Since many of us have children and pets, another important question arises: Which houseplants are actually non-toxic to pets and/or humans?
Quite a few houseplants contain toxic substances that can pose a danger to both humans and pets when swallowed or even just chewed on.
In this article, we will now deal specifically with terrific houseplants that are non-toxic to cats.
The houseplants presented below are all classified as non-toxic to cats by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and therefore do not pose a danger to your kitties.
African Daisy (Gerbera jamesonii)
The first houseplant that makes our cat-friendly list is African Daisy (Gerbera jamesonii). African Daisy is a member of the family Compositae. Of the 30 different species within that family, there are some that can be kept indoors as potted plants. Gerbera jamesonii is certainly one of them.
Almost all the varieties that are available today on the market, which are cultivated as cut flowers or indoor plants, are hybrids.
Aluminium Plant (Pilea cadierei)
Pilea cadierei, also known as Aluminium plant and Watermelon Pilea, is an evergreen perennial native to tropical Southeast Asian rainforests. They can be found in tropical China as well as in Vietnam. The Aluminium plant is related to the iconic Pilea Peperiomides, a.k.a the Chinese Money Plant. The plant can grow up to 30 centimetres high and feels very comfortable in a warm climate. This low-maintenance houseplant is ideal for both indoor and outdoor.
Moreover, it only requires minimal care and does not pose any threats to your cat, as it is completely non-toxic to both cats & dogs.
Bird’s nest fern (Asplenium nidus)
Ferns are generally considered to be very finicky houseplants. And I wouldn’t disagree, to be honest. However, Bird’s nest fern (Asplenium nidus) is definitely one of the easier ferns to care for. And on top of that, its non-toxicity towards cats make this fern even better.
If you get one of these, make sure to not expose them to direct sunlight, as all ferns grow best in moderate light. This is not very surprising after all, considering the fact that the natural habitat of most ferns is the shady forest floor.
If you are the type of person that loves challenges, you might want to get your hands on one of the three most challenging ferns instead, being:
- Maidenhair ferns (Adiantum capillus veneris)
- Staghorn ferns (Platycerium bifurcatum)
- Asparagus ferns (Asparagus densiflorus)
The general consensus with Maidenhair ferns is that they are non-toxic to cats as well. However, they do not figure in the listing of the ASPCA.
Staghorn ferns are definitely pet-safe (cats, dogs & horses), as stated by the ASPCA.
Asparagus ferns, however, are TOXIC to cats. So if you do indeed have a kitty at home, don’t go for Asparagus ferns.
Ferns are among the oldest plants in the world. Moreover, with their long, attractive fronds, they are a true eye candy and can be grown both outdoors and indoors. The Boston fern is certainly no different.
So to conclude, the Boston fern is not all that easy to take care for but it certainly has the advantage to be pet-safe. Other ferns that are cat-approved Bold Sword fern, Bird’s Nest fern, Ball fern, Common Staghorn Fern, Dallas Fern and many others.
Some ferns, however, are also toxic to cats, such as the Asparagus fern (Asparagus densiflorus cv sprengeri).
Cushion Aloe (Haworthia retusa)
Cushion Aloe, a.k.a Haworthia retusa, is on good terms with cats, meaning it is non-toxic to cats. This is actually the case for most Haworthia.
This perennial succulent calls Riversdale, South Africa its home. In Riversdale and surrounding areas, you can find this succulent on almost every hill it seems. But in case you don’t have time for a trip to beautiful South Africa, you might just want to open up Amazon and order one there for around 10 to 20 bucks.
By the way, Haworthia retusa are often advertised as cacti, but the Cushion Aloe is a true succulent.
Is this a Ghost plant? Well, no, but it definitely looks a little bit like one, that is true. But what we are dealing with here is actually an Echeveria. The natural home of Echeveria is Texas, Mexico, Central America and South America. While this succulent thrives extraordinary well in arid mountainous regions, it is also possible to keep it as a houseplant. The Blue Hens and Chicks, which is just another fancy name to refer to your Echeveria glauca, is further known to be cat-friendly and is also non-toxic to both dogs and horses.
Nerve plant (Fittonia vershaffeliti)
I really do enjoy all these Latin names for houseplants, they somehow add a magical touch to our leafy friends, right? Sort of. But on the other hand, it’s just so incredibly difficult to remember these…right? Well, Fittonia vershaffeliti is certainly not a name I will be able to recall in the foreseeable future. So let us just call it Nerve plant for now.
The natural habitat of Nerve plants is the tropical forests of South America. However, this plant can also thrive indoors, for example in a terrarium.
Fittonias, also known as mosaic plants, feel especially comfortable in semi-shady locations. At least 24 °C room temperature and high humidity are ideal in summer. In winter, it is important to make sure that the room temperature does not fall below 18 degrees, as this could have fatal consequences for your Nerve plant.
In general, however, one must say that it is not exactly easy to keep a nerve plant as a houseplant. The easiest way is definitely in a terrarium.
But even if you try it without a terrarium, at least you do not have to be afraid that this plant will harm your cat, as it is non-toxic for cats as stated by the ASPCA.
