Updated June 24, 2013
Here’s a list to take to your local plant nursery.
Many indoor cats love to nibble plants, but what’s a home without plants? My friend Shenandoah had a good idea: Just tell me which plants are safe for cats so I don’t have to worry about this behavior. Most plants can weather some nibbling.
So I did some research at the aspca.org database and ended up with a list of common houseplants that are safe, and four common ones that are not. I think that many cats show an instinct to avoid poisonous plants, but there is no guarantee of that. (Case in point: Phil and Joel pulled down the Pothos recently, so we had to get rid of it.)
TIP: Some people find it helpful to spray Grannick’s Bitter Apple Spray on a houseplant for a few weeks so that your cat is deterred and decides to leave them alone thereafter.
House plants that are safe for cats
You and your cat can enjoy the Feng Shui and air cleansing of this lovely greenery in your home.
Note: Too much of any plant may make a cat vomit. Use caution.
1. Most types of ferns are safe….Boston Fern, Sword Fern, Button Fern, Cliff break fern, Mother Fern, Carrot Fern and most other ferns.
With ferns, according to the aspca database, you need only avoid: The very toxic Cycads (not really a fern, but also known as “Fern Palm” and Sago Palm) and the mildly toxic Asparagus Fern (aka Asparagus, Emerald Feather, Emerald Fern, Sprengeri Fern, Plumosa Fern, Lace Fern, Racemose Asparagus, Shatavari, Asparagus densiflorus cv sprengeri).
3. Fish Pole Bamboo (Phyllostachys aurea) is safe **
This is that tall bamboo you see used as screens indoors and out, as shown here.
4. Bamboo palm (Chamaedorea elegans) is safe:**
**IMPORTANT: Do not confuse the above bamboo plants with with the toxic plants “Lucky bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana)” and “Heavenly Bamboo (Nandina domestica)” — neither of which are lucky or heavenly for cats!
Which brings me to the next list…
House plants that are poisonous to cats
There shall be no nibbling on these common plants!
If you think you may have a poison emergency, immediately contact your vet or or the ASPCA 24-hour emergency poison hotline at 1-888-426-4435.
1. Ivy is toxic to cats
Avoid all kinds of ivy.
2. Pothos is toxic to cats (typically not deadly though):
3. Philodendron is toxic to cats (typically not deadly though):
4. Kalanchoe is toxic to cats:
And what about the Christmasy Poinsettia? Well, it goes on the unsafe list, but turns out it’s not that deadly: “Irritating to the mouth and stomach, sometimes causing vomiting, but generally over-rated in toxicity.”
CAT TIP: Sometimes indoor cats just really seem to be obsessed with eating something green. I think they are craving grass. The chlorophyll is cleansing and may even help prevent cancer. When we have cat grass around, our cats don’t seem so interested in the plants.