Cats are frequently attracted to you houseplants. If you’re like me you love the plants as much as you love the cat and there has to be a way to get them to live in peace without the cat digging, chewing or attempting to use the plant as a kitty litter box.
There are several different ways to keep the cat away from your plants.
To prevent chewing you can spray Bitter Apple or Bitter Orange on the leaves. These are special sprays made to use on plants and will not harm the plant or cat. The only disadvantage is cost for the spray but with regular use the cat will learn to leave the plants alone and you can stop using the spray after a while. When I first bring a new plant in the house I spray Stay Off training spray by Hartz on the pot. My cats know this spray and know it means keep out. The smell sends them running!
You can dust the plant lightly with cayenne pepper. This will usually break the cat from touching plants. I have done this in desperation but it’s not my favorite practice. I am not sure how humane it is for the cat.
Plants provide cats with needed nutrients and may be why they are attacking your plants. My favorite practice is to grow some Lemongrass or catnip for my two cats. Both plants are easy to grow and attractive. I put these plants near the place my cats like to watch birds and rest and they will enjoy these plants and leave my others alone. Both plant types can be placed on porches or in the yard if your cat goes outdoors. You can even make a special place in your yard for you cat to enjoy these plants and play. Place a few toys and a litter box in this area and the cats will head to their play area.
Its been suggested for digging or urinating, you should cover the dirt with aluminum foil or gravel. If the plant needs it, you can add some vinegar to the soil to counteract the ammonia in the urine. This works but unless the plant need foil on the soil I prefer the Rose Technique.
A friend of mine suggested using rose clippings and it works! Trim some rose bushes and put the smaller stems and prickly rose parts in the soil. When the cats go to dig in the soil they notice the rose clippings immediately! They may try digging one more time but after that they stay away from the plants. This is fast and effective and does not harm the plant or cat.
It’s also helpful to provide a variety of toys for your cat to play with while you’re away they will forget about you houseplants. Cat towers and automatic laser chasers, or wall or door mounted toys that they can swipe at make great make good “play-alone” toys. You may want to buy teething kittens special toys. And as old as a cat may get, they still seem to like balls, string, cardboard boxes and paper bags.
One last suggestion is to get rid of any plants that could be toxic to your cat. Toxic plants include azaleas, caladium, dieffenbachia, ivy, lilies, mistletoe, poinsettias and philodendron. I do own a poinsettia but it’s up and away from where my cats go and has rose trimming to keep the cats away, just in case.