Simple Tips on How To Keep Cats (and Other Pets) Out Of Houseplants

So, you have a new place, and I want to fill it with plants.

But you’d also like to get a cat. How do you keep your cats out of your houseplants? Is it even doable?

Find out 7 effective ways to Safeguarding Plants from Cats in this post!

Living with a cat can be annoying when chairs are scratched up and clothes are torn down. While they are lovable creatures, they cannot help themselves in being behaved.

However, it is a different story to be both a cat and plant lover. Cats love to play with plants, and they sometimes ruin the plant’s leaves or break the pot by tipping it off an edge.

If you want to have both a garden and a pet, here are ways to keep cats away from houseplants

Why Do Cats Love Playing With Plants?

If there are plants that cats do not like, there are also plants that they like the most. Some of these are the well-known Nepeta cataria or catnip, Valeriana officinalis or Valeria, and Teucrium marum or cat thyme. 

Cats will either play with these plants or even munch them. So, why do cats love playing with plants? Plants like catnip have a chemical compound inside them called nepetalactone.

This compound causes a stir-up in the cat’s brain comparable to the release of pheromones. Younger cats are attracted less to the plant since their olfactory glands and brain have not reached peak maturity yet.

Generally, cats like plants not because they want to eat them but more of the satisfaction gained from the plant. It can be the taste of the leaf or its texture; cats like to nibble around plants that provide them a different feel.

How Do I Train My Cat To Not Eat Plants?

When all these tips do not work in repelling the cat, you can always condition your cat’s behavior. 

For example, every time your cat approaches a plant, blow a horn or call them out. You can also use a small condensed air blower or water spray bottle for the “punishment” to be a bit felt physically by the cat. 

If you do not have the patience and time to keep an eye on your cat, you can put empty cants around a plant.

When your pet goes near the plant, they will tip off the cans, and the cans will make noise after falling. This will surely scare your cat away.

Also, it would help if you remembered that cats are social creatures too. Maybe they keep eating your plants because they do not get enough food or enough time from you. Schedule regular playtimes with your cat and see how it affects their behavior.

How To Keep Cats Away From Plants?

Cats are naturally curious creatures that are both smart and flexible to roam around. Here are cat and plant-friendly solutions you can try to keep cats away from houseplants.

  1. Surround The Plant With Cat-Unfriendly Surfaces
  2. Cat Repellent Automatic Sprinkler
  3. Make And Use Homemade Cat Repellents
  4. Plant Rosemary Or Other Plants Cats Dislike
  5. Keep Plants Away From Cats
  6. Surround Your Garden With Chicken Wire
  7. Cage Your Cat

Surround The Plant With Cat-Unfriendly Surfaces

A favorite method in preventing cats from playing with your plant is putting a sheet of foil around the plant. Foil crumples too easily and is noisy, which can deter some cats.

Surround The Plant With Cat-Unfriendly SurfacesPin

Also, if you have a carpet in your house, you probably have carpet protectors too. For those who have no idea, a carpet protector is a plastic layer that protects the carpet from rubbing too much against the floor and keeping it in place. 

Flip the carpet protector so the spiky surface is facing up, and put the plant above it. No cat or any other house pet would like their paws being poked. 

Cat Repellent Automatic Sprinkler

If you consider buying an automatic sprinkler, chances are you have a large garden and serious with it (most likely, you are selling crops and fruits). Installing sprinklers for the sole purpose of scaring away the cat from the garden is costly. 

Once you have a sprinkler, do not expect to fully keep the cat away since sprinklers have times during the day when it activates.

For the times that it is off, you have to figure out how to control your cat. You can follow the first or second tip.

However, animals tend to develop a habit of not approaching areas that scare them. Put, if your cat has been hit by the sprinkler many times, they will stay out of your garden as an effect.

Make And Use Homemade Cat Repellents

Commercial cat repellent can be bought from your local pet store or hardware shop. However, if you fear that this could harm your plants and cat, you can always try making a homemade cat repellent.

Usually, cat repellents are made from plant extracts. These extracts are obtained from plants that cats dislike (discussed in the next section). 

For example, you can try making the traditional cat repellent made with orange, lemon, and lavender.

What you need are

  • 3 drops of lemon essential oil
  • 2 drops of wild orange essential oil 
  • 3 drops of lavender essential oil.

You can always dilute it with water and put it in a spray bottle so you can spray the repellent on the plants. Since it is made from natural oils, it is safe for both plants and cats. 

Plant Rosemary Or Other Plants Cats Dislike

Plants that cats dislike are different from plants that could poison them. Cat deterrent plants are just plants that these animals find because of their smell.

The king in these types of plants is the Plectranthus caninus or the Scaredy Cat. There is no scientific basis on this plant being an effective cat-repellent yet, but online blogs and even veteran gardeners widely suggest it. 

Ruta graveolens, common-rue, or herb-of-grace is also another effective plant to keep the cats away. It is also used for organic medicines, as a condiment, and even insect repellent. 

Keep Plants Away From Cats

For indoor vining plants, you can always use shelves to keep the plants safe from the cat. However, this is not guaranteed against more adventurous cats that like to roam around the house.

Keep Plants Away From CatsPin

You can spray the shelves with a repellent. Also, do not put heavy plants on your shelves since they can fall off (either by the cat or not) and cause injury and breakage.

Meanwhile, you can also hang your plants using suspended racks in semi-outdoor places like the garage or craft room. This is safer for the cats since there is no physical way to get to the rack.

Surround Your Garden With Chicken Wire

Using chicken wire to keep your cats away from your plants is one of the most efficient ways to do it. It is easy and cheap to install, durable enough for multiple attempts by the cat and can be reused for other purposes.

You could try to make your garden hard to reach by using chicken wire and raising your garden via a deck or bed. This provides additional height to the plants that some cats cannot reach. 

Some chicken wires are made from clothing or plastic. This is a good option, too, instead of the one made from metal when you want something lightweight and quick to install and remove.

Cage Your Cat

Nobody wants to cage their pet, but it is time to reconsider when your cat is doing serious damage to your garden. 

This is a foolproof method in keeping your cat away from your plants since the cat is stuck inside a cage.

We do not recommend caging your cat permanently since this could cause unwanted effects on the cat. Rather, do it seldomly when no one is manning the garden.

Putting your cat in a cage also has a good effect: toilet training. This keeps your cat disciplined when it comes to his/her waste. Who knows?

Maybe this type of training makes your cat mindful of the garden now.


If you intend to plant a garden, then get a cat (or whichever comes first). You have to know that cats are naturally curious creatures that will explore your plants if not stopped. 

There will always be various methods to keep the cat away from your plants, both temporarily or permanently. However, if there is little disturbance to the garden caused by the cat, you can leave the cat alone and let it roam freely.

Obviously, if you are reading this guide, you love both your plants and cats. These solutions that we have presented can be applied in most households and definitely will not hurt the cat, the plants, and you. 

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