Living with cats

How to Keep Cats from Eating Plants

Max. D Gray
By Max. D Gray. Updated: March 10, 2022
How to Keep Cats from Eating Plants

If you have a cat, you'll know too well that these animals are intelligent and very curious, always wanting to explore the world around them. So owners must pay close attention to their behavior to keep them completely safe and free of hazards indoors.

It's important you watch them as much as possible, particularly by watching how your cat behaves in the garden because many plants are toxic to them and can be a risk to their health. Here are some tips in so you know how to keep cats from eating plants to ensure their safety.

You may also be interested in: How to keep your cat from peeing in the house

Steps to follow:


Cats love playing with flowers and plants, whether they scrape the soil around them or simply chew or scratch them, but this can often be dangerous for them. If you have a cat at home, it is highly recommended you keep them away from apple and peach trees, poinsettias, eucalyptus, marijuana, tulips, azaleas, begonias etc; as they are highly toxic for cats. Moreover, any plants which may present a danger to your pet should be removed or moved to a more secluded spot in your garden, so as to avoid any accidents.

How to Keep Cats from Eating Plants - Step 1

We tend to believe that nature knows best and that pets will only ever eat plants or foods that they know will benefit them. In reality, they don't always know the difference between a toxic plant and another that is not. It is important they get used to not eating or playing with garden plants from an early age.

How to Keep Cats from Eating Plants - Step 2

When you go out to the garden with your cat, it is important you observe their behavior. If you see them looking closely at plants or playing with them, you need to gently move them away and say NO forcefully. This should be repeated every time you see this behavior. This way your pet will soon understand that they're not allowed to do this.

How to Keep Cats from Eating Plants - Step 3

As you can't always stay on top of your cat's every move, there are other simple tricks that will dissuade your animal from playing with plants. First, place orange peel on the ground as this has an acidic smell which is very unpleasant to cats. As a result, they won't want to come close to the plants.

How to Keep Cats from Eating Plants - Step 4

A cloth soaked well in clove oil and placed around plants in the soil is another good way of deterring your animal, because it has an unpleasant aroma. These two measures will prevent your cat from playing with the soil and biting your plants.

How to Keep Cats from Eating Plants - Step 5

When it comes to taller foliage plants that are not planted in the ground, you can use another trick. This is a bitter apple spray sold in pet shops which leaves plants with a very unpleasant smell and taste to pets. This will help keep cats from eating plants.


Would you like your cat to be attracted to other things in your garden? You can plant Nepeta cataria, commonly known as catnip, and you'll see how your pet will never look at another plant. This herb is very stimulating for most cats, who are attracted to its smell and become highly sensitive to its effects. Nepeta is not dangerous for your animal. Even though it stimulates them and makes them turn around or get excited, there's no risk of harm to them. It's a good alternative for dissuading them from playing with other plants.


Educate your cat to keep them away from your plants, follow these recommendations and you'll always keep your curious and beloved animal safe.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Keep Cats from Eating Plants, we recommend you visit our Pets category.

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1 comment
Patircia Shoemaker
Don't have cats. Nothing keeps them out of my garden two feet from my front door, plastic spikes, (they pooped on top of the spikes), pepper, lemon peel, fox and coyote urine, rosemary, even tried moth balls a few years ago, and they just brushed them away. They have ruined my front door by peeing on it and the door mat. I moved the mat and washed the door, but they are still using the garden two feet away as a littler box. When this all seemed to start was when I got new grass and my gardener put left over dirt in the flower bed. Apparently they love. It was dirt mixed with other things. Had had suggestions of water sensors that would squirt on them. That wouldn't work because my door is two feet away, and the paint is already peeling off.
Hailey Miller
if you can't beat em, join em! Perhaps plant catnip in another part of the garden or property, maybe even with the same dirt they love!! Maybe, juuuust maybe they will decide to hang out in that area than in the rest of the garden? however please be aware that I am sharing this suggestion while simultaneously being a failure at preventing my cat from ruining my plants. I think the catnip idea might be my last & best option considering my orange tabby is relentless.
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How to Keep Cats from Eating Plants