Today, it seems like everyone has houseplants. It’s a decor trend that is very popular as there are many benefits attached to having them. Not only can they add a welcome pop of greenery and color to your home, but they can help keep the air fresh and clean without any effort on your part. But, what about cat safe plants?
Remember people saying that curiosity killed the cat? Cats are notoriously curious creatures that can be tempted to eat or take a bite out of your plants. This is why you have to ensure that you have cat safe plants if you have these felines in your home. We’ll outline 24 great options below plus a few to avoid.
Defining Cat Safe Plants
A house that is cat-friendly will have cat safe plants scattered around that won’t bring any negative effects to your pet if they happen to bite them. Even though cats shouldn’t eat any part of your plants, you never know what they may get into when they’re alone. However, as long as the plant has no harmful toxins, these plants should be safe for your cat to be around.
Another way to ensure that you have strictly cat safe plants is to double-check the ASPCA approval. The ASPCA is the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and this organization was founded to help prevent animal cruelty thorughout the United States. One of the main goals of this organization is to ensure that all animals have a safe living environment, and they have a running list that they update regularly of cat safe plants that don’t have any toxins in them. So, if your cat happens to eat them, they’ll be fine.
Signs Your Cat Ate a Non-Cat Safe Plant
Depending on the type of non-cat safe plant your pet eats, they can exhibit a few different symptoms as they digest them. These symptoms include but are not limited to:
- Allergic reaction
- Difficulty breathing
- Irregular heartbeat
Some plants can cause a few of these symptoms at the same time, while other plants can have even more severe of an impact on your cat. Some toxic plants can cause heart issues, kidney problems, and digestion difficulties if you don’t treat them immediately. If your cat accidentally ingests a non-cat safe plant, you should remove the plant material from their skin, hair, and mouth first. Keep a close eye on the cat for any possible symptoms as some cats can have more symptoms than others.
If you notice your pet acting oddly, you want to get them to a vet as quickly as you can to avoid any long-lasting health impacts. Your vet may prescribe medication for your cat to induce vomiting to help rid them of any toxins that may have leached out from the plant.
24 Cat Safe Plants
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you can’t have plants if you have cats. There are plenty of houseplants that are cat safe plants, and they make excellent substitutes for the toxic ones. You’re sure to find a great pick out of the following options:
1. African Violet
If you have open shelving in your living room or kitchen, this cat safe plant is a colorful, great addition. You just have to make sure they’re not by a drafty window or floor vent. In indirect sunlight, this small pot plant will bloom beautifully.
- Care Instructions: African Violets thrive when the temperatures hover between 73°F and 77°F when they’re young. As the plant matures and grows, the temperatures can drop to 68°F without harming the plant. They’ll need a moderate amount of water that you apply under the foliage, and you want to fertilize regularly since they bloom year-round.
2. Air Plants
We’ve seen a huge surge in popularity with air plants recently, so they’re very easy to find at your local garden center. They’re a very low-maintenance plant, and they tend to stay below a foot tall at full maturity. You can mount or hang them in fun spots around your home. Since they’re a cat safe plant, you won’t have to worry about your pet around them.
- Care Instructions: Air plants grow best in indirect but bright light, and you can soak them once a week during the spring and summer months. Cut back on the watering in fall and winter.
3. Baby Tears
The dripping tendrils on this cat safe plant were almost designed to attract cats. Even if you put them high up in your home in a hanging basket, your clever cat may find a way to get at it. However, it won’t hurt them.
- Care instructions: Along with being safe for people with pets, this plant is excellent for beginners to grow. You should pick out a location where the temperatures are between 70°F and 80°F, and you want filtered light. Try to keep the soil moist but not soaked. If your plant gets thirsty, it will start wilting very quickly. So, you want to water it regularly.
4. Bird’s Nest Fern
This green, squiggly fern does best when you have it in low light conditions with varying humidity levels. You can get this by putting it in most bathrooms to add a welcome pop of greenery and texture.
