21 Plants That Cats Can Eat Safely (Know What They Are)

plants that cats can eat safely

Do you have a cat that likes to munch on plants? Even though cats are obligate carnivores in nature, some enjoy the occasional ‘salad’ at times.

If you keep indoor and/or outdoor plants, you need to know what plants are safe for your cat and the plants that can make your feline friend rather sick.

In this article, we will be exploring a wide range of indoor and outdoor plants that are both safe and toxic for cats.

Let us delve in.

House Plants That Are Safe For Cats

Beautifying one’s indoor living space with vibrant indoor plants is the norm these days. Having some air plants or beautiful flowers at home is good for the soul.

It also means that as cat parents, we need to be mindful of what we keep indoors since that’s where our feline friends are most of the time.

It’s also our responsibility to train our cats to know that an indoor plant does not equate to cat food.

1. Areca Palm

This large house plant is safe for your cat. This plant is known to grow to quite a size so it requires regular pruning and upkeep.

2. Bird Nest Fern

bird nest fern cats

A great green addition to your bathroom as it loves humidity and doesn’t require much watering and direct sunlight.

3. Orchids

You’ll be glad to know that Orchids are cat-safe.

If you are growing very rare and expensive species of Orchids, then it would be best to keep them away from your curious feline.

4. Boston Fern

The Boston fern is low-maintenance and looks good as hanging plants.

It is safe for cats to play or even take a bite from.

5. Herbs

herbs

Herbs are widely grown and used by many of us for cooking. Common herbs like dill, rosemary, thyme and basil are safe for your cat.

For some strange reason, my cat is attracted to sage and I can find him nibbling my sage plant at times.

Don’t worry, sage is safe for our cats too.

However, essential oils that are made from herbs such as sage and rosemary are very toxic to cats.

Cats do not have the enzyme that is found in most essential oils which can cause severe health issues.

6. Peperomia

Another common type of house plant that you will find in homes.

A great plant to brighten up a dull portion of the house by placing it near sunlight or in a hanging basket.

And it’s also safe for your cat.

7. Ponytail Palm

Not many cats can resist swatting the ‘come hither-feather like’ leaves of this plant.

It gives your home a rather edgy look with its messy placement of leaves.

8. Spider Plant

spider plant

Spider plants are popular houseplants and cats are strangely drawn to this plant.

Research studies have discovered that this plant causes a mild hallucinogenic side effect to felines, though this is stated to be harmless.

Spider plants contain chemical substances that are stated to be associated with opium.

These substances can still result in indigestion, throwing up, and loose stools.

It is best that you choose a safer plant or hang where the cat can’t get its paws on.

Outdoor Plants That Are Safe For Cats

If you have outdoor plants, there might have been a couple of times when your cat treats your garden as a snack bar.

Cats love to investigate and are smart enough to know what plants they can or shouldn’t eat.

However, this internal instinct isn’t always 100% foolproof.

Eating a toxic plant can be fatal for cats.

It would be a good idea to make your garden safe for your feline pals if you are a fan of cats.

There are ways to go about recreating your garden or yard to help your cats and your plants get along with each other.

1. Catnip

Almost every cat owner would have introduced catnip to their cat at some point.

Catnip contains a chemical called nepetalactone which can send your cat into a state of euphoria.

The cat will start rolling, chewing and licking the catnip rather aggressively in this state.

Not all cats are affected by catnip though, only about 50%.

My cat is only interested in smelling catnip for a little while before losing interest.

2. Cat Grass

Cat grass is a kind of grass that you will find growing in lawns and pastures.

It is safe for cats and many of them enjoy nibbling and chewing on cat grass.

You can even grow cat grass at home or even buy a small growing kit from most pet shops.

3. Asters

These plants require little maintenance and are perfect for providing thick cover or protection for a cat’s outdoor adventures.

4. Crape Myrtle

For year-round color in the garden, few trees rival the style of crape myrtle.

Also known as crepe flower, this outdoor plant which is non-toxic to cats requires little interest when developed,

5. Blue Mist Shrub

This blooming shrub is extremely appealing to pollinators as well as offers lots of privacy and shelter for cats to hide in.

6. Coral Bell

Coral bells are a gardener’s joy for their versatility and tolerance to various problems, including their beautiful color.

These plants are safe for animals and can be planted anywhere in the yard with confidence.

7. Sunflowers

cats eat sunflower

This large vibrant flower will give a lot of shelter and coverage for your cat while the blossoms offer something to play with when included near climbing structures.

8. Cosmos

Another enjoyable plant for cats. This plant comes with a remarkable color tone, as well as terrific privacy to hide in, which your felines will appreciate.

9. Maiden Grass

Including decorative grasses such as this will certainly provide your feline with an excellent environment for lurking around.

While the roots are bad for your feline, all other parts are cat-safe.

10. Camellia

These tough evergreen bushes or trees are generally utilized as foundation plantings and hedging.

