10 Cat-Safe Houseplants That Are a Cinch to Grow
We’ve all been there… you buy a cute plant and bring the exciting new addition home only to realize that you forgot to check if it was compatible with your cat. And if your kitty is anything like our resident feline at Outside In, then she loves nibbling on the ends of certain plants (and other household items!). No matter how many times we tell her, “these plants are friends, not food!,” she indignantly ignores... in typical cat fashion. But beyond leaving the plant ends gnarled, some indoor plants are actually unsafe for cats to consume— and in fact, can be toxic upon ingestion. So it’s best to do a quick check before bringing that plant baby home to coexist with our little curious creatures.
Plants that are dangerous to cats (as well as some other animals) contain chemicals such as saponins and calcium oxalate. These common plant substances are responsible for things like helping the plant to deter pests— however, when ingested by cats can cause symptoms of poisoning such as vomiting, diarrhea, depression, skin irritation, loss of appetite, and in some cases can be fatal. Steering clear of any potentially hazardous greenery is important for the health of your cat. So we’ve compiled a list below of 10 indoor plants that are cat-friendly as well as super easy to maintain. With these houseplants, you can rest assured that kitty’s curiosity won’t bring harm.
1. Areca palm (Dypsis lutescens)
With a name meaning "tender palm", the areca palm is a widely popular indoor/outdoor plant.
Also called the butterfly palm or bamboo palm, this evergreen prefers bright, indirect light and a well-draining soil.
2. Bromeliad (Bromeliaceae)
These “flowering” plants are incredibly diverse as they’re native of places from high altitude forests to low lying deserts.
Bromeliads are able to adapt to and tolerate various conditions which makes them great houseplants. In addition to adding a touch of color, your pets will also enjoy these fun plants.
3. Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata)
4. Rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus)
5. Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
One of the easiest household plants to take care of, the spider plant can withstand various living conditions. Also referred to as airplane plant or ribbon plant, this tropical perennial is especially loved for its air-cleaning properties.
Your kitty will love ignoring this plant as much as you'll need to, as it thrives when neglected.
6. Prayer plant (Maranta leuconeura)
7. Peperomia (Peperomia)
With over 1000 species, the peperomia (or radiator plant), is a strong plant with ornamental leaves. Being drought-tolerant makes this plant simple to grow as it doesn’t require much effort or care.
Some of the most popular include the peperomia argyreia (watermelon peperomia), peperomia obtusifolia (baby rubber plant), and peperomia caperata (emerald ripple)—all safe around cats.
8. Air plant (Tillandsia)
With minimal roots, the often small air plant latches onto whatever is around its natural environment. At home, affixing the plant to decor is common (like on wood branches or in terrariums).
The air plant is unharmful to your cat and only requires a monthly soak in water to maintain its simple life.
9. Ponytail palm (Beaucarnea recurvata)
10. Polka dot plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya)
With many varietals, the polka dot plant (also known as the freckle face plant) can don inspiring shades of pink, green, and white.
This evergreen shrub prefers partial light to maintain its vibrant color.
Adding any of these plants to your home will be harmless for your cat, spruce up your space, and be incredibly easy to maintain. But if your cat is especially fond of chewing or eating household plants, we suggest getting some cat grass (namely wheatgrass or catnip) to save your plant in this case. Some cats just enjoy plants more than others, but please note that even if a plant is nonpoisonous, your kitty could still experience gastrointestinal issues. However, if you suspect that your pet has ingested harmful plant material do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian. In addition, the ASPCA provides a dedicated 24/7 hotline for incidences or general knowledge: Animal Poison Control Center.