What Are Some House Plants That Cats Will Leave Alone?

Last Updated on February 2, 2023 by Derek

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What house plants can cats not be around?

Cats in general do not like plants with a strong unusual smell. For instance, cats dislike anything with a citrusy smell.

Apart from citrus plants, your cat will find it hard to be around the following plants and they will generally leave them alone:

  • Coleus Canina: Surviving both indoors and outdoors, this pretty plant scares the cats away.
  • Rosemary: This one is a hit and miss. Many felines avoid the plant while others are neutral to it.
  • Curry Plant: The strong bitter leaves of the curry plant are unappetizing to the cats.
  • Lemon Balm: This plant has a rough foliage texture along with a strong citrusy aroma. It’s a double “no-no” for cats.
  • Geraniums: Cats do not like Geranium leaves due to their smell and texture.

When bored, cats will turn anything into a play toy. These naturally curious creatures love to explore their surroundings. Sadly, your houseplants face the brunt of their curiosity.

From digging the soil in the pots to chewing on the leaves, cats destroy your precious plants. But there are some species that will not attract your cat’s attention, like Lemon Balm

Homemade spray to keep cats from eating plants

A good way to keep your plants safe from cats is by using a repellent spray. You do not have to purchase a special product for this. A DIY spray works well enough.

To make this spray, you will need essential oils, water, a mist bottle, and a funnel that fits into the bottle.

Once you gather all the ingredients, follow these steps to prepare your DIY cat repellent spray:

  • Choose the essential oil fragrance. Cats generally dislike the smells of peppermint, lemongrass, eucalyptus, and lavender. Pick the fragrance whose aroma you can tolerate, but your cat cannot.
  • In the mist bottle, mix each essential oil with water. The proportion goes like this: 15 drops of essential oil per 3/4 parts of water.
  • Remove the funnel and shut the bottle. Now shake the bottle till the ingredients mix well.
  • Spray the DIY solution on your plant leaves. Additionally, you can spray this repellent on your furniture to make them cat-proof.

How can I get my cat to leave my house plants alone?

Cats could be destroying your plants for a variety of reasons. Understanding your cat’s nature is crucial to solving this problem.

Many cats enjoy the taste of leaves. Cats are carnivorous in the wild but may find the taste of leaves appealing. They may even eat leaves simply out of boredom.

Another reason why cats do not leave your houseplants alone is because they are curious hunters. Moving leaves grab their attention. Cats assume the leaves are prey and attack.

Your strategy in keeping the cat away from the plant should center on two things: making your plants inaccessible and keeping your cats entertained.

Get plants like catnip which the felines love in particular. Such plants will lure the cat and keep the other plants safe.

Spend time with your cat. Get toys for them and feed them on time. Your cat would be much less likely to eat your plants in that case.

Houseplants safe for cats (with pictures)

It is very difficult to keep your cat away from your plants. The moment the cat lays eye on leaves, branches and mud, they will begin to explore.

But do not let that stop you from getting new plants home. However, ensure that the plants are not toxic. Plants like Azalea and Begonia are toxic to cats, causing stomach upset, nausea and more.

Keeping that in mind, here are some houseplants which are non-toxic for cats:


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Cats love this herb. Catnip provides your feline pets with energy and stimulation. The plant also distracts your cat from going for other plants in the house.

Cat grass

Wheat, oat and rye grass is enjoyable for cats. Grow a bunch in pots and let your feline friends treat themselves.


Licorice root, lemongrass and thyme are known to be appealing to cats. In addition to this, herbs also fill the space in your home with natural aromas.

What is a large houseplants safe for cats?

There are many non-toxic plants available which can co-exist with your cats. They come in both big and small sizes.

Some of the large houseplants for cats that are safe include:

Chlorophytum Comosum

The common name of Chlorophytum Comosum is “Spider Plant”. If you want a safe, big plant that your cat can play with then look no further than the spider plant.

Its long spiraling leaves will entertain your cats like no tomorrow.

Phalaenopsis Orchid

This orchid has long stems which keep the flowers high off the ground. Your cat cannot reach the flowers easily and cannot eat them as a result.

Pachira Aquatica

Also known as the money tree, this plant has a thick trunk which can stand tall against your cat’s antics.

