Indoor Plants That Are Safe for Cats


Both cats claim a coveted spot in the bay window and think those pesky orchids should go somewhere else!

Photo Credit
Robin Sweetser

Cat-friendly houseplants that are not toxic

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My two cats, Fred and Ginger, often chew on the leaves of my favorite houseplants, so I try to make sure that nothing within their reach is toxic. If your feline friends are also inquisitive (aren’t they all?), here’s a list of plants that are safe for cats.

I am both a gardener and a cat lover. Unfortunately, there are a decent number of houseplants that are toxic to cats, causing upset stomachs or worse. Even though I try to be careful, I will still find the occasional puddle of you-know-what with tell-tale pieces of greenery in it that must not have agreed with my cats. So, which houseplants are truly safe?

Fred and Ginger rest up after an action-packed night of vandalizing my houseplants.


Safe Houseplants for Cats

Below is a list of houseplants that are considered safe and non-toxic for our feline friends; I’ve grouped them by type of plant (eg., fern, palm, etc.). 

If you’re curious about which plants are NOT cat-friendly, here’s a full list of all plants (indoors and outdoors) that are poisonous to pets.

Orchids are safe for your cats but probably not safe from them!

1. Orchids

Common orchids of all kinds—cattleyas, phalaenopsis, oncidiums, epidendrums, encyclias, odontoglossums, dendrobiums, miltonias—are safe for cats. That said, if you are growing something rare, check it out on the ASPCA before putting it where kitty can munch on it.
Learn how to care for orchids indoors.

Good thing orchids are not poisonous since Fred & Ginger love to gnaw on them, leaving telltale tooth marks.

2. Indoor Ferns

Indoor ferns of many types are okay for pets to be around including rabbit’s foot, staghorn, Boston, bird’s nest fern, and sword fern. Take note: Asparagus fern—also called lace fern—is not really a fern, it is in the lily family and many members of the lily family are deadly for cats, especially Easter lilies! See some of my favorite ferns to grow indoors.

3. African Violets

African violets as well as streptocarpus, gloxinia, goldfish plant, and other gesneriads are safe for your furry companions. Learn how to care for African violets.

If you see this damage on your African violet leaves don’t blame bugs; it is probably your beloved Tigger!

4. Indoor Palms

Palms such as areca palm, kentia, bamboo palm, cane palm, figleaf, parlor, pony tail, and lady palm pose no threat to tabby. Learn how to care for ponytail palms.

Ponytail palm. 
Credit: Chris Burnett

5. Spider Plant and Foliage Plants

Spider plants are a favorite with vets and are very easy to grow. See how to care for spider plants. Other safe foliage plants including pilea and peperomia, Swedish ivy, false aralia, polka-dot plant, Venus fly trap, Norfolk Island pine, prayer plant, sweet potato vine, cast iron plant (Aspidistra), iresine, and hens-and-chicks (Echeveria) won’t hurt the family’s favorite furball. Learn more about Norfolk pine tree care.

Tigger might climb the Norfolk Island pine but even if he chews on it, it won’t hurt him.

6. Flowering Plants

Blossoming plants such as gerbera daisies, fuchsia, impatiens, Christmas cactus, plumbago, camellias, night-blooming cereus, and hoya are all non-toxic to cats.

Christmas cactus is another juicy plant my cats love to chew but they still manage to bloom!

7. Kitchen Herbs

Don’t forget about herbs! Basil, rosemary, and thyme are culinary herbs that are totally safe for your cat if they take a nibble! See our herb growing guides.

Any kitty-friendly houseplants that you recommend (or would avoid)? By the way, rest assured that the poinsettia is not deadly-toxic to pets, as many of us have been told! Learn more about cats and holiday plants.

About The Author

Robin Sweetser

Robin has been a contributor to The Old Farmer’s Almanac and the All-Seasons Garden Guide for many years. Read More from Robin Sweetser

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