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Keeping Cats Out of House Plants

Category House Plants
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.
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By 11 found this helpful
July 22, 2009

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

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By AHA! from Sterling, PA

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By 9 found this helpful
June 7, 2010

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

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By 1 found this helpful
January 22, 2009

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.

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By Laurie from Osakis, MN

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By 1 found this helpful
July 5, 2013

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.

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By 0 found this helpful
November 7, 2013

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!

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Questions

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January 3, 20110 found this helpful

How can I keep a cat away from my houseplants?

By Pamela from Shreve, OH

Answers

January 4, 20110 found this helpful

I've done couple of things that worked for me. On very large pots I have covered the soil with river rocks and glass stones from the craft store or outside. they look pretty too. I also put clear packing tape in a criss cross pattern to cover the whole top of the pot (leave spaces for watering). it even holds when cats walk on it, no harm done. I have heard that pinecones are good to use to cover the soil, but havent tried it. Smaller pots I simply cut out cardboard circle, whole in the middle and cut a slit in it , when put it around the soil to cover it.

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January 5, 20110 found this helpful

I place a citrus scented car airfreshner near or in my houseplants. I was desparate. I have not had a problem since.

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February 26, 20110 found this helpful

My calico was eating my plants. I tried Febreze, and air fresheners to keep her away. Then I saw the Purina cat food just for indoor cats, and I got that, have been feeding that to her for over a month now, and she has completely stopped eating my plants. There is something in that food that satisfies their urge to chew on plants,if they were inside-outside cats, they would chew grass to get it out of their systems. But my Isabell is inside only, but let me tell you, this stuff works! And it is no more expensive than the regular Purina cat chow. Try it!

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By 0 found this helpful
October 13, 2010

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

By Tammie from Wildomar, CA

Answers

October 14, 20100 found this helpful

Use some lemon juice in your kitchen, and put the rinds in the dirt. They hate it!
Hope that helps.

PBP

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October 17, 20100 found this helpful

Pinecones, lots of sizes, helped keep cats out of mine. Debi

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October 17, 20100 found this helpful

Just place orange peels on top of the soil. Cats hate the smell of any kind of citrus. I also used this tip in my flower beds. They wont come near it.

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October 25, 20100 found this helpful

Put marbles or glass pieces used in aquariums on top of the soil. Water will still go through and cats can't get to the soil.

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November 4, 20100 found this helpful

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.

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By 0 found this helpful
December 3, 2011

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

By Patty

Answers

December 5, 20110 found this helpful

When I had house cats I used to put moth balls in the plants to prevent them from digging. You could probably put some rocks in there too, then they wouldn't be able to dig.

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December 5, 20110 found this helpful

I would avoid the mothballs. They are poisonous. I put a layer of river rock on the soil of my houseplants. The cats completely lost interest.

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December 5, 20110 found this helpful

I buy pebbles from the Dollar Tree & put in my houseplants, they look pretty & the cat doesn't try to dig in them. Also it doesn't effect watering your plants.

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By 0 found this helpful
October 14, 2010

How do you stop cats from pooping in houseplants?

By Quana from Dayton, OH

Answers

October 17, 20100 found this helpful

Cover the top of each planter with aluminum foil forming it loosely around the plant itself.

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Anonymous
October 17, 20100 found this helpful

There are a lot of really good ideas in the ThriftyFun archives below comments here. :-)

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October 17, 20100 found this helpful

Just put orange peels in top of the soil. Cats hate the smell of any kind of citrus. I used this tip outside in my flower beds. No more cats using my beds as litter boxes. Hope this helps. ~Janette~

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October 20, 20100 found this helpful

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!

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August 14, 20130 found this helpful

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.

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By 0 found this helpful
July 17, 2010

How do you keep cats from digging house plants?

By Shell from Chambersburg, PA

Answers

July 18, 20100 found this helpful

I have done this before. I have mixed or buried jacks, the toys you play with, most of the time my cat wont dig when there are pointy objects in there, also they hate orange slices. Hope this helps!

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July 18, 20100 found this helpful

Fill it with gumballs from a sweet-gum tree, or pine cones.

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July 21, 20100 found this helpful

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

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By 0 found this helpful
April 26, 2007

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

Answers

By guest (Guest Post)
May 6, 20070 found this helpful

My cousin used moth balls.
good luck
edie

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By guest (Guest Post)
May 15, 20070 found this helpful

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.

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By 0 found this helpful
September 10, 2015

How do I keep my cat out of poisonous house plants?

