Like people, cats need a little roughage every now and then to help keep their digestive tracts healthy. Cats actually enjoy eating grass and greens every once in a while for this reason. Some cats will seek out greens to eat and this may be why you keep finding your pet eating your plants or parts of your lawn. Please note that this can be dangerous or even poisonous to your cat depending on the plant he/she chooses to eat and if you use pesticides on your lawn.
So what do you do when your favorite feline starts to munch on your favorite foliage? A good place to start is to purchase your cat his or her own plant that can be eaten. You can purchase a cat grass growing kit at your local pet store. Some kits will have grass that is already sprouted that you simply maintain. Other kits contain the seeds and dirt and let you start growing from scratch. Whichever your choice your cat will probably enjoy a little patch of grass to munch on every now and then. And if your cat has his own plant to eat he will be less likely to want to eat yours!
Next you will need to help teach your cat that although he can eat his kitty grass, that eating other household plants is off limits. One good solution is to put plant stakes around the outside of your cat’s favorite plants. This can create a barrier such that your cat can’t even get to the off-limit plants. Other aversion techniques include the following:
- Give your cat a firm ‘no’ when he or she does the unwanted behavior. Never ‘punish’ your cat or overly scream or scare your cat. This can make your cat learn that you are a very scary being whom he/she should stay away from and dislike. If you are not home very often this method may not work very well as you won’t cat your cat in the act very often and thus your catch won’t get a constant aversion message.
- Use a spray bottle to spritz your cat every time he/she does the unwanted behavior. The down side of this approach is that your cat may link you to the nasty squirt he/she receives as well.
- Throw an object (lightly! you are just trying to let your cat know that his behavior is wrong, you don’t want to overly scare your cat or hurt him) like a sock near the cat. This will mildly frighten your cat and help him/her realize that the behavior they just exhibited is a no-no. This method also allows the cat to connect the bap on the head with the sock and not you.
- Place double-sided sticky tape on the area surrounding the plant. Your cat will hate how this feels on his/her paws and soon stop going there.
- Place aluminum foil on the area surrounding the plant. Most cats hate this feeling on their feet.
- Place upside down mouse traps on the area surrounding the plant and then put a piece of wax paper over that (some pet stores even have an official version of this old home-made trick). When your cat walks on the wax paper it will get an unsuspecting scare. After a while your cat will learn that this area is more trouble than it is worth. This method can be tricky so be careful that your cat doesn’t accidentally get him/herself caught in a trap.
- Place plastic liners bottom side up (with the little pokey parts facing up) surrounding the plant. Your cat will not like how that feels on his/her paws at all.
- Purchase a cat repellant spray at your local pet store. Just make sure that the spray will be safe for your specific plants.
- Purchase a cat aversion mechanism from your local pet store. Now-a-days pet stores offer a variety of products from shock collars to devices that emit ultrasonic waves when your cat goes near it. If all else fails you may consider such a device to help train your cat.
And you can also get rid of any plants that are in your cat’s reach or remove the plants while you are training your cat to eat only the cat grass. And be patient with your cat, some cats are faster learners than others. Training can take up to 4-6 weeks so don’t expect results overnight.