Is Rattlesnake Plant Toxic To Cats? Or should your kitty happily nibble on its leaves? Read on to find out!
Juggling the joys of pet ownership and plant parenting? If you’ve introduced a Rattlesnake Plant into your cat-inhabited space and wondering about its safety, we have spilled the facts here!
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What Are Rattlesnake Plants?
Originating from the Brazilian rainforest, this plant got its name from the long, wavy leaves marked with beautiful patterns resembling a rattlesnake’s skin. Plus, the dark green blotches against its foliage paired with a purple underside and a wavy texture further cement its resemblance.
Infact, these plants can attain a moderate height of about 3 feet over time, making for a standalone focal point that easily thrives in any typical household environment.
Is Rattlesnake Plant Toxic To Cats?
Rattlesnake plants are absolutely safe for cats.
According to the ASPCA, the Calathea genus doesn’t pose any risk to pets, and the rattlesnake plant, being its cultivar, carries a similar nature. However, if your cat nibbles on its leaves a lot, it might have a little tummy trouble. So, it’s a good idea to keep your furry friend away from any houseplants, just to be safe.
Why Do Cats Nibble On Houseplants?
Firstly, it’s these mighty animal’s natural curiosity and playfulness at work that make them explore their surroundings using all their senses. Additionally, cats are drawn to movement, making them curious about leaves swaying in the air currents. It’s also instinctual behavior rooted in their hunting and playing instincts.
Sometimes, cats may chew on plants to fulfill dietary needs or to aid digestion, while others may do so out of boredom or a lack of stimulation, particularly indoor cats. Certain textures or flavors of plants can also attract cats, enticing them to nibble on the leaves.
Moreover, chewing on plants can serve as a stress-relieving activity for cats, akin to how humans use stress balls. Lastly, cats also mimic the behavior of other cats in the household, leading to a chain reaction of plant nibbling among feline companions.
How To Keep Cats Away From Houseplants?
Felines and indoor plants often create a dynamic duo, though not always harmoniously. To ensure the safety of both your pets and plants, consider these strategies:
- Infuse your cat’s environment with catnip. This herb, rich in nepetalactone, is irresistible to many cats. You can also introduce catnip toys or sprays to capture their interest, steering them away from your plants.
- Cat balms, laden with catnip or similar herbs, are a hit with felines. Rub these balms on scratching posts or toys to redirect your cat’s energy and attention.
- Apply bitter apple spray, which cats find unappealing, to your plant leaves. Place double-sided tape around plant bases to prevent scratching and digging. Citrus peels or citrus-scented air fresheners near your plants can also act as natural deterrents.
- Keep plants out of reach by placing them on higher shelves, stands or hanging them. This reduces their allure to your curious cat.
- Discourage digging by covering the soil with items like rocks, pine cones, or aluminum foil.
- When your cat shows interest in plants, gently say “No” and reward them with treats or praise when they heed this instruction, reinforcing their good behavior.