How To Keep Cats Away From Plants – Solve The Problem

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Keep cats away from your precious plants with the many options and methods described in this article. Explore and adapt the ideas for your own use. You may need to use several of the keeping cats away from plants methods, at the same time to get good results. Persevere, cats can learn.

It is so disappointing to come home and find an upturned pot with soil scattered everywhere. Equally as bad is that the cat has used the pot plant as a litter box.

You Need To Make The Pot Plant Undesirable To the Cat

Whether you have one houseplant or many, the goal is to make the pot and the soil undesirable to the cat.

Here are some methods to try, see below:

How To Keep Cats Away From Plants
1. Aluminium Foil To Make The Plant Undesirable To Be Near
2. Sticky Paws Tape Makes The Plant Inaccessible To The Cat
3. Rocks or Stones Will Stop The Cat Digging
4. Wire Is Not Cat Friendly Around Plants
5. Other Decorative Items To Deter Cats
6. Lemon Juice Diluted Spray – Cats Do Not Like
7. Bitter Apple Spray Is A Cat Deterrent Spray
8. Train The Cat To Leave The Plants Alone
9. Use A Terrarium Or Hanging Indoor Plants 
10. Cat Grass – Your Cat Will Love You
11.More Useful Information To Keep Cats Away From Plants

1. Aluminium Foil To make The Plant Undesirable To The Cat

Cats don’t like aluminum foil, the noise it makes or how it feels. This is a quick, easy, and effective way to keep cats away.

The goal is to place foil around the base of the plant to cover the soil. Cut the foil into pieces and scrunch the edges to make a shape, or just crumple into a loose ball shape. 

aluminium foil in a roll
Depending on how much water the plant needs, remove the tinfoil when watering or leave it in place

Place the scrunched up tinfoil around the base of the plant.

As tinfoil is lightweight, it can be placed close to the stem of the plant without damaging the plant.

It is also easy to remove, if necessary, when watering the plant. 

2. Sticky Paws Tape makes The Plant Inaccessible To The Cat

Sticky Paws is a double-sided tape that is very sticky.

As a cat deterrent to use on pot plants, criss cross the tape from one side of the pot to the other, sticking at each side of the pot.

Curl the sticky tape slightly over the edge of the pot to secure it firmly in place. Don’t put the sticky paws tape, directly on to the plant.

Keep on criss-crossing, covering most of the surface area.

This is a simple solution and it is a product that is handy to have on hand.

It stops the cat from accessing places, where you d not want them to go.

Sticky Paws Pet Roll

3. Rocks or Stones Will stop The Cat Digging

Another very simple fix to keep cats away from plants, is to place rocks or stones, around the base of the plant, to stop your cat from digging.

Maybe you have some rocks or stones in your own garden that would be suitable for this purpose.

If this is not an option, try your local garden center or hardware store for decorative rocks.

In smaller pots, colored stones can look pretty too.

Note: Be aware of direct sunlight hitting any rocks or stones in a pot. The rocks or stones will heat up, which could change the watering regime required for the plant.

 Natural Decorative Polished White Pebbles

These rocks look great in outdoor planters also.

Be aware, that outdoors, the cat may not be the only one attacking your plants, as we found out. Ravens in our area, are quite partial to picking up stones and then dropping them elsewhere.

Lava rocks are lightweight. The cat may, however, bat them out of the pot because they are lightweight.

The fact that they are lightweight makes them a convenient choice, and they look amazing. Lava rocks may have to be an experiment to see how the cat reacts.

4. Wire Is Not Cat friendly Around Plants

Wire cut to fit around the base of a plant also works very well to keep cats away from plants.

Chicken wire for craft projects is a good choice. It is easy to cut with pliers and fashion into any shape. Any sort of similar wire would also be suitable for this method..

The plant is still easy to water using this method.

As the wire is not attractive to look at, some loose coconut coir fiber, which is often used when making up hanging baskets, can be pulled apart and placed on top of the wire.

 Chicken Wire Net for Craft Projects

5. Other Decorative Items To deter Cats

Find other decorative items to place around the base of the plant, because a physical barrier works well to keep cats away from plants.

Pinecones or shells are decorative items and a good excuse to go out collecting. Kids love collecting shells and even better that there is an actual reason to do this where the shells will be used.

There may be some trial and error as, cats being cats, they may decide to bat objects from the pot.

Here are some other examples of decorative items that could be used as a cat deterrent around the base of plants – dried flowers, small twigs, acorns, dried seed pods, artificial fruit, fake coral.


Spray Deterrent

A spray deterrent, plus a physical barrier gives more protection to stop cats attacking plants.

A spray can be used around the base of the plant either on the soil or on the physical barrier you placed there. 

