Lilies, marijuana, sago palm, tulip and narcissus bulbs, azalea and rhododendron, oleander, castor bean, cyclamen, kalanchoe, yew, amaryllis, autumn crocus, chrysanthemum, English ivy, peace lily, pothos, and schefflera are all common houseplants that could cause problems like minor irritations in your cat’s mouth and throat, vomiting, diarrhea, kidney issues, heart issues, seizures, and even death.
But what about the best plants for cats?
Cats are known to nibble on things – plastic bags, leaves, your toes. So if Fluffy is going to be gnawing on anything she can get her cute little mitts on, shouldn't we at least try to put healthy munchies around the house?
Thankfully, there are several plants that top the list of the best plants for cats. Here are our favorites.
Catnip, Silver Vine or Cat Thyme
Let's just put these front and center. Not only are catnip, silver vine, and cat thyme safe for your pet, but they're also healthy for your kitty. Each of these plants acts as a stimulant for your cat, which can dramatically lower stress levels and boost mood.
Catnip is the most well-known of these stimulating herbs, but not all cats respond to it. Only about two-thirds of cats have a reaction to catnip. Silver vine, on the other hand, affects about 80 percent of cats.
Still, if your cat doesn't react to catnip and you can't find silver vine, give cat thyme a try. Like catnip and silver vine, cat thyme can relax away the stress of your cat's day. However, some humans don't like its scent.
These plants are easy to grow and since they grow quite slowly, they're also easy to maintain. So grab a seed pouch to grow your own or pick up a starter plant at your local pet store or nursery. Your cat will thank you – after she's done spazzing out.
Maybe it's the long, thin blades that appeal to cats or the satisfying crunch they get when they snap one off and munch on it like a celery stick, but all cats seem to love grass. Both lemongrass* and cat grass are some of the best plants for cats.
If you go to your local pet shop, you'll likely see little trays of cat grass near the register. Cat grass is actually any form of grass that's safe for felines to rub noses with, including barley, oat, and wheat grasses.
However, many homeowners like to grow lemongrass in their homes for the subtle, refreshing smell, as well as the many cooking uses it offers. While the blades of lemongrass aren't quite as long and lean as cat grass, we thought it deserved to be included in the types of good grass your cat will appreciate.
*Note: While lemongrass is OK for kitties to nibble in small amounts, lemongrass essential oil can be harmful. Be sure to keep your furry friends away from any lemongrass essential oils, including diffusers.
Here's another thing you and your cat have in common: a love for herbs. If you enjoy cooking with fresh herbs like the parsley or rosemary plant, you can start doing a happy dance – they're safe for your fur baby, too!
In fact, parsley is full of potassium, beta-carotene, and vitamins A, B, and C, which are all good things in the cat world.
The rosemary plant is one of the world's most favored herbs for its versatility in cooking as well as its relaxing scent. So do cats like rosemary? Yes! Your cat loves it because rosemary acts as a natural flea repellant, too!
However, it's important to also note that the strong scent of rosemary can be too powerful for some cats. That's why it is often used as a cat repellent as well. If you do not want your cat to go to a specific place or you want to deter them from scratching, try making a cat repellent spray with rosemary oil and water.
Many of the plants that are healthy for your cat are also healthy for you! In the world of us two-legged creatures, valerian is known for its sleep promoting properties. However, it'll do just the opposite for your cat.
Valerian acts as a stimulant for your cat and gives her all the good feels. In fact, if your cat is carrying around a bit of excess weight, it may be just what your cat needs to get some good, healthy exercise.
If you get a valerian plant for your home, you may see your kitty nibbling on its leaves – and that's perfectly fine. It's safe to eat and your cat will love her new source of natural energy.
If you're looking for something that looks more like a house plant and less like something that should be stocked in the produce aisle at your grocery store, get a spider plant.
Spider plants are vibrant green house plants that have long, thin foliage that grows from the center of the plant and falls outward in arches to form a gorgeous, symmetrical display.
Cats love the stimulant qualities, which are quite similar to catnip. Plus, those leaves are just irresistible to cats who love to bat at stringy, bouncy things.
The Best Plants for Cats, Not in Plant Form
The plant world is chock full of green things that can make your kitty feel better. However, not all of them should be kept in plant form around your house.
For instance, many herbs are best for your cat when they are brewed and concentrated down into a tincture (a concentrated extract of a specific herb or herbal blend). A tincture can then be applied topically, depending on the type and use.
Here are some of the best plants for cats when they're in tincture essential oil form:
Calendula – used for skin issues and excessive itching.
Cat's Claw – contains a natural cortisone, which is used for feline allergies and excessive itching.
Chamomile – used for skin issues and excessive itching.
Dandelion – used for feline allergies and excessive itching.
Echinacea – used for skin issues and excessive itching.
Always consult your veterinarian before using any essential oil tincture on your feline friend. If your vet gives you the thumbs up, these may be great alternatives to pharmaceutical medications.
Is your kitty a wanna-be-herbivore? Snap a picture of your cute kitty in the act and tag us on Instagram @PrettyLitter.