Musa Acuminata

This non-toxic plant has a sturdy trunk and big leaves which are hard for cats to chew.

What plants won’t cats eat?

As discussed earlier, cats will avoid plants with strong, unfamiliar aromas, especially the citrusy smell. Here are some more plants that your cat will not eat:

  • Blue Echeveria
  • Miniature Roses
  • Thimble Cactus
  • Christmas Cactus
  • Haworthia
  • Rue
  • Menthol
  • Wintergreen
  • Big Plants
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Name some outdoor plants that cats don’t like

Some of the outdoor plants that are unattractive to cats have already been mentioned in the article.

Regardless, if you grow the following plants in your garden, your cat will not destroy them:


This plant has a pungent aroma which is unattractive to cats. In addition to this, Rosemary also has pointy leaves which cats find difficult to bite and chew.


Although it smells sweet to humans, the smell of Lavender can keep cats away. However, if your cat likes to nibble on leaves you might want to skip this plant as it is toxic to cats.

Lemon Thyme

The citrusy smell of Lemon Thyme is unappealing to cats. Grow them in pots and move them to areas where your cat likes to dig or eat plant leaves.


This plant has a strong smell that repels cats. It may also discourage cats from urinating in the area. 

What are some low light indoor plants safe for cats?

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Indoor plants do not require direct sunlight to survive. This makes them ideal for city life. But not all indoor plants are safe for cats.

The following indoor plants are non-toxic and completely safe to have around cats:

  • Ponytail Palm
  • Spider Plant
  • Cast Iron Plant
  • Prayer Plant
  • Zebra Calathea
  • Boston Fern
  • Fittonia
  • Parlor Palm
  • Gloxinia
  • Moth Orchid
  • Peacock Plant
  • Polka Dot
  • Friendship Plant
  • Bromeliads

Is snake plant toxic to cats?

Yes, Snake Plant is toxic to cats. These easy-to-grow plants are very hard to kill. The active toxic components in Snake Plant are Saponins.

These chemicals can result in feline diarrhea, nausea and vomiting if ingested. Call the veterinary services immediately if you think your cat has eaten the leaves of Snake Plant.

If you want a plant which looks like Snake Plant, go for Caeroba. Popularly called “rattle-snake plant”, Caeroba is non-toxic to cats. 

What can I spray on plants to keep cats away?

Certain DIY sprays keep cats away. Try using any citrusy fragrance in your spray like orange peel extracts. You may also choose a lemongrass essential oil to put in your spray.

A more aggravating ingredient in sprays is pepper. Mixing cayenne pepper or Tobasco sauce in your spray can deter the cats from approaching your plants.

If you want a gentler method, simply keep your plants wet with water. Spray water on the leaves regularly. Cats do not like getting wet and will avoid plants if they are moist.

How to keep cats out of indoor plants – other methods

If you do not want to use a fragrant spray on the plants, these alternative methods might prove useful:

  • Place tiny rocks or pebbles over the soil in the pots. This will discourage your cat from digging.
  • Put inflated balloon next to your plants. They may pop when your cat bites or scratches the plants creating a loud sound. Overtime, your cat will get scared of the sound.

Can I use rocks to keep cats out of plants?

Yes, it is possible to use rocks to make the plants inaccessible to cats. But use this strategy to prevent your cat from digging.

Cats are very agile and nimble. They can easily hop over rocks and chew on the plant leaves.

Do cats like eucalyptus?

No, cats do not like eucalyptus. The smell of eucalyptus is overpowering for cats. But be careful as eucalyptus is toxic to cats.

FAQ relating to house plants that cats will leave alone

What plants make cats trip?

Plants like Cat nip, Valerian roots and Honesuckle can make your cat trip.

Is aloe vera toxic to cats?

Yes, Aloe Vera is toxic to cats due to components like Saponins and Anthraquinones.

Is Spider plant toxic to cats?

No, Spider Plant is safe for cats.

What does eucalyptus do to cats?

It can cause nausea, diarrhea and vomiting in cats.

Key Takeaways

  • Cats do not like strong citrusy aroma.
  • Good cat training can prevent your pet from destroying the plants at home.
  • Before buying plants ensure they care non-toxic to cats.
  • Keep your cat entertained.
  • If your cat ingests a toxic plant leaf, call the veterinary immediately. 
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