Cats can and should enjoy plants in their environment. Cats are territorial animals, so having certain plants that belong to your cat will help you keep him away from the other indoor plants in your house. Even so, you should assume your cat will get into anything and everything occasionally. Be sure all your plants are cat safe, and your pet will have a long and healthy life.
Plants that Cats Can't Get Enough Of
Catnip is famous for the odd and amusing behavior it induces in many cats, but it is not the only plant that cats find intoxicating. Many cats also love the mildly sedative effects of fresh valerian and, like catnip, it is perfectly safe for your cat to eat. If you grow catnip and valerian, keep new sprouts out of reach of your cat, but let him near the adult plants. If he chews at the herbs every once in a while, let him eat them as he wishes. If he eats them too fast, however, you will have to keep the valerian and catnip away and just put cut leaves in his toys every once in a while. Otherwise, he will completely eat his way through his supply.
Other Plants Cats Enjoy
Although cats can't always control themselves around valerian and catnip, they can enjoy grasses without completely eating through the supply. Cats enjoy grasses such as wheat and rye. You can grow the grasses individually or just buy a mix of cat grass at your local pet or garden store. Cats also like thyme, sage, parsley and plain lawn grass.
Cat Safe Plants
Many common household plants are safe for cats. Basil, cornflower, zinnia, Irish moss, jasmine and bamboo are just a few examples of cat-safe plants you may want to grow indoors. Some cat-safe plants are still not good for cats to eat and can cause diarrhea or vomiting or depression. The symptoms should be mild and not last for very long.
Many plants are dangerous and potentially fatal to cats. Many of these, such as poinsettia and aloe vera are common indoor plants, so it is important to verify that any plant you wish to grow indoors is safe. There is debate about the safety of alfalfa, with some cat experts recommending it as a healthy treat and others claiming it is poisonous. Avoid it to play it safe. All species of lilies are extremely dangerous to cats and should be avoided. The list in Resources contains many of the more common plants poisonous to cats, but it may not include everything. Always assume that a plant is poisonous unless you can find it on a list of cat-safe plants.