- Care Instructions: Keep this fern in a very fast-draining, loose soil and apply fertilizer each month during the spring and summer months. They can survive easily in temperatures between 60°F and 80°F. Give it a thorough watering when the soil feels dry to the touch.
5. Boston Fern
The stunning Boston Fern is another low-maintenance house plant that requires you to feed it once every two months. Your cat can bat at this fern all it wants and they can even take a bite as it’s safe for both dogs and cats.
- Care Instructions: Keep this cat safe plant in a cooler place with high humidity and indirect light. To give it more humidity, you may want to set the pot on a tray of pebbles filled with water and mist the leaves twice a week. The soil should stay damp all the time.
If you’re trying to get a tropical feel in your room, look no further than bromeliads. These bright plants have blooms that can easily survive for a few months, and they’ll liven up any space you put them in. They need a high amount of air flow, so we suggest putting them in an open area with windows and plenty of indirect sunlight, such as in a kitchen, living room, or bedroom.
- Care Instructions: Indirect, bright light will ensure that this plant will flower as well as they can, as will thoroughly watering them every one or two months. If your home is very dry, you’ll want to mist your plant often or put it by a humidifier.
7. Calathea Orbifolia
If you ask us, the leaf patterns you’ll find on many Calathea Orbifloia are stunning. This cat safe plant does require partial shade, and this makes it the perfect specimen to put on a shelf or plant stand in a bedroom where there isn’t a huge amount of natural light.
- Care Instructions: We touched on the fact that this plant doesn’t adore the sun as it burns the leaves, but a regular watering schedule is critical to ensure that your plant stays hydrated and healthy. You also want to keep it in a room with temperatures between 60°F and 80°F, and it likes ample humidity. You’ll need to keep it with a humidifier or make a point to mist it regularly.
8. (Certain) Succulents
There are many cat safe succulents available, including Echeveria, Haworthia, and a group of air plants that you can set on the counter in terrariums.
- Care Instructions: Even though you won’t have to do much in the way of care for these plants, you’ll want to ensure that they get light watering and direct sunlight every two weeks or so. Make sure the soil is dry before you water them again.
9. Date Palm
If you want to protect your pets while wowing your guests, look at this potted palm tree. The date palm is also called the Robellini palm, and it’s one of several cultivars in the Arecaceae family that are cat safe plants that can do well indoors. Other members of this family that will do well include Chinese Fan Palm, Areca Palm, and Bamboo Palm. It will transform into the focal point of any room you choose to put it in.
- Care Instructions: Keep your date palm in an area that gets indirect but bright light, and be careful that you don’t overwater it. Ensuring your plant stays more dry than wet will keep it healthy.
10. Friendship Plant
The Friendship Plant is a cat safe plant that has leaves with very intricate patterns on them, and they are very soft to the touch while being harmless to your pets. This is a smaller plant that will get between 6 and 12 inches high, and they can do well planted in low light as long as they get a few hours of sun every day. This plant will produce pale pink buds once in a while.
- Care Instructions: Ideally, this plant will stay in a space that gets bright to moderate but indirect light, and it should be around 65°F to 85°F. Water your plant thoroughly before allowing the soil to dry out, and make a point to keep the plant on the drier side.
This Brazilian native loves a sunny window to encourage it to bloom in shades of pink, purple, blue, or red. You should apply liquid plant food to this cat safe plant every two weeks to encourage strong growth, and it requires moist soil.
- Care Instructions: Ideally, these plants should be in an area that stays between 71°F and 75°F. Allow it to sit in indirect but bright sunlight, and if you plant it from seed, they should germinate in three weeks.
12. Green Ripple Peperomia
Peperomia Ginny or the Green Ripple Peperomia is a very popular plant to have inside, and it’s a dog and cat safe plant. This is a very low-maintenance option in terms of watering, and they’re popular as hanging plants.
