Indoor Plants That Are Safe for Cats

By Betty Lewis

Houseplants are a fresh way to add color and interest to your interior landscape. Unfortunately, your cat may be a little too interested in your indoor plants. Happily, there are plenty of safe indoor plants to choose from if your kitty can't resist a taste of your houseplants.

Indoor Plants

Indoor plants jazz up your house and offer a bit of nature year round, even when the weather conspires to keep you inside. There's a wide variety of cat-safe ferns to choose from to spruce up your space, including the Boston fern, the Japanese holly -- or fishtail -- fern, and the sword fern. If you like the height an indoor palm provides, consider the parlor or lady palms. For a splash of color, the African violet and the Christmas cactus are safe bets. Spider plants, Swedish ivy and wandering Jews are all good for hanging baskets, but the wandering Jew is toxic to dogs.

Flowering Outdoor Plants

There's nothing like going outside to a garden of blooming flowers, and it's especially nice if you can pick them and bring their blossoms inside to enjoy. Flowering plants that are safe indoors -- and out -- include cosmos, snapdragons, dahlia, columbine, nasturtiums and hollyhock. If you plan to keep your outside plants outside, yet want to make sure it's a cat-friendly zone, consider bedding and container flowers such as alyssum, petunia, pansy and begonia. Other bloomers include forget-me-not, sunflower, zinnia, impatiens and dianthus.

Shrubs, Grasses and Deciduous Plants

Even though they may not produce showy flowers, evergreen plants provide a beautiful backdrop to your yard. Coleus, chickens and hens, pampas grass and bamboo add architectural interest to your landscape without putting your cat at risk should she decide to take a taste of the greenery. Jasmine, camellia, bottlebrush and flame-of-the-woods either climb or serve as shrubbery, producing some beautiful flowers when it's time to bloom.

Herbs, Fruits and Vegetables

Growing your own dinner is rewarding, particularly if you can share it with your cat. Most herbs are safe for cats, including oregano, parsley, basil, cilantro, dill, sage, lavender, rosemary and tarragon. Pumpkins, squash, cucumbers, carrots and beets are safe in the garden. Fruits on their own tend to be safe for cats, however the pits contained in some fruit, such as apples, cherries and peaches, contain cyanide, which is harmful when ingested.

A Cat-Friendly Zone

If you want to keep a safe space for your cat outside, yet grow what you want, consider a cat enclosure filled with plants she may enjoy nibbling on. Lemongrass, wheat or oat grass and mint may please your cat. Catnip is usually welcomed in a cat-friendly garden. Inside or outside, take care when you use any type of chemical on your plants. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals notes fertilizers and insecticides may help your plants grow beautiful and strong, but they can be dangerous for pets.