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How to Keep Pets Out of Plant Pots

By Jenny Harrington ; Updated September 21, 2017

Having living greenery indoors is difficult if your cat or dog digs up the soil and destroys the plant. Cats are more likely to dig in the soil or use it as a litter box, and both animals may chew on the leaves. Protecting your houseplants begins as soon as you bring them home. Take preventative measures even before your pets discover the plants, so the bad habit of destroying them never begins in the first place.

Cut a piece of wire mesh screen or chicken wire to the same diameter as the plant pot so it fits inside the rim using wire snips. Cut a hole in the center slightly larger than the plant's stem.

Cut a slit from the edge of the screen to the center hole. Slide the stem of the plant through the slit and set the screening on top the soil.

Place large rocks, shells or marbles on top the screen. Avoid using small gravel or rocks as this may confuse the cat so it thinks the pot is now a litterbox.

Spray the plant leaves with bitter apple spray or another pet taste deterrent. Reapply the spray every three days until the chewing habit is conquered.

Move the now protected plant to a new area of your home, either permanently or temporarily. This breaks the habit of returning to the same area for mischief.


Things You Will Need

  • Wire mesh
  • Wire snips
  • Rocks
  • Bitter apple spray


  • Paint screening in a decorative color with spray paint and cut large enough to sit on the pot's rim. No rocks are necessary with this method.
  • Use wide, heavy clay pots that aren't easily tipped or spilled by your pets.
  • Plant cat grass or catnip for your cats so they have their own plant to play with instead of destroying yours.


  • Always make sure your houseplants aren't poisonous. Avoid having plants that are toxic to pets in your home, or hang them out of reach.
  • Make sure water still penetrates the rocks to the soil in the pot so the plant doesn't dry out and die.

About the Author


Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications. Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.