Everyone loves a pretty houseplant! They add a touch of life and a feeling of health to any room. However, your cat might not be safe around every houseplant you bring home from your local department store. It is vital that you only have pet-friendly plants in your home.
Below, we will take a look at some of the best types of houseplants you can buy to keep both you and your cat happy and healthy.
We will also include their scientific name! So keep reading to find the best plants for your home!
Benefits of Houseplants for Cats
Houseplants make an excellent addition to any home or apartment. Not only do they look attractive, but they also help in cleaning the air of pollutants and reducing odors in your home.
Plus, caring for plants can reduce anxiety and overall stress level.
In addition to mild health benefits, having safe houseplants in your home may also boost productivity and sharpen your attention span.
Research shows that since having plants nearby reduces stress, it can help motivate you to complete tasks and even help you stay more focused.
All great benefits from green, leafy, living common houseplants!
Dangers of Houseplants for Cats
The benefits of houseplants are definitely intriguing, but not all houseplants are good for your cat. Curious cats may very well take a bite of a plant just to see if they like it.
Keep in mind that some houseplants can be quite toxic to your cat, especially if your cat bites or ingests any part of your plants.
Even though cats are carnivorous, they still sometimes like to snack on plants. Ingesting parts of toxic plants can cause vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, liver failure, and even death in your cat.
Check any houseplant that you believe may be toxic to your cat, with a vet, and then rehome the plant to someone without pets.
If your cat shows symptoms of illness after ingesting part of a house plant, contact your vet immediately for proper treatment.
Non-Toxic Houseplants for Cats
Below are some of the best non-toxic houseplants for you to decorate your home.
By selecting from the below list, you can be sure your home will be fresh, beautiful, and completely safe for your kitty.
Though these are the most common cat-safe plants, this list is not extensive, and you can find more non-toxic plants listed by the ASPCA.
Areca Palm (Dypsis lutescens)
The Areca Palm is a great plant to have in the house and is not dangerous for your cat but be aware that they can grow to be six to seven feet tall living indoors.
These plants prefer bright light but not direct sunlight. The areca palm is a tropical plant and likes warmth and high humidity.
African Violet (Saintpaulia)
The good news is the beautiful purple African Violet plant is not toxic for cats. They are awesome-looking plants that many people love having in their homes.
Keep in mind though, that as, with all household plants that are commercially grown, the growers may use chemicals on the plants that could harm your cat.
As with most plants, you really don’t want your cat to eat them even if they are not toxic. They can still cause your cat to have an upset stomach and other peculiarities that you want to avoid.
So the best way is to place the plants that make it difficult for your cat to get to. Some people suggest using a hanging basket or even putting some aluminum foil around the plant that will deter your cat.
Air Plants (Tillandsia)
If you’re looking for a low-maintenance, evergreen, perennial flowering plant, an Air Plant is for you! Air plants are non-poisonous plants that require significantly less care than other species.
In fact, they don’t even need any soil and it is actually recommended that you do not use soil with them!
Air plants will need to be soaked in a bowl of water every 1-3 days, but can be displayed anywhere there is open air.
They will take in nutrients from the air, and require medium sunlight. Bathrooms are a great home for air plants as they will enjoy the light from the window and steam from the sink and shower.
Bamboo Palm (Dypsis lutescens)
Finally, bamboo palms are an excellent choice for your home if you are looking for a larger tropical plant that is non-poisonous to your kitty.
They have dark green leaves and long stems. When properly cared for, they can reach between four and 12 feet.
Bamboo palms prefer indirect sunlight and little water. Bamboo palms also need time-released fertilizer to keep them growing strong during the summer.
As your bamboo palm grows, be sure to re-pot it in a larger container so it can continue to thrive.
Burro’s Tail (Sedum morganianum)
The Burro’s tail (or Donkey Tail) is a great option if you’re looking for a unique, non-toxic succulent for your home.
The leaves are long, interwoven braids around the entire plant, thus the name burro’s tail.
In the summer, you may see small, starry pink flowers appear at the ends of the plant’s “tails” to show that it is in bloom.
Because it is a succulent, it enjoys direct sunlight, warmer temperatures, gritty soil, and light watering.
They also enjoy hotter temperatures in the summer and cooler temperatures in the winter, which may help them to bloom regularly as if they were in the wild.
Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior)
The Cast Iron plant, also known as Iron Plants or the Bar Room Plant, is easy to take care of, looks nice with long glossy green leaves, and is safe around your cat.
These low-maintenance plants originate from Japan and make a wonderful addition to any home.
Some say they get their name from being very hearty plants that can withstand neglect and still thrive in most household conditions.
