Suddenly, the spiderettes and shoots of my beautiful spider plant which I have had for over five years started falling off and disappearing. I tried all the gardening remedies, nothing worked. Then there was a flash of inspiration I noticed my cat had a smug look on his face and was licking his lips.
Once I realized my cat was chewing and eating on my plant I decided to research some low light indoor plants, safe for cats. That way, I could accomplish two things at once I could be successfully growing plants and keep my cat safe.
With the new knowledge I I did an audit on all the plants in my house to make sure that I inadvertently didn’t have plants that were toxic, poisonous, or harmful to my cat.
I love my cat. As soon as I realized what he was up to I had to do some quick research to find out if spider plants were poisonous to cats. I noticed that a lot of common houseplants really are dangerous to cats.
This article is born out of two ideas coming together. For the longest time I have had a black or at best a brown thumb. I started researching plants that were easy to grow, low light indoor plants: and, plants safe for cats.
So here we are combining two ideas together:
- Plants that are easy to grow in a load light environment
- Plants that are safe (non-toxic) to cats
Why Do Cats Eat And Chew On House Plants?
If you know a little bit about cats, it seems strange that they would want to eat houseplants. Cats are called ‘obligate carnivores.’ You might guess that carnivore means they like to eat meat. The “obligate”means that they HAVE to, or are obligated to eat meat by necessity.
So, all that being said, why do they like to eat plants?
There is a trick here. Just because your plants are disappearing in appear to be bitten off (like my spider plant). Does not necessarily mean that they cats are eating them.
What cats are doing is chewing on them.
It’s a little bit like a dog gnawing on a bone. They are not “eating” the bone, but the action of chewing and gnawing is comforting. Cats are very similar to what they are doing is chewing on the plants rather than eating them. I, personally, think that the cats really enjoy it for the sheer pleasure of it.
I’ve spent a fortune on cat toys. My cats favorite toy is a simple piece of string that I jiggle in front of his nose and he pounces on it. Hold that image in your mind as you think of the leaves of the plant seductively swaying to gentle breezes or drafts in the room. The cat is exercising his hunting skills as he pounces. The plant has inadvertently activated his biologically ingrained hunter reflex.
Are you saying that plants are nothing but an organic play toy?
To be blunt, most of the time, yes.
Cat caught on video:
What Are The Dangers Of Cats Chewing And Eating House Plants?
If your cat is using your houseplants as their own personal chew toy and all-you-can-eat buffet all sorts of nastiness can happen.
Remember, cats are obligate carnivores, if they actually eat the plants and swallow them all sorts of nastiness occurs:
- Cats can vomit and get sick.
- They can start drooling, (cats are not supposed to drool).
- Cats can have diarrhea.
- it can cause kidney failure
Always keep the 24-hour Animal Poison Control Center number on hand for emergencies. When it comes to poisoning, every second counts.
To be completely safe, I think it is a good idea to never encourage your cats to chew in eat your plants. Do a little research on ways to prevent your cat from eating plants. That’s a whole topic by itself.
Low Light Indoor Plants Safe For Cats
Now we going to present for your consideration lowlight indoor plants most of which are very easy to grow, that are not toxic to your cat.
I can’t resist starting off this suggestion list with the plant that we have been referring to as a real life example.
Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
Back when I had a completely black thumb, I researched indestructible houseplants. The spider plant was on the list. It’s really easy to grow and is a real trooper when it comes to low light conditions. They are also forgiving if you forget to water them, in fact they need to dry out a bit between watering.
Bamboo plants in general are safe for cats. If you can find bamboo that makes a good houseplant and will grow in a lowlight you’re good to go.
There is a houseplant commonly called the “lucky bamboo” which is not a bamboo at all. It is a member of the Dracaena family. But, regardless of the confusion about its name you’re still good to go as it is an easy to grow, low light, houseplant.
I love Bromeliads. They remind of plants that look like they came from outer space.
There are literally hundreds of different bromelain’s available ranging from those that need full sun to those that actually will suffer in sunlight. In general, they are safe for cats. Obviously, we want the lowlight Bromeliads.
Some low light loving plants are the Guzmania varieties which come an amazing variety of colors. Bromeliaceae Aechmea, the Aechmeas are extremely long-lasting and resilient. Bromeliaceae Neoregelia are a lower profile and more subtle plants. Lastly, we have Vrisea Bromeliads which are readily available in most garden centers.
Calathea – (Calathea Lancifolia)
This is a very attractive plant with thin stems and pattern the leaves generally with hints of red, cream, and green. It is so adapted to low light that putting in the sun will actually cause it to lose its markings before dying.
Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera bridgessii)
This plant, and variations also goes by the names of Thanksgiving cactus or Easter cactus. It adapts readily to room conditions and load light. Naturally, it is safe for cats or would not be on this list.
This is one of the easiest plants to propagate by cutting segments from the tips. It does require a little bit of care to be healthy in that it needs to be watered frequently especially in the spring and the summer. Keeping the soil moist is a must.
Impatiens are cheerful plants that come in an astounding variety of colors. They are easy to grow, adapt to lowlight conditions and are safe for your cat. These plants must be kept moist in very well-draining soil.
If you decide to move the impatiens from your container outside you can acclimate them to more sunlight by gradually exposing them a bit more son every couple days over the course of a week or two.
Parlor palm (Chamaedorea elegans)
Here is a great pam plant for indoor use. It is listed on a lot of “easiest to grow” plant lists and is great for a beginner.
It is possibly the one of the most popular in warmer climates. These plants do marvelously well in shade, outside direct sunlight.
They grow very well in interior room conditions. Just because they are rated as load light or shade loving does not mean they will grow in the dark, but in normal room conditions they do just fine.
Radiator plant (Peperomia)
This cat friendly plant is a really popular houseplant because it is easy to grow, it tolerates low light conditions, and is very attractive. It is also a plant that is compact in stature, so, while not exactly a room a focal point statement piece, it is a pleasant access to an end table or as a centerpiece to a coffee table.
There are over it thousand different species of this plant and most of them generally reach a maximum height of 12 inches.
We hope you enjoyed our article Low Light Indoor Plants Safe For Cats | Cat Safety And Easy Growing, and it was informative for you.
Obviously, we could not give you a comprehensive list of all the plants that met the criteria of being both safe for cats and growing well in low light conditions. Our goal was to point out that with a little bit of research it is fairly easy to find plants that are safe around cats.
If you did not see your favorite plant among our suggestions you can go to the ASPCA site and click on their Toxic Plant List. There is a toggle switch which will take you from toxic plants, to plants that are known to be safe.
On the safe plant list there are 569 plants listed. Find the plant you’re interested in and then do a general search to see if it will grow in low light conditions.
One final thing, as a plant lover and cat lover let me provide you with an 800 number in case you notice your kitty in distress:
ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Phone Number:
We wish you and your kitty the best in your gardening adventures.
Thanks For Visiting.
1. Cat asleep on Pots – katieb50 via Flickr . Licensed under Creative Commons
2. Gray Cat on wlakway – Photo By Hisashi via Flickr licensed under Creative Commons
4. Parlor Palm Forest & Kim Starr via Flickr Licensed under Creative Commons