Green Fingers | The prettiest Cat-Safe House Plants

April 16, 2017

Plants that are not toxic to pets, cat safe house plants

Image: Design Soda

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Happy Easter people, I hope you’ve all done you’re duty and consumed your weight in chocolate this weekend. If you are looking for some virtue to alleviate the confectionary sins, then I bring my fellow cat owners a piece on bringing the botanical trend into your home whilst taking care of your pet at the same time! I know, slightly tenuous, but you can thank me later.  I confess, I had absolutely no idea before becoming a cat owner that common plants and flowers could be poisonous to pets.  Until a very dear friend bought me a beautiful bunch of flowers containing Oriental Lily’s and our inquisitive cat brushed her face all over them and had to go to the vets for several days to have her liver flushed, it would have amazed me that plants can kill even by being touched or rubbed and not ingested. As a result I’m pretty careful these days with what greenery I bring into the house, constantly falling down internet black holes of “is (this) toxic to cats?”. The A.S.P.C.A have a pretty comprehensive list of dangerous plants and their side effects, so it’s easy to find what kills and what results in irritation, not everything thankfully has the same dramatic effect of lillies. But as with all things comprehensive it’s not the most handy thing to take with you plant shopping. So, today, I wanted to give you a short list of pretty plants that you can happily buy as a cat owner and a similarly short list of very popular plants at the moment that you perhaps shouldn’t. 

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Toxic plants to pets cats

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Bringing in greenery that is cat-safe is not made easy by all of the beautiful house plants that are so in vogue these days, I seem to always be finding exotic beauties that I want but upon research cant have, the rule seems to be ‘if it’s pretty it’s probably dangerous’ which is a bit of a downer to be honest. Pretty well all of the major plant trends of the last two years are highly poisonous to pets, the Monstera cheese plant – toxic, the Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree – toxic, Mother-in-Laws Tongue – toxic, Rubber plants (though not the baby or American variety)  – yes you guessed it, toxic! See my visual above of all the popular plants not safe near a curious cat (or dog). Then there’s simple indoor flowering plants, hydrangeas are beautiful but toxic, the essential oil in eucalyptus is deadly to cats. So if, like me, you can’t resist it’s fragrant allure keep it up high and out of reach, on a mantelpiece for example.  And finally there are many varieties of cacti that are best avoided, though to be honest cacti tend to wear their warning in spikes and I take my chances with those even though my cat is silly enough to try and sit on their spiky exteriors (I’ve seen her do it!).

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cat safe house plants that are not toxic

An Assemblage of Calatheas and an Asplenium proving that not everything pretty is toxic.

Image: Design Soda

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There are quite a few really lovely indoor plants that are (as far as I can ascertain) harmless to your moggy, one variety of particular note is the Calathea family which have many varied and interesting leaves. I have four kinds, two in the shot above including the Prayer Plant and the Majestica Exotica (with an Asplenium in the foreground, also safe for cats), the Triostar in the shot of the study below, and my third Calathea is the Medallion in the main image at the top of article. Another plant with interesting leaves, which you can see below in the bedroom, and are safe to grow, are all colours of Fittonia (nerve plant) which are terribly pretty, but also tend to do better covered for humidity in terrariums in the UK climate. Here, below, are my five favourite cat-safe house plants, I own all of them and recommend them to any lazy house plant keepers, though I will admit that Calathea in the top image likes a lot of water! There are also varieties of palm, the spider plant and a few succulent plants but for today I’m sticking with the ones I’ve tested for myself. 

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The Triostar Calathea adding a note of botanical exoticism to the study.

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Two kinds of Fittonia in a terrarium jar in the bedroom, they are best suited to terrariums in colder climates as they need humidity to flourish, but they are quite safe in the open as far as cats are concerned.