Cat Grass (Dactylis glomerata)
This houseplant is actually more fun for your kitty than it is for you!
Cat grass is completely non-toxic for your cat and actually provides your cat with extra nutrients and fiber when ingested.
Trupanion says cat grass can even be used as a deterrent to keep your cat away from other harmful plants since they will be focused on eating the cat grass.
Cat grass is essentially just a mix of multiple grass types including oat, barley, wheat, and rye.
Because it is grass, it will need moist soil and direct sunlight. If you can’t grow it outdoors at first, near a large sunny window will do just fine.
Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera)
Christmas Cactus is a colorful household plant that is sure to brighten up any room in your home.
Since it is not a true cactus and is actually a flowering plant, it requires deep watering and well-draining soil.
They also require different amounts of sun throughout the year, with the summer months needing medium light and the winter needing bright light.
Flowering occurs in the winter during cooler, drier temperatures around 50 degrees Farenheight.
Your Christmas cactus will need fertilizer applied around October to feed it for flowering around December.
It is also not a pointy plant like other holiday plants, so it won’t accidentally poke you or your kitty!
Money Tree (Pachira aquatica)
Money trees, also known as the water chestnut, are one of the best indoor plants you can have if you have a cat.
Though it doesn’t grow real money, it does grow beautiful, large leaves fitting for a tropical feel in your home.
Because the Money Tree is tropical, you will want to keep it in a more humid area of your home or provide it with a humidifier nearby.
Money trees like bright, indirect light but can also adapt to low fluorescent lights. They also require infrequent watering but will need lots of water during that period of watering.
Doing this will keep your Money Tree rich and full.
Note: You may often hear people refer to a money plant, a money tree, or a Chinese money plant. They basically mean a plant that will bring you good fortune and wealth!
Moth Orchid (Phalaenopsis)
Also known as the Moon Orchid, Moth Orchards is cat safe.
While orchids, in general, are easy to take care of and beautiful, some cats seem to be attracted to them and it is possible for your cat to damage the plant. Something to keep in mind!
Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea elegans)
Parlor palms are an excellent choice if you’re looking for a larger plant that is safe for your kitty.
Though they don’t have large leaves, they have long, deep green stems that make the plant grow significantly tall.
It is a simple-looking plant that will easily bring a room together in any corner. Parlor palms like bright indirect light and well-drained soil as they are particularly sensitive to overwatering.
Because they are a larger plant, they will need at least a 3-gallon pot to have enough space to grow. If given the proper care, they can reach over 6 feet tall!
Polka Dot Plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya)
The Polka Dot Plant is widely colorful and many people love having them in their homes. These plants have an eye-catching green and pinkish color pattern on their leaves.
Remember, while the plant is considered non-toxic to your cat you still don’t want them to eat the pretty leaves as they can cause your cat to feel sick.
Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata)
This amazing-looking plant not only adds a great look to your home and is not poisonous for your cat.
The Ponytail Palm features cascading beautiful leaves, they are low maintenance and can live for many years.
They are great coffee table plants or for sitting on a window sill.
Prayer Plant (Maranta leuconeura)
The Prayer Plant is a great addition to any home and cat friendly. These beautiful tropical plants with oval leaves add a touch of elegance to every home.
The Prayer Plant only requires low light as they originated on the floor of rain forests where sunlight has a difficult time reaching.
Your cat will be happy with a Prayer Plant in the house and you will too!
Rattlesnake Plant (Goeppertia insignis)
Though the name might intimidate you, rattlesnake plants are actually perfectly harmless!
A unique non-toxic plant, it has long, wavy leaves that are green on top and purple on the bottom. The designs on its leaves inspire its name, as they look similar to a snake’s skin at some angles.
Rattlesnake plants are also tropical, so they require indirect sunlight and frequent watering. They will also need a humidifier if your home is typically dry or if you live in a drier climate.
Though they are not the easiest to maintain, they are definitely one of the prettiest!
Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
The Spider Plant, also known as the airplane plant, is a very popular houseplant and is considered non-toxic if eaten by a cat.
However, the plant does possess some hallucinogenic properties, and your cat may act strangely if they nibble on it.
For some reason, cats seem to be attracted to Spider Plants and like to play with them.
Staghorn Fern (Platycerium)
The Staghorn Fern is another cat-safe plant that has long green leaves that make a positive impact on your living environment.
The plant originates, down under, in Australia and some suggest the plant resembles elk horns (stag). The Staghorn Fern is easy to maintain and can grow up to 30-35 inches tall.
Swedish Ivy (Plectranthus verticillatus)
Swedish Ivy is the perfect plant to have if you’re looking for a simple cascading plant for your home.
