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Which houseplants are safe for Cats and other curious pets

August 26, 2022 3 min read

pet-safe houseplants

Many pet owners are also plant owners, but these two companions don't always go hand in hand. Dogs and cats are curious creatures that like to sink their teeth into anything - including plants that are toxic to them.

It is especially important to pet-proof your plant collection when you're bringing a new puppy or kitten into the home.

The houseplants most poisonous to pets contain a compound called calcium oxalate crystals and include the popular plants philodendron, Calla lilies (Zantedeschia), dieffenbachia, and Elephant's Ear (Alocasia). Animals that eat these plants can get a burnt mouth, excessive drooling, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Even houseplants that don't contain calcium oxalate can cause severe symptoms if ingested. The Jade Plant (Crassula Ovata) is one of them, though it is not certain which toxic compounds are at work in this case. The cast iron plant's toxicity comes from a chemical called saponin, which is a common ingredient in some detergents.

Happily, there are many pet-friendly options for greening your space. Here are some of them.

Calathea Orbifolia

This is one of the most beautiful plants you can grow and they are completely pet-friendly. The large leaves are traced with curved, silver-green stripes and they are a wonder to look at.

The Calathea needs damp soil at all times without being waterlogged and prefers plenty of diffuse (never direct) sunlight.

Zebra Haworthia

https://unsplash.com/photos/TQLSW8tfAU8

For pet owners busy with animal care, this easy-care succulent should top their plant shopping list.

This succulent is versatile: it can take either full (never direct) sun or bright partial sun. The most important thing to remember is that it likes very dry conditions. Don't water until the soil is almost dry. Cut back watering further in winter.

This spiky cousin of the aloe will also be welcome in smaller spaces as it grows very slowly and always stays at a compact size. Its simple, geometric form will also go well in modern interiors.

Rattlesnake plant

https://unsplash.com/photos/CBdu4l4n_sI

This purple and two-tone green stunner will add aesthetic interest to rooms with low light conditions. Place it away from direct light in a temperature range of 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit. Water when the top two inches of the soil feel dry to touch. It likes moderate humidity so a bathroom or kitchen would be ideal. Otherwise, raise the humidity around the plant by spritzing with a water bottle regularly or placing the pot in a pebble-filled tray halfway full of water.

The Rattlesnake plant is non-toxic to cats, dogs, and even horses (if you happen to have one of those in your bedroom).

Boston fern

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Boston_Fern_(Nephrolepis_exaltata).jpg

Boston ferns are non-toxic to cats and dogs but needs a very specific environment to thrive.

Like most ferns, it enjoys very humid conditions and will not tolerate bright sunlight. Place it in a cool, humid spot with lots of indirect sunlight - this location will resemble its original forest undergrowth habitat.

This plant can never really get enough humidity so spritz the leaves with a water bottle whenever you can.

Soil moisture is also important for this plant. In the summer you should be watering at least once a week when the top two inches have dried out.

Fishbone cactus

https://unsplash.com/photos/Yds7W175iy8

This unusual Mexican cactus has the flat, strap-like leaves of a fern that look like they've been stamp-cut in a zig-zag pattern. It's very easy to look after and needs little watering. Just make sure to place it in a position that receives bright to medium indirect light - never direct sunlight, as too much will burn its gorgeous leaves. Unusually for cacti, it appreciates high air humidity so bathrooms and kitchen windows are best.

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