How do I keep cats from eating plants?

September_JenkinsFebruary 12, 2013

My cat feels the need to sample a taste of every plant I bring home. The grassy ones, however, are the only ones he just cannot seem to leave alone. I've asked at the vet, pet stores, searched some online, I bought a spray to keep them away but realized it was only for outdoors so didn't use it.

I find some suggestions but they are usually followed by comments on their ineffectiveness. Does anyone know an effective way to keep cats from eating my Dragon Trees and Spider Plants and such? My place is small and there is virtually no where high or inaccessible to the cats, the Dragon Trees are outgrowing the only tall spots I could manage for them.

One thing I have heard is Rosemary. Has anyone tried this? If I can't grow Rosemary, would some type of seasoning or oil work?

Any alternate suggestions, tried and true? And if so, please specify how I would apply it to the plant (soil, leaves, surrounding area, etc.) and if there would be any risk to the plant (I also have Bamboo and a few other delicacies I can't name).

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my cats like to nibble my plants too - usually the Jasmine leaves are the most chewed. I try to keep my plant tables so filled so that the cats don't have room to sit close to the plants.

I also think that you can try spraying the leaves with lemon/water - or maybe detergent and water... if they taste bad, the cats will want nothing to do with them.

You could also start growing cat-grass. If there's a plant that you make easily accessible that you give cats free rein to eat - maybe they'll chose that one to nibble on.

I know - wishfull thinking. Cats seem to like to choose the path we don't want them to take.

Keep trying - eventually, something will work.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 3:21PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

There's a product called Bitter Apple (I believe it's a spray) meant for exactly this purpose & indoor use. Perhaps search / check the reviews for it, as I have not used it myself.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 3:39PM
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Hi September,

I think it really depends on the cat on how well one can keep it from chewing on plants. I have had very good luck keeping my two cats away from broad leafed plants but, like you, have extreme difficulty keeping them away from anything that remotely resembles grass. Dragon trees, spider plants and palm plants are impossible for me to have in the house unless they are hanging from the ceiling or on the top shelf where the cats cannot get to. With those plants it's basically a war of wills and the cats have won the war. I would either try to keep these plants out of their reach or just resign yourself to the fact that you can't have them in the house. I have no other advice than that.

For all other plants I think there's hope and Karen's idea of Bitter Apple is a good one. It's made to keep cats from chewing on things and doesn't hurt the cat. For goodness sakes don't use red pepper, which is also something that people say is a remedy. If the cat gets pepper in its eyes it will scratch its eyes out trying to get rid of it.

Good luck,


    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 6:01PM
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So far all I have been able to do is, not only put the grassy plants on ALL the tallest surfaces in my home (3), but also fill EVERY INCH of the surface so there is no room for them to jump onto. I will share my three pictures.

#1. Over the 6-ish foot tall video cabinet:

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 6:13PM
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#2. Over the even taller bookshelf:

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 6:15PM
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#3. Lining all the way across a narrow ledge that separates my entryway and kitchen. I had to move the trashcan and a three-shelved stand I keep my violets on to other parts of the room.

He can and does jump on any of these three "hiding places" if I do not entirely fill the space with other plants.

I have heard mixed reviews on bitter apple and definite no-no about pepper. Anymore ideas, anyone, keep 'em coming! Thanks.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 6:22PM
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Oh! I'm sorry Jenkins! I just replied to your comment on my thread with this same question! I hadn't seen this thread yet, so never mind that. Thank you for posting this!

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 6:54PM
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I don't have any real suggestions. Through trial and error of "plant placement", I've found that my cat is completely uninterested in thanksgiving cacti, jades, and African violets. I can put these plants wherever I want. I think ill be working towards more of these plants since they are "worryfree" plants without the stress of figuring out where to put/squeeze them. All of the others (especially spider plants or toxic plants like my pothos/peace lily) are on crowded tables/ high shelves. I also bought a few hanging pots that I hope to use in the spring.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 8:25PM
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Hi....a few tablespoons of a hot sauce (tabasco) in a spray bottle with water...spray your plants, cats don't like that....and when they no longer chew on your plants it can be rinsed off...this also works on dogs that chew on things you don't want them to.....linda
hot sauce mixed in your bird seed, keeps the squirrels out, or pepper doen't hurt the birds, they don't have taste buds...squirrels do.....

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 8:43PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Not all cats mind the spray of water. Just spraying plain water at them can sometimes help, but I've had a cat who thought that was great fun & loved to play w/ water, so I couldn't discipline her that way.

If it were me, I'd at least try the 'Bitter Apple' it may work & is definitely safe to use.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 6:54PM
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