Showing posts with label plants. Show all posts
Showing posts with label plants. Show all posts

Wednesday 3 April 2024

If so many plants are toxic to cats, how is it they don't all die in the wild?

Here are some reasons in response to the question in the title:

The question refers to plants in the wild. We don't know how many of them are toxic to cats and in any case not as many as the question in the title suggests (but see below for a short list). This contradicts the implication in the title that many or most are toxic.

But more importantly, there is grass outside and cats favour eating grass and in favouring grass they will ignore eating plants. They understand that grass is okay and safe to eat.

The snow leopard living at high altitude knows through eons of experience and evolution that the Tamarix plant is beneficial to them. I have suggested that it improves their oxygen intact and therefore their performance at high altitude where the air is thin.

Indoor cats might be driven to eating plants which are toxic to cats (most popular indoor plants are toxic) because they instinctively want to eat some vegetation for medicinal reasons but grass is unavailable. Lesson: full-time indoor cats should have access to some grass. I am sure that you can buy it on Amazon! 👍💕.

We are not sure exactly why domestic cats and wild cats like to eat vegetation occasionally. It has medical benefits one of which might be to ingest minute amounts of a vitamin called folic acid which plays an important role in the production of haemoglobin which transports oxygen around the body in the blood.

Some experts believe that if cats are deficient in folic acid they'll become anaemic and their growth will suffer.

In the wild domestic and wild cats are able to find grass to eat and will be able to avoid plants that are toxic through experience and probably taste and smell. Cats can detect bitterness to protect from poisons.

Believe it or not, the ASPCA lists 417 varieties of plants that are toxic to cats, as well as 569 that aren’t toxic. While some plants cause mild symptoms, others can be highly dangerous. The lily is particularly hazardous, with all parts of the plant being toxic. However, there are several other plants, both indoors and outdoors, that can harm cats. Here are some common ones:

  1. Aloe vera: A succulent with jagged edges.
  2. Pothos: A low-maintenance vine.
  3. Sago palm: An ancient tropical plant.
  4. Dieffenbachia: A tropical foliage plant.
  5. Kalanchoe: A flowering succulent.
  6. Lily of the valley: Not a true lily.
  7. Hyacinth: A bulbous spring flower.
  8. Yew: An evergreen conifer.
  9. Chrysanthemum: A late-season blooming flower.
  10. Poinsettia: A perennial shrub from Mexico.
  11. Lilies (true or daylilies).
  12. Peace Lily: Not a true lily.
  13. Cutleaf Philodendron: A tropical split-leaf plant.
  14. Jade Plants: Succulent money plants.
  15. Snake Plant: An air-purifying plant.
  16. English Ivy: A delicate trailing plant.
  17. Oleander: Also known as Jericho rose or rose laurel.
  18. Tulip: Another bulbous spring flower.
  19. Daffodil: Yet another bulbous spring flower.
  20. Bird of Paradise: Two different plants with this name.

Remember, cats are generally cautious and selective about what they eat. While they may occasionally nibble on grass or greens, they primarily rely on animal-based protein. If you suspect your cat has ingested something toxic, consult a veterinarian promptly.

Sources for the second section on this page: RSPCA, Bing,,, the spruce pets and more - plus me! 😎👍

RELATED: Most popular houseplants are all poisonous to cats bar one

RELATED: Plants poisonous to cats (huge list).


P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Thursday 15 February 2024

A particular herb will force cats to run a mile from your garden claims gardening expert

British gardening expert Suzanne Hall, speaking on YouTube on the Lovely Garden channel tells us that there is a particular herb that forces neighbour's cats to run a mile from your garden. Note: I think the damage done by trespassing cats is greatly exaggerated. Perhaps it is the hole digging which concerns gardeners more than the urine and faeces.

This is the magic plant according to Suzanne Hall: Coleus canina. As mentioned it is a variety of herb and it is from the mint family Lamiaceae. It has even got a nickname: 'scaredy cat plant'! 😃As you can see the plant has acquired its nickname because it is so efficient in getting rid of domestic cats trespassing on your garden.

