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"Of all possessions, a friend is the most precious."

- Heradotus

Let’s face it: most trends are fleeting. All-denim suits? So 2001. But some fads stick around and if the last few years are any indication, then succulents (and lavish indoor gardens) are here to stay!

Not only are plants are an excellent way to brighten up a room, they can be fun for cats as well! But before you bring home that fiddle leaf fig (fashionable though it may be), take a look at our article, where a Raleigh, NC vet discusses which plants are safe for your feline friend!

Succulents

Let’s get down to business: the plants you’re probably most curious about are succulents. Lucky for you, some of the most stunning varieties are totally safe for cats! Not only that, they also happen to be some of the most widely available kinds: you’re likely to find Painted Lady, Echeveria, Hen-and-Chicks, and variegated Wax Plants at your local home improvement store!

cat safe garden in raleigh nc by falls village vet hospital

Herbs

When it comes to creating a cat-conscious garden, one herb stands out among the rest: catnip! You probably know catnip as the tasty treat that your kitty can’t get enough of. But did you know you can grow it yourself, from the comfort of your own home? This herb is something that cats and cat owners alike can enjoy! Other feline-friendly herbs include such kitchen staples as rosemary, thyme, mint, and parsley.

Flowers

Flowers are an excellent way to add texture and color to your indoor garden! Just be sure you choose non-toxic species, such as Zinnias, Marigolds, and African Violets. If you’re an orchid or lily aficionado, take extra care to select the right ones, as there are many not-so-safe varieties.

Grasses

In addition to catnip, wheatgrass is another plant that cats can’t resist! It can be grown in a range of vessels, be it a small cup, large planter, or even a flat mat! Your furry friend will throw fashion to the wind and munch on it regardless, so the container style is up to you! In the same vein, you can also consider adding lemongrass to the collection!

Potted Trees

Potted trees are an opportunity to add height to your indoor plant sanctuary, and also happen to be exceptionally popular decor accents. Palms tend to be safe for cats, particularly the Ponytail, Peace, Parlor, Golden Butterfly, Good Luck, and Areca varieties. The Money Tree plant is also a safe and stylish addition.

Others

There are plenty of plants that do not fall neatly into any of the above categories, but are no less safe or exciting. These include some types of ferns (such as Boston Ferns), Spider Plants, Cast Iron Plants, Cliff Brake, Chocolate Soldiers and more!

Garden and flowers safe for catsGeneral Safety Tips

Besides the abundant availability of cat-safe plants, there are also many species that you should not bring home to your feline friend. Unfortunately, this includes many of the trendy varieties enjoying the social media spotlight. As we mentioned earlier, the Fiddle Leaf Fig can be dangerous if ingested and should be avoided. The same goes for philodendrons and elephant ears, which are extremely popular as well.

If there’s a plant you’re thinking of buying, we recommend that you consult the ASPCA plant database before you decide. They provide a comprehensive list of toxic and non-toxic plants so you can garden with ease!

If you’ve ever given catnip to your feline friend, you’ve probably witnessed its mysterious effects firsthand and wondered what it is about the herb that makes cats tick. In this article, we hear from a Raleigh, NC vet on this very topic!

First Thing’s First: Safety

We know that a pet owner’s primary concern in their animal’s health, so let’s get the scary question out of the way: Is catnip safe?

Yes! There are no known dangers of giving your cat this tasty treat. In fact, catnip is safe even for human consumption (more on that in a bit). For now, let’s explore what makes this herb so irresistible for felines!

Cat Facts by Falls Village Vet in Raleigh NC

Catnip Fun Facts

When we say irresistible for felines, we truly mean all felines: not only are domesticated cats attracted to the plant, but their larger, wilder cousins are as well! Indeed, catnip has been known to pique the interest of cougars, lynx, lions and tigers, to name a few! This link among all cats is important for a couple of reasons. For starters, now you know what NOT to bring the next time you go hiking or camping! Secondly, this revelation led scientists to discover that cats are especially sensitive to the herb: their noses contain special receptors that match perfectly with nepetalactone, the compound found in catnip. Add to the fact that there are over 250 varieties to choose from, your cat is has plenty of opportunities to experience this interaction firsthand!

Not All Noses Are Created Equal

As the above title implies, cats can have vastly different reactions–or even no reaction at all–to catnip! It’s an acquired taste… literally: kittens don’t seem to notice it until they’re a few months old! Additionally, research suggests that the herb only affects around two thirds of felines, while the remaining third simply go about business as usual. The good news is that figuring out if your cat loves catnip is easy: simply pour a small amount into a bowl and show it to your kitty. Like we mentioned above, reactions will vary, but they usually take one of two courses: your cat could become energetic and excited, demonstrated by running around, “talking” (meowing) a lot, or playing with other pets; alternatively he/ she may become drowsy, evidenced by yawning, drooling, or simply falling asleep!

How long do the effects last?

Let’s say your fluffy friend does have a taste for the herb. How long will he/ she be bouncing off the walls or snoozing lazily in the corner? These effects are very short lived, typically wearing off in 15 minutes or less. He/ she also won’t be susceptible to it again for about two hours thereafter: your kitty’s brain needs some time to “reset.

Humans Enjoy It Too!

If you’re looking for one more way to bond with your feline friend, look no further than catnip! Believe or not, this herb can be used to make soothing teas that are perfectly safe for human consumption. Catnip is also an effective (and safe) repellent for some commonly invasive bugs like cockroaches and mosquitoes. And if you have a green thumb, catnip makes a wonderful addition to any outdoor planter or indoor garden. Just remember that your kitties may develop a knack for gardening themselves!

Interested in learning more about pet health and care? Contact us –your Raleigh, NC pet hospital– today!

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