How to Prevent Cats from Digging Up Houseplants

This is a common behavior of many cats, especially strays. With a few carefully orchestrated steps, you can help them break the habit.


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    Create obstructions. Some cats dig up houseplants, and use the pot as a litter box! The easiest way to fix this is to get some large decorative stones and place it around the stem of the plant. This will make it hard to dig up the soil around the plant and do their business in your favorite house plant! Then you must move the rocks every time you water, which might become a bit tedious. To get around this you can get get those self watering glass bulbs that self water your plants for you! Not only will that make sure you don't have constantly move the rocks, the glass bulbs jazz up your houseplants. You don't have to use decorative stones; you can use small, upturned flower pots, or even marble coasters!
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    Designate a spot for the cats. If you don't want to place things around your plants, give your cat their own! If your cat goes outdoors, plant cat grass and catnip and let them go crazy! This can prevent unwanted chewing of houseplants and satisfy their digging habit.
    • If they can't go outdoors, then plant the catnip and cat grass in a pot. Don't however place it near your other houseplants. If you let them go crazy on their special plants, they won't understand why they can't do the same with the others near them. Try placing the plants in their own room like a laundry room or a bathroom so they won't be tempted to play with your other plants when are done playing with their own.
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    Discourage digging. Use a spray bottle if need be. This might seem inhumane, but as long as you don't drench them and you use lukewarm water, They should just learn their lesson. Make sure when disciplining you catch them in the act. If you come home to your houseplants scattered about everywhere, and your cat is nowhere to be seen you can't just find them and start spraying. They will have NO idea what they did wrong. You must catch them either doing it or about to do it so they know exactly what they are doing wrong.
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    Make sure they are entertained. Some cats dig because they are bored and they have nothing else to play with, or their lonely. Get some toys that they can play with by themselves so they won't mess with your houseplants when they get bored. Some toys can include a Spokes Wheel Cat toy that you can create with a toilet paper tube. First you rip off all the paper, then cut 1 inch (2.5 cm) cuts around the entire edge of the tube of both sides and splay them out. When your cat bats it around, it moves like a little wheel.


  • Make sure they have toys to play with so they stay entertained.
  • Keep your cats plants out of the same room as yours.


  • When you spray them, you have to catch them in the act.
  • Don't spray your cat with really hot or really cold water; it should be lukewarm.

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Categories: Cat Training