British Shorthairs and Indoor Plants

British Shorthairs are the quintessential indoor cat so it makes sense that if you own one you also need to consider the indoor plants you choose to put in the space in which they live.

Matilda the British Shorthair loves plants, real and fake
Matilda the lilac British Shorthair loves plants, real and fake.

Now I could write a long list of this plant and that plant and say which are poisonous and which aren’t… but I wont. There are lots of lists online, lots and lots. Definitely be very careful as some plants are really dangerous. There are lots of places to find out about that. What I want to talk about is some tips you can use when you are choosing plants as well as things you can do in your home to have your cats and your plants living in harmony.

When you buy an indoor plant..

If you are in the nursery or even at Bunnings browsing the indoor plant section you will want to have your phone handy. All of the plant labels have the plant names listed. Sometimes they are called fancy, marketing names but they will still have the actual scientific name listed as well. Google it. Right there, on the spot. Type in the plant and the word “cats” then check the results.

There are many plants that are extremely dangerous to cats such as lilies. If you think your cat has ingested lilies then seek medical help immediately. They can often be in floral arrangements given as a gift so make sure to check and keep them away from your cats.

But many other plants fall somewhere in between deadly and harmless.

Its toxic, what now? Will it harm my British Shorthair?

Well toxic doesn’t not mean you can’t have that plant in your house. Some plants are poisonous. They will kill your cat if ingested. Some will make them very sick if they nibble on them. Then there are the plants that are toxic but just in big quantities. So your cat would have to eat it down to a stump.

Read what the online resources have to say, check a few different lists and think about the pot and the placement of the plant in your home. Then you can make an informed decision as to whether it is suitable for you or not. If you have a curious kitten and plan to put it in a pot on the floor then maybe not. If you have a lazy, older cat and plan of putting the plant on a shelf then maybe yes.

Many of the more mildly toxic plants will make your cat be sick ie they will throw up. It may have some plant matter in it or it may be just liquid. You may also notice they get diarrhea at the same time as one of your favorite plants gets bite marks on the leaves. This is not ideal. No one wants a spewy, poopy cat and no one wants a ratty, chewed up plant. If they dont learn it is yucky you will need to move it to a location they cant reach or a room they dont go in. Worst case scenario is finding a new owner…..for the plant not the British Shorthair!

Other things to consider

House plants look great and they can take a lot of time and effort to keep attractive, You dont want your cat stripping off fern fronds or pulling over your palms. So placing your plants in a way that your British Shorthair wont damage them makes great sense. This might be by putting them up on shelves or on plant stands.

Gracie the Blue British Shorthair loves to sit under the plants trolley
Gracie loves to sit under the plants on this trolley. She doesn’t try to jump up to the top shelf.

Keeping the lower parts of the plants trimmed so they dont sway and entice your curious British Shorthair is also a good idea. It helps keep the plants tidy too.

You may also need to protect the soil from digging, scratching and (please no) pooping! A good way to do this is with a layer of large pebbles on top of the soil.

And if you are really unlucky you might have a pot sitter like Matilda. Putting objects such as chopsticks or twigs in the soil may help deter a naughty British Shorthair.

Matilda the British Shorthair kitten sitting in an indoor pot plant

Even Fake plants have some issues. Try to make sure there is not plastic to nibble off. They do make a nice rustling noise so your cats will still want to play with them. The same tips about putting them up out of the way apply.

Your indoor British Shorthairs and indoor plants can live in harmony. You may need to compromise if they do choose to attack or nibble them but generally they explore them, get bored and move on.

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