth balls in her flower bed to keep her cat from using it. I saw her cat go to the flower bed and he made a "couldn't-stand-the-smell" gesture after smelling the moth balls and walked away.

      Editor's Note: Please remember that moth balls can be very toxic to pets and put them into something (a mesh bag) so that hey are easy to find when you want to get rid of them.


      Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the feedback that was provided then.

      Archive: Keeping Cats From Eating Houseplants

      My husband loves houseplants, but our cat keeps nibbling on them. We always keep his dish full, so he is not starving by any means. I don't want him to get sick. My husband is not happy that his plants keep dying. How can we keep our cat from the plants? He jumps up as high as we can put them. Also, what plants should we not bring into the house? Are there plants that we can buy for only him?

      Marie from Idaho Falls, ID

      RE: Keeping Cats From Eating Houseplants

      You can buy the cats their own plants. Pet stores sell cat grass in a small container. You water it and raise it for the cats to eat, they need plants too. Also get some cat nip, they love it and it may help. If the cats still think your plants are yummier, put tin foil under and blown up balloons by your plants so the cat will have to walk on them. They don't like tin foil and when the balloons pop it will scare them. Hope this helps. (08/01/2007)

      By Stripes

      RE: Keeping Cats From Eating Houseplants

      Here is one list of many for plants that are poisonous to cats: Any plants I have are up and out of reach of the cats. (08/01/2007)

      By Maryeileen

      RE: Keeping Cats From Eating Houseplants

      It's natural for cats to eat greens. Get the cat his/her own greens either with one of those cat grass plants or offer things like cooked peas, which a lot of cats like (just not cooked to death). (08/01/2007)

      I bought a cat grass kit from Walmart, and that really helps keep them from eating my other plants. The second time I bought it, I only used about 1/4 of the seeds that were included each time, you don't need to use it all at once. (08/01/2007)

      By LM/SD

      RE: Keeping Cats From Eating Houseplants

      thanks for the tips. i don't live in the U.S. so i have no access to WALMART. Putting balloons around my plants is not going to improve on the decor of my home BUT many tks to Stripes for her idea of tin foil around the plants. thats unobtrusive and HOPEFULLY it will deter the cat! however tempting it is to buy poisonous plants, my mum would be heartbroken if anything happened to her precious cat even tho i could cheerfully strangle it sometimes, specially when i find ANOTHER half eaten pot plant! (08/02/2007)

      By cett

      RE: Keeping Cats From Eating Houseplants

      I am glad that your cats will eat kitty grass. The cat I had for nine years didn't get the idea. He would look at them and then look at me as if to say,what do you want me to do with these. My friends have cats that love them. So it depends on the cat. Mine like my plants better. (08/02/2007)

      By SunshineRose

      RE: Keeping Cats From Eating Houseplants

      I rub a fresh lemon all around the rim of the flower pots when i see the cat going back near them again i put more lemon around it works great. I like to do jigsaw puzzles i do them on a card table i squeeze the juice from the lemon on foil and put it in the corners of the card table now the cat does not jump on the card table. it works good and the smell keeps them away. good luck. No more problems (08/02/2007)

      By francorrine AT

      RE: Keeping Cats From Eating Houseplants

      I use to have the same problem with my cats so I put oranges, lemons or grapefruit around the plant. The smell and the acid in these fruits will burn their eyes and nose they will leave the plant alone. Or you could try a spray bottle filled with water and spray the cat every time you see it near the plant. Both worked for me. (08/02/2007)

      By adrian

      RE: Keeping Cats From Eating Houseplants

      tks for suggestions especially francorrine. thats a brilliant idea of using lemon around the rim of the pots! It won't harm the cat or my plants. going to try it out RIGHT NOW! (08/05/2007)

      By cett


      Archive: Orange Peels to Keep Cats Out of Plants

      Put orange peels in your potted plants, cats hate the citrus smell. Replace every week when they start to get dry. Store the extras in the freezer in a plastic bag so that when you run out of oranges you'll still have the peels.

      By Melmarr from Michigan

      RE: Orange Peels to Keep Cats Out of Plants

      A great idea! I wonder if that orange cleaner mixed with water might also work? It's totally safe around people and pets. You could mix some dish soap and spray the dirt and plants both, keeping bugs away from the plants.

      We have 10 cats and I often use chicken wire [yep, got chickens too!] over the dirt of my garden plants, but most of my garden is in pots. Chicken wire probably wouldn't be so good in a large garden. (02/06/2009)

      By Selah

      RE: Orange Peels to Keep Cats Out of Plants

      Dollar stores sell small jars of room deodorizer that are orange or lemon scented. Open the top a bit, set the jar on the soil, in the flower pot. It keeps my 3 out of my plants. You can also scrape some out of the jars, put it on tinfoil, put it on floor behind the door they are always trying to get open. No more scratched up door there. (02/07/2009)

      By mrs.joe

      Archive: Cat Digging in House Plants

      Need help. I have a kitten and she won't stay out of my house plants. Every morning I find a pile of dirt laying beside the pots where she has been digging.


      Archive: Cat Pooping in House Plants

      How do I stop my cat from pooping in my indoor plants? He has access to the litter box but digs in the plants and poops in it.


      Archive: Keeping Cats From Eating Houseplants

      Does anyone have any remedies to deter my cats from eating my houseplants/flowers? I love to keep small potted plants and flowers in my home, but my cats love to chew on the them.


      Archive: Keeping Cats From Eating Houseplants

      Would anyone know of a cat repellent for my cat? I have numerous houseplants and I do not want him to get sick by chewing on them.


      Archive: Cat Digging in House Plants

      How do you keep a cat from digging in house plants?


      Archive: Cat Pooping in House Plants

      Does ammonia work for cats urinating and pooping in house plants?