All About Cats

Digging in Houseplants

Kitties can be busy little guys. Sometimes their habits are hilarious and endearing. Other times, they can be downright frustrating. If you have a cat who likes to excavate, read on.

Cats should not be allowed to chew on or eat any houseplants, since many are poisonous. For more information on poisonous plants, click here.

  • If cats dig in houseplants, place smooth river stones (large ones, not pebbles) over the dirt. This is an attractive and effective deterrent. It deters digging as well as using the plant dirt as a litter box.
  • If cats eat plants, be very aware of which houseplants are dangerous. Move the plants out of cats’ reach. Also consider providing your cats with healthy cat grass. Easy to grow, or found pre-grown at pet supply stores, wheat grass and other approved grasses are very attractive for many cats. Here is an example.
  • Trim hanging plants so they don’t provide tempting tendrils. You can also spray the leaves with something like Bitter Apple spray that is harmless, but deterring for cats. 
  • Consider that your cat may be chewing on plants because she’s bored. Be sure to play with your cat twice a day using interactive cat toys, for at least 15 minutes each session. For more information, see our Play Therapy page. Also, leave toys out for your feline and give her a nice windowsill to sit on and enjoy the birds. Provide entertainment for her while you are gone.
  • Keep in mind that some plants can kill your cat with only a nibble. If your cat shows any interest in such highly toxic plants, remove them. Click here for more info on toxic plants.
  • Signs of plant poisoning can include excessive salivation, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, breathing difficulty, fever, abdominal pain, depression, collapse, trembling, irregular heartbeat, mouth and throat ulcers. Such symptoms can quickly advance to convulsions, coma, cardiac arrest, and even death. Treatment for poisoning depends on the plant, so be sure to contact your vet immediately.