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17 Tips on How to Cat-Proof Plants (Easy & Effective)

Managing the health of your plants when a pet cat is around can be challenging to say the least. If your cat is like most, they enjoy nibbling on your plants at least occasionally. Friskier cats might bat at the plants or attack them to play. Some cats might even try to use a potted plant as their litter box. So, what is a person to do if they want to protect their plants from their cats? Luckily, there are plenty of options to consider. Here are our top 17 tips for cat-proofing your plants.

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Top 17 Ways to Cat-Proof Plants:

1. Utilize Pepper

cat sniffing spicy peppers
Image Credit: bellena, Shutterstock

Cats cannot tolerate black or red pepper, so they will stay away from it whenever they sniff it out. Therefore, if you sprinkle pepper around the perimeter of your plants, just inside the edges of your pots, chances are that your cat will not want to go anywhere near the plant. Just make sure the plants that you apply pepper to cannot be accessed by young children.

Pros
  • Naturally keeps cats away from plants
  • Affordable and easy to source
  • Easy to maintain
Cons
  • Must reapply pepper often
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2.  Stick a Fork in It

If your cat likes to chew on or bat at your plants, you can keep them from doing so with the help of a few plastic forks. Just stick the ends of the forks into the soil around your plants so the spokes on the forks stick outward all around the plant. The spokes will lightly poke your kitty if they try to get too close to the plants, which should keep them from wanting to try to get near the plants again.

Pros
  • Safe for all types of plants
  • Easy to do
  • Any type of fork can be used
Cons
  • Not aesthetically pleasing
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3. Create a Lemon Spray

Cats tend not to like sour and bitter tastes, so things like lemon repel them. To keep your kitty from nibbling on your plants’ leaves, you can make a lemon spray and douse the leaves in the spray once or twice a day. The smell of the sour lemon should keep your cat away. Just juice two lemons, and put the juice in a reusable spray bottle. Then, fill the bottle with water. Then, spray your plants each morning and afternoon.

water spray-pixabay
Credit: Squirrel_photos, Pixabay
Pros
  • Keeps the house smelling nice
  • The spray is not dangerous to cats of any age
  • A bottle of spray can last weeks
Cons
  • Requires a bit of time and labor to prepare
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4. Cover the Pots in Tinfoil

If you have a problem with your cat trying to use your plants’ pots as a restroom, the addition of tinfoil might help curb the behavior. Wrap each pot in foil, making sure to cover the edges. Crinkle the ends of the tinfoil around the edges to create a rough surface. Most cats do not enjoy the look or feel of tinfoil and would rather make their way to the litter box rather than deal with the foil.

Pros
  • A one-and-done project
  • The foil can be decorated
  • Hardy remedy that holds up well
Cons
  • May make your pots look bulkier
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5. Provide Cover for the Soil

landscaping flowers with rock cover
Image credit: Unsplash

One way to keep your cat from using your plants as a litter box is to create a protective cover over the soil. You can use rocks, pinecones, twigs, or anything else that isn’t soft and sandy like litter is, and arrange them over the soil to create a pleasing design. This should give you peace of mind in knowing that your cat will not want to urinate or poop on the coverage.

Pros
  • Creates a beautiful potting design
  • Can be customized to fit personal tastes
  • Coverage can be mixed and matched
Cons
  • Costly
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6. Aim High

flowering plants
Image Credit: Piqsels

You can hang your plants from the ceiling in the corners of your house’s rooms to keep your cat from getting anywhere near them. Just make sure that the plants are hung well away from any shelves that your cat can get on and that the plants are hung high enough that access cannot be had by jumping from the furniture.

Pros
  • Can free up surface space
  • Can be done in any room of the home
Cons
  • Can make plant maintenance tougher
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7.  Make Use of Protective Netting

If aesthetics are not a big deal to you, protective netting can come in handy when it comes to keeping your feline family member from getting to your greenery. The netting is lightweight, like nylons, so it will not put much pressure on your plants when draped over their tops. Natural sunlight and water can transfer through the material, so you won’t have to take it off when caring for your plants.

Pros
  • Protects the entire plant and pot
  • Does not hinder plant maintenance
Cons
  • Can be costly depending on how many plants you want to protect
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8. Spray Vinegar Around

Cats do not like the smell of vinegar, neither white nor apple cider vinegar. The smell turns them off and makes them want to get away from the source of the smell. The good news is that vinegar will not hurt your plants at all. Therefore, you can pour vinegar into a spray bottle and spray all your plants with it to keep your cat from messing with them.

natural destilled white vinegar in spray bottle to remove stains
Image Credit: FotoHelin, Shutterstock
Pros
  • Easy to make
  • Easy to store
Cons
  • May make your house smell like vinegar
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9. Invest in Plants That Naturally Deter Cats

Roses
Image Credit By: Travelato_eu, pixabay

If you don’t want to invest any regular effort in protecting your plants from your kitty, you can always invest in plants that will naturally deter your pet away from them. For example, rosemary is extremely fragrant, and cats don’t like to get too close to the smell. Cactus and rose plants are thorny, so it won’t take more than one experience with them for a cat to understand that they are dangerous.