6. Lemon Juice Diluted Spray – Cats Do Not Like

Cats do not like citrus. Spray diluted lemon juice around the base of the plant and on the leaves of the plant. 

The method to keep cats away from plants, does work, but it is not long-lasting and needs repeating.

For some added oomph, place a piece of burlap sprayed with citrus around the base of the plant.

An added bonus is that the house smells great too.

7. Bitter Apple Spray Is A Cat deterrent Spray

Bitter Apple Spray is formulated to stop cats from scratching furniture and destroying other objects in your home.  This makes it ideal for spraying indoor plants and pots to keep cats away.

It is safe for cats and kittens. The smell and taste of the spray is an effective deterrent for cats. 

The spray does need to reapplied as it dissipates with time.  Keep cats  from destroying  furniture with this spray.  

Cat Deterrent Spray for Indoor and Outdoor Use

Caution Re Sprays

A note of caution here: DO NOT use essential oils in a spray. Even though not all essential oils are poisonous to cats, it is not worth taking a risk. You would not want to squirt the cat in the eye by accident, which is distressing for the cat.

The same applies to using Cayenne pepper. Cayenne pepper may work well to deter the cat. If the cat gets pepper on its paws and then rubs its eyes, it will sting and once again be distressing for the cat.

Personally, I would not use the Cayenne pepper method.

Train The Cat To Leave The Plants Alone

You can train your cat to leave the plants alone. You do need to have patience and also be vigilant. This method uses a spray bottle of water.

The water is not squirted at the cat.

Squirt the water near the cat, on the wall or on the floor.

The aim is to startle the cat and the cat will develop a negative association with the plants or plants.

So, to reiterate, spray the water in the cat’s direction, not at the cat. It needs to be near enough to the cat so that the cat is startled. Then follow that up with some positive reinforcement.

Move the cat to his patch of cat grass. 

If you don’t have cat grass, still move the cat and give the cat a treat. 

This method involves, no shouting or stamping of feet or clapping of hands. Stamping feet and clapping actions only scare the cat.

The cat didn’t know where the spray was coming from, so it is not going to develop any bad associations with you. 

Yes, it does take perseverance but give it a go if you are prepared to put in the effort that this method takes.

Use A Terrarium Or Hanging Indoor Plants 

how to plant a terrarium
Plant your own terrarium. Small succulents work well.

Rather than using pot plants, what about using hanging baskets? Your cat will not be able to access a hanging basket.

Are you feeling crafty? Macramé pot plant hangers are back in fashion. Try making your own macramé plant hanger.

The terrarium is also back in fashion.

indoor plants in terrariums
Terrariums come in all shapes and sizes

Spider plants are the cat’s first choice when it comes to getting up close and personal. It seems that cats like spider plants a little too much.

Spider plants look sensational hanging in a basket and they are very easy to grow, as in they can’t be killed, so they are pretty well indestructible.

a spider plant in a hanging basket
Cats Love Spider plants. Put them out of harms way in a hanging pot.

Cat Grass

Your cat will love you if you invest in some cat grass.  It is very easy to grow. 

I have written an article which reviews several different cat grass products.  There is also a FAQ section related to growing pet grass. You don’t need green thumbs to grow pet grass.

Our guest doggy actually eats cat grass too.

Having some cat grass on a tray inside is a good place to relocate your cat when you are in serious plant training – see point 7 above.

Your cat will learn that the cat grass, is his place to go to, when he has a sudden urge to garden, cat style.

Here is a link to the article – Growing Cat Grass

More Useful Information To Keep Cats Away from Plants

  • Think twice about where you position plants.

    The windowsill might be great for plants but the cat likes to hang out there.

    Goodbye plant!

    Consider getting a cat window perch and this problem will be solved.
cat on a windowsill near a plant
We can read your mind kitty. You want the window sill!
  • Rosemary is non toxic to cats and cats hate rosemary so it is a good option to grow if you have a sunny position. 

    Plus it is a very handy herb to have on hand for cooking. Lamb and Rosemary, a match made in heaven.
  • Don’t underestimate the lengths a cat will go to get to plants.
cat looking at a pot plant on a small ladder
Hmm! Which one today?

What Now?

It is time to put some of these methods into practice. Begin with whatever is easiest for you. If it doesn’t work you have the other options to try.

Cat grass is very easy to grow.

If you have children, it is an activity they will enjoy. The article answers common questions about cat grass. For example, how safe is cat grass? Do all cats like cat grass? How to grow cat grass? 

vector - two cats reading
It looks like they have thought of everything dear! Let’s just eat the cat grass to keep the peace!
how to keep cats away from plants - pinterest image

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