Also called the Creeping Charlie, its leaves are light green with wavy, detailed edges. Swedish Ivy is completely non-toxic to cats, dogs, and horses, and requires little care on your part.
Swedish Ivy needs to be watered once per week as long as the soil is able to dry out between waterings.
Make sure the ivy is in a draining pot with loamy soil so it does not get too soaked. Feed them every two weeks in the summer and once per month during the winter for a healthy, thriving Swedish ivy plant.
Wax Plant (Hoya)
The Wax plant is a very popular indoor low-maintenance houseplant that is cat safe.
They don’t require constant watering and do well with indirect sunlight. Most Wax plants originate in Asia.
Zebra Plant (Aphelandra squarrosa)
The Zebra plant stands out because of its bright green leaves and contrasting white stripes. The white stripes are why people call it a Zebra plant!
The Zebra plant is safe for cats and also features a beautiful bright yellow flower that can stay in bloom for up to six weeks. These plants originate from Brasil.
Toxic plants to AVOID If You Have Cats
If you have a cat, you definitely want to make sure you avoid bringing these plants into your household. Though most are safe to touch, they are not safe to nibble on or ingest.
Please note that this list is not extensive and that a full list of toxic houseplants can be found via the ASPCA website. Again, if in doubt, call your vet and ask.
Peace Lilies (Spathiphyllum)
The peace lily is a beautiful plant known for its soft white petals and dark leaves. Though beautiful, they can be dangerous for your cat due to their high calcium oxalate content.
If ingested, your cat may experience vomiting, drooling, lethargy, and potentially have trouble breathing.
Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis miller)
Aloe Vera may be soothing to us (especially on our skin!), but it is definitely not soothing to kitties. Ingesting aloe vera juice or pulp can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy in your cat.
When possible, keep your aloe vera plant in an area away from your cat, or try spraying it with vinegar to deter your cat from snacking on it.
English Ivy (Hedera helix)
Though Swedish ivy is safe for your cat, English ivy is definitely not! English ivy has a number of nicknames including California ivy, sweetheart ivy, and glacier ivy.
Always make sure you verify the type of ivy you are taking home before purchasing any ivy houseplant.
If your cat ingests English ivy, she may experience vomiting, hypersalivation, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.
Take your cat to the vet immediately if they experience these symptoms as they can become dehydrated very quickly.
Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)
Though the snake plant has a similar name to the rattlesnake plant, they are entirely different species!
The rattlesnake plant described above is perfectly safe for your kitty, while the snake plant is poisonous. Snake plants contain saponins, which are chemical compounds that are toxic to cats.
If your cat ingests part of a snake plant, she may experience nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Be sure to keep any snake plants away from your kitty and provide your kitty with clean water to stay hydrated.
Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta)
The Sago Palm, though beautiful, is one of the most toxic plants to cats and dogs.
In fact, every part of the plant is poisonous, including the seeds, which are actually even more poisonous than the leaves.
The cause of this toxicity is the Sago Palm’s cycasin content, which causes liver failure in cats.
If your cat is experiencing sago palm poisoning, she may show symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, black or bloody stool, seizures, and/or jaundice.
Your cat should be taken to an emergency vet immediately for treatment. If left untreated, sago palm poisoning can lead to death.
How do I know if a plant is toxic for my cat?
Ask your Vet! Do research before plant shopping so you have specific plant species in mind when you arrive.
The ASPCA is a reputable website with a long list of both toxic and non-toxic houseplants to consider if you have a cat or dog.
The plant may also have information on its tag about its toxicity, but not always.
What do I do if my cat ingests part of a toxic plant?
If your cat ingests part of a toxic plant, contact your veterinarian immediately.
After getting your cat the proper treatment it needs, be sure to either donate the plant to a pet-less friend or put it in a room that your pet cannot access.
What is cycasin?
Cycasin is a chemical compound known for its carcinogenic and neurotoxic properties. They are found in cycad plants such as the sago palm, an exotic but deadly household plant.
Where can I find cat-safe plants for my home?
You can find many cat-safe plants at your local department or home improvement stores such as Walmart, Home Depot, or Lowes.
You can also find cat-safe plants from online retailers or small businesses that can ship small plants or seeds directly to your home!
Pet owners need to make sure that before they take home beautiful new plants they are pet-safe plants that won’t cause harm to your cat if touched or ingested.
Whether you pick a money tree, burro’s tail, or a parlor palm, they will look great in your home and help to keep your cat happy and healthy.
Always contact your veterinarian for questions about non-toxic and potentially toxic houseplants or to get treatment for your cat.