If you just brought a cat home, you’ll want to ensure your home is safe for your four-legged friend. Unfortunately, if you’re also a plant lover, you may have to make some adjustments. Cats can get sick from touching or ingesting certain houseplants.
If you ask around, many people will tell you that one of the plants you should keep away from your cat is the orchid plant. But are orchids poisonous to cats?
Can orchids and cats coexist?
Most people believe that orchids are poisonous to cats, but experts disagree.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) lists the phalaenopsis orchid flower as one of the non-toxic plants to cats. Other popular orchid varieties such as Vanda orchids, Cattleya orchids, Miltonia orchids, among others, are also not toxic to your pet.
While beautiful orchids aren’t poisonous to your pet, it isn’t wise to let your cat near them.
Your cat can ingest fertilizers and pesticides found on the plant’s soil or leaves, which can result in chemical poisoning in your cat. Some symptoms to watch out for if you suspect your pet has ingested fertilizers and pesticides include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Abdominal discomfort
- Unsteadiness while walking
- Overall weakness
The severity of the symptoms will depend on the amount of the chemical ingested. Take your cat to the vet immediately if you notice any of the named symptoms. Time is of the essence when it comes to pesticide and fertilizer poisoning, as delay in treatment can lead to the death of a pet.
Other than ingesting poisonous chemicals, your pet can also destroy your exquisite plant if you allow them to get too close.
How to Keep Your Orchid plants Safe from Your Cat
Soiled and shredded orchids aren’t a good site. If you want to ensure that your furry friend leaves your orchid plants in peace, here are a few tips you can use.
Change Where You Place Your Orchid Plants
If your cat can easily reach your orchid plants, you may need to move them.
You can have a designated balcony or room where you put all your indoor plants. Ensure this room has a door that is always shut.
You can also move your hanging pot plants away from furniture to discourage your pet from reaching them. A good idea would be to mount your plant containers directly to the wall.
Use a Spray Bottle
Spraying your cat with water every time they get close to your plants will make your pet develop an aversion for your orchid plants. However, this method is most effective if you are at home most of the time.
Cover Soil with Stone Mulch
Covering the soil in your pots with smooth mulch will discourage your cat from digging the plant out. It also ensures your cat doesn’t relieve themselves in the containers. Ensure the gravels you use are big enough such that your cat doesn’t mistake them for litter.
Use Cayenne Pepper or Cinnamon Powder
Dust your orchid plant leaves with cinnamon powder, bitter apple, or hot chili pepper. You can also use a homemade repellent to spray the leaves.
Home products you can use to make a repellant include mixing water with a highly scented soap. A puree of garlic will also have your cat turning up their nose.
Cats don’t like the smell of these products, and once they associate the plant with the pungent smell, they will keep away.
Use Aluminum Foil
Cats don’t like the smell, feel, or taste of aluminum foil. You can wrap the plant pot with foil. You can also place thin shredded aluminum foil near the plant or on top of the soil.
Tin-foil plates can also produce a loud, startling sound if stepped on or knocked over by your cat. This will scare your cat and break their habit of jumping on your orchid plants.
Use Lemon Peels
Cats don’t like lemon or its smell. Rather than throwing away lemon peels, you can arrange them on the top part of the soil in your plant pot. Ensure you put fresh peels every week.
The smell will discourage your pet from coming near your orchids.
Get your cat their plant
Buying your cat a plant that they can nibble on, may help to discourage your cat from going near your orchid plants or other toxic plants.
You can plant cat grass, mint, or thyme for your cat. Ensure you keep the plant within your cat’s reach, and they may leave your other indoor plants alone.
Final Thoughts & Advice
Orchids aren’t poisonous when chewed or touched by your cat. However, if you let your pet near your plant, they will likely dig in the soil or even nibble on the leaves. The above tips will help keep your orchid plants safe from your cat’s mouth and paws.
Want an Orchid plant of your own?