Can You Spray Your Houseplants With White Vinegar to Keep Cats From Eating Them?

by Sarah Dray, Demand Media
    You can take steps to make your plants cat-proof.

    You can take steps to make your plants cat-proof.

    If Kitty is having a party with your plants -- a dinner party, that is -- you might be tempted to take some drastic measures. Spraying your plants with something Kitty hates would make the leaves unattractive to him and would ensure that you still had a garden at the end of the day.

    Vinegar as Deterrent

    Vinegar is a great cat deterrent. Unfortunately, it's also a great plant killer, so effective that it can kill weeds. Vinegar is acidic, and it can kill roots and keep the plant from absorbing water and nutrients. Spraying your plants with vinegar will prevent Kitty from eating the leaves -- but the leaves will be dead.

    Working Around the Problem

    If you're dealing with a potted plant, one option is to spray the pot itself with vinegar. The smell could be strong enough to deter Kitty from approaching the plant.
    If you have a big container, you can also add a few cotton balls dipped in vinegar to the soil. Make sure they're close to the edge of the pot, rather than against the plant itself.

    Other Options

    If you can't use vinegar, what can you spray on your plants to keep cats away? Anything citrus will do. Cats dislike the smell of citrus, but it doesn't bother your plants. So mix citrus oil -- or fresh lemon juice -- with water, and add to a spray bottle. Or buy commercial citrus spray at a home-and-garden center.
    Spray lightly and see how Kitty reacts. If he's still chewing, spray the plants some more.

    Keeping Plants Safe

    Aside from spraying your plants, there are other ways to keep kitties away from them. One is to give them something better to chew on, such as a small container with grass. You can buy cat grass at pet stores -- it's usually organic, easy to grow and safer than houseplants, which sometimes are poisonous. You can also move your plants to areas that are hard to reach, such as the top of the fridge.

    About the Author

    Sarah Dray has been writing since 1996. She specializes in health, wellness and travel topics and has credits in various publications including "Woman's Day," "Marie Claire," "Adirondack Life" and "Self." She is also a seasoned independent traveler and a certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant. Dray is pursuing a criminal justice degree at Penn Foster College.

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