Images: Design Soda

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Top 5 Pretty Non- Toxic Houseplants for Cats:

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  1. Fittoniafittonia-plant non toxic cats Image: Brit + Co.
  2. Asplenium asplenium non toxic houseplants to cats Image: Moku Green Blog.
  3. Pepperomia peperomia non toxic houseplants to cats Image: Flora Dania.
  4. Calathea calathea cat safe house plants that are not toxic to pets Image: Noemie Cedille blog
  5. Boston Fern boston fern cat safe house plants that are not toxic to pets Image: Bakker

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I leave you with a selection of my cat-safe urban jungle below, and as we are talking about cats, I feel it would be amiss not to share my favourite ever picture of the resident tuxedo cat in our house, Dinah, asleep (like a human, because she has grand delusions like that!). If you know of any other pretties I’ve missed out let me know in the comments below.

Dinah cat asleep

Our cat Dinah, making herself at home.

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cat safe house plants that are not toxic to pets

My urban jungle of non-toxic house plants.

Image: Design Soda

pretty Plants that are not toxic to pets, cat safe house plants

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19 thoughts on “Green Fingers | The prettiest Cat-Safe House Plants

  1. Karen

    What an incredibly useful post! My husband is dying for a cat, and I’m itching to expand my plant collection so I feel at some point this is going to come in handy haha x

    Reply
    1. Design_Soda_Ruthie Post author

      Haha, thanks Karen, yes sounds like it could come in handy! Our cat was a result of my husbands fixation with getting a cat, be warned she has definitely chosen me as her owner 😂 x

      Reply
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  3. Joshua

    This was very helpful, I’ve never owned a cat and my partner and I are currently looking for one to adopt. I wasn’t quite sure if my Calathea Orbifolia plant would be toxic to our newest family member and I’m relieved I won’t have to get rid of it now.

    Reply
  4. Jennifer

    Thank you for some great, cat friendly suggestions! Do you have any tips for keeping the cat out of the plants? I miss having plants in my apartment, but I’m worried my cat will make a mess of them.

    Reply
    1. Design_Soda_Ruthie Post author

      Ah, thank you, I’m glad you found it helpful. I wish I had tips for this, our cat is generally quite good with plants, weirdly it’s cactus’ that she seems to have it in for! Xx

      Reply
    2. Jennifer

      If you put tin foil in and around the planter that deters them from getting on the ledge of the planter and digging in the pot. Cats really dont like the look or feel of the foil. Hope that helps 🙂

      Reply
    3. Tanya

      I know this comment is a bit late, but growing a couple pots of wheat grass just for your kitty might help. I ordered some seeds online and I keep two pots in convenient locations for my cat and he’ll go for those instead of of my other houseplants.

      I also get away with having a couple toxic plants. My cat (stressing that I can only speak for my own cat) doesn’t seem to consider large, tough leaves to be edible so other than some curious sniffing when I first brought them home he’s ignored my monstera and snake plant. Anything with tender, grass-like leaves (my poor spider plants…) get chewed up pretty badly. Hanging baskets are your friends.

      Reply
      1. Design_Soda_Ruthie Post author

        Hi there, thanks so much for these tips, I’d love a string of hearts but I think even in a hanging basket my kitty would try to grab it, she’s a silly thing! Wheat grass is a great idea, I will look into it ♥️ xxx

        Reply
  5. Samantha

    Ahh! This article is absolutely perfect! I myself am a mother of plants and a curiously sweet cat. It’s comforting knowing that there are others who understand the struggle to resist buying the gorgeous toxic plants.

    Reply
  6. Courtney

    Found your post while searching to see if a fiddle leaf fig was toxic to cats. I was sad to see that they are, but I love my kitties more than a plant I may or may not be good at taking care of, so that’s okay!

    I did want to let you know that ASPCA says some varsities of rubber plants are non-toxic, though! Baby Rubber Plant (https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants/baby-rubber-plant) and American Rubber Plant (https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants/american-rubber-plant) both come up as non-toxic! I wanted to share that so you can update your post and we can all enjoy these pretty plants AND our sweet kitties! 🙂

    Reply
  7. Marlo

    Thanks for this! I’ve recently become obsessed with adding house plants to all the rooms of my home, but have two fuzzy little chew-monsters to take into account before I buy. Also, I love your picture of your tuxedo cat! I had one growing up, and he was the best, most wonderful friend a girl could ever want!

    Reply

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