You may have seen rows upon rows of potted plants, looking so pleasing and beautiful, and wished you could grow them too. Have you?
If you are a pet parent these thoughts seem far-fetched, especially if you own a cat. The chances your cat ruins the plants are highly likely, out of curiosity or by peeing in them.
So does that mean if you have a cat, you can’t have a plant? No, it’s possible to have a plant and a cat at the same time but with the right measures to save your plant.
But what are these measures and why do they need to be taken? Let’s find out.
Why Do Cats Pee In Plants?
Your cat may be trying to tell you something if it is peeing in the plants frequently or the reason can be more instinctual.
Cats are wild animals, their instincts lie in the jungle and the soil in the plants. The soil feels familiar to them and hence they like relieving themselves in the soil.
The soil is also soft, cats like relieving themselves on soft surfaces or surfaces which feel soft before and after they pee on them. The soil in the potted plants acts the same for cats and they like relieving themselves in the soil of potted plants.
The familiarity of soil may appeal to your cat but peeing in the plants could be an indication too. When your cat pees anywhere other than its litter box it is a hint that it is not liking the litter box
The cat may stop using the litter box if it is not clean, cats do not use dirty litter boxes and would find another place to relieve themselves.
Else, if the litter box is clean and the cat is still not using it, it may be because the location of the litter box is not to the liking of your cat.
If the litter box is dismissed by the cats, they could pee anywhere around the house. If you have potted plants around the house. It may be even more convenient for your cat as it would find something more familiar to the wild and it would appeal to its instincts.
Is Cat Pee Bad For Plants?
Imagine having a collection of potted plants and a cat, one day you walk into the room of your plants and smell the stench of cat urine. You know, your cat has used your plants as its toilet, the first thing you might be thinking is, will your plants be ok?
The main component of cat urine is urea, like in humans but the percentage of urea is higher in cat urine than in humans. Urea for plants acts as a fertilizer. But excess of it may cause issues like fertilizer burns. Excess to urea is not good for the roots of the plants too.
The issue with potted plants is more concerning as there is not much soil in pots so even small amounts can cause a lot of damage to the plants.
Once your cat pees in the plants, it’s like the cat has now marked the spot and unless you get rid of the smell, it will continue to pee in the plants.
Potted plants are not too large and the amount of soil used in them is way less than in say flower beds. If your cat pees in the garden you can easily diffuse it and the chances that the urea gets diluted are more.
Cat urine also contains salt. Salt in plants may cause dehydration causing the plant to shrivel up and die.
Urea, present in cat urine in excess could cause fertilizer burns and damage the roots of your plants.
There are ways to get cat urine out of the soil, but a better solution would be finding ways to keep your cat away so it would not frequently make your plants its makeshift lavatory.
My Cat Peed In My Plant, Will It Die?
If your plants start dying when you are giving them proper care and all the sufficient things you can provide and you see a cat visiting or nearing your plant time and again. You should consider the possibility that the cat may be peeing in your plants.
Yes, the odds of your plants dying if your cat pees in them are in favor.
The urea content in cat urine is detrimental to plants and their roots. The excess of urea in cat urine can cause fertilizer burns in roots and cause your plants to dry out.
Urine also contains salt. Salt is an excellent dehydrating agent and would deprive your plant of water which could cause the death of the plant because of lack of water.
Potted plants are at much risk of dying from excessive urine because there is not much soil to dilute or diffuse the amount of urea as there is in large gardens or flower beds.
Your plant may not die completely but you may notice the death of a few small stems and leaves. You should cut the dead part and it would probably regrow.
If you see your plant starts to die you need to flush out the cat urine and find a way that this stops so your plants stay safe.
Plants That Can Tolerate Cat Urine?
You might wonder if cat pee is hazardous for plants so there may be plants that would be able to tolerate it and not die so easily.
House plants depend upon the owner to provide them with additional nutrients like ammonia from urea as they can’t get it themselves.
If your cat pees in the pot, once it may be enough or it won’t cause much harm instead it would only help the plant.
But if the frequency and the time between doing so each time are not much, it may prove dangerous for your plants.
Nearly all plants that can be potted may die with excess urea whose presence can be traced to cat urine.
There is a possibility that your plants might die when exposed to that amount of urea. But you can grow plants that the cats avoid or don’t like that much.
You can plant these in your house and you don’t have to worry about your cat ruining them because they simply don’t like these plants and would simply avoid them:
- Curry herb
- Scaredy cat plant
Growing these would fulfill your plant wishes and you wouldn’t have to fret over your cat ruining them.
These are generally herbs with certain scents. Cats are not a fan of such scents and they avoid these plants.
How To Keep Cats From Peeing In Potted Plants?
Cats might ruin your plant collection by peeing in the plants. You can prevent this from happening by using evasive tactics such as
- Covering the plants: you can protect your plant by covering them with aluminum foil. Cats despise the feel of aluminum foil and when it bunches up it becomes pointy and annoys the cat. With the foil covering your cat won’t even go close to the plant.
- Stones and pine cones: sharp things fall under the category of things that cats don’t like. You can use stones and pine cones near your plants, it would give them a very modern look and also keep your cat away.
- Water: every time you see your cat going near the plants you can use a spray bottle or a squirt gun and spray a little water on the cat. Cat also don’t like water so they might get the signal and won’t try to repeat going near the plants.
- Citrus peels: cats don’t like the smell of citrus fruits. So putting a few orange peels in the plant would do the needful. The citrus peel is also good for the soil of the plant.
- Hanging: If your plants are small you could hang them on your patio or balcony. This would not allow your cat to reach the plant. If the cat can’t reach the plant it won’t be able to pee in it.
- Moth Balls: mothballs are another preventive measure. They are not everybody’s first preference because of the smell but they are effective all the same.
- Change litter box: Your cat might be using the plants as the litter box because the actual litter box might not be clean or the location may not be probable or to the liking of the cat.
You can use these methods to keep your cat away for a long time and all these have proven effective for other pet parents. You can try them too.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can citrus peels keep cats away?
Citrus scents are not a cat’s favorite so if you put them around the plants they won’t go near them. The same goes with lavender too. You can also plant these cute plants and your cat won’t even go near the plants and you won’t have to worry about it.
My cat ruins my plants after peeing in them, why is that?
cats are wild animals, you can take the animal out of the wild but not the wild out of the animal. Cats try to bury their scents, so if they pee in the plant soil they try to tour it tod in the process might ruin the plants.
Cats pee in places where they are supposed to then they are not trained.
Your fully trained cat might also start peeing in different places if it does not like its litter box or its location of it.
Your cat might use plants as the soil in them is closely related to the wild where their natural habitat and instincts lie.
Cat urine contains urea, which in excessive amounts can kill your plant, so you need to make sure that your cat does not use these beautiful plants as their toilet.
You can try the above-listed methods as they are fairly easy and can be carried out easily without much effort.
Would you try these or find another solution?