Flame African Violet (Episcia reptans)
Episcia reptans is a member of the family Gesneriaceae and is another beautiful houseplant classified as non-toxic to cats by the ASCPA.
Episcia reptans are flowering plants that are often grown in the tropics. In temperate regions, however, you’ll also often find them as houseplants.
Episcia are not exactly the easiest houseplants to grow and cultivate. But at least you don’t need to be worried that they will bring harm to your cat, as they are officially “cat-approved” as per the ASCPA: → Non-toxic to cats.
Other beautiful species of the family Gesneriaceae that are non-toxic to cats include Episcia dianthiflora (Chocolate Soldier) and Episcia cultivar (Pink Brocade).
Friendship Plant (Pilea involucrata)
Pilea involucrata is another great addition to your urban jungle, even if you have cats lurking around. This pet-safe Pilea does look great, is classified as low-maintenance and is very easy to propagate…
…so what are you waiting for? And by the way, Pileas are generally among the safest plants for pets. You could also go for a Creeping Pilea, Pilea mycrophylla or even a Pilea peperiomides. Your cat certainly wouldn’t mind.
Earlier on in this article, we have been talking about the Echeveria glauca. It really does resemble the Ghost Plant, don’t you think so (now)?
One thing that these two certainly share is the fact that they are non-toxic to cats..and by the way also non-toxic to horses, in case you got a horse running around your living room.
The ghost plant, which, by the way, also goes by the noble name of “Mother of Pearl,” is native to Mexico.
This succulent plant likes bright locations with plenty of direct sunlight all year round. A sunny and warm location at a south window is usually a great choice.
Make sure to check out our plant care guide about this lovely succulent: Ghost Plant Plant Care Guide.
Goldfish plant (Hypocyrta)
Cats certainly like to play with real goldfish. But do they also like to mess around with Goldfish plants? Well, I am not sure about that. But thanks to the ASPCA, I know one thing for sure: Goldfish plants are non-toxic to cats. So even if your cat mistakes your Goldfish plant for real goldfish, you won’t need to worry too much.
Metallic Peperomia (Peperomia caperata)
Plants of the genera Peperomia are generally a cat’s best friend cause they are all classified as non-toxic to cats by the ASPCA. The Metallic Peperomia (Peperomia caperata) is no exception. So feel free to get your hands on one of these neat little non-toxic plants.
Paddys Wig (Soleirolia Soleirolii)
Paddys Wig, also known as Angel’s tears or Soleirolia Soleirolii (wow, that kinda sounds like a spell straight out of the Harry Potter empire), is another cat-friendly plant that you can grow indoors maybe in a bucket-like container or even in a terrarium.
One of the reasons why this houseplant is so popular is because it is very low maintenance. Another good reason why Angel’s tears (some also call it Baby’s tears) makes for a decent houseplant is its non-toxic nature. Absolutely pet-safe, at least as far as cats & dogs go.
Pheasant Plant (Cryptanthus zonatus)
If I were a cat, the Pheasant plant would most probably not be my first choice to nibble on.
Simply because it looks kinda dangerous with its pink foliage. But then again, a cat might see things a little different. And at the end of the day, Cryptanthus zonatus is not even classified as toxic to cats as per the ASCPA, so it’s all good.
Prayer Plant (Maranta leuconeura)
So next in line the beautiful Maranta Leuconeura plant. This beautiful houseplant belongs to the family of Marantaceae, which ultimately also includes the whole Calathea genus. And Calatheas are generally very cat-friendly.
So what does that tell us?
It tells us that this Prayer plant is pet-safe: Cats OK, dogs OK, horses OK.
So are there even Calatheas that are venomous to cats? Not as far as I know. And I couldn’t find any on the list of the ASPCA.
I had one of these beautiful plants in my living room… but my cat didn’t seem to bother much. But who am I to say that your cat will feel the same way? Maybe your cat would love to nibble on one of these. But even that is no cause for concern because the rattlesnake plant is indeed classified as cat-safe by the ASPCA.
However, even this favourable circumstance could not save my plant in the end, but the reasons for its tragic death are probably to be found elsewhere.
It is pretty easy to imagine your cat nibbling on one of these beautiful leaves of the so-called Spider Plant, right? I guess so. But the question is, of course, would there be any consequences?
Luckily enough, there would most certainly be no consequences at all, as Chlorophytum is considered pet-safe by the ASPCA, including cats & dogs. But that doesn’t mean that you should let your cat feast on this beauty for dinner, as chewing, or worse, eating larger amounts of the spider plant could obviously still result in your furry friend having an upset stomach or showing other signs of discomfort.
If your cat really can’t resist playing with your houseplants, you might do better to get her some cat grass.
Wax plant (Hoya carnosa)
Are you looking for cat-safe houseplants that blossom? Then look no further. Wax plants definitely meet this criterion. This flowering plant belongs to the family of Apocynaceae and calls Eastern Asia and Australia home.
Hoya Carnosa is a common houseplant these days, mainly grown for its attractive waxy foliage and maybe also partly because of its cat-friendliness…MEEEOOOOOOW!
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.