Cats, those lovable bundles of fur, often come with a mischievous streak. If you’re a proud cat parent who also enjoys the company of houseplants, you’ve likely faced the age-old dilemma of how to keep cats away from peace lilies. While these elegant plants can be a beautiful addition to your home, they can pose a risk to your feline friends due to their toxicity. In this article, we’ll explore a variety of methods and strategies to deter your curious cat from making the peace lily their next snack.
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The Feline Intrigue with Peace Lilies
Peace lilies (Spathiphyllum spp.) are known for their striking white blooms and glossy, dark green leaves. Unfortunately, these very leaves harbor tiny calcium oxalate crystals that can cause oral irritation, gastrointestinal distress, and potentially severe health issues if ingested by cats. It’s no wonder that cats are drawn to these plants, whether for a playful nibble or a relaxing perch. If your cat has eaten Peace Lily leaves then check out my recent article What To Do If Cat Eats Peace Lily Leaves ( Top 5 Steps ).
The Cat Deterrent Arsenal
To safeguard both your peace lilies and your feline companions, let’s delve into a wide array of strategies and deterrents that can help you maintain a harmonious coexistence.
1. Use Mustard or Pepper Repellents
Cats have sensitive noses, and they tend to dislike strong odors. Mixing mustard or black pepper with water to create a repellent spray can be effective. Lightly spritz the leaves and soil of your peace lily with this concoction. Remember to reapply it periodically, especially after watering.
2. Try Lion Dung
This might sound unusual, but lion dung (yes, from actual lions) can be an effective deterrent. Lions are natural predators of cats, and the scent of lion dung can signal danger to your feline friend. You can find lion dung pellets at some garden supply stores. Place them strategically around your peace lilies to discourage your cat’s curious nature.
3. Train Your Cat to Leave Your Plants Alone
Training your cat to stay away from your peace lilies might take some patience, but it can be effective. Whenever you catch your cat showing interest in the plants, use a firm but gentle “no” command. Reward them with treats and praise when they obey. Consistency is key to reinforcing this behavior. If you want to know which parts of peace lilies are poisonous then check out my recent article What Part Of Peace Lily Is Poisonous To Cats? ( Stems, Leaves, Flowers, and Pollen ).
4. Citrus-Based Repellents
Cats tend to have an aversion to citrus scents. Consider using citrus-based repellent sprays or placing citrus peels around your peace lilies. Cats often find the smell unappealing and will steer clear of the area.
5. Hang Your Peace Lily
Sometimes, the best defense is elevation. Hanging your peace lily from the ceiling or placing it on a high shelf can keep it out of your cat’s reach. Just be sure that it’s secure and won’t fall, as this could cause injury to your cat or damage your plant.
6. Essential Oils
Essential oils like lavender, rosemary, and eucalyptus can act as natural cat deterrents. Mix a few drops of these oils with water and spray the solution on the leaves of your peace lily. Cats are known to avoid areas with strong herbal scents.
7. Cat Deterrent Spray
Commercial cat deterrent sprays are readily available and can be effective. These sprays usually contain natural ingredients with strong scents that cats find unpleasant. Apply the spray to the plant’s leaves and reapply as needed.
8. Homemade Deterrent Spray
If you prefer a DIY approach, consider making your own cat deterrent spray. Mix apple cider vinegar with water and a few drops of dish soap. Spray this mixture on and around your peace lilies. The vinegar smell will deter your cat, and the soap helps the mixture adhere to the leaves.
9. Coffee Grounds
The strong scent of coffee grounds can deter cats. Sprinkle used coffee grounds on the soil surface of your peace lily. Not only will this discourage your cat, but it can also act as a natural fertilizer for your plant. If you want to know how toxic are peace lilies to your cat then check out my recent article Peace Lilies And Cats ( How Dangerous Are They? ).
10. Onion & Garlic
While humans may enjoy the taste of onion and garlic, cats detest their strong odors. Placing onion or garlic peels in the soil or near your peace lily can help keep your cat at bay.
11. Unpleasant Surfaces
Cats are particular about where they walk. Placing rough or uncomfortable surfaces, like aluminum foil or double-sided tape, around your peace lilies can discourage your cat from approaching them.
12. Cat Repellent Herbs
Some herbs, such as rosemary, rue, and lavender, are known to repel cats. Planting these herbs around your peace lilies or using them as a mulch can help keep your feline friend away.
13. Get a Planter or Container Cover
Encasing your peace lily in a planter or container with a secure cover can be an effective barrier. Cats are less likely to venture into a confined space to access the plant.
14. Deter Cats with Tin Foil
Cats dislike the sensation of walking on tin foil. Placing strips of foil on the soil or around your peace lilies can make the area less inviting for your feline friend.
15. Sprinkle the Soil with Cayenne Pepper
Cats have a strong aversion to the spicy scent of cayenne pepper. Sprinkling a small amount on the soil’s surface can deter them from approaching your peace lilies.
16. Use Orange Peel
Cats generally dislike the strong citrus scent of orange peel. Place strips of orange peel around your peace lily to create a natural deterrent.
17. Plastic Spikes
You can purchase plastic spikes designed to deter cats from entering certain areas. Place these spikes in the soil around your peace lily to discourage your cat from digging or sitting near it.
18. Buy Cat-Friendly Pot Plants
Consider introducing cat-friendly plants like catnip, cat grass, or valerian into your home. These plants can divert your cat’s attention away from your peace lilies and provide a safe and enjoyable alternative.
A Peaceful Coexistence
In the quest to keep cats away from peace lilies, it’s essential to strike a balance between safeguarding your plants and ensuring your cat’s well-being. Employing these deterrents and strategies can help create a harmonious living space for both you and your feline companion. Remember that consistency is key, and over time, your cat may learn to steer clear of your precious peace lilies, allowing you to enjoy their beauty without worry.
Can I have a peace lily if I have a cat?
While they are generally of lower concern compared to lilies from the Lilium and Hemerocallis genus, if your cat is prone to nibbling on attractive flowers or leaves, it is advisable not to keep this plant in your house.
How long does it take for lilies to harm cats?
The initial indicators of lily toxicity in cats encompass reduced activity, excessive drooling, vomiting, and diminished appetite. These symptoms typically manifest within 0 to 12 hours after ingestion. Kidney-related issues, such as heightened urination and dehydration, typically emerge around 12 to 24 hours following ingestion.
What happens if my cat smells a lily?
The toxicity extends to various parts of the plant, including the petals, leaves, stems, and roots. Even sniffing the pollen or consuming water from a vase containing lilies can pose a threat to cats.
Can cats smell lily flowers?
If you believe your cat may have come into contact with a lily plant, even if it’s just a sniff, it’s crucial to seek veterinary assistance immediately. Even a small amount of lily pollen can be toxic. Additionally, consider informing your fellow cat owners about the potential dangers associated with lilies.