- Care Instructions: This low-maintenance plant is very slow-growing, and you can plant it all year-round. This plant needs bright to medium light, and you want to avoid direct light as it can burn the leaves. Pick an acidic, loose soil and don’t water it frequently. The surface of the soil should dry out between watering sessions.
Rosemary, basil, and thyme are fantastic kitchen herbs that are completely cat safe plants for them to eat. These plants love areas with direct light, so you want to leave them to sit by a window all day long.
- Care Instructions: Water your herbs regularly and expect to have seeds ready to harvest in 75 to 100 days, depending on the herb.
14. Mosaic Plant
The mosaic plant is very commonly called the nerve plant or the jewel plant, and it’s a nice cat safe plant that thrives in a pot. The characterizations of this plant include veined, deep green leaves. It can be slightly tricker to grow and keep happy, so it’s best to leave it to an experienced gardener or anyone who wants a challenge.
- Care Instructions: This temperamental house plant requires specific conditions to encourage growth. They need a very peaty soil mix, diffused sunlight, and higher humidity levels. Water this plant very frequently to prevent the soil from drying out, and don’t put it in direct sunlight. Keep the plant at roughly 70°F.
Few plants give you as much elegance as orchids do. Luckily, you can add one to a home with pets, and orchids can last up to four months when they flower. They are best placed in partial light, and you should water them once a week during the winter months and twice a week during the spring and summer months.
- Care Instructions: Ideally, you’ll find a nice warm, bright, and humid spot for your orchid to grow in your home. They typically bloom once a week for three to four months before the flowers die off. The blooms return the next season. If you notice that the leaves are turning yellow, you may be over-sunning or overwatering it.
16. Parlor Palm
You can stick your parlor palm on the nightstand or on a credenza if it’s not too close to the window. This tropical-looking plant is planted in containers, and it’s a cat safe plant that only needs a few hours of indirect light a day.
- Care Instructions: Parlor Palms are very slow-growing plants, and they can take a few years to get three feet tall. You want to keep the plant’s soil evenly moist and keep it out of direct sunlight to keep it happy.
17. Polka Dot Plant
The Polka Dot Plant can easily get up to three feet tall if you grow it outside, and it’s a Madagascar native. This cat safe plant will only get 10 inches tall if you plant it in a container and grow it inside.
- Care Instructions: This exotic plant loves indirect but bright sunlight, and you’ll want to give it a moderate amount of moisture to keep the soil moist at all times. The temperatures should stay between 70°F and 80°F at all times, and you want to feed it monthly during the spring and summer months.
18. Ponytail Palm
The Ponytail Palm is one cat safe plant that comes with a huge amount of character packed into it. Your cat may also like to swat at the draping fronds this plant produces as they spill over the sides of the pot.
- Care Instructions: Ponytail Palms are one plant that is fantastic for beginners to the plant world. You only need to add fertilizer once or twice a year, and they require dry soil. So, the biggest point to keeping this plant healthy is to not water it too much.
19. Prayer Plant
Another pretty cat safe plant you can consider is the Prayer Plant. It has very eye-catching foliage with elegant coloration to it, and it grows taller than it does wide to add height to your space.
- Care Instructions: The care for this plant will vary depending on which cultivar you pick out, but they all generally prefer indirect, bright light. The temperature should range from 65°F to 85°F. It’s also a good idea to feed the plant once a month during spring and summer with fertilizer, and water when the top 25% of the soil is dry to the touch.
20. Rattlesnake Plant
The distinctly shaped leaves, colors, and the easy watering schedule this cat safe plant requires makes it a very great addition to your low-light areas. The undersides of the leaves are a very pretty purple color to help it stand out more.
- Care Instructions: Rattlesnake Plants grow best in fast-draining, loose soil that you can fertilize each month during the spring and summer months. They love being away from direct light, and the best temperature range falls between 70°F and 80°F. You’ll water them when the top soil is dry to the touch, and you can spritz the leaves if they look dry.
21. Spider Plant
The spider plant is extremely easy to grow inside, and it’s a very resilient plant that will thrive despite neglect. Spider plants also work very well as air purifiers, so they can help clean the toxins out of your home’s air.
