How to Keep Cats Away from Plants [9 Solutions to Try]


Imagine this: you just brought home a splendid houseplant, and a few hours later – disaster – the plant is totally ruined. Do you have a problem with your cat constantly trying to eat your plants? If so, you’re not alone. Cats love to play with plants, but that doesn’t mean you have to let them destroy them.

In this article, we will discuss several effective methods on how to keep cats away from plants. Keep reading for more information!

Why Do Cats Like to Play in the Plants?

Every cat parent wants to know why their cat won’t leave the plants alone. There are a few reasons why your cat loves plants so much.

They Help With the Cat’s Digestion

The main reason cats instinctively chew on plants is to help with their digestion and get rid of the hairballs they swallow constantly when grooming. Hairballs can be up to an inch in size, causing problems with the cats’ digestion. Since it’s in their nature to chew on grass to aid digestion, they opt for whatever green leafy thing they can find in their surroundings.

If your cat is an indoor cat only, then finding a solution for keeping cats out of plants is crucial. Growing grass at home or getting a plant especially attractive to your cat could be viable solutions to keep your beloved houseplants intact.

They Can Help Them Relieve Stress

A cat can want to be around your plants even if it’s not because of digestion problems. Just like us humans, they can experience stress, and playing in the grass is their way of relieving the tension they feel. If you see your cat playing with your plant, don’t be alarmed. They are actually trying to relieve some of the stress or they could be struggling with depression. Note, however, that even if chewing on plants is a way for your cat to calm down, you should still protect the plants from cats.

They Resemble a Cat’s Natural Environment

Plants resemble a cat’s natural environment. A lot of indoor cats don’t have access to the outdoors, but it’s still in their nature to seek a green place where they can play and explore. Hence, they often see your houseplants as a playground. So, how to protect indoor plants from cats? For the cat not to destroy your potted plants, you should keep their environment full of toys or cat trees for their use.

DID YOU KNOW: If you want to keep your cats from touching your plants, use hanging baskets. This will not only prevent your cat from getting to them, but it will also add to your room’s ambiance and style.

How To Keep Cats Away From Plants?

Every cat owner wants to know the secret of keeping their cats away from their plants. We have a few solutions for you:

Use Mustard or Pepper Repellents

One way to keep your cat away from plants is to use a mustard or pepper repellent.

If you use mustard repellent, spray the mixture (two spoons of mustard mixed in water) directly on the plant. Or put it on a cotton ball and place it near the plant. Repeat the process every two days for effective results.

Pepper repellent should do the job because the strong smell of pepper will deter cats from plants. Use freshly black ground pepper for maximum efficiency. If that fails, try grinding it in a pepper mill and sprinkling it on the plants. That should do the trick.

Use Lemon-Based Repellents

Another great way to keep your cat from eating plants is to use lemon or other citrus-based repellents. Using fruity essential oils can be dangerous for your cat’s health if misused, so it’s best to make your own mixture. Using a homemade lemon-based repellent is safe and will definitely keep cats away from the plants. Boil a lemon or other citrus fruit, let it infuse for ten minutes, then filter it. Cats don’t like the strong smell of lemon, so spraying a mixture of water and lemon juice onto the plant will help keep them away.

If you don’t have a lemon on hand, you can also use an orange or grapefruit; their strong citrus smell will definitely keep your cat away from the plant.

Try Sprays

You can also use a spray to keep cats out of plants. There are commercial sprays available that contain citronella oil, which cats don’t like. You can also make your own mixture by adding two teaspoons of citrus essential oil to water in a spray bottle. Shake well before each use and spray it near the plants your cat likes to chew on. Be careful not to get any of it in your cat’s eyes.

Use Essential Oils

You can also use essential oils to keep your cat away from plants. Some essential oils that work well include lavender, eucalyptus, and lemongrass.

Add a few drops of the oil to the water in a spray bottle and spray it around the plant. You can also put a few drops on a cotton ball and place it near the plant. That way you’ll manage to keep the cat out of plants. Be careful though. Do not use too much essential oil, as it can be harmful to your cat if they ingest it.

NOTE: Some oils can be extremely harmful to your feline friend, before introducing any into your home, learn which ones can be used safely around your cat.

Grow Aromatic Herbs That Cats Dislike

There are also some aromatic herbs that cats don’t like the smell of, such as rosemary, basil, and mint. You can grow these herbs near your plants to keep your cat away. Or you can put a few sprigs of the herb in a vase near the plant. Also, you can spray the plants with a solution that includes some of these herbs. To do so, keep the dried herbs for three hours in hot water, add cinnamon to the mixture, and you’ve got a homemade herb repellent. Spraying your plants with this solution should protect your indoor plants from cats.

Use Coffee Grounds

Cats also don’t like the smell of coffee, so using coffee grounds is another great way to keep them away from plants. Collect the coffee grounds in a container, and place some at the foot of your potted plants. Repeat the process from time to time for maximum efficiency.

