12 Houseplants Safe for Cats
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12 Houseplants Safe for Cats

Est. read time: 4 min.

One way to breathe new life into the grey abyss of winter is to fill your home with greenery. However, mixing plants into a household with curious cats can make for a potentially dangerous situation. In honor of Houseplant Appreciation Day, we’ve gathered a list of 12 houseplants safe for cats. Now get growing!

African violets

African violets - houseplants safe for cats
© Vladimir2366fa / CC-BY-SA-3.0

While many flowering plants are actually poisonous to cats, African violets are safe for both cats and dogs. These charming violets thrive in moderate to bright, indirect light, but can also bloom in low light. They do best in moderate temperatures and average humidity.

Areca palm

Areca palm - houseplants safe for cats
© David J. Stang / CC-BY-SA-4.0

Also known as a butterfly palm, the bold areca palm does best in bright, indirect light. One tip? You may want to place your butterfly palm in a tall, heavy pot to keep your cat from digging in it or, ahem, using it as a litter box.

Baby tears

Hardy baby tears - houseplants safe for cats
© David J. Stang / CC-BY-SA-4.0

Another of the houseplants safe for cats on our list could also be considered a succulent safe for cats. Hardy baby tears can also be used to cover soil of other houseplants in which your pets might be fond of digging.

Boston fern

Boston fern - houseplants safe for cats
© David J. Stang / CC-BY-SA-4.0

Not only is the Boston fern one of the few ferns safe for cats, it also does well as a hanging plant that you can (probably) keep out of your pet’s reach. These ferns need lots of bright, indirect light and a healthy dose of humidity.


Bromeliads - houseplants safe for cats
© Tony Hisgett / CC-BY-SA-2.0

With their colorful blooms that contrast well with strappy green leaves, bromeliads are a stylish and safe houseplant. Even better, many bromeliads will grow without potted soil—grow them instead as epiphytes attached to a log. 


Calathea - houseplants safe for cats
© Cfunateoow / CC-BY-SA-4.0

The calathea goes by many names, including maranta, peacock, prayer, rattlesnake, and zebra plant. No matter what you call it, it’s another of the houseplants safe for cats. These potted plants are famous for their wide, green, decorative leaves.


Haworthia - houseplants safe for cats
© Andrew Butko / CC-BY-SA-3.0

Another succulent on our list is the haworthia, also called the zebra plant. It looks like a miniature aloe vera plant—but unlike aloe vera, haworthia is safe for cats and dogs. You’ll know it by its fleshy leaves and pearly white bands.

Mosaic plant

Mosaic plant - houseplants safe for cats
© Challiyan / CC-BY-SA-3.0

The mosaic plant, also known as the nerve plant, certainly bears its name with its delicate pink- or white-veined leaves. According to The Spruce, the mosaic plant does best in low light with moderate watering.


Orchids - houseplants safe for cats
© Ronincmc / CC-BY-SA-4.0

Orchids are as beautiful as lilies, without being deadly to cats. In fact, orchids are a perfectly safe houseplant for cats. Their colorful and fragrant flowers come in endless varieties, often blooming long into winter when daylight is low.

Ponytail palm

Ponytail palm - houseplants safe for cats
© Forest and Kim Starr / CC-BY-SA-3.0

Another palm on our list of houseplants safe for cats is the aptly named ponytail palm. This plant does well in bright light and dry environments. The ponytail palm is actually part of the agave family—fitting, as it hails from Mexico.

Spider plant

Spider plant - houseplants safe for cats

The easygoing spider plant is adaptable to almost any household. Your cat will enjoy batting at its thin foliage, although you can just as easily turn this into a hanging plant if you’d rather your furry family member leave it be.

Swedish ivy

Swedish ivy - houseplants safe for cats

This popular hanging basket houseplant is a great option for beginners and can easily become a potted plant. As the final choice of our houseplants safe for cats, Swedish ivy does best in bright, indirect light.

Reminder: Some houseplants can be deadly for cats

white lilies on a black background
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

We’ve already mentioned that lilies are poisonous to cats, and we will again and again. In addition to lily plants that belong to the Lilium genus (which includes Easter lilies, tiger lilies, and Asiatic lilies) and the Hemerocallis genus (which includes daylilies), avoid these houseplants if you have cats:

  • Foxglove
  • Philodendron
  • Azalea and Rhododendron
  • Cyclamen
  • Oleander
  • Sago Palm
  • Castor Bean
  • Yew
  • Marijuana (rarely results in death)

Visit ASPCA’s list of plants that are toxic and non-toxic to cats to learn more.


Cover photo by Amber Renae on Unsplash

orange tabby sitting by a houseplant in the sun; 12 houseplants safe for cats


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