Having two cats, and a bunch of plants in my apartment, has taught me a few tricks on how to keep the cats away from the plants. I have learned at this point its not the cats fault for being curious. I know what they are going to do, and if I fail to put the plants away from their usual curiosities, either something will get broken, the plant will get hurt, the cat will get hurt, or at the very least, there will be a bunch of soil everywhere.
So here are a few tips to deter cats from house plants:
Learning which plants the cats don't like to chew on and using them as a barrier around the plants they do like to chew on. I have plants on the shelves in front of all my windows. Of course my cats also want to sit on the shelves. I bought a floor to ceiling cat tree and set it in from of one of the windows so they can use that instead. Also, I set the plants that they are allowed to eat, or plants that they won't eat, guarding the other plants further away on the ledge.
Get some plants for your cats that they are allowed to eat, such as catnip, and other herbs that are safe for cats.
Set chunks of citrus peels on the soil. Cats don't like the smell.
Water plants with a cinnamon/water mix. Cats hate cinnamon.
Get some plants that are cat deterrents, such as Geraniums, Cactus (one of my cats actually loves to chew on the needles-beware cats are funny), and Rosemary.
Hang plants from curtain rod, so they are out of reach.
As a last resort, spray cats with water, or just show them the water bottle and shake it. I only do this when they repeatedly do something that is potentially going to cause them harm. It's for their safety. This is up to the cat owner. It may be too harsh for some cats. I have a very tall book case in my office which one of my cats decided to try to jump to the top of because there was a plant up there. She fell, flip flopping on each shelf all the way to the floor. She was fine afterwards. This is why the cats are not allowed in my office anymore, and where I keep toxic plants.
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