Because camellias are preferred as cut flowers, it’s comforting to know that all parts of the plant are harmless to pets if consumed.

11. Bee Balm

bee balm cats

This summer-blooming perennial is native to the USA and Canada.

Also known as bergamot, horsemint, or Oswego tea, this member of the mint family has a host of advantageous herbal and medicinal high qualities as well as is risk-free for pets.

12. Squash

Squash plants expand to have leaves with a big coverage area that make a fantastic location for your feline to take sanctuary in the shade or simply discover a nice hiding place.

13. Violets

cats violets flowers

Typically known as pansies, violets have been cultivated for over 25 centuries. The Greeks were growing them as far back as 500 BC.

These are gorgeous flowers that bring a superb color tone to your garden.

Why Do Cats Eat Plants?

Cats are obligate carnivores. They eat meat, fish, insects, birds, reptiles, amphibians and small mammals.

But they don’t usually eat plants unless they have been allowed to do so by their owners.

It can be quite a spectacle for cat owners to catch their cats trying to chew on grass or leaves like a cow.

Plant eating is not something all cats do, but it does happen occasionally. The reasons vary. Here are some common ones:

  • Some cats like to chew things
  • Eating edible plants might help with IBS or other stomach issues
  • Induce vomiting to eliminate something harmful
  • Grass can provide some nutrients that the cat needs
  • Chewing on grass due to stress

I don’t see any nutritional benefits when it comes to eating plants for cats as they lack the necessary enzymes to digest plant matter.

What Plans Are Poisonous To Cats?

Now that we have covered both outdoor and common indoor plants that are safe for your cat, we need to look at toxic plants that can be bad for our cat if consumed.

  • Amaryllis
  • Autumn Crocus
  • Azaleas and Rhododendrons
  • Castor Bean
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Cyclamen
  • Daffodils
  • Devil’s Ivy
  • Dieffenbachia
  • Dumbcane
  • Eucalyptus
  • Elephant’Ear
  • English Ivy
  • Garlic
  • Hyacinth
  • Jade Plant
  • Kalanchoe
  • Lily
  • Lily of the Valley
  • Oleander
  • Peace Lily
  • Pothos, Devil’s Ivy
  • Sago Palm
  • Spanish Thyme
  • Tulip
  • Yew

Please note that this isn’t the complete list as there are too many plants to name.

If you plan to bring a grow a new plant and it’s not on this list, make sure to ask your vet first before doing so.

The last thing you want happening is your feline friend getting sick after chewing on it.

There are some plants like the apricot tree which can be toxic to cats. Cats can eat some apricots as a treat but the other parts of the tree contain cyanide which is toxic to cats.

What Parts Of The Plant Are Toxic?

It’s safe to assume that if a plant has been identified as toxic, any part that the cat ingests can cause harm to it like the Yucca plant.

Some poisonous plants are more deadly than others, requiring only a small amount to cause damage.

While some will only be harmful after prolonged consumption.

Before you bring a plant into the house or plant it outdoors, make sure to check this comprehensive list from ASPCA to make sure it’s not toxic to cats.

Signs Of Plant Poisoning

It’s important to recognize the signs of plant poisoning in the unfortunate event when it happens.

Different toxins affect the cat’s body differently depending on the active ingredient.

These are the common symptoms:

  • Twitching
  • Salivation/drooling
  • Confusion/incoordination
  • Fits/seizures
  • Increased thirst
  • Lethargy/depression
  • Sneezing or difficulty breathing
  • Salivation
  • Cat walking slowly suddenly
  • Throwing up
  • Diarrhea
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Shock or collapse
  • Inflammation or swelling of the skin
  • Depression or coma
  • Changes in drinking, urinating and appetite

Other illnesses have the same symptoms as toxic poisoning. So if you notice the above signs after your cat has chewed on a plant, take it to the vet immediately.

The sooner you take your cat to the vet, the faster the vet can flush out the toxins before they affect the major organs.

When in doubt, consult your vet.

How Do I Keep My Cat Away From My Plants?

Expecting your cat to just keep away from your plants is a tall order. Your cat is naturally curious and loves to investigate everything.

If you plan to keep plants that can be toxic to your cat, plant them in a secure area outdoors or hang them on the ceiling.

Make it almost impossible for your cat to reach it.

One trick I use to keep my cat out of restricted areas is to place sticky tape facing upward in that area.

Many cats hate stuff getting stuck to their paws and will make it a point to avoid it.

Placing aluminum foil on the ground also works as cats hate that metallic texture and sound on their toe beans.

Not only are you keeping your cat safe from the plant but your plant is safe from your cat too.

Conclusion

It is very important to know what plants cats can eat safely to prevent any unfortunate incidents if they do happen to chew on your plants.

This shouldn’t deter you if you are someone who enjoys gardening or keeping a few plants at home.

As long as your plants are safe for cats, there’s no harm if they do decide to go ‘vegan’ for a day.

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