A particular herb forces cats to run a mile from your garden claims gardening expert
The scaredy-cat plant. Image: Wikipedia and therefore licensed.

The leaves of this herb are sticky to the touch and it has a scent that is similar to eucalyptus which cats and dogs dislike.

If it doesn't work Ms Hall has some other clever tips which may be effective alternatives.

You can add ground black pepper to hot water in a spray bottle. You shake it up and spray it near plants. It's effective because cats dislike the strong smell. It is safe for both cats and plants.

Lavender is also good thanks to a potent odour.

Comment and some more tips from me

Comment: one of the most commonly discussed topics in the world of cats is how to stop neighbour's cats trespassing on your backyard when you are a devoted gardener and are very proud of your flowerbeds.

Of course, domestic cats have no conception of trespass and they don't trespass under the law. They can go where they please and there is no law stopping them.

I can't tell you how many tips and tricks and clever hacks I have seen on the Internet to repel domestic cats. Cat deterrents are the Holy Grail for non-cat owners.

In my years of working on these websites, I can tell you that if you achieve a 50% deterrent success rate you are doing well and there is a device can achieve that. This is the ultrasonic acoustic deterrent. They have been found, as mentioned, to be about 50% effective which should please most people. Click this link to read about them:

They are recommended by the RSPB in the UK. No better recommendation.

I have some other tips and tricks on this precious topic which you can read by clicking the link below. It covers quite a lot of ground on this topic.


P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Wednesday 24 January 2024

Solution of half water and half vinegar sprayed on houseplants protects them from cats?

A Bengal cat owner, trainer and founder of Outdoor Bengal believes that he has the solution to protecting indoor houseplants from being chewed by domestic cats. It's a simple one.

You take an empty spray bottle and fill it with 50% water and 50% vinegar. You spray the solution on the plant. The smell deters the cat. That's it.

I don't know whether it works or not. It probably will at least to a certain extent. Cats as we all know have a great sense of smell and vinegar smells bad to them. Like I said it's a simple formula.

Will it harm the plant? Will the homeowner accept the vinegary smell coming from their plants?! 😀 If the smell is acceptable to the cat's owner all well and good. I have doubts.

There is a double advantage: you protect your plants from domestic cats and you protect your cat from houseplants as many of them are toxic to cats.

If you want to know which ones are not toxic to cats please click on the link below:

The above plant is safe for cats.

P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Thursday 8 June 2023

Plant scents that are a deterrent to nuisance cats? Are they effective?

From time to time, we see an article in the online news media about deterrents to stop neighbours' cats from coming into your garden. Non-cat owning gardeners hate it because domestic cats like to go to the toilet in a nice fresh area of well fertilised flower bed. All that tender loving care can be undermined a little.

The Express in the UK has one of these articles online today. They list 'offensive scented low maintenance garden plants to deter cats from fouling outside'.

Lavender is not an effective cat deterrent
Lavender is not an effective cat deterrent. Image: MikeB

They suggest four plants which produce a scent that cats hate. The objective: to make your garden as unpleasant as possible for domestic cats as they have excellent noses.

The problem is this: they don't work! The scent of plants does not work as an effective cat deterrent.

I know that from general research and personal experience. For example, I have lavender in my backyard. A big bush of it near the patio. Lavender is the number one deterrent plant according to the Express.

For years my cat has walked past and brushed against this big bush of lavender and nothing! No effect. Nada. Zilch. He ignored it.

So that is the end of lavender as a cat deterrent as far as I am concerned. 

But my experience is backed up by science. Google Scholar has no articles on plants as cat deterrents as at the date of this post.

The scientists do not see research on plant scent deterrents as useful or viable. They don't want to waste their time.

The other three plants that the Express say are effective deterrents are: Rosemary, Rue and Pennyroyal.

Just in case you think they are worth a try; I wouldn't bother. The scientists says that ultrasonic noise deterrents work fairly well. You can buy them online at a fairly modest price.

Do ultrasonic cat deterrents work?

The one downside is that some people can hear ultrasonic sound. You won't know if you can until you have bought the device. It may be a waste of money if the deterrent deters you as well from going onto your own garden! 😎

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