House Plants That Cats Will Leave Alone

Creating an indoor garden is always an enticing idea whether you want to enjoy the lush scenery or you want to improve the air quality in the house.

However, our feline friends are often curious and will approach most houseplants in order to get a taste or just play around.

In order to avoid that, you’ll need some house plants that cats will leave alone. In that case, the best options out there are thorny and prickly plants as well as plants that emit a noticeable scent.

If you want to find out more about these plants, this guide will walk you through 11 of the best options out there. So without further ado, let’s dive in!

1. Rosemary


Starting off with one of the ideal choices if you want a house plant that your cat will typically avoid, all the while offering a variety of extra advantages!

Rosemary, also known as “Salvia Rosmarinus”, is a highly fragrant shrub that is commonly used in the perfumery industry but is also a common ingredient in cooking!

Ideally, most cats don’t like strong scents and will generally avoid any plant as fragrant as rosemary.

The good news is that rosemary is not even toxic to cats, so you don’t have to worry about it if your cat ever tries to take a few nips off the plant. While it’s highly unlikely, the strong scent and taste will be enough to prevent them from trying that again!

Keep in mind that fragrant plants are only effective in relatively warm weather. Also, while it’s tolerant to drought, rosemary needs a lot of sunlight, so make sure that you keep it in a well-lit area.

2. Thimble Cactus

Cacti are among the best options to consider if your cat is too curious for scented plants to handle.

The prickly nature of cacti, in general, has been effective against almost all kinds of mammals, and luckily, even in the case of ingestion, some of them are non-toxic to cats.

One of the best examples here is the Thimble Cactus. In addition to having an exotic look that will add a lot of variety to your indoor garden, it’s actually very easy to grow and take care of, as you only need to water it once every couple of weeks or longer!

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3. Christmas Cactus

Another good example of a cactus that your cat will learn to avoid as soon as they touch it once is the Christmas Cactus.

This plant, scientifically known as “Schlumbergera”, is a flowering cactus that blooms beautiful red or pink flowers, depending on the plant’s variety.

Like the thimble cactus, it won’t take long until your cat learns that it’s better to leave this one alone.

However, you should keep an eye out at first, especially if your cat is stubborn, as the plant is mildly toxic to cats and can cause stomach upsets.

4. Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm

If your cats are generally not too curious but you still want to keep them away from your plants, you should consider growing Lemon Balm.

This one is a perennial herb that, as the name suggests, belongs to the mint family, so you can get how powerful its scent can be. If you’ve been around cats long enough, you’ll know how much they hate that imposing minty smell.

In addition to the minty scent that most humans like, the highly textured leaves add to the beauty of the plant and it can bloom some white flowers in the summer, but that takes a lot of care to work.

5. Echeveria

Succulents are typically easy prey for curious cats thanks to their thick and inviting rosette pattern with smooth texture.

If you’re interested in growing one but don’t want your cat near it, you might want to consider the Echeveria.

Some species of this beautiful succulent have tiny but very pointed spines at the end of each leaf, which makes them quickly prickly for your feline friend. This includes species like the Cat’s Claw Echeveria, Blue Echeveria, and Miniature Echeveria.

6. Haworthia

Another succulent that will often keep cats at bay is the Haworthia. In addition to its initiating texture, the Haworthia has tiny spines that can deter most creatures away.

The best part about this plant is that it’s actually non-toxic to cats as well as dogs. Additionally, like most succulents, it’s surprisingly easy to grow both indoors and outdoors thanks to its remarkable hardiness.

7. Pennyroyal

Pennyroyal is often called the “mosquito plant” because of its ability to deter a lot of insects, especially mosquitoes, thanks to its powerful scent.

This flowering plant is a member of the Mint family, and it has a very powerful fragrance that is fairly similar to spearmint.

Since most cats hate that smell and won’t generally keep their distance when they smell it, adding Pennyroyal to your houseplant collection can actually protect other plants as well. Additionally, you’ll enjoy its lovely purple flowers that bloom in late summer!

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8. Miniature Roses

Miniature roses are excellent choices as houseplants because they look remarkably beautiful and they’re quite easy to take care of.

Since miniature roses are members of the Rosa Family, they have a pointy thorn at the end of each stem, which protects the plant from predators in nature and will easily let your cat know that these roses are not to mess with.

Mini roses are also not toxic to pets, so you don’t have to worry if your kitty decided to give it a taste before getting pricked.

9. Crassula


Crassula is one of the most popular houseplants that you can find out there. These plants are also known as “Pigmyweeds”, and they’re a large genus that includes a variety of succulents, including Jades.

Despite that, you should know that crassula is toxic to cats and can make your cat a little sick, which is why a lot of cats learn very quickly to avoid them at all costs.

In fact, a lot of cat owners have reported that their cats never tried to approach them in the first place.

10. Oregano

Similar to Rosemary, you can also go for Oregano as an alternative that can keep your cat away.

With that being said, this one depends mainly on your cat. In fact, there are some cats that will actually like the smell of Oregano, which will encourage them to munch on the leaves like catnip while others will hate it as much as minty plants.

For that reason, it’s usually recommended that you test that out with a few oregano leaves before growing one.

11. Hoya

Lastly, you can try the Hoya plant, which is a tropical plant species that belongs to the Dogbane family.

Although this plant is safe for pets, many cats will simply keep their distance from the plant, but like the Oregano, this varies from one cat to another.

Wrap Up

As you can see, there is a wide variety of options that you can choose if you have a curious cat in your household.

With all that being said, you should keep in mind that not all cats are equal, as some cats might succumb to the temptation of messing around with some of these plants.

Luckily, with their deterrent and/or prickly nature, they’ll probably learn to avoid them early on. However, you should still keep a watchful eye on your cat while it’s playing with the plants to prevent any unwanted accidents before it happens.

Also, make sure that your cat gets plenty of entertainment and stimulation through toys and scratching posts, which can tune down their overly curious nature.