You love your cat but hate when they get into your plants, as you’re never sure if it’s safe for them to eat what you’re growing. Thus, you’ve decided to dedicate your indoor garden to cat-safe plants only. What are those plants? We did lots of digging to provide you the answer.
Which indoor plants are safe for your cat to eat? Your cat can safely consume the following indoor plants:
- African Violet
- Spider plant
- Silver vine
- Licorice root
- Maidenhair fern
- African daisy
- Boston fern
20 Indoor Plants Your Cat Can Safely Eat
1. African Violet
The first indoor plant your kitty can consume is the African violet or Saintpaulia. Hailing from eastern tropical Africa (hence its name) as well as southeastern Kenya, you can also grow the African violet outdoors if you felt so inclined. With its small, rubbery-looking leaves and gorgeous purple flowers, you might not want your cat eating this plant, but they can.
In fact, it’s the leaves themselves that attract cats to African violets. They also like munching on the plant’s stems.
You may also plant some dill. As part of the Apiaceae or celery family, the plants in this family are also referred to as umbellifers. You probably already have some store-bought dill in your pantry, but nothing is better than growing it fresh yourself. Make sure you keep the soil drained and give your dill lots of sunlight. It should thrive.
The herb itself is fine to feed to cats, but always avoid dill in its essential oil form. Your kitty could end up with skin irritation from this, and no one wants that!
Another cat-friendly herb, basil comes from the Lamiaceae family. It was originally grown in Southeast Asia as well as central Africa. If you decide to embark on an indoor basil-growing journey, you must ensure you give the plant plenty of sunlight, six hours or more daily. Angling your pot southernly on a windowsill will encourage growth, too.
To feed your kitty basil, you can grind it down, dry it out, or even cook it. The leaves from the plant also won’t cause your cat any harm. Only in the rarest of situations might your cat have vomiting or diarrhea. Call your vet if they do!
Has your cat ever chewed on your TV remote as you’re flipping through the channels? Give them something just as hard to munch on that’s much better for them in the form of bamboo. Both an outdoor and indoor plant, it is admittedly harder to grow bamboo inside, but not impossible at all. The plant does needs lots of direct light.
Make sure you check the type of bamboo you choose before growing it, as they’re not all the same. The variety called lucky bamboo or Dracaena can poison cats who get their teeth on it. Refrain from growing it indoors or even outdoors if your kitty ever leaves the house.
5. Spider Plant
If you’re interested in hanging plants, next up we’ve got the spider plant, aka Chlorophytum comosum. It has as a handful of fun nicknames, including the ribbon plant, spider ivy, St. Bernard’s lily, and the airplane plant.
Not only do cats like the dangling vines and leaves of the spider plant, which tantalize them, but they quite appreciate the smell. It works almost like catnip with its stimulating properties, so if you notice your feline friend goes a little zany after spending time around your spider plant, now you know why.
Commonly used as an herbal supplement, valerian has beautiful white and pink flowers. These tend to bring in all the insects, but don’t be surprised if your cat comes running, too. Valerian grows best in the summertime, when it can get quite tall.
Your cat likes valerian for more than just its looks. This indoor plant also benefits their health. The leaves provide energy through their stimulating effects, thus getting your cat in the mood to run. If toys and laser lights don’t phase your lazy cat in the slightest, then try giving them some valerian instead. It could be just what they need to get up off their butts and get moving!
Another indoor herb that both people and cats are fond of, rosemary can sometimes sprout flowers. These appear in lovely shades of blue, purple, pink, or white. The Rosmarinus officinalis comes from the Mediterranean and makes for a great garnish for dishes.
Your cat will find rosemary equally delectable. They’ll fall for the smell and the texture of the needles. Oh, and did you know rosemary can keep fleas away as well? Your cat will be happy and healthy!
An easy indoor plant for beginner gardeners to tackle, parsley grows best with a potting mix that doesn’t have soil. That’s because garden soil weighs too much and could impact growth. After getting exposed to healthy amounts of sunlight, you’ll have your own fresh parsley to spice up your homemade meals.
Expect that your cat might linger near your windowsill as you grow parsley. Let them eat it, as it gives them a slew of vitamins (A through C), beta carotene, and potassium.
