12 Cat Safe Houseplants, which are Easy to Grow


If you are reading this article, it’s safe to assume that you love your cat. Cats make wonderful companions and are generally easy to care for. Most of us who own one can attest to that.

But what if you are a plant lover as well? Can cats and houseplants go hand in hand? Thankfully, they can. But it’s important to know which are cat safe houseplants.

For as lovable and sweet cats can be, they are also incredibly curious and seem to have an uncanny ability to get themselves into mischief. That includes tasting house plants, playing with the leaves and even, mistaking them for the litter box!

Pay Close Attention to Those Tricky Names

House plants have an everyday name that we all know, but like insects, they also have complicated scientific names that no one can pronounce.

So be sure to check both terms as some families of plants have species that look alike. And while some may be harmless, others may cause illness to your pet.

12 Common Cat Safe Houseplants

While this list will give you plenty of ideas for plants you can bring into your home, remember that you still need to do what you can to prevent your cat from getting into them. Anything an animal digests that isn’t part of its regular diet can still cause stomach upset, even if it isn’t toxic

Zebra Plant (Haworthia attenuata)

Zebra Plant (Haworthia attenuate)

Zebra plants are tiny and cute with striped foliage, making them one of the most popular succulents. The Zebra plant can often be mistaken for the aloe plant, which is very toxic, so make sure you know the difference.

Zebra plants are easy to care for, and they can go without water for several weeks. They actually come with their own built-in system that allows them to drink water when they need it (think camel). Because of this, you will want to go easy on the water as it is possible to overwater them.

These plants will take their time growing, but with plenty of love and the warmth of the sun, they will do well. Because they are native to Southern Africa, they will not fare well on a drafty window, especially if you live in colder climates.

African Violet (Saintpaulia sp.)

African Violet (Saintpaulia sp.)

Sometimes known as Cape Marigold, these plants are native to the tropical parts of Eastern Africa. Their beautiful purple and pink flowers give them a brilliant pop of color to add to any room. They are relatively small, like the zebra plant, growing to around a foot tall.

Aside from being non-toxic, the African violet is easy to care for. They love areas of low light but are sensitive to rapid changes in temperature and humidity. Because of this, it’s best to try to keep them in a relatively stable temperate throughout the year.

When watering the African violet, placing water in their saucer rather than over the plant will protect their leaves. They do best in rich, high-quality soil, and regular fertilizing will encourage robust flowers.

Spider Plants (Chlorophytum comosum)

Spider Plants (Chlorophytum comosum) - one of the best cat safe houseplants

Spider plants are extremely popular and make great indoor plants that are safe for pets. Spider plants are easily recognized by their long spikey leaves and can also be known as ribbon plants and airplane plants.

The spider plant is pretty forgivable to neglect and poor conditions, making them great for those who forget to water their plants occasionally (like me).

It’s a good thing that the spider plant is non-toxic because its long spindly leaves seem to be irresistible to animals. So, you will want to do your best to keep them out of reach for any sneaky paws.

Spider plants do best in moderate light but will readily grow in almost any condition. What I love about them is that they make “babies” which you can clip off and replant. So, you may never need to buy more than one!

Blue Echeveria (Echeveria glauca)

Blue Echeveria (Echeveria glauca)

Blue Echeveria are popular among succulent lovers and make excellent plants for beginners. However, you don’t want to confuse them with Jade Plants, which are toxic to animals.

These plants are drought resistant and need water every few weeks. They do best in bright light and produce gorgeous leaves shaped almost like flowers.

Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata bostoniensis)

Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata bostoniensis)

While some ferns are non-toxic, some are not, so it’s crucial that you pay attention when purchasing them. Thankfully, one of the most common varieties is the Boston Fern which is pet safe.

The Boston Fern loves medium bright, indirect sunlight and humidity and will be happiest in your bathroom in front of a sunny window, if you have one. If you are a frequent cooker, the moisture in your kitchen will make this plant equally as happy.

Because they are natural humidifiers, they make great housemates for other plants that may need a moisture boost. You’ll be sure to adore the Boston fern’s plush leaves as well, as they bring such beauty to a room.

Chinese Money Plant (Pilea peperomioides)

The Chinese money plant has rocketed in popularity recently. Not only is it safe for pets, it is quick growing and retains a relatively small size. This makes it perfect for placing on bookshelves or next to your desk at work.

If you are simply looking for interesting greenery to add to your home, this plant may be ideal. It has curiously disc shaped leaves which has caused some people to call it the UFO plant.

