The Jungle Inside
We’re all plant lovers here and while our domestic cats all once started outdoors, it can be difficult to know which parts of the outside world it is safe to bring in for them.
Many exotic houseplants can be toxic to cats and so it can be tempting to just forego having any indoors at all to be on the safe side. However, what’s often not discussed is how much cats love plants and, especially if you have a cat that only lives inside, how it gives them an opportunity to interact with the outside world from the comfort of home.
They enjoy scent-marking them or simply scratching their faces and bodies against their textured leaves and stems. So in order to make your, and your cat’s, home lives a bit brighter and more colourful, we’ve put together a list of completely cat-safe house plants.
The Rattlesnake plant is striking, dramatic, and, despite its name, completely non-toxic. Their affinity for low-light conditions also makes them ideal to grow in a UK home, even one that is situated in a built-up area and perhaps doesn’t have the most natural light available, water whenever soil surface is dry to the touch.
These wispy, brightly coloured hanging plants are great to suspend from curtain rails or to sit atop bookshelves or cupboards that are near sources of bright sunlight. Other than thriving in the sun, they have practically non-existent care requirements, only needing fertilising 2-3 times a year and watering only from spring to autumn and even then, only when the soil feels bone dry.
Best of all, the palm fronds make for an excellent secondary cat toy since your feline can bat at them with their paws if they’re stuck inside on a rainy day.
Our list wouldn’t be complete without at least one succulent variety since these have become such a mainstay of indoor gardening. Happily, these spongey cultivars are also very easy to look after, requiring only a sunny spot and minimal watering.
Succulents add excellent depth and texture to your planting arrangements since their pastel colours and matte foliage often contrast and compliment more familiar plants aesthetics.
Bird’s Nest Fern
One for your bathroom, this ferns emerald foliage performs best in the low light and high humidity that often accompany’s your daily showers. It’s worth mentioning that these can spread quite far horizontally so ideally you should place it on a table in a fairly out-of-the-way spot so the leaves don’t get too haggard.
If you have large windows in your bathroom, you might move these into another room during the winter since they prefer temperatures between 60-80 degrees F.
Although these beauties require a fair bit of care, they more than justify it with their stunning crimson and cream flowers. The broad, rosy petals are enrounded with white trim and themselves enclose an off-white stamen that stretches skyward from the heart of the flower like a miniature tentacle.
In return for this display, Gloxinia will require full, strong sunlight, regular watering, and to be fed liquid fertiliser every 2-3 weeks.
We’ve reached the end of our list of cat-friendly houseplants but we also wanted to let you know about some popular varieties that are actually toxic to cats, so here’s a shortlist to avoid if you have fur babies at home:
- Peace Lily
- English Ivy
- Aloe Vera
- Snake Plant
- Cutleaf Philodendron
If you have any of these at home and are worried about your cats, perhaps consider donating them to a plant nursery or friends without pets. As always, thanks for reading.