9. Silver Vine
A type of kiwifruit species, the Actinidia polygama or silver vine grows naturally in China and Japan’s mountains. You can just as easily plant your own indoors, but the silver vine will not grow flowers unless outdoors. Instead, you’ll have bright, vivid leaves in darker and lighter greens. One look at those leaves and you’ll understand why people call the silver vine the marble queen.
The actinide in silver vine gets a cat’s engine revving much like catnip does. Don’t worry, as it’s not addictive, nor does it cause any poisonous side effects in your furry friend. They can enjoy silver vine to their heart’s content.
We of course couldn’t make a list of indoor plants your cat can eat without mentioning catnip. The best-known plant for cats also goes by the name Nepeta cataria. Some people call it catmint or catwort, but your kitty doesn’t care what you refer to it as. They just want some of the good stuff.
Catnip will of course stimulate your feline and get them running and feeling playful. They’ll be in a better mood and may even reduce their stress with catnip. Now, it’s worth noting that not every cat will go nuts for catnip. Roughly half of felines out there don’t respond to the stimulating effects. If that’s true of your pet, then give them silver vine instead. Most cats, 80 percent, will feel silver vine’s effects.
If you still want to grow herbs, then make sure you add thyme to your indoor garden. With its close relation to oregano, the smell of thyme will brighten up your home. If you’re starting an indoor garden specifically for your cat, then you may decide to plant some Teucrium marum or cat thyme as well.
Okay, we do have to slip in a disclaimer here: despite the name, cat thyme is germander, not thyme. Luckily, both regular thyme and cat thyme are safe for your cat. In fact, the real stuff may promote better digestion in felines.
Besides thyme, mint is another herb that will vastly improve the smell of your home or apartment. There may be up to 24 species of mint or Mentha, and you can grow almost any of them indoors. Of course, keeping in mind your kitty’s health, you do want to skip the peppermint. If your cat were to eat too much, they could have a stomachache.
Otherwise, any other variety of mint should suit your kitty just fine. They’ll probably like to sit around and smell it more so than eat it, but don’t worry, as that’s all very normal. In fact, if they can get to it, your cat could even try rolling around in the mint!
Don’t let the nickname barbed wire grass scare you; lemongrass or Cymbopogon doesn’t hurt to the touch. Grown natively in Australia, Africa, and parts of Asia, lemongrass loves sitting southernly by a window to get light. While a slow winter grower when planted indoors or out, lemongrass can sprout up tall and beautiful with time.
Although it’s a stimulant, it has far less of an effect on felines than catnip or silver vine. Eating lemongrass can benefit digestion in humans, so it may do the same for cats. Otherwise, its antiseptic, anti-parasitic, antifungal, and antibacterial properties make it great to have around the house.
Although it looks a lot like lemongrass, that and wheatgrass aren’t the same. Instead, when growing wheat, the leaves from are it collectively called wheatgrass. The vivid green color stays that way even if you mix wheatgrass into liquid form, like for a smoothie.
You’ll want to keep wheatgrass as part of your indoor garden if your cat always spits up hairballs. Wheatgrass will encourage your kitty to vomit out the mess, which can also include foods or items the animal cannot digest. Your cat will come to the wheatgrass; don’t try to feed it to them. That’s because wheatgrass has a lot of vegetable matter, and the enzymes in a cat’s stomach cannot digest this matter. Thus, it doesn’t stay in their system for long.
15. Licorice Root
Next, we’ve got the Glycyrrhiza glabra root, aka licorice root. Originally from India, parts of Asia, southern Europe, and the Middle East, licorice root doesn’t look anything like the candy you know and love. Instead, it’s got small green leaves. The roots can extend four feet, so make sure you get a sizable pot and only use soil that’s permeable.
You’re not giving your cat candy if they happen to eat some licorice root. Instead, it’s a plant that does improve their health, as it can treat problems with digestion, their liver, and even arthritis pain since the root has anti-inflammatory properties.