- Care Instructions: Spider plants don’t like direct sun as it can scorch the foliage, but they can tolerate low light conditions as long as it’s indirect. The temperatures should be between 60°F and 80°F.
22. Staghorn Fern
This fern grows wild in Australia, and it has two different frond types. The cat safe plant can get mounted on the wall, potted, or hung in a basket and thrive. Staghorn Ferns do well in any space that has indirect or bright light, but avoid putting them in a dark room. Depending on the humidity and weather, you can water it once every one to three weeks. The higher the humidity, the less you have to water it. If you put it in the bathroom, you can mist and water it once every three weeks.
- Care Instructions: Keep your fern in a fast-draining and loose soil to ensure you don’t give it too much water.
23. Venus Flytrap
This is a very low-maintenance cat safe plant. The Venus Flytrap will be happy if it goes in a space that gets roughly four hours of direct sun each day, and you should water it using distilled water. For the soil, try a sphagnum moss or peat moss. Putting this plant on your porch is great as it can feed itself as flies pass by. It needs one or two flies a month to grow.
- Care Instructions: This plant does require distilled water to be happy. So, along with distilled water, rainwater or reverse osmosis should work. It’s also a good idea not to let your plant dry out, and the soil around the base of the plant should stay damp to the touch.
24. Watermelon Peperomia
The Peperomia family has dozens of varieties, but the Watermelon one is very pretty. If you look at the leaves, you’ll see how it got the name. They prefer to be in a space that doesn’t get direct sunlight, and they won’t need a huge amount of water to stay happy.
- Care Instructions: Even though it won’t need much water, you’ll want to water it when the top inch or two of soil dries out. The temperatures should stay between 65°F and 80°F to keep it happy.
Seven Toxic Common Houseplants
Even though there are several cat safe houseplants to choose from, there are also some toxic ones to watch out for. These toxic plants can cause a host of issues for your pet if they eat them, including everything from mild digestive upset to organ failure or death. Below are a few houseplants you want to keep out of your space if you have cats.
- Aloe Vera – Many people have Aloe Vera plants as a staple in their home as they are very easy to care for. Aloe has very thick, succulent-like leaves that come with jagged edges that grow upwards from a rosette-shaped base. It’s toxic to cats if they eat it, even if it has therapeutic properties with humans.
- Elephant’s Ear – This exotic-looking and leafy plant is a very popular pick for a house plant. However, it’s not one to have if you have cats around as it contains calcium oxalates that are insoluble, and they can cause kidney failure in cats.
- Eucalyptus – This plant is popular for the mind-soothing, fragrant leaves, but you want to keep this pale green plant away from your cats. When a cat eats enough Eucalyptus to get sick, they can exhibit vomiting, drooling, diarrhea, and decreased appetite.
- Jade Plants – Jade plants are also called dollar plants or money plants, and they are a succulent that is very easy to grow. They’re also rumored to bring good luck, and they have fleshy, dark green leaves with wood-like, thick stems. There are several jade plant varieties available, and they fall into the Crassula family. However, Jade plants are toxic to dogs, cats, and horses.
- Lilies: Lilies are the one plant that is extremely toxic to cats. If your cat eats them, acute kidney failure and rapid death follow. All parts of this plant are poisonous to your cat, and even a single lick of the pollen is enough to cause massive health issues for your cat.
- Monsteras: This is another very common plant you want to avoid having if you have cats in the house. They are a slightly more mildly toxic plant, but you want to not have it as it can cause uncomfortable and harmful symptoms for cats if they eat it.
- Snake plants: Finally, Snake Plants are more mild when it comes to toxicity for your cat, and they usually cause irritation in the stomach and mouth if your cat gets a hold of it.
These 24 cat safe plants are all beautiful, and many of them are very beginner-friendly choices. You can easily mix and match them to add texture, color, and greenery to your space, and your cat can enjoy them without any ill side effects.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.