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Spider plant for cats | Why do they like it?

If you’re both a houseplant enthusiast and a cat owner, you’ll know that some of our feline friends can be obsessed with indoor greenery. They love chewing on leaves, sleeping in the dirt and sometimes even… use plants as litter boxes. Ugh! There is one plant that they all seem to prefer, though: Chlorophytum comosum, also known as the spider plant.

Why do cats like spider plants? And more importantly, is spider plant safe for cats? Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about spider plant for cats and whether you should be worried or not.

Did you come here looking for cat safe houseplants? The spider plant is one of them, but luckily it’s not the only species you can grow.

Why do cats like spider plants?

Some people believe that cats may be attracted to spider plants because the long leaves resemble grass, which cats eat to help settle their stomachs.

Others claim that it has to do with spider plants producing compounds similar to opium, which causes the cats to get a high like they do with catnip! Whatever causes the fascination, cats just can’t get enough of spider plants. 

Cat with spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) | Why do cats like spider plants?
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Is spider plant safe for cats?

According to the ASPCA, spider plants are not poisonous to cats. However, since cats often munch on spider plants to settle their stomachs, you may still find vomit now and again.

As mentioned above, even though spider plants are safe for cats, spider plants may make your kitty trip a bit as well. Although the effects are reported to be mild, you should still keep spider plants out of reach. We don’t want confused cats getting into accidents, after all!

Tips for stopping cats from eating spider plants

At the end of the day, even if spider plants are safe for cats, no one wants their prized houseplants to be devoured. Here are some things to try to potentially take your spider plants off the menu:

  • Keep your spider plants in hanging baskets. If possible, try to hang your plants in areas where your cat can’t reach them. This especially applies to spider plants, which look lovely when grown in hanging planters anyway.

    Remember that cats are great climbers and jumpers, so make sure there’s no furniture that your cat can use to parkour its way to your spider plants.
  • Keep your spider plants in a separate room. Keeping your houseplants in places where your feline friend can’t get into is always a good way to keep the peace. For example, many people keep houseplants in bathrooms to take advantage of the humidity.

    Just keep the door closed and both your cat and houseplants will be safe.
  • Consider growing plants specifically for your cat. While many houseplants are poisonous to cats, there are also feline-friendly options just for them!

    There are plenty of cat grass and catnip plants on the market for your cat to chew at its leisure and luckily, they are very easy to grow from seed at home. Keeping these desirable plants around will help keep your cat from hunting down your beloved spider plants instead.
  • Make sure your cat has lots of enrichment. One of the reasons why your cat may terrorize your favorite houseplant is that it’s bored! Try to make playing with your cat part of your daily routine to work out its energy. A cat that’s all tuckered out is a lot less likely to go out of its way for entertainment, which means less knocked over plants and tears for you.

A lot of articles include using commercial or DIY cat repellents to keep cats away from houseplants, but it’s important to always be extremely cautious when considering this route. Sometimes the repellents do more harm than good, especially with DIY products, so always check with your vet first.

Tip: Speaking of vets – if your cat still tries its hardest to get at your houseplants to chow down on, talk to your vet. As mentioned before, cats eat plants to induce vomiting to help with unsettled stomachs.

If your cat is constantly turning to plants for relief, there may be a much bigger health issue to be concerned about.

Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) with many pups hanging in sunny room.

Tips for stopping cats from using your spider plants as litter boxes

Although most people are more frustrated about cats eating their houseplants, some cats make life even harder by using indoor plants as litter boxes. Since this can cause a lot of mess and grief, here are some things to try to make your houseplants off limits:

  • Make sure the litter box is clean. Cats are clean creatures and will look elsewhere if the litter box is too dirty. This means that you should clean your litter box at least once a day. If you have multiple cats, you should have at least one litter box per cat (plus one extra box, if possible).

    It’s also recommended to put the litter boxes in different areas of the house in case one cat becomes territorial. If you have a cat that’s not allowed to use its own litter box because of a bully, the soil in your houseplant pots may be its only option!
  • Consider changing the litter. Sometimes cats will look elsewhere to relieve themselves, like in your houseplants, when the litter bothers their paws. For example, pellets can be too uncomfortable to stand on and dusty brands can bother their eyes or lungs.

    If you have a declawed cat, it may be even more sensitive to what kind of litter you use and may look elsewhere to relieve itself.
  • Cover the top layer of soil. To make your plants harder to dig around in, consider covering the top layer of soil with pebbles or mesh. Although the mesh may not look great, you can at least find pebbles to match your aesthetic!

Photos of cats and spider plants © Alex Bramwell on Adobe Stock.