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Archives

ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

July 17, 20100 found this helpful

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

By Joey from NY, NY

Answers:

Cat Digging in House Plants

DO NOT USE any kind of pepper or mothballs! Mothballs are poison to animals. Pepper burns their eyes so badly that they will actually scratch their eyes right out to get rid of the pain. Use citrus scents. Cats don't like the smell of citrus, oranges and lemons, or cover the dirt up with crumpled foil, a paper plate with double sided sticky tape on it, or coffee grounds. I cut the top off a 2 litre bottle, wrapped it around the plant stem, and the cats can't get at the soil. You use the top with the pouring hole. Slit it up one side and put it around the stem with the spout up and the cut part over the soil, like a tent! (10/31/2009)

By catastrofy

Cat Digging in House Plants

I used to have cats that did that. I took some large rocks and placed them on top of the soil. You don't have to cover every inch, just enough so they have no room to dig. Make sure they are big enough that the cats can't move them. There is enough air space for the plant and the cat can't find room to dig. This worked great. Bricks would work, but the rocks were really nice looking and did the job well. (11/01/2009)

By c t

Cat Digging in House Plants

I also use pebbles in my houseplants, it keeps my cat from digging plus it looks good, too. NO mothballs, they are bad to breathe the fumes for you and the kitty. (11/01/2009)

By foxyroxy

Cat Digging in House Plants

I use seashells. You can find them at any craft store. They are pretty and the cats don't want to stand on them. (11/02/2009)

By Bethmom1961

Cat Digging in House Plants

Use the mesh bags that onions come in to cover up the soil. Cats don't like it because their claws get caught in it. (11/03/2009)

By PICO

Cat Digging in House Plants

Do not use mothballs and please, do not use black pepper. It is fatal to cats. (06/17/2010)

By Maryeileen

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July 31, 20080 found this helpful

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

Answers:

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

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

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

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

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

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 webtv.net

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

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

(10/20/2007)
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October 14, 20100 found this helpful

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

By April from Dallas, TX

Answers:

Cat Pooping in House Plants

I would not put ammonia on the soil of house plants. I had a cat that did the same thing and here is what worked for us.

If you can re-pot the plants, do so. If this is not feasible, take off as much of the potting mixture as you can and replace with fresh mixture. We then used regular pine cones and placed around the plants. My cat did not like them at all and you can water right over them. (11/26/2009)

By dduff

Cat Pooping in House Plants

Save the mesh bags that onions come in and crumple them up and place on the soil around the bottom of the plants. They don't like it because the mesh gets caught in their claws. You may have a mess the first couple of times that they jump in, but they will not go back. (11/26/2009)

By PICO

Cat Pooping in House Plants

You do not even want to use ammonia for cleaning urine or poop spots on carpet, floors, comforters, etc. Cats are attracted to it because it's an odor similar to their urine and makes them think that's where they should go potty. (11/26/2009)

By Deeli

Cat Pooping in House Plants

I put coffee grounds, about an inch deep, on top of the soil. The pine cones can go right on top of it. Great idea. Now they don't use my plants as a bathroom. They just eat them! So I hung them all from the ceiling; the plants, not the cats! (11/26/2009)

By catastrofy

Cat Pooping in House Plants

I used to have this problem. I took large decorative rocks and spread them around the top of the soil. The cats can't move them to dig and then they leave it alone. You could take a small amount of potting soil and spread it on their litter box. They will like it. (11/26/2009)

By c t

Cat Pooping in House Plants

Ammonia may actually make them think that is the right place to go. I've read on Thriftyfun that orange rinds will keep them out. I used to put wire mesh across the top of my large plants. You can cut it to fit around the plant and it's pliable so that you can fit it down around the top of the pot. (11/27/2009)

By Beth

Cat Pooping in House Plants

Maybe he does not like your brand of cat litter? Try to find some that is more like plant dirt. Good luck. If this fails, I would call the vet as maybe there are health issues? (11/28/2009)

By Amandablue

Cat Pooping in House Plants

Cats do not like the smell of citrus, so you could put orange rinds on the soil. Or bend the peels with the outside facing the soil, it will spray out the smell of the fruit. Go to the local dollar store, buy the small jars of citrus air freshener, poke a couple of holes in the top, set 1 in each pot. In a month or 2 you will still be able to use the jars elsewhere in your home, and the cats will leave the plants alone. I have 3 cats. It worked with them. One of them was wild when she came here to live. She didn't know what "no,no" meant. But she leaves the plants alone. (11/29/2009)

By mrs. joe

Cat Pooping in House Plants

Sorry but I have to ask you; how clean is the box? Ours is cleaned twice a day (in the morning and again at night). Cats do not like a dirty box at all and are picky about some of the litters that they are expected to relieve themselves in several times a day. (11/30/2009)

By Paula Jo Carr

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April 24, 20100 found this helpful

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.

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March 22, 20100 found this helpful

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.

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November 23, 20090 found this helpful

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.

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October 27, 20090 found this helpful

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.

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July 22, 20090 found this helpful

Put orange peels in your potted plants, cats hate the citrus smell. Replace every week when they start to get dry.

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