Why do cats eat houseplants?

In this brief discussion, we’ll answer the question “Why do cats eat houseplants?” We will also talk about how to prevent your cat from eating houseplants.

Why do cats eat houseplants?

Cats can eat houseplants due to the following reasons:

  • Your cat might be bored
  • Your cat may have nutrient deficiencies
  • Your Cat like the taste of houseplants
  • Your cat is stressed
  • Your cat has pica

Let us discuss in detail why cats eat houseplants:

Your cat is bored

Cats tend to show unusual behaviour in an attempt to amuse themselves when they are bored. Cats are active animals and require daily activity to maintain their physical and mental health. 

When cats are bored, they find ways to entertain themselves and eat plants around the house. They will look for anything that intrigues them and try to eat or play with it. So if you observe that your cat is eating houseplants, try to engage it in a fun activity.

Your cat is nutrient deficient

Many animals including cats have the ability to sense when they are lacking nutrients in their diet. 

Some studies suggest that even though cats are carnivores, they sometimes resort to eating plants in order to gain additional nutrients as plants are an excellent source of certain vitamins, minerals and fibre.

If this is the problem, consult with your vet and come up with an appropriate diet for your cat to resolve nutrient deficiencies.

Your cat likes the taste of houseplants

Some studies suggest that cats may start to eat houseplants because they simply like their taste. It is possible that your cat tried eating houseplants out of boredom or curiosity but ended up liking their taste due to which it keeps going back to it for more.

A nibble once in a while probably won’t hurt your cat but if your cat starts to eat houseplants more frequently, it can suffer from certain health issues including digestive issues, vomiting, diarrhoea or abdominal pain. Therefore, it is crucial to stop this from becoming a habit.

Your cat is stressed or anxious

Cats tend to show unusual behaviour when they are stressed or anxious. Eating houseplants could be a possible sign of displacement behaviour. Animals show displacement behaviour when they show unusual behaviour that seems unrelated to an underlying health issue.

The stress in your cat’s life may cause it to act out and eat houseplants. In such a situation, you can get rid of this problem by removing the cause of their stress.

Your cat might have pica

Pica is a health condition that occurs when animals start to chew on or eat unusual non-food items. Houseplants can be one of them. If you observe that your cat is eating houseplants very frequently and obsessively, you need to consult a vet as soon as possible.

Only a qualified vet can help you properly diagnose pica and get rid of this problem in cats. Preventing your cat from eating houseplants is necessary since excess consumption can upset your cat’s stomach.

How can I prevent my cat from eating houseplants?

You can prevent your cat from eating houseplants by following the strategies given below:

  • Make your houseplants unappealing to cats by making them smell using the lemon peel. Cats don’t like the smell of lemon.
  • Sprinkle cayenne pepper on houseplants. This will keep your cat away from plants.
  • Replace your houseplants with the ones cats hate. For example, rosemary, cactus and other thorny plants are appealing to humans but cats hate them since they’re prickly.
  • Look for cat friendly over the counter sprays and spray them on houseplants. This will keep your plants safe and your cat away.
  • Consider placing plants where your cat can’t reach them.
  • You can also make a mixture using one part vinegar and 3 part water and spray it on your plants. This will also help to keep cats away from your houseplants.


We answered the question “Why do cats eat houseplants?” We also talked about how to prevent your cat from eating houseplants.