4 Plants to Grow for Your Cats (and 10 to Avoid)


There are a million different ways to show your cat you care. You can buy them expensive food and treats to spoil them or all the latest toys to keep them entertained. Some owners combine the power of chemistry and their love of gardening to bring out the kitten in their house cat.

For cat lovers with a green thumb, here are 4 plants you can grow to treat your cat and 10 you should avoid growing for their safety and well-being.

Four Plants To Grow For Cats

We’ve all heard of catnip, which tops this list, but if your feline friend is finicky, try the others on this list of four plants cats appreciate.

1. Catnip

It’s a classic and a favorite for a good reason. Catnip, a member of the mint family, can cause cats to do all kinds of crazy things. They might roll around on the floor, jump around, or get super chatty.

The key part of catnip is the oil found in the stems and leaves. If you plan to grow catnip in the garden, make sure to place it around the edges of plant beds so cats don’t trample other plants to get to the nip.

For more catnip tips and some additional information about how it’s helpful for both cats and humans (tea?!), check out this resource from Shawn, one of the “Cat Freaks” behind TwoCatFreaks.com.

2. Valerian Root

It might not have the prettiest smell of the plant world, but for felines, valerian is a stimulant that works well to bring out the kitten in your cat.

Valerian root — despite the many comparisons to dirty gym sock odor — is a sedative in humans. But something in the chemical makeup in the oil of the roots turns that around on cats and induces behaviors similar to catnip. Valerian is relatively easy to grow and flowers perennially.

3. Silver Vine

Silver vine and valerian root share an active ingredient: actinidine. This means cats react similarly to the two plants. Silver vine grows up to 15 feet and produces fruit that looks like an orange kiwi fruit. The plant hails from Japan, but cat toys in the form of sticks made from silver vine are increasingly popular world (and internet) wide.

4. Honeysuckle

It’s a sad fact: not all cats react to catnip. For those who don’t, honeysuckle is a great alternative. For gardeners wanting to home grow their cat toys, be aware that the berries on honeysuckle are poisonous to cats.

The woody part of the plant, however, is good to get your cat highly intoxicated. Look for the specific breed of honeysuckle, Lonicera Tatarica.

10 Poisonous Plants Your Cat Should Avoid

decorative plants that cats are completely safe to live around, not all plants are good for your little fuzzy pal. One of the most important ways to keep your pet safe is to make sure there’s nothing casually lying around that could harm them if ingested. This is just as important for houseplants as it is chemicals, foods, and anything else they can stick in their mouths, really.

Here’s a list of 10 common plants that can harm your feline friend:

  • Autumn Crocus
  • Azalea
  • Daffodil
  • Dieffenbachia
  • Kalanchoe, aka the Mother-in-Law plant
  • Lily
  • Mistletoe
  • Oleander
  • Sago Palm
  • Tulip

If you don’t have a green thumb, it’s okay.

You can look learn to identify the plants your cat would like and ask neighbors or friends for twigs of their plants. Or skip the plants all together and shop for some awesome catnip blends and silver vine sticks online:


About Author

Brooke Faulkner is an animal advocate and mother of two. When she's not writing, she can usually be found zipping around on her ATV. She first fell in love with animals as a young girl, on a family visit to a goat farm in New Hampshire. She's dreamed of adopting a Great Pyrenees ever since. To read more of her words, follow @faulknercreek.

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