Spider Plants and Cats – Yes, You Can Have Both at Home


It’s no secret that cats have a fascination with spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum). While all houseplants can be at risk when a cat gets playful or mischievous, spider plants seem particularly attractive to felines. The good news is spider plants are non-toxic to cats, however you may still want to keep them apart.

Keep reading to learn more about why your cat seems so drawn to spider plants and some tips on keeping spider plants and cats in the same house without any trouble.

Why are cats attracted to houseplants?

You might find it odd that your cat seems so attracted to your spider plants, given that cats are primarily carnivores. However, your cat might start nibbling on your houseplant purely out of boredom or because they’re curious. 

Some people think that cats like spider plants because of their smell or because cats like to play with the dangling plant, but the main reason is that spider plants are a mild hallucinogen. Like the famous catnip, spider plants contain chemical compounds that make cats react with obsessive behavior and fascination. Fortunately, these chemicals are not harmful.

Are spider plants toxic to cats

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or ASPCA lists spider plants among the non-toxic plants for cats and dogs. However, there is still some minor risk to felines who decide to munch on the houseplant. As with any houseplant, If large quantities are eaten it could result in your cat experiencing stomach pains, vomiting and diarrhea. 

What to do if your cat eats spider plants

There’s no need to start panicking if you find your cat has eaten some of your spider plants. Since the plants aren’t toxic, you don’t need to rush to the vet, but you should closely monitor your cat’s behavior. Only you can know what is normal for your pet and will be able to tell when the symptoms start to show. 

If your cat starts to feel unwell, there’s not much to do except wait for it to pass. Your cat should begin to feel better soon afterwards, but if you notice the symptoms are lingering or are more severe than mild vomiting and diarrhea, then you should take them to the vet. 

You might want to keep notes about your cat’s symptoms and when they occurred to give to your vet to help them with treatment. 

Do cats eat spider plants?

You cat is very likely to try and eat your spider plant, especially if it is new and they don’t understand that it could make them feel sick. The hanging foliage of the plant means that cats are more likely to start playing with it, which can lead to them trying to eat it. 

Over time, your cat might learn that eating the plant will cause them to feel unwell and choose to avoid it, but they also may never understand. Like catnip, they may continue to act a bit manic and out of character whenever they are close to your spider plants. It’s best to keep the plants as far out of your cat’s reach as possible. 

How to stop cat eating spider plants

The best way to keep your cat from eating your spider plants is to keep them away from where your cat can get to them. However, if that isn’t an option, or you have a very inquisitive cat, the best choice is to make the plants as unappealing as possible with a bitter-tasting spray.

You can find ready-made ones at the store, but a simple mixture of lemon juice and white vinegar works just as well. After watering your plants, spray the foliage with the spray. Your cat may try to eat the spider plant the first couple of times, but eventually, the sour taste will teach them to avoid the plants altogether. 

Cats are also susceptible to smells, and citrus is a smell they dislike, so the lemon juice will work as a deterrent that way as well. You can put a piece of lemon peel in the planter to intensify the smell, and your cat will stay clear. Avoid using any concentrated citrus oils as these can be toxic. 

How do you keep cats away from spider plants?

Keep them out of reach

If you want to prevent your cat from eating your spider plants, the easiest solution is to keep them in hanging planters that are out of reach. While keeping your plants from your cat’s reach might be easier said than done, hanging your planters in a corner where there isn’t other furniture your cat can climb on is an excellent way of keeping your cat from snacking on them. 

Regular pruning

It’s also a good idea to prune your spider plants regularly, so the spiderettes don’t hang down and gain your cat’s interest. Regular pruning also means that the plant is less likely to shed dried or dying spiderettes which can fall to the floor and make for a quick treat for your cat.

Get them their own plant

If your cat continues attacking or nibbling on your house plants, then you can try getting them a plant specifically for them. You can try something like cat grass which is not only safe for your cat to eat but can help with digestive problems. 

Surround your spider plants with other plants

While your cat might love your spider plants, there are plenty of other household plants they won’t want to be anywhere near. Surrounding your spider plants with cactus and rose plants can keep your cat away, thanks to their thorns which cats quickly learn to avoid. 

You can also pick something with a smell they don’t like, such as:

  • Rosemary
  • lavender
  • lemon thyme

Final thoughts on spider plants and cats

Your spider plants aren’t going to hurt your cat in any profound way, but they could cause stomach pains and vomiting if large amounts are eaten. And who wants to keep nursing a mangled spider plant back to health? 

If you want your spider plants and cats to live in harmony, your best bet is to put your spider plants in hanging planters and make them as unappetizing as possible to your cats. 

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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