How do I get my cat to stop eating plants?

Have you noticed your cat developing a taste for your indoor plants? While it may seem harmless at first, some houseplants can be toxic to cats and pose a serious threat to their wellbeing. In this blog post, we will discuss various methods and precautions you can take to prevent your cat from munching on your beloved greenery. From choosing pet-friendly plants to deterrent sprays, we will cover everything you need to know to keep your cat safe and your plants intact.

Key Takeaways:

  • Provide alternative options: Offer your cat plenty of cat-friendly plants to chew on, such as cat grass or catnip, to redirect their behavior away from household plants.
  • Use deterrents: Utilize citrus sprays, cayenne pepper, or double-sided tape to make the plants less appealing to your cat.
  • Supervise and correct: Monitor your cat’s behavior around plants and intervene with a firm “no” or a gentle spray of water when they attempt to nibble on them.
  • Create barriers: Place physical barriers, such as a plant stand or hanging baskets, to keep your cat away from the plants altogether.
  • Maintain a safe environment: Keep toxic plants out of reach and ensure your cat has a varied diet and enough mental and physical stimulation to reduce their urge to eat plants.

Reasons Cats Eat Plants

Obviously, you are concerned about your cat’s plant-eating behavior. Understanding why your cat does this can help you address the issue effectively. There are several reasons why cats eat plants, including nutritional needs and deficiencies, as well as behavioral and psychological factors.

Nutritional Needs and Deficiencies

When cats eat plants, it could be a sign that they are trying to fulfill a nutritional need or compensate for a specific deficiency in their diet. For example, cats may eat grass to help them regurgitate hairballs, which can be a sign of digestive issues or a lack of dietary fiber.

Behavioral and Psychological Factors

Cats are known for their curiosity and exploratory behavior. They may be attracted to plants because of the textures and smells, or simply because it provides mental stimulation. Additionally, stress or boredom can also drive cats to eat plants as a way to self-soothe or alleviate anxiety.

  • Curiosity and exploration
  • Textures and smells
  • Mental stimulation
  • Stress and boredom

This can be harmful as some plants are toxic and can cause digestive issues or other health problems for your cat.

Preventative Measures

Lastly, let’s discuss some preventative measures you can take to stop your cat from eating your plants. By implementing these measures, you can create a safe and plant-friendly environment for both your cat and your greenery.

Safe Alternatives to Houseplants

If you find that your cat is particularly drawn to your houseplants, consider providing safe alternatives for them to nibble on. Purchase some cat grass or catnip and place it in a designated area where your cat can access it easily. This will not only redirect their attention away from your other plants but also provide them with a healthy snack.

Cat-Proofing Your Greenery

To prevent your cat from accessing your plants, you can cat-proof them by placing them out of reach. This can be achieved by hanging pots from the ceiling or placing them on high shelves. Additionally, you can use deterrents such as double-sided tape or citrus sprays on the plants to discourage your cat from approaching them.

Training Your Cat

To effectively train your cat to stop eating plants, you will need to employ a variety of techniques that focus on both deterring the behavior and positively reinforcing alternate behaviors. Consistency and patience will be key to successfully training your cat to leave your plants alone.

Deterring Plant Eating with Taste Aversions

If your cat tends to gravitate towards certain plants, such as spider plants or ferns, you can use taste aversions to discourage them from nibbling. Apply a pet safe deterrent spray to the leaves of the plants. These sprays have a bitter taste that cats find unpleasant, and the association may help deter your cat from taking another bite. Additionally, you can place rough, prickly materials like aluminum foil or double-sided tape around the base of plants to make them less appealing to your cat.

Positive Reinforcement Techniques

It’s also important to provide your cat with alternative behaviors to engage in. Whenever you catch your cat avoiding the plants or engaging in a different, more appropriate activity, reward them with a treat, petting, or verbal praise. By associating positive experiences with not eating plants, your cat will be more inclined to repeat the desired behavior.

Health Concerns and When to Consult a Vet

After trying various methods to stop your cat from eating your plants, you may begin to worry about their health. If you have noticed any unusual behavior or changes in your cat’s eating habits, it is crucial to consult a vet as soon as possible. There may be underlying health issues causing your cat to seek out plants for consumption. Consult with a veterinarian to rule out any medical concerns and to seek professional guidance on how to prevent this behavior in the future. For further advice and support, you can also seek help from the online community by visiting this Reddit thread related to ‘How do I get my cats to stop eating my house plants?’.

Recognizing Toxic Plants and Symptoms of Poisoning

It is essential to be aware of the types of plants that are toxic to cats and to recognize the symptoms of poisoning. Some common household plants such as lilies, ivy, and aloe vera can be dangerous if ingested by cats. Symptoms of poisoning may include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and loss of appetite. If you suspect that your cat has ingested a toxic plant, seek immediate veterinary assistance. Paying attention to the plants you bring into your home and removing any potentially harmful ones can help prevent any accidental ingestion.

Dietary Adjustments and Professional Advice

It may be beneficial to make dietary adjustments for your cat to deter them from eating plants. Ensure that your cat’s regular diet is well-balanced and includes all necessary nutrients. Consulting with a veterinarian or a feline nutritionist can provide valuable insight into your cat’s dietary needs and may help prevent them from seeking out alternative sources of nutrition, such as plants. Additionally, the vet can recommend specific deterrents that are safe for your cat and effective in keeping them away from your plants.


So there are a few strategies you can implement to stop your cat from eating plants. By providing your cat with alternative activities and toys, using deterrents such as bitter apple spray or aluminum foil, and ensuring your cat’s diet is balanced and satisfying, you can discourage their plant-eating behavior. It’s important to be patient and consistent in implementing these strategies, as it may take some time for your cat to break the habit. Remember to also consider if your cat’s plant-eating behavior may be due to underlying health issues, and consult with a veterinarian if necessary. With determination and the right approach, you can successfully train your cat to stop eating plants.


Q: Why does my cat eat plants?

A: Cats may eat plants due to a variety of reasons such as curiosity, boredom, or seeking out nutrients. Some plants also have a taste and texture that cats find appealing.

Q: How can I prevent my cat from eating plants?

A: Keep toxic plants out of reach and opt for non-toxic plants such as cat grass. Provide plenty of toys and interactive playtime to keep your cat mentally stimulated. Additionally, consider offering a balanced diet to ensure your cat is not seeking out nutrients from plants.

Q: What should I do if my cat continues to eat plants despite my efforts?

A: Consult with your veterinarian to rule out any underlying health issues that may be causing your cat to eat plants. Additionally, consider using deterrents such as bitter sprays or placing aluminum foil around the base of plants to discourage chewing. Always ensure your cat has access to safe and appropriate alternatives to satisfy their need for chewing and exploration.

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