When you visit a nursery bear in mind that the genus Pilea contains hundreds of different species of plant. Ensure that you specify the exact one that you want.

Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior)

The Cast Iron plant gets its name due to its ability to grow in unfavorable conditions. In short, it is practically indestructible. It was a favorite in homes in the early 20th-century as it could cope with low light levels and fumes from open fires. Although some people see it as an old-fashioned plant, it’s now becoming more popular.

Aspidistras are fairly slow-growing plants and are prized for their elegant green leaves. If you’d like something more snazzy, there are now striped leaf varieties that are available.

This plant is ideal if you have a darker room or north facing window. As long as you water the soil when the surface gets dry, the plant will be happy (and importantly, do not overwater it). The only other maintenance is to occasionally dust the large leaves to keep it looking at its best.

Moth orchids (Phalaenopsis sp.)

Moth orchids (Phalaenopsis sp.)

Moth orchids are very easy plants to raise at home. This may come as a surprise to many people who mistakenly believe that all orchids require lots of maintenance.

The graceful flowers of this plant provide a welcome splash of color. Indeed, many different colors are available, as this is one of the largest flowering plant families in the world with more than 25,000 individual species.

Moth orchids need to be raised in an orchid potting mix, bark chips or sphagnum moss instead of soil. They prefer a humid environment and only need to be watered when their potting mix dries out, which can be every 7 to 14 days.

The flowers often last for 3 to 4 months and then fall off. But don’t rush to throw your plant out. With continued care, your moth orchid will re-flower.

Parlor palm (Chamaedorea elegans)

Parlor palm (Chamaedorea elegans)

The parlor palm is a non-toxic, easy to grow houseplant. It can cope with low light conditions and is named because it was a popular plant for gloomy parlors in the Victorian era.

It is relatively slow-growing and will typically reach a height of 3 to 4 feet when grown indoors.

This is a good plant to have around cats as it grows upwards with no trailing leaves that can be attractive to inquisitive kitties.

Parlor palms like a humid environment which you can provide by occasionally misting with water or placing the plant in a water-filled pebble tray. Water the soil when the top inch or so dries out.

Prayer plant (Maranta leuconeura)

Prayer plant (Maranta leuconeura)

Prayer plants are small but elegant and have a trick up their sleeve… at night they close their leaves, resembling a person at prayer.

These plants have an attractive pattern on the top of their leaves and the undersides have a striking reddish color. This provides a talking point for any room in your home.

You may think that such a peculiar plant would be difficult to maintain. However, the prayer plant is quite easy to care for. They prefer a humid environment with moist but not overly wet soil. You just need to water them when the top of the soil becomes dry. If you provide a medium level of indirect light, you will have a happy plant.

As the prayer plant grows to a maximum of 12 inches in height it is ideal for placing on a table or sideboard. This will put it well out of the way of any cats in the home.

Polka dot plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya)

Polka dot plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya)

The polka dot plant is popular for its colorful leaves. It’s likely to be a popular talking point when friends visit. The most popular plants have pink markings but there are also varieties with white and red on their leaves.

These cat safe houseplants are easy to look after, but they do prefer a humid environment. You can provide this by placing the plant on a water-filled pebble tray. They prefer bright indirect light so avoid placing them in a gloomy north facing room.

Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera bridgessii)

Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera bridgessii)

When most other plants are shutting down for the winter, the Christmas cactus blooms with pretty pink/red flowers. This plant is easy to grow and also to propagate which has made it a firm favorite with many people.

The Christmas cactus prefers indirect or filtered bright light. If placed on a south facing window in the full glare of the sun, it may become sun damaged. Unlike some other cactuses, do not allow the soil to dry out completely. Water when the top inch or so of soil is dry to the touch.

This is a long-lived plant that will reward you with beautiful winter blooms for many years to come.

Avoid! – Houseplants that Could be Harmful to Cats

Along with knowing about cat safe houseplants, I feel it’s a good idea to know which ones are a no-no. I’ve put together a list of the most common house plants that are considered harmful to pets by the ASPCA.

  • Snake Plants (Dracaena trifasciata)
  • Tulips (Tulipa)
  • Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)
  • Swiss Cheese Plant (Monstera deliciosa)
  • Lilies (Lilium)
  • ZZ Plants (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)
  • Rubber Plants (Ficus elastica)

About the author 

Paul - Better Houseplants

Loves orchids and foliage houseplants. Always trying to be a better plant parent. Let's get growing!

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Just getting started? Make sure you see our guide to the 'Best Houseplants for Beginners'