Keeping cats out of house plants

rebecca_219March 20, 2007

I have two cats, and many house plants. They have a bad habit of digging in the dirt and "playing" with a couple of my plants. Specifically a large pot that has a ficus tree growing in it, and they will eat leaves off smaller plants. Any suggestions on keeping them out of my plants in a tasteful way that won't hurt them or the plants?

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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Attached is a link to the results of a simple search in this forum using 'cats' as the keyword. 'Nuff said, lol! It's a question often asked and answered. Might as well take advantage of what's already been said.

I'll suggest, though, that you make sure that none of your plants are toxic...if you haven't already.

Here is a link that might be useful: Those durn CATS!!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2007 at 11:33PM
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hey thanks! i found lots of useful info on keeping them from eating plants, but very little on keeping them from playing in the dirt. This is actually the bigger problem. No matter where I put my big pots, they will actually go out of their way to get to it and start digging away. Cute, but really really messy, and they will actually dig up plants. We have tried putting pepper in the dirt, but my cats actually like spicy food, so of course that didn't help. Even covered the pots with foil and newspaper, and this worked for a time, but not long. Any tips?

    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 4:58PM
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Pine cones, screening, or clay pebbles should keep them out! Cats hate that kind of stuff under their little feet!

Billy Rae

    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 5:02PM
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hmm. . . never tried pine cones!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 5:40PM
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quinnfyre(z7 PA)

Citrus scented candles. Preferably something strong, and something you like. Or any other scent they hate. Show it to them, and if they sniff and give you that "oh how disgusting" look, chances are good they don't want to hang around anywhere near it.

Orange Glo on a towel placed next to my cellar door kept my cat from digging at our "weatherstripping" designed to keep mice and insects out. I wouldn't recommend Orange Glo for your plants though. It also fades quickly. However, I have a citrus and ginger candle on my plant shelf, and she hasn't bothered with anything on it.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 7:41PM
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rita_h(PNW 8b)

Pinecones work well -- I use it for my jade plant in its 18" pot which has a large exposed area around the trunk. You can also try decorative river rock -- the large polished flat ones are pretty but the jaggy gravel ones may too. Lately, I've seen nut husks like hazelnut used as mulch and they might also discourage digging. During winter seasons, I also use variegated holly sprigs and small fir trimmings.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2007 at 12:08PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Do you have any access to the seed capsules of the Sweetgum tree? They would work great for you, too.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   March 22, 2007 at 1:24PM
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i'm trying cayenne pepper to keep my 3 cats out and stop them from eating my plants. i sprinkle cayenne pepper over the plants. it burned my nose ouch!!!
so i got a 1 cup coffee filter and made a tea out of the pepper so i can spray it over the plants

    Bookmark   July 5, 2008 at 8:31AM
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Have you ever tried using a clear plastic liner that is typically used for catching water under the pot? Try cutting a slit and then a small opening for your plant and secure it around the pot. It has worked wonders for me, no more dirt mess!

    Bookmark   March 5, 2011 at 9:59AM
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While looking for this same answer I came across someone who suggested large sea shells!. Perfect for the plant and the cat will hate walking on them (if turned upside down). Between this answer and the pine cones...I think I have a solution. :)

    Bookmark   March 6, 2011 at 3:03PM
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