Plant Parenthood: Pet-Proof Your Plants

Sometimes all it takes to raise a healthy plant is space, sunlight, water, and a little love. Other times, it takes a little more effort to create the ideal environment for your citrus tree. This is why we’re presenting: “Plant Parenthood”, our troubleshooting blog series. Here we’ll tackle everything from basic care to disease-prevention, pruning, and replanting with the goal of helping first time plant parents and green thumbs alike with their citruses.

As excited as you may be to welcome a new tree into your space, your pet may not be as accommodating. Pet-owners turned plant-owners might find themselves with spills of potting soil and bite marks on leaves. Cats in particular are known to make a starter salad out of houseplants due to everything from nutrient deficiencies to sheer boredom. It can be frustrating given all the effort you've put into keeping your plant in peak condition to watch it be mowed down by Garfield.

The important thing to realize is plants to a pet can be as enticing on the eye as they are to us. A tree may read as a plaything, a snack, or an enemy from a combative nation. Whether you have a cat, dog, bird, or bearded dragon, striking a balance between everyone in the space make take more than just a house meeting. Thankfully, minor adjustments in the treatment and management of both parties can improve the situation and keep both your citrus tree and your four legged friends happy.

Keep away

Simply put, placing your tree where your pet can’t easily get to it may be the easiest fix to the problem. While ensuring that your plant still gets the necessary light, move your tree to a higher shelf or somewhere your pet can’t as easily jump to.

Use deterrent sprays

By coating your tree leaves in diluted vinegar or other less-appealing flavors, you’ll teach your pet within a few bites that your tree is no longer on the menu. You can find homemade recipes online or purchase bottles at your local pet store. Be sure to apply a nontoxic variety!


As much as this may sound like rewarding bad behavior, you may be able to break your pet’s snacking habit by providing them with something else to do besides chow down on your tree. Leaving toys out while your cat is alone in addition to working some designated play time into your routines, may alleviate any boredom and burn off excess energy that may be at the root of the issue.

Buy some grass

Cat or kitty grass is a variety of leafy green grown specifically to give your pet something to chew on. A member of the mint family, cat grass is safe to eat, promotes good digestion, and as far as your pet is concerned tastes great. It can be found at pet stores as well as in seed form online.


Charles Todd