How to Keep Cats Out of Indoor Plants? – 7 Methods

Written by

Amy Sawy

Veterinarian. DVM


Joseph M. Plummer

Veterinarian, DVM, MVZ

how to keep cats out of indoor plants

As a plant lover, it feels horrible to see your indoor plants destroyed. But it feels worse to see that your cat is the one biting off stems, chewing on leaves, and digging out the soil of your plants. This is a common problem for people having both a cat and plants.

However, you don’t need to choose between your feline friend and your plants. In this article, I will show you different methods on how to keep cats out of indoor plants.

Here are some simple methods to keep your cats out of indoor plants:

Method 1: Use a Landscape Fabric Sprayed With Citrus Scent.

One way to keep cats away from plants is to put citrus-scented landscape fabric on the surface of the soil. Cats are not fond of the citrus scent as they have a very sensitive sense of smell.

Things that you will need:

  • Landscape fabric. Cut into sizes that would fit your pots.
  • Citrus essential oil
  • Water
  • Spray bottle
  • To do this, you need to make a citrus spray first. Just mix 3 parts of water and 1 part of citrus essential oil in a spray bottle.
  • Then spray it all over the landscape fabric to make sure that there will be a prominent citrus smell.
  • Place the landscape fabric on the soil of your plants.

You can spray it again every week or when you feel that the scent is already fading. You can also use the same homemade spray on other indoor areas where you want to restrict your cat.

If you want to try a different homemade spray to deter cats, try to look for other recipes on online communities like Reddit.

Method 2: Put Lemon or Orange Peels on Your Planters.


Instead of throwing away the peels of your favorite citrus fruits, you can just use them to deter cats from plants. Just like the citrus spray, lemon or orange peels could also produce the citrus smell that cats don’t like.

You can cut Qthe peels into strips to easily spread them all over the soil of your plants. Replace them weekly as the peels would lose their scent over time.

Just be aware that lemon or orange peels being decomposed will make the soil acidic, so take care in using it with plants that need alkaline soil.

Method 3: Use a Water Spray.

One simple thing cat owners do to discipline their cats is spray them with water. You can use this technique when you catch them eating or messing with the plants.

When done consistently, this could be an effective way to keep cats out of plants.

The downside of this method is that you can’t always keep an eye on both. So they can sneak in whenever you are not at home.

However, if you prefer training your cat, then this is suitable for you. It would just require you a little more patience for your cat to develop a habit of avoiding the plant pots.

Method 4: Use a Bitter Spray.


Another kind of cat deterrent spray for plants is a bitter spray. Bitter sprays are available in the market, so it is a good option if you don’t have time to make one. Just make sure that what you buy is safe for both the plant and the cat.

Spray it on the stems and leaves of your indoor plants. It will make your plants taste bitter, discouraging your cats from continuously eating them.

Your cats might still try to chew on the leaves a couple of times, but they will eventually decide that they don’t want any of that bitter snack.

Method 5: Provide a Plant for Your Cats.


If you are having a hard time stopping your cat from eating your house plants, then maybe it would be best to give them their plant to chew on.

You can purchase cat grass from different pet supply stores. Having cat grass is also beneficial to cats as it is a natural source of fiber so it could help them with digestion.

You just need to put it in an obvious place for the cat to be lured into it instead of your house plants. Your cat will surely enjoy munching on that cat grass freely.

Method 6: Put Foil on Your Planters.


Aluminum foil can also serve as a plant protector from cats. Cats don’t like the texture and the noise that aluminum foil makes since they have more sensitive senses than ours.

This is why it is not good to scare your cats intentionally using aluminum foil. The experience from it can give them stress.

However, it can be helpful when used properly. You can simply put crumpled foil on the soil or wrap your planters with it. They will not be able to reach the stems and leaves of your plants without touching the foil, so they might just keep away from them.

Method 7: Cover the Soil With Smooth Pebbles.


Sometimes, cats treat the soil in potted plants as a litter box. One way to prevent this is to cover the soil of the plants with smooth pebbles. You can use river stones but choose the larger ones as it would be harder for them to move them away.

The pebbles would help to keep cats out of potted plants as they would make the soil harder to dig and undesirable to poop on. The pebbles will also be beneficial to the potted plants.

Aside from the added design, it also helps with water retention in the plants, giving them enough time to absorb the water before it evaporates.

Why is My Cat Eating My Plants?


As far as we all know, cats are naturally carnivores. So it is really interesting to know why they have some kind of obsession with plants. According to experts, this behavior of cats can be due to several reasons.

One reason is the fibrous texture of plants. Cats enjoy munching on things with that kind of texture as it gives them a satisfying experience.

It can also be their way to make themselves vomit. It’s a part of their instinct that eating plants is a way to release the discomfort from their stomach.

The leaves and stems of plants could also be tempting to cats as they can be swayed easily. The swaying from these parts of a plant can trigger their hunting instincts.

Lastly, it could be out of boredom. Maybe your cats just wanted to play, and they are taking out that energy to your plants.


In this article, I give very simple methods that you can easily try at home. Keep in mind to always be careful in using the suggested sprays above to avoid hurting your cats and damaging your plants.

I hope that the guide on how to keep cats out of indoor plants that were mentioned here will be able to help you to build a harmonious relationship between you, your cats, and your greeneries.

You can share this article with your family and friends so that they will be informed too!

Read more: Tips to keep cats away from christmas tree.

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