ChurchillScenario: A young couple meets, cupid shoots an arrow, they fall in love. They move into a downtown loft or apartment and set up housekeeping. After much discussion, they decide to have their first “child” — a rambunctious boxer bulldog named Trooper. They elect to have no plants in their home for fear the plants would put the precious fur baby’s health in jeopardy. What with all the TV segments and Internet blogs on the hazards of dangerous plants and pets, why bother, right?

This scenario or one similar happens countless times everywhere.  But does it have to? The answer is a resounding “No.” You can have cool plants and a happy healthy pet co-existing in harmony.

Flowers and plants are decorative and not meant to be eaten. As with any non-food product, some flowers and plants can have varying effects on pets if ingested. However, there are many others that are perfectly safe to have around Spot or Fluffy. 

Teacup Violets  - Lisa Greene, AAF, AIFD, PFCI

African Violet

Here are 15 commonly available and easy-to-care for indoor plants:

  1. African Violet (flowering)
  2. Bamboo Palm
  3. Christmas/Thanksgiving cactus (flowering)
  4. Cyclamen (flowering)
  5. Grape Ivy (hanging)
  6. Hen and Chick succulent (Very popular!)
  7. Norfolk Island Pine
  8. Peperomia (many species with cool leaf shapes!)
  9. Pony Tail Palm
  10. Prayer Plant
  11. Rubber Tree
  12. Spider plant (hanging)
  13. Swedish Ivy (hanging)
  14. Tillandsia (air plants)
  15. Wandering Jew (hanging)
Flowers in the Kitchen

Cyclamen

Here are some helpful tips for having plants in your pet’s space. Let’s admit it, it is their space and you are just allowed to live there.

  • Hanging plants are great especially with cats. Keep plants trimmed so they don’t hang so low as to be tempting to bored felines feeling the need to scale the heights. Air plants in hanging glass containers are popular, too.
  • Place a layer of rocks (larger stones not pea gravel) on top of the soil of large pots to make it less inviting for cats to dig in the pot.
  • Provide a plant that is in their space and totally just for them to chew and chomp such as a pot of wheat/cat grass, cat nip, etc.
  • When necessary, treat plants with “safe” solutions for insect pests such as “Safer” soap.
  • Remove any excess water from trays to prevent the pet from possibly drinking it.
  • Avoid plants with spines, stickers, or thorns.
  • Peppermint oil or citrus oils can be used to deter cats getting in plants.
Succulents Arrangement  - Lisa Greene, AAF, AIFD, PFCI

Succulent

The plants listed above are diverse in shape, size, and use. Combine them with the growing and care tips, and you can enjoy your furry and foliar friends with no complications (or cramps and diarrhea).

For a detailed list of pet-friendly plants, visit the Animal Poison Control Center at www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/plants.