How to keep cats from pooping in houseplants

How to keep cats from pooping in houseplants. Cats are adorable pets that can bring joy and companionship into our lives.

However, one of the most frustrating habits of our feline friends is their tendency to use houseplants as their personal litter box.

Not only is this behavior unsanitary and unpleasant, but it can also damage your plants and create a mess in your home.

Fortunately, there are several effective strategies you can use to keep cats from pooping in houseplants.

By implementing some simple changes to your environment and providing your cat with appropriate alternatives, you can create a happier and healthier home for both you and your furry companion.

In this article, we will explore some of the most effective ways to discourage cats from using your houseplants as a litter box, so you can enjoy your plants and your cat without any unwanted surprises.

How to keep cats from pooping in houseplants

How to keep cats from pooping in houseplants guide

Cats are known for their curious behavior and love for exploring their surroundings.

However, one of the peculiar habits of cats that often frustrates their owners is their tendency to poop in potted plants.

Here are some possible reasons why cats do this:

Reason 1: Instinctual Behavior

Cats are natural predators and hunters, and they are wired to bury their waste to avoid detection by their prey.

In the wild, they would bury their feces in soil, sand or leaves to avoid drawing attention to their presence.

This instinctual behavior may carry over to domesticated cats, causing them to choose potted plants as their preferred bathroom location.

Reason 2: Territorial Marking

Cats are also known for their territorial behavior, and they use urine and feces to mark their territory.

By pooping in potted plants, cats may be marking their territory, especially if they feel threatened or insecure in their environment.

The soil in potted plants can also hold their scent for longer, making it a more effective marking spot.

Reason 3: Litter Box Issues

Litter Box Issues

Sometimes cats may poop in potted plants because they are having issues with their litter box. They may avoid the litter box due to its location, cleanliness, or type of litter used.

As a result, they may seek out alternative locations, such as potted plants, to do their business.

Reason 4: Medical Issues

In some cases, cats may have medical issues that cause them to avoid using the litter box. For example, they may have digestive problems, urinary tract infections, or painful bowel movements that make them associate the litter box with discomfort.

In these cases, it’s important to take your cat to a veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical issues.

If your cat is pooping in potted plants, it’s important to address the issue promptly to prevent damage to your plants and maintain a healthy environment for your cat.

Some steps you can take include:

1. Provide a designated litter box

The first step to preventing cats from pooping in your houseplants is to make sure they have a designated litter box that they can use.

Cats are naturally clean animals and prefer to use a litter box rather than other areas of your home. Make sure the litter box is in a convenient location and kept clean.

It’s also a good idea to have multiple litter boxes if you have multiple cats, so each cat has their own space.

2. Use a deterrent

cat deterrents

There are several cat deterrents available that can help keep your cat away from your plants. One popular option is to use citrus-scented products, such as citrus peels or essential oils.

Cats dislike the smell of citrus and will often avoid areas where it’s present. Another option is to use a commercial cat repellent spray. These sprays are designed to be safe for plants but emit a scent that cats find unpleasant.

3. Cover the soil

One of the main reasons cats are attracted to houseplants is because they like to dig in the soil. You can prevent this by covering the soil with a layer of rocks or decorative stones.

This will make it more difficult for your cat to dig and discourage them from using the plant as a litter box.

4. Use a plant stand

Using a plant stand can be an effective way to keep cats away from your houseplants. By elevating your plants, you make it more difficult for your cat to reach them.

Make sure the plant stand is stable and can support the weight of your plant. You can also use a plant hanger to suspend your plants from the ceiling.

5. Provide alternative scratching surfaces

Cats have a natural instinct to scratch, and if they don’t have an appropriate surface to scratch, they may turn to your houseplants.

Providing your cat with alternative scratching surfaces, such as a scratching post or pad, can help redirect their behavior. Place the scratching surface near your plants to encourage your cat to use it instead of your plants.

6. Train your cat

Train your cat

Training your cat to avoid your houseplants can take time and patience, but it can be an effective long-term solution.

Use positive reinforcement techniques to reward your cat when they avoid the plants.

You can also use a spray bottle filled with water to discourage your cat from going near the plants.

Be consistent with your training and avoid punishing your cat, as this can make the behavior worse.

6. Rearrange your plants

If all else fails, rearranging your plants can help discourage your cat from using them as a litter box. Move the plants to a different location or put them on a shelf where your cat can’t reach them.

You can also try using plants that are less attractive to cats, such as succulents or cacti.


What type of houseplants are less attractive to cats?

Some types of houseplants that are less attractive to cats include spider plants, bamboo, and orchids. However, it is important to note that each cat has its own preferences, and some may still be attracted to these plants.

Are there any plants that are toxic to cats that I should avoid keeping in my home?

Yes, there are several plants that are toxic to cats, including lilies, azaleas, daffodils, and many others. It is important to research any plants before bringing them into your home to ensure they are safe for your cat.

Is it possible to train a cat not to poop in houseplants?

Yes, it is possible to train a cat not to poop in houseplants by providing them with an attractive alternative litter box, discouraging them from using the plants through the use of deterrents, and rewarding good behavior with treats or praise. However, it may take time and consistency to train a cat effectively.


How to keep cats from pooping in houseplants. In conclusion, keeping cats from pooping in houseplants requires a combination of preventative measures and behavior modification. Providing cats with appropriate litter boxes and cleaning them regularly is crucial to prevent them from seeking out alternative places to go to the bathroom. Placing physical barriers around houseplants and using repellents can also discourage cats from using them as a litter box.

Additionally, providing cats with plenty of mental and physical stimulation can help reduce their destructive behavior. With patience and consistency, it is possible to train cats to leave houseplants alone and keep them from pooping in them. By implementing these strategies, cat owners can create a safe and enjoyable environment for both their feline companions and their houseplants.

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