Indoor plants can add a dash of nature to our living spaces.
In Australia, peace lilies are among the most popular indoor plants because of their ability to clean the air and lift moods.
But when our feline friends take an interest in them, our slice of nature could become a risky snack.
While they are not true lilies, all peace lilies are poisonous to cats.
Why Do Cats Try To Eat Peace Lilies?
Cats are naturally curious creatures.
Their propensity to chew on a peace lily plant might stem from boredom, the attractive shape and movement of the leaves, or an instinctual attraction to certain textures and flavours.
Cats may not necessarily like peace lilies the same way we do, so understanding your cat’s affinity toward plants will help you create a safer environment for them.
How To Keep Your Cat Away From Your Peace Lily
Navigating the intersection of cat ownership and being a plant lover can be tricky, especially with pet-toxic plants like peace lilies.
Create a Physical Barrier
- Elevate your plants: Caring for peace lilies includes placing them in a suitable spot. Use hanging planters, high shelves, or other elevated surfaces inaccessible to your cat to house the peace lily.
- Use protective covers: Consider placing a decorative barrier or mesh around your peace lily to make it inaccessible while maintaining aesthetic appeal.
- Use cat repellents: Commercial cat repellents, available in sprays or granules, can create an undesirable environment around your plants without harming them or your pet. Most cats respond to these, so try it out.
- Try homemade solutions: Spraying a mixture of water and white vinegar around the plant may be a safe deterrent due to its off-putting scent for cats. You can also put tin foil around your peace lily plant pot. There’s just something about cats and foil that really foils their naughty plans.
Note: Do not use citrus fruit or citrus oils on plants your cat can access. Citrus is toxic to cats and can cause a worse adverse reaction than peace lilies.
Train and Redirect Your Cat
- Provide safe alternatives: Offer cat-safe plants such as cat grass or catnip (or even lactose-free milk) to redirect their attention and satisfy their chewing instinct.
- Use positive reinforcement: Reward your cat with treats or affection when they engage with their designated plants and avoid the peace lily. In case you weren’t aware, cats don’t understand or respond to negative reinforcement.
Designate a Cat-Friendly Zone
- Create a separate space: Establish a specific area in your home with cat-friendly amenities and ensure no toxic plants are within reach.
- Give enough entertainment: Equip the cat-friendly zone with toys, scratching posts, and safe plants to keep them engaged and satisfied in their space.
Regularly Monitor Your Cat
- Observe your cat’s behaviour: Keep a close eye on any behavioural changes or new interest in the peace lily, ensuring early intervention if necessary.
- Practice safety first: Regularly check the physical state of your peace lily to ensure it’s not been tampered with or chewed.
How to Stop Your Cat from Eating Peace Lilies
Train your cat by incorporating deterrents like aluminium foil or double-sided tape around your plants, as cats dislike these textures.
You can also try offering safe alternatives like cat grass or catnip, which can be an acceptable outlet for their chewing and foraging instincts.
Consult a gardening expert and get pet-friendly plants, like roses and calathea.
Lastly, giving positive reinforcement when they engage with safe alternatives will reinforce good behaviour.
Which Part of Peace Lilies Are Dangerous to Cats?
All parts of a peace lily — leaves, stems, and flowers — contain calcium oxalate crystals.
When a cat chews or ingests any part of a peace lily, these crystals can cause adverse reactions.
What are the Symptoms if Your Cat Eats a Peace Lily?
When a cat ingests peace lily, the timeline of symptom onset can be within minutes to a few hours.
This requires immediate action (take them to the vet!) and careful observation.
Here are the possible symptoms of peace lily ingestion in cats: oral irritation, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty in swallowing and intense burning and irritation of the mouth, lips, and tongue.
How Do You Treat Peace Lily Poisoning In Cats?
If your cat has ingested peace lily, rush them to the vet immediately.
Treatment may involve inducing vomiting, administering activated charcoal to prevent absorption of toxins, IV fluids to prevent dehydration, and symptomatic support to help your cat recover.
Prevention is Best at Keeping the Peace
While peace lilies are a gorgeous addition to any home, the safety of your pets should be the priority.
Be mindful of plant placement, use deterrence methods and ensure that your home environment remains harmonious for all its inhabitants.
Your cat and peace lily can coexist safely with the right precautions and timely interventions.