10 Non-Toxic Plants for Cats and a Catio

Patio season is upon us, which means Catio season is too! When decorating your catio it is important to always choose non-toxic plants for cats. 

Catios are a great addition for our furry friends. Not only do outdoor cat enclosures create an oasis, but also provide an environment that reflects nature’s elements. In particular, plants are a great way to stimulate our feline companions, while also giving them a place to explore new scents, play, or take refuge under shady leaves.

In this article, we will suggest 10 non-toxic plants for cats. If ever in doubt, consult this list from the ASPCA website which states all the non-toxic plants for cats. Here we have linked each plant to the ASPCA website so you can verify yourself that all plants we have mentioned are safe.

When buying plants for your Catio we always suggest verifying with a specialist at the plant nursery using the exact scientific name of the plant from The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

Continue to read on to understand more information about each Catio friendly plant! 

ten non toxic plants for your catio

Non-toxic plants to decorate your Catio:

1. Spider Plant

 

  • Scientific Name: Anthericum Comosum
  • Cat Topia Tip: Spider plants are fantastic for your Catio! Even though spider plants are non-toxic for cats, they may like the look of the leaves because they resemble grass which we know cats love to feed on. With this in mind, we suggest keeping your Spider plants in hanging baskets or macrame plant hangers where the cats won’t completely devour them.
  • Size: 1 to 2 feet tall and wide
  • Lighting: Prefer to grow outside in light shade. You can put it into a shaded corner of your Catio. Direct sunlight will scorch the leaves.
  • Ideal Temperature: 60°F – 75°F

2. Buzzy Lizzie

  • Scientific Name: Impatiens spp.
  • Cat Topia Tip: For a burst of color in your Catio, we would suggest adding Buzzy Lizzies to your Catio. In addition, these flowers can bloom for the better part of the year.  Moreover, impatiens come in pink, white and red. When placed in hanging containers, impatiens compliment the green plants that will be placed alongside them. Finally, if your Catio is in a shaded part of your garden, you could decorate the outside of Catio with these beautiful flowers.
  • Size: 24 inches in height
  • Lighting: Light to medium shade. Keep out of direct sunlight.
  • Ideal Temperature: 60°F

3. Boston Fern

  • Cat Topia Tip: Boston Ferns are bold and are the perfect plant for Catios because they thrive in shady environments. If you want to add some more hanging plants to your Catio, these will look lovely next to Spider plants. Boston Ferns thrive in a humid environment so if you live in a place that has humidity in the air these could be the perfect addition to your Catio.
  • Size: 1 to 3 feet
  • Lighting: Partial or full shade
  • Ideal Temperature: 60°F – 75°F

4. Blue Echeveria

  • Cat Topia Tip: Good news is that most succulents are non-toxic to plants to cats, so you could create a pot with various kinds of Echeveria inside your Catio. In addition, succulents can add color like this one because it has a violet hue to its leaves. If you put succulents inside the Catio, we recommend using a heavier pot with many different kinds so that the cat does not knock it over. We also recommend that you use succulents only if your Catio has some sunlight coming into it. If you live in a state with a lot of sun, these are great plants for your Catio.
  • Size: 4 to 6 inches
  • Lighting: Full sun, partial sun
  • Ideal Temperature: 65°F to 75°F

5. Cast Iron Palm

  • Cat Topia Tip:  This palm has long wide leaves and can provide a perfect place for a cat to find refuge under its shade. The plant is called a “Cast Iron” plant because it can withstand longer periods of time without having to attend to it. If you’re a busy cat owner, this could be a low maintenance plant to add into your Catio.
  • Size: 2 feet tall, 3 feet wide
  • Lighting: Bright indirect light, partial shade but avoid direct light  
  • Ideal Temperature: 45°F to 85°F

6. Sunflower

  • Scientific Name: helianthus angustifolius
  • Cat Topia Tip: Sunflowers are so bright and cheery and could really perk up your cat’s space. Fortunately, most cats are not attracted to sunflowers! If your Catio has a spot that gets sun these could be lovely inside your Catio or even bordering it on the outside of it. They can grow very tall so could look beautiful covering up the fencing of your Catio if you want to create a little hidden space for your cats.
  • Size: 3-15 feet high (depending on variety)
  • Lighting: Full sun
  • Ideal Temperature: 70°F to 80°F

7. Swedish Ivy

  • Scientific Name: Pilea nummulariifolia
  • Cat Topia Tip:  Swedish Ivy is a lush, green ivy that looks best in hanging baskets. Other species of ivy can cause vomiting for cats, but Swedish Ivy is a non-toxic option if you love ivies like we do! Make sure to take the scientific name to your local plant nursey! This plant will be a great addition to the Catio because it has trailing branches which could be draped through the Catio fencing for a very verdant and relaxing space for your cats and yourself.
  • Size: 11” to 24”
  • Lighting: Bright, indirect light  
  • Ideal Temperature: 60°F to 75°F

8. Golden Marigold

  • Scientific Name: Calendula officinalis
  • Cat Topia Tip:  If your Catio is situated in a place that gets a lot of sun, we recommend planting Marigolds for an easy flower to bloom around it in the spring and summer. We think these would look wonderful on the outside of Cedar Catio framing it because they would bring out the golden reflects in Cedar. Make sure that you live in a climate that gets a lot of sun for these little flowers to thrive.
  • Size: 6” to 12”
  • Lighting: Full sun, bright light
  • Ideal Temperature: 65°F to 70°F

 

9. Orchid

  • Scientific Name: Phalaenopsis sp.
  • Cat Topia Tip:  Orchids are an elegant choice for your Catio. If you have a table inside of your Catio, this could be propped up on there while you’re enjoying a cup of coffee or tea in the mornings. More curious kitties might be enticed to play with it, but you can rest assured as orchids are not toxic for Cats.
  • Size: 24” to 30”
  • Lighting: Bright, indirect light
  • Ideal Temperature: 65°F to 75°F

10. Rosemary

  • Scientific Name: Rosmarinus officinalis
  • Cat Topia Tip:  The Catio provides a perfect place to start an herb garden or transport an existing herb garden. Good news is that many herbs are cat friendly and non-toxic. For example, rosemary, sage and thyme are all okay to plant in an herb garden that you cat can access.
  • Size: 3 to 5 feet
  • Lighting: Full sun, bright light
  • Ideal Temperature: 55°F to 80°F

Is Catnip considered non-toxic?

 

Despite popular belief, Catnip is actually toxic for kitties according to the ASPCA, and we wouldn’t recommend putting it in your Catio because this is a place they can access at all times.  Catnip could be stored on the outside of your Catio and when you can be present it can be brought inside. Oftentimes, Catnip causes vomiting, and diarrhea in our furry friends. Above all, it best to only put plants in your Catio that are declared by the ASPCA as non-toxic. 

Other Tips

  • We recommend using pots that are plastic if you’re hanging plants.
  • When reading online about non-toxic plants for cats, please always refer to ASPCA.org for more information. Many blogs can have inaccurate information on plants for cats.
  • It is important to note that even if the plant is non-toxic, it can still cause vomiting. Eating grass and plants is natural for kitties, so many might be enticed by your plants and flowers. If your cats are constantly eating plants, there are other options for decorating your Catio such as adding toys, cat-trees and outdoor furniture.

What Plants to AVOID in a Catio:

  • Peace lilies 
  • Aloe vera 
  •  Jade plants 
  • English Ivy 
  • Azeleas 
  • Eucalyptus 
  • Sago Palm 
  • Snake plant 
  • Wisteria 
 
For a full list of plants to avoid around cats, check out the list on the ASPCA list. 
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