Indoor Plants That Are Safe for Cats - Pets
I recalled the couplets that Emma had recited to me while wrapping up the catnip: “If you set it, the cats will eat it. If you sow it, the cats don’t know it” (Philip Miller, 1754). In other words, foraging cats are much less likely to attack self-sown plants than plants newly set out. Today, we know that the bruised leaves of a newly transplanted catnip plant release nepetalactone, a component of the essential oil that mimics a cat’s sexual pheromones. Catnip thus acts as an aphrodisiac, which may explain the bizarre ways in which cats react to catnip. Now I wonder, did the cat attack the dog out of spite, or was it a crime of mistargeted passion?
In some cases, it's easiest just to give plants away to someone who doesn't live with a cat (or other animal who needs to be kept away from houseplants). Another option, especially with larger plants, is to keep the plants in a room that is inaccessible to kitty, but this is much easier said than done. For smaller plants, you can place them on high shelves, mount them on the wall, or hang them from the ceiling. When deciding where to put your plants, remember that cats are excellent climbers and jumpers!
Cats are carnivores. That means the bulk of their dietary needs are satisfied by eating meat.
Felines in the wild get carbohydrates and plant matter from eating their prey's fur or feathers and stomach contents. Domestic cats usually get all the fiber, vitamins, and minerals they need from commercial cat food. If your cat grazes on grass in the yard or nibbles on your houseplants, they may be seeking vitamins and minerals or they may be looking for an aid for an unsettled stomach. Dogs too will eat grass to help balance an upset tummy, either to firm up loose stool or as an aid in easing constipation.
Catnip is notorious for producing a particular response in cats. Although this member of the mint family is chemically similar to some hallucinogens, catnip is not toxic to pets. Rubbing catnip on a favorite toy or scratching post will lead to several minutes of playful abandon in your cats. The scent of catnip can help stimulate exercise in a usually sedentary cat.
Cat grass aids digestion and even helps remove hairballs! If you grow cat grass indoors, you can avoid the potential dangers of pesticides and other contaminants on outdoor grass. Offering sweet tasting cat grass will help keep your kitties from nibbling on your other houseplants. It can also help sweeten your cat's breath.
Catnip and cat grass are relatively easy to grow. Cat grass will thrive in just about any sunny window. You can purchase plants or seed online or at your local pet store. Catnip does well in gardens and needs little care. Most members of the mint family need more water than catnip does. Pretty much all you need to do once the seeds are planted is thin the rows and keep the weeds at bay. A bed of catnip can last several years! You can dry the leaves in your oven.This plant produces Nepetalactone oil and that acts something like an aphrodisiac for cats. Is it harmful to them? (pdf), there are no short term or long term ill effects on them.While human brains do not react the same way to this feline favorite, catnip nevertheless has some surprising uses for us, too. It has an aromatic, mint-like flavor. Its young shoots can be eaten raw in summer salads, added to stews or rubbed into meat. In addition to these culinary uses, the leaves and flowering tops of the plant have long been employed in herbal remedies. Catnip is known for its relaxing properties and is often used in calming tea preparations. It has also been used as a remedy for a variety of digestive problems and, in stronger doses, to reduce fever and/or cough. Applied as a poultice, it can be helpful for skin irritations, and a strong infusion is effective in repelling fleas and mosquitoes. The root of the plant, while not poisonous, is best avoided by both cats and humans, as this is the part most frequently credited with inducing aggressive-type behaviors.The catnip plant is the subject of many questions I am asked rather frequently in my feline practice. I have found out that most people do not really know what catnip is or how it performs its magical effect on cats. I also get many questions about the safety of giving catnip to a cat.