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Our cats are more than pets in our house; they’re furry little family members. When your cats are indoor cats, it might be nice for them to bring the outdoors into them by making them an indoor garden for cats.
With their own garden, they will get to smell, chew on, and rub against plants; something they have been unable to do until now. But it is important to be aware of which plants are cat-safe plants and which aren’t.
Many plants can be toxic to cats so not all are suitable to use for a project like this. If you have a cat then you know that they are mischievous critters and if they’re not supposed to get into it, the more tempting it seems to be.
Related post: How to Keep Cats Out of House Plants
Putting your DIY cat garden together
After filling the pot with dirt, take the plants out of their small pots and play with their placement of them until you are happy, then plant them in a big pot.
*Note: Don’t confuse Italian or curly parsley with spring parsley which is toxic to cats. Parsley in large doses could give your cat a bellyache so if your cats are eating too much of it, remove it and make some spaghetti sauce instead.
Use a low-sided planter that your cats can’t knock over and has enough surface area to get creative with plant placement as well as some decorative elements. This will make your indoor cat garden a more welcome addition to your home.
Add decorative accents
To the plants, add some decorative rocks and small garden figurines if you’d like.
The rocks can come from your yard or you can buy small decorative rocks. You can find fairy garden figurines on Amazon or Etsy as well as Target and Walmart. Try to find figurines with stakes in them so the cats can’t knock them over.
Be careful about the plants you choose for your indoor garden for cats. Some common houseplants and flowers are toxic to cats like lilies, philodendron, aloe, begonia, and poinsettia and should not be used around cats.
But that plant is on the ASPCA’s toxic plant list
Before making this indoor garden for cats we did a lot of reading on plants that are safe for cats. We considered several different sources including the Pet Poison Helpline, the ASPCA toxic and non-toxic plants list, and several other websites.
I have found that the ASPCA site tends to err on the side of caution more than the others which are good but also may make some people nervous. Because of this, you will have to use your own judgment on which plants to choose for your cat garden.
A poison control for cats fridge magnet is always a good idea to have around.
For example, we used mint and parsley in our garden. Both of these plants are listed as toxic to cats in large quantities on the ASPCA website but aren’t listed at all on the Pet Poison Helpline. This is a good example of the poison being in the dose and a cat is highly unlikely to ingest an amount that will make them sick.
Since catnip is in the mint family, we determined that our cats would not ingest enough of it to cause vomiting. The signs of toxicity in parsley are sunburn and dermatitis if ingested in large quantities so we weren’t worried about this with our cats either.
If using these two herbs makes you nervous since they do appear on the ASPCA’s list, you may substitute them with another plant that is listed on the non-toxic list. Some of those options include basil and cilantro, or you could use a flowering plant like the African violet.
This is your cat’s garden and there aren’t any rules.
Gnats in plants
Unfortunately, gnats in plants are a fairly common thing. If you see what looks like fruit flies hovering around your plants, don’t panic. It can be easily treated with a natural insecticide that won’t harm your kitties.
Why do I have gnats in my potted plants?
This happens when your soil is too moist. If you have gnats in your houseplants you will probably also see a white fungus on your soil.
How to get rid of gnats in plants naturally
There are several pet-safe ways to get rid of gnats in plants naturally. But, as always, read the bottle thoroughly before applying any insecticide or homemade remedy to your plants that will come in contact with your cats.
Is Neem Oil Safe For Cats?
When used topically, diluted neem oil is safe to use around cats.
While a product might be safe to use around pets, keep in mind that they could potentially ingest it when used on plants they might chew on or eat.
If you are using neem oil or any other cat-safe product for insect control on an indoor cat garden, we recommend applying the solution and putting the garden out of reach of your cats until the insects are gone and the plants can be wiped off.
*This post was originally written for and appeared on my other blog, The Anti-June Cleaver.