How to Keep Cats Away from Plants

How to Keep Cats Away from Plants

Many cats love nothing more than making a nuisance of themselves, and one of the ways they do this is by digging around and eating your plants. The problems of this range from the annoyance of getting soil everywhere to the more serious issue that your kitty could get poisoned from the plant. Whatever the case, you want to keep your cats away from plants as best you can. There are a few techniques that can prove to be effective in your efforts to keep cats out of plants.

Cat near overturned house plant

Put Up Barriers

First, you can try putting up obstructions to the plants to stop your cat getting at them. Why not try using some stones or rocks in larger plant pots? Not only do these look good aesthetically, but they stop your cat digging up the soil or peeing in it. Make sure that you don’t cover up the stems or damage the roots. You can either go for rocks from your garden or decorative ones from a garden centre. If you prefer to be a little more creative, you could try other objects such as seashells or pinecones. When your kitty sees that they can’t get in the soil, they are more likely to lose interest and find entertainment elsewhere.

Make the Area Kitty-Proof

If the area around the plants is difficult for your cat, they are less likely to bother with it. For example, you could try putting some tin foil in and around the area. These will make a noise when stepped on which will startle your cat. It is also slippery and may discourage your cat from going near. However, you may need to keep resetting the foil. Alternatively, you could try making the surface sticky enough that your cat won’t want to walk over it. Try some double-sided tape around the plant pots, ensuring that it is positioned so your cat can’t jump around it. Be careful with this method if you have a cat who likes to chew things as you don’t want them to consume any of the tape.

Use a Spray Bottle

A training technique that has been around for a long time, you could try having a spray bottle on hand that you can use whenever your cat goes near the plants. While this is an easy enough technique to use, it only works if someone is at home who can keep an eye on your cat. Sometimes, it is enough that your cat makes the negative association between the plant and getting wet and they will avoid the greenery even when you are not around. Other cats will simply wait until you are out of the house and go back to the plants then. There is some debate about whether this is an effective method of cat behavior management, so bear this in mind before attempting it.

Cat lying near lime plant

Try Using a Repellent

Another possible technique to protect plants from cats is to repel your cats from the plants with cat repellent. You will probably already be aware that citrus is a highly unpleasant smell for cats, so you could try soaking some orange or lemon juice in cotton balls and placing them around the plant to keep your kitty from going near. Use the juice rather than any citrus-based sprays as they may contain ingredients that are toxic to cats. Bear in mind that you will need to keep replacing these cotton balls from time to time. You could also try a mix of water and perfumed soap or garlic puree in water in a spray bottle. Spritz these around the plants a few times a week. Eventually, your cat should get the idea that this is not an area that they will enjoy being around. You should start off with a small area of your plant to make sure that it is not going to harm it in any way.

Put Your Plants Elsewhere

The solution to stop cats from eating plants may be as simple as moving your plants to another location that is not going to be so easily accessed by them. You may be able to put them on a windowsill which is too high or narrow for your cat to get to. Or you may be able to move your furniture to another location to stop your kitty from using it as a stepping stone. Of course, this solution may not work if you have a pet who scores high on the agility scale. The easiest solution may be to simply put the plants behind a closed door. And you should certainly avoid keeping any plants which are poisonous to cats in your household.

Encourage Your Cat to Use Their Litter Box

You may be able to solve the problem by encouraging them to use their litter box rather than digging around in the plants. First and foremost, you need to ensure that the litter box is kept clean and tidy. Cats are clean and fastidious creatures who will not appreciate having to go to the bathroom in filth. You should get into the habit of cleaning out the litter box at least once a day. Also, you should ensure that the box is accessible. It should be easy for your kitty to climb in and out of. Cats don’t like to go to the bathroom in a public place, so find a spot that is a little bit more tucked away. But it still needs to be available at all times. If you have a multi-cat household, you should have a different box for each of them. And since cats are sensitive about their litter, try using a different brand if your cat doesn’t seem to like the one they have.

Kitten with flowerpot

Final Thoughts

Keeping your cat away from your plants can be done through a number of different methods, but these are just a few possible ideas to get you started. Experiment to see which ones work best for you, and vary up your techniques until you find the one that works!


  1. How to Keep Cats Out Of Plants, HowStuffWorks
  2. Types of Cat Deterrent, WebMD
  3. Not Here, Kitty, Kitty, Danielle Bays

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