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How to keep my cat from eating bad plants?

April 17th, 2006, 11:30 AM
Tiny bit of background: My 2.5 yr old neutered cat Taz came to me as a kitten so small he couldn't quite walk yet. Since his mother was no where to be seen, it wasn't an option. So I raised him. He developed some abnormal digestive issues, probably relating to not getting enough real milk when he was a kitten. So now pretty much anything he eats other than his Medical Gastro or catnip or cat grass, can and often does make him sick. I've had episodes of running diarrhea (stuff that just flowed out of him), times when he had diarrhea for 2-3 days which resolved itself, and many many occasions where his poo is just a little soft, but still in the litter box. This morning I woke up to Taz running out of my bedroom, and a horrible nasty smell left behind. When I looked under the bed, I found that he had left a nice big pile of very smelly, very soft (but not quite diarrhea) poo. Cleaned it up and started thinking about how he could have gotten sick again. Figured that when he was out in the yard yesterday (he can't and doesn't get out of the yard), he must have eaten something that upset his tummy. I know I'm pretty much not going to have any way to stop him from eating grass, but as for other things out there, other plants, even if they're ok for cats to eat, how can I stop him from eating them? Is there something I can spray on them that will make them smell bad? Or should I just plant catnip & cat grass so that he has something good to eat and will hopefully stay away from the stuff that makes him ill?

Thanks in advance,

April 17th, 2006, 12:08 PM
Well when I found out my dog was getting into the household plants to eat , I move some of them to an unaccessible room and chucked several, and bought some artificial plants instead

April 17th, 2006, 12:28 PM
Perhaps it is time to rethink allowing your cat outside. There is no possible way to keep Taz entirely safe from harm out of doors nor to prevent him from eating whatever he chooses unless you build him a large 6-sided enclosure. I also wonder how much longer it will be until Taz is enticed into exploring the world beyond the backyard...

May 17th, 2006, 04:14 PM
Perhaps it is time to rethink allowing your cat outside. There is no possible way to keep Taz entirely safe from harm out of doors nor to prevent him from eating whatever he chooses unless you build him a large 6-sided enclosure. I also wonder how much longer it will be until Taz is enticed into exploring the world beyond the backyard...

I disagree. I know my cats, and Taz is not the kind of cat to try to find a way out of yard. He tried to jump on a short section of fence once, fell off onto the "outside" and sat there crying for me to come get him back inside. I've since blocked off that area so he can't get over the fence now, whether by accident or choice.
Why, I wonder, did you suggest that only a 6-sided enclosure would work? I have a portion of my deck blocked off by a few sections of wire dog exercise pen, panels being 2' x 2' and I let Taz, and all the creatures in my house, out into that area when I'm not going to be out to supervise. None of them have ever gotten over or around or through that, and it's not even attached to anything. I know lots of people who put their cats out on a leash, myself included (Rusty *does* try to get out of the yard), and that's a whole lot less hassle than taking up a big portion of my already-small yard with an enclosure.

All I wanted to know was if there was a spray or some sort of powder that I can spray or sprinkle on or around plants that Taz should not be eating--including things in my garden that won't hurt him but that I want to eat myself--that will make him not want to eat them.
If you have information on that, please feel free to reply.


May 17th, 2006, 04:22 PM
dogmelissa,I too let my cats out in the backyard,with supervision...Chico has jumped the fence a couple of times,but always returns crying at the gate.
My cats all eat grass and cat-nip,plant a catnip-garden for your cats,they'll love you for it and it comes back every year.
I even take some in in the fall and dry it and they love it.But be careful,it spreads like wildfire!!
Here's Rocky in his cat-nip garden:D

May 17th, 2006, 04:27 PM
I use a spray bottle filled with a mix of water and cayenne pepper ground really fine. I also put some lemon juice in the soil. It works great with my cats, but not with my dog!

May 18th, 2006, 03:14 PM
Artificial plants - heck, I can almost keep them "alive". I have seen people picking up cats from vet's after eating toxic plants - the bills were very high and cats were lucky to have survived.

May 18th, 2006, 04:06 PM
Snowdancer,I have tons of plants,indoor and outdoor and my cats have not shown any interest in the in-door plants,outside we are always with them and usually they only chow down on their cat-nip plants or grass.I won't let them eat anything else and they don't.Good Kitties:D

May 19th, 2006, 11:43 AM
Strangely enough, when I was a volunteer at the Humane Society, I won the Volunteer of the Month award, which included a plant donated by a local garden centre. The first year I won it, I was given a dumb cane. The second year, I was given a philodendron and the third year a fancy croton. After I got these plants home I looked up a list of poisonous plants, since I had cats in the house. To my surprise, all 3 of them are poisonous to animals. You'd think that the Humane Society would screen the plants they're giving to their volunteers!!
Anyways, the point is that my cats aren't really plant eaters. Taz will bite things when he's really hungry, but doesn't eat them. He put a few holes in a few leaves of the philodendron, but it must have tasted bad cause he never ate any of it. Rusty has chewed a few spider plants right down to the roots, and usually vomits it all up. She's never been sick from it for more than a few minutes. None of the cats have ever touched the dumb cane, the croton or other plants in my house (other than catnip and cat grass, which I do grow also). Nor has the dog.
I know the dangers of poisonous plants, and I do everything in my power to make sure that the animals area safe, but just about every plant that grows decently in my house (bit of a tough climate in Canada!) is poisonous in some way!
As for the yard...
A friend of mine told me about this plant called Rue. Apparently this stuff smells bad to cats and keeps them away. So I bought one and planted it at the edge of my garden. So far, Taz hasn't gone in the garden at all (despite the fact that the garden is 22' long and the rue is only 4" tall!). He is still out in the yard, happily eating grass, but he hasn't been sick since that first time he went out. See this link:

Now to install my plastic mesh fence to keep the dog out of the garden....
Thanks guys!