Low-Light Houseplants That Are Safe for a Cat

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Houseplants bring a touch of outdoors inside and are an important part of decorating, especially when using feng shui -- the Chinese art of creating harmonious environments. Many homes lack adequate natural light, making low-light plants the only option for bringing in greenery. Pet owners have the added challenge of protecting a loved pet from toxic plants. Since cats enjoy chewing on greenery, choose only non-toxic plants for your home.

Evaluate Light Levels

  • Know what light is available to select the most appropriate plants. Decide where plants will be located. Then look at how much light comes through the window throughout the day. Morning light is weaker than noon and afternoon sunshine. A west or south window provides more direct light than an east or north window. Check outside to see if a tree or building shades the window for all or part of the day. Consider how much light will come in if there is a shade, blind, or sheer curtain on the window.

Learn Plant Needs

  • Check plant tags for recommended light levels. Plants listed as "medium" light level will do well with indirect light or weak light from an east or north window. Plants will often survive in a low-light situation, but won't thrive. You may see plants become elongated and less compact. They may also loose distinctive markings and leaves may lighten in color. If the plant is one supposed to bloom, you may find that it will maintain nice foliage, but won't produce flowers.

Non-toxic Plants for Cats

  • Peperomia's are a large family of plants that tolerate low light and are safe for cats. They have similar leaf structures but come in different forms and shades of green. Purple velvet plant (Gynura aurantica) has fuzzy dark purple leaves, although it may lighten in color and elongate some in low level it's a very striking plant. Some ferns including Dallas, duffii, and dwarf feather palm do well with indirect light and add interest in decorating. Cat-safe flowering plants include Christmas cactus, which prefers lower light levels, and African violets, which do well in east windows where they only get morning sun.

Make Plants Less Attractive to Cats

  • Outdoor cats will ingest grass to help with the passing of hair balls and some plants, like catnip, are irresistible for cats. An indoor cat has the same instincts to chew on plants. Take steps to make plants less attractive for cats. Cover soil with pebbles or large glass beads to prevent cats from being drawn to dig in the dirt. Install plant hooks or hangers in front of windows to get plants up out of a cats reach. Sprinkle leaves they have already chewed on with chili powder or cayenne pepper to discourage chewing habits.

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