6 Practical Ways to Protect Your Plants From Cats

Cat eating houseplant

Protecting your plants from a cat might seem like an impossible job, however, there are many ways to stop the cat from damaging the plants.

Whether it’s about a young or an old cat, a red or a black cat, the techniques in this article will harmlessly stop every cat that tries to damage plants.

To stop any cat from damaging your plants, you can learn to discipline the cat, wrap the planters in foil (or plastic), keep the plants out of reach, get the cat its own plant, cover the substrate with pebbles, or use aromas and unpleasant odors.

Cats are simply curious and want to explore everything around them.

Soft material like soil that they can play with is their weakness in any case! Moreover, to the horror of their owners, some cats even prefer to use planters as a toilet even though you have provided them with a litter box that serves that purpose!

Altogether, it is an inconvenience, but it does not mean that you can’t have both of them, or that you have to choose between your lovely cute cat and greenery in the house since there are simple solutions for the issue. Try it!

Six ways to protect your plants from cats

1. Discipline your cat

The first (and best, in my experience) way to prevent a cat from engaging in unwanted activities is by discipline. Cats are known to dislike water! You could take advantage of it, and use a water-filled sprayer.

As soon as the cat approaches your home garden, spray the plants or the space around them. The cat’s very sharp senses will register the hissing sound that the sprayer emits. In addition, a few drops of water can reach its fur, encourage it to stop or change its direction.

However, this method is only effective if you repeat it every time the cat approaches the plant. It means that you will need a lot of dedication to reshape the cat’s behavior.

And, do not confuse disciplining and punishment! Cats are not prone to submission, so punishments like hitting lead to nothing!

Moreover, it can produce the exact opposite effect and cause aggressive behavior. Therefore, instead of yelling or hitting, choose more sophisticated methods to let your cat know that its actions are not acceptable! A harmless water spray is one of them!

2. Wrap your planters

Glittering aluminum foil or plastic wrapping paper that reflects light has a strange effect on cats. So let it shine!

Wrap all the pots in foil and follow your cat’s reaction! Don’t be surprised if it starts to snore on the pot you just wrapped in aluminum foil!

This method is simple, but it also has one drawback: the glittery lining on the container does not fit into every interior, so some cat and plant owners will prefer to omit this rather ornate decoration of their home.

An alternative is to arrange the crumpled pieces of foil on the substrate in the pot. No method is indeed absolutely effective since cats react differently to the same stimuli. If nothing more, your cat could lose interest in digging in pots wrapped in this strange shiny substance, at least temporarily.

3. Keep plants out of your cat’s reach!

So that you do not have to choose between a cat or a plant or constantly clean and collect uprooted earth that your adorable naughty pet scatters around, it may be a solution to opt for growing plants in hanging pots or high shelves out of cat’s reach.  Growing plants in hanging pots give the space a whole new dimension, enriching it with unusual extravagance. High shelves on which the cat cannot climb will revive the wall on which they are placed. And no matter how much they attract your cat, the plants on them will remain in a cat-free zone!

You could place the smaller plants in an empty aquarium with a mesh cover. It is not only an efficient way to protect the plants! It opens up many opportunities to show your creativity! Why would you not try making a small indoor garden combining the colors, forms, and textures of different plants? It will look beautiful, and your cat will be just a helpless observer of that challenging floral combination with a lot of dirt it cannot approach!

4. Get the cat its own plant

It certainly doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice any existing plants and allow the cat to bite or dig it out of the pot  (toilet matters, not to mention!). Many houseplants contain calcium oxalate, a toxic substance that can cause significant disorders in humans and pets if it enters the digestive tract.

Chewing ficus or dieffenbachia leaves is not only a problem related to cat behavior! It can seriously endanger its health, especially if the cat is left alone in the apartment, so you cannot act on time or you do not know the cause of its condition.

In other words, getting a cat its own plant does not mean any plant. This means getting a plant that leaves the cats like to chew, but that is completely harmless to their health. We are talking about a very specific plant here. It is called catnip and its Latin name is Nepeta cataria.

This medicinal plant from the mint family may be the solution you are looking for. The smell of catnip is extremely attractive to cats. The plant contains nepetalactone, which has a stimulating effect on the cat’s brain and affects its behavior In addition to this plant, likely, the cat will quickly lose interest in all other plants.

5. Cover the substrate with pebbles

If your cat is persistently digging the substrate or using a pot as a litter box, you could try to cover the surface with decorative stones. Choose smooth, flat pebbles that are heavy enough that the cat cannot move them easily.

Arrange them on the surface of the substrate and press a little to make them more stable. When making the arrangement, leave enough space between the stones for water to pass through when watering the plant.

This stone mulch can also serve as a charming decoration, especially if you combine stones of different colors. After trying to dig up the ground, the cat will eventually give up! It will probably conclude that it is easier to dig into a litter box and do its business there!

Alternatively, you can use other materials such as rough pine cones, seashells or broken ceramics, and even multicolored pieces of broken glass to create protective mulch. However, make sure that the glass and ceramic have sharp edges that need to be well immersed in the substrate so that the cat does not injure its sophisticated paws in an attempt to dig between them.

6. Use aromas and unpleasant odors

Now that we have established what playful cats like ( and digging in the potted plants they do like) let us discuss what they do not like and use it against them!  Let us start with some scents like citrus or spices such as coriander, lemongrass, garlic, and onions. These odors seem to be extremely unpleasant for cats!

Therefore, put lemon or lime zest around your plants! Or mix lemon or orange juice with water and spray the plant. You can, of course, also use citrus-scented fresheners, but these are chemically derived preparations that can be harmful to both the plant and the cat.  Coriander leaves, scattered on the substrate’s surface, can also do the job!

Regardless of onions and garlic, they may repel cats, but their smell is unpleasant enough to repel your guests too, so this is a pretty radical method.  Alternatively, you can use cotton balls previously dipped in lemon or lime juice and place them around the plant if you do not want to spray the plant.

And one note: if you use the rinds of lemons, limes, or oranges, change them regularly so they do not mold and infect your plant!


In this article, we have listed some effortless ways to protect your plants from cats.

I chose them since they do not require significant investment or time. Of course, if you want to keep up with the new age, you can use devices like a motion detector that responds to movement with an audible or light signal. However, do not forget that cats are very clever animals that constantly monitor and study their environment.

 It is only a matter of time before they realize that the sound or light signal that appears every time they approach a plant does not pose any danger, so they will calmly walk into the space with the plants and do everything they set out to do.

The same goes for any other method because there is no universal solution that works for every cat. In other words, try some of the above tactics hoping that one will suit your cat.

Finally, let’s say that proper training that starts from the first day you bring your cat home is perhaps the only permanent solution! Of course, some things are easier said than done since kittens are simply adorable! Even when chewing the leaves of your favorite plant!