Cover the Surface of Your Plants’ Soil With Stones

If you’re trying to find ways how to keep cats out of plants because they prefer to use the plant pots instead of their litter box, try putting stones over the soil in the pot. Stones or pebbles will make it harder for your cat to dig in the soil and will discourage it from doing so.

Put Your Plants Somewhere Cats Can’t Reach Them

Keeping cats out of plants is a full-time job for many cat owners. If you have a cat that is particularly adept at jumping, you may want to put your plants somewhere out of reach. On top of a bookshelf or in a high cupboard are both good options. Just make sure the plant isn’t too close to the edge, as you don’t want it to fall and break.

Keep the Litter Box Clean

One last reason why your cat may be attracted to your plants is that their litter box is unsanitary. To prevent this from happening, clean their litter box regularly. If they have a clean litter box, they’re less likely to go after your plants.

How to Keep Cats From Eating Plants?

There are a few things you could try to keep your cat from eating the plants:

Get Your Cat Its Own Plants

If your cat likes nibbling on plants, you can get it a cat-friendly plant. That way it can chew on it to its heart’s content and leave your plants alone.

Get Plants That Cats Dislike

There are some plants that cats don’t like the smell of, including lavender, eucalyptus, and lemongrass. You can grow these herbs in a pot, and be sure that your cat won’t even go near your plants.

Keep the Cat Entertained With Cat Toys

How to keep a cat out of plants when it’s constantly trying to get near them? If you’re having a hard time keeping your cat away from the plants, try keeping it entertained with some cat toys. There are plenty of toys available, including wand toys, puzzle toys, simple balls, or scratching posts.

Distract It

If all else fails, try distracting your cat with some other activity. Give it a treat or play with it when it’s near the plant.

DID YOU KNOW: If you are looking for further ways how to keep your cat away from plants, think strategically. First place the plants your cat dislikes as a barrier. That way your cat will be discouraged from exploring and playing with the other plants.

 Key Takeaways

If your cat has a problem with digestion, it will probably chew on grass or, if there’s none available, on your houseplants.
The plants you have at home resemble a cat’s natural environment.
Using a homemade lemon-based repellent will help you deter cats from plants.
Distracting the cat with some toys or engaging it in some other activity will help you to keep your cat from plants.

Beware of Plants Toxic to Cats

Some plants are toxic to cats, so it’s important to be aware of which ones to avoid. Some popular houseplants are poisonous to cats:

  • Azaleas and Rhododendrons (Rhododendron spp.) – contain toxins that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and even death if ingested by your cat.
  • Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis) – contains a toxin that can cause vomiting, heart problems, and seizures; keep cats away from these plants that could be very harmful to their health.
  • Hyacinth (Hyacintus orientalis)

This plant is very poisonous to cats and, if ingested, can result in vomiting, diarrhea, and difficulty breathing.

Chrysanthemum, Daisy (Chrysanthemum Spp.)

Besides vomiting and diarrhea, which are very common symptoms, chrysanthemum causes skin irritation and tremors. The same goes for some types of daisies – they are extremely toxic to your feline and cats usually either vomit or get diarrhea when they ingest these plants.

Castor Bean (Ricinus Communis)

Keep cats out of plants like the castor bean which could lead to some serious health problems. This plant contains a toxin that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and even death.

Autumn Crocus (Colchicum Autumnale)

This plant is very poisonous to cats and can cause severe gastrointestinal problems.

If you suspect that your cat has ingested any of these plants, please contact your veterinarian immediately. If your cat is insured, even better, you won’t have to pay thousands of dollars for a visit to the vet.


Cats love to play with plants because they’re fun to chew on and they’re a source of stimulation. Try some of the several proven methods in this article if you are looking for ways how to protect plants from cats. Lastly, be aware of plants that are toxic to cats and avoid them at all costs!


Why do cats eat plants then throw up?

If your cat throws up after eating plants, in most cases, it’s because the cat’s digestive system cannot digest the flowers and the leaves of the plant. But it could also indicate potential poisoning. Always check to see that the plant it’s been nibbling on isn’t toxic to your cat.

Why do cats dig in potted plants?

Cats dig in potted plants for a few reasons. They could be trying to find something to eat or looking for a place to hide, sleep, or urinate. Sometimes it’s just the way they play.

How to keep cats out of indoor plants?

If you want to know how to keep cats away from plants, there are a few things to try. You can get your cat its own plant that it can chew, put a plant they dislike in the area, or distract them with some cat toys. You can also try using repellents or barriers to keep them away.


When she couldn’t decide between being a nurse, a psychotherapist, and a financial genius, Ofelia decided to do all three. Her interests run far and wide, and she loves researching about everything you get to read on our website. Credit cards or top-notch software, she’s here to tell it all like it is.

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