Pros
  • Adds beauty and fragrance to the home
  • Requires no protection management
Cons
  • Limited options
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10. Introduce More Cat-Friendly Plant Options

cat eating catnip
Image: Piqsels

One easy way to protect your beloved plants from your cat’s teeth and claws is to have cat-friendly plants. For every one or two plants that you don’t want your cat messing with, incorporate one plant, like catnip, that your cat can enjoy. You can praise your cat when they mess with the cat-friendly plants and correct their behavior when they mess with the other plants. Sooner or later, your kitty will know exactly which plants they should and shouldn’t touch.

Pros
  • Increases the greenery in your home
  • Can be done in combination with other protective measures
Cons
  • Might not work for all cat personalities
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11. Create a Dedicated Plant Room

dedicated plant room to keep away from cats
Image credit: Unsplash

One interesting option for keeping your cat away from your favorite plants is to create a dedicated plant room in your home. It should be a place where your cat is not allowed to spend time unsupervised. Instead of spreading the plants out around the house, choose one room in the home with excellent natural sunlight and turn it into a plant room. A home office, spare bedroom, family room, or even a bathroom are good choices to consider. Put the plants on shelves and hang them from the ceiling so the room remains functional.

Pros
  • Costs nothing
  • Can liven up a drab room
Cons
  • Can make a room feel crowded
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12. Train Your Cat

cat sits on a sofa and sniffs owner finger
Image Credit: Soloveva Kseniia, Shutterstock

You can practice training your cat to keep them from damaging your plants. Start by simply calling your cat’s name and directing them away from a plant when they start messing with it. Doing this every time will eventually make it clear that they should not go near your plants at all. If they do, getting their attention should be enough to remind them that they need to move along. You can hire a cat trainer to work with at first if necessary.

Pros
  • Can work for anything that you don’t want your cat messing with
Cons
  • Takes a while to become effective
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13. Offer Extra Toys

cat playing with owner_Dora Zett, Shutterstock
Image Credit: Dora Zett, Shutterstock

If you can’t keep your cat from messing with and damaging your plants, it might be because they are bored. Bored cats will do just about anything to create excitement, including attacking and chewing on plants. Provide your kitty with a couple of extra toys that are similar in shape, size, and color to the plants that you grow, and see if these will redirect their attention from the plants.

Pros
  • Offers extra exercise and stimulation to cats
Cons
  • Might not work for older cats already set in their ways
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14. Contain Your Cat While You’re Away

cat sitting by the door
Image Credit: Lauren Hudgins, Pixabay

Some cats only mess with plants when their human companions are not home to supervise them. If this is the case for your kitty cat, you can try containing the cat in a room of your home where no plants are growing. Make sure food, water, a litter box, bedding, and toys are available in the room so your cat will be comfortable until you return. Once you get home, your kitty can come out and interact with the household like usual.

Pros
  • Can keep your cat out of all kinds of trouble
  • Provides extra safety for cats
Cons
  • May not be possible in small households
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15. Use Sounds to Surprise

person holding whistle
Image Credit: Piqsels

Surprising your cat with a distinct noise whenever they get near your plants should help teach them to stay away. You can clap your hands, whistle, use a clicker, stomp on the floor, or snap your fingers to surprise your cat and get their attention just as they start nibbling, scratching at, or otherwise damaging one of your plants. Whatever noise you use should be one that your cat is not already used to or that is otherwise surprising.

Pros
  • Costs nothing
  • Can work for multiple types of behavioral issues
Cons
  • Could stop working once your cat gets used to the noise
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16. Buy a Commercial Deterrent

spray bottle
Image credit: Mimzy, Pixabay

If you are not interested in utilizing any DIY plant protection tactics, you can always opt to purchase a commercial deterrent from a local pet store or on the internet. Available deterrent sprays on the market can be used on furniture, carpeting, bedding, and plants to keep your cat from getting near such places and things. Most are easy to use, but they do require a heftier investment than some other options.

Pros
  • No special preparations, skills, or tools required
  • Works on many kinds of items and surfaces
Cons
  • Costs add up
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17. Relocate Your Plants to the Outdoors

pothos-plants-pixabay
Credit: sweetlouise, Pixabay

If you cannot stop your cat from damaging your beautiful plants no matter what you try, it might be time to consider relocating them outdoors. Watching them grow outside is better than watching them get damaged and die inside. If you are worried about the elements, set up a greenhouse or screen in a covered porch to create your own sunroom, where your cat will not be allowed to spend time unless they are with you.

Pros
  • Allows your plants to flourish
Cons
  • Makes maintenance harder and lessens the beauty inside

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Conclusion

When it comes to protecting your plants from your cats, there are plenty of techniques and tactics that can be used. The trick is to find one or two options that work best for your cat and your situation. Some of these options may not work for you, but many are sure to do the trick and will help you keep your plants healthy and happy throughout the year.

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Featured Image Credit: Foto2rich, Shutterstock

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