Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

How to Keep a Cat from Eating House Plants

By Corey M. Mackenzie ; Updated September 21, 2017
Many cats love plants and flowers.

Cats love greenery, and there is just no getting around that fact. If you live with a cat and introduce house plants, it is likely the cat will taste-test the plant at least once. This natural attraction to house plants can harm not only the house plant but the cat as well if the plant, like many house plants, is poisonous. You can try products and methods to prevent this--in some instances, you may need to incorporate a combination of deterrents to keep stubborn cats from eating your plants.

Place plants high up, away from the cat’s immediate access, and place barriers (this can be books, statuary or other objects preventing the cat from easily getting to the plant). This is one of the most effective ways, short of placing plants in a room inaccessible to the cat, of preventing a cat from eating your plants. If you own any poisonous plants, such as lilies (any plant in the lily family is poisonous to cats), dieffenbachia or philodendron, you must place these in an area inaccessible to your cat, or a chewing session may turn into a veterinary emergency.

Spray the plant with a bitter-tasting agent. Pet stores sell these specifically for preventing pets (dogs or cats) from chewing items. You can also try hot sauce on the leaves, as suggested by veterinarypartner.com.

Offer your cat its own greenery to feast upon. Purchase cat grass (available at pet supply stores) or a catnip plant, and plant it in your cat’s living area. The cat will get the green nutrients it craves and may lose interest in your houseplants.


Things You Will Need

  • Bitter spray or hot sauce
  • Cat grass or catnip


  • For large, tall plants that you can't place up high, try attaching heavy plastic sheeting (or some other barrier) around the pot up to the leaves so the cat cannot get at the leaves to eat them.


  • Keep cats from eating cut flowers as well as house plants. Cut flowers, such as lily of the valley, are toxic to cats.