At the beginning of this article, we mentioned the African violet as one indoor plant you might grow for your kitty. Another flowering plant, the orchid or Orchidaceae has a wonderful smell to go along with that undeniable beauty. You will have to water your orchids generously but not super often. Only when the first inch of soil dries out will you know it’s time for another watering. Keep the humidity levels between 50- and 70-degrees Fahrenheit as well.
While cats won’t necessarily go gaga for orchids the way they do many of the other plants on this list, you do have the assurance that should they get curious, they’ll be okay. Even though many varieties of orchids exist, none seem to cause adverse reactions in cats. That sounds great to us!
17. Maidenhair Fern
The lovely maidenhair fern or Adiantum also has another fun name: the walking fern. This plant got its name because the long fronds with the small leaves can grow so long that it almost looks like the plant has legs and could walk. Maidenhair ferns need moist soil across the whole plant as well as lots of light.
Your cat might view the maidenhair fern fronds as a plaything more than an edible treat. If they do try to munch on this plant, just make sure they don’t choke on it. It is safe for them to consume, though.
18. African Daisy
In the Calenduleae family, the African daisy or Osteospermum is absolutely awe-inspiring. Some grow white, sure, but others have vivid hues like yellow, neon orange, and bright pink all in the same flower. They bloom mostly in the summer, even if the soil conditions aren’t the best (do take care of your plant, of course).
Your cat won’t really experience any health benefits by eating the African daisy, but—much more importantly—they’ll have no ill effects, either. That said, you might be a bit angry if your cat destroys these gorgeous flowers.
19. Boston Fern
Another cat-safe fern, the Boston or sword fern has the official name Nephrolepis exaltata. Favoring tropical conditions but still an evergreen, we’re sure you have at least a little room in your indoor garden for a Boston fern or two. This bright green plant does require a humidifier for growth. To keep them healthy, never let the soil become damp when watering, only moist.
Like with any fern, if your cat has taken a liking to your Boston fern, monitor their behavior to prevent choking. Otherwise, a Boston fern won’t cause your cat any digestive issues, as this plant isn’t poisonous to feline friends.
Ryegrass is one such option you have for a grass-loving kitty, but it’s not the only one. The abovementioned wheatgrass also provides the fiber your kitty needs. Ryegras or Lolium thrives well indoors. Just watch out, because ryegrass can sprout up and keep going in a hurry. You might also notice that, as spring gets closer, the plant develops panicles. These are just flowers, typically in a loose bunch.
When your cat needs help digesting or wants a tasty snack, they’ll choose ryegrass. It’s super adorable to witness them munching on each blade of grass.
Which plants are toxic to cats?
While we already shared 20 great plants your cat can eat, it makes sense to provide you with a list of common indoor plants that are toxic to cats. Make sure to put extra effort into keeping these toxic plants away from your feline:
- Silver jade plant (not, not the same as silver vines)
- Devil’s backbone
- Pencil cactus
- Aloe vera
- Calla lily or arum
- Dracaena deremensis
- Asparagus fern
- Tiger lily
- Rubrum lily
- Climbing lily
- Autumn crocus
How do you know when your cat has eaten something toxic?
Uh-oh. Do you think your cat got into one of the above plants? If so, they could exhibit certain symptoms. These include:
- Muscle tremors
- Urinating a lot
- Thirstier than usual
- Depression and weakness
- No appetite
If you notice one or more of the above symptoms in your cat, then it’s important you act immediately. You can get in touch with the Pet Poison Helpline by calling 1-855-213-6680. Otherwise, quickly transport your cat to an animal hospital or to your veterinarian.
While it’s best to know what the cat ate when you see your vet, if you’re not sure, that’s okay, too. Never try to make your cat vomit, though. Your vet or a medical professional will know the best means of treatment and can induce vomiting safely.
How do you treat poisoning in cats?
The type of treatment a vet will administer will vary depending on the source of the poisoning. Sometimes they’ll give the cat an antidote if there is one. For less serious poisoning, it’s about removing the toxin.
To that end, the veterinarian will offer the cat certain medications that can lessen symptoms as well as intravenous fluids and sometimes even activated charcoal. Before that, the vet will try to get the cat to vomit. Activated charcoal can remove any traces of a toxin, making it a helpful form of treatment.