Are Calathea Plants Toxic to Cats? – Here’s What to Expect

Are Calathea Plants Toxic to Cats?  Are you thinking about adding a Calathea houseplant but worried about its safety for your cat? While there are several houseplants, e.g., lilies, hazardous to cats, you’ll be happy to hear that Calathea is risk-free. 

In this article, we will explain what Calathea is for newbies and let you know why they’re harmless. Furthermore, we’ll give you a sneak peek at how you can keep the plants away from cats

Table of Contents

What Is Calathea?

Calathea, also known as Peacock plant or Prayer plant, is a common pet-friendly and diverse houseplant. The name  “prayer plant” came about due to its ability to open up wide when the sun shines on its leaves. During sundown, however, the leaves close up or fold (nyctinasty phenomenon). 

In the Arrowroot/Marantaceae family, Calathea constitutes the genus of about 300 plant species growing in tropical America. Often, the leaves of a Calathea are colorful and big. Additionally, they comprise colors like white, red, orange, and pink, with a purple underside. 

botanical Calathea plant with green and pink leaves

(botanical Calathea plant with green and pink leaves)

Is Calathea Poisonous To Cats?

Short answer, NO. 

The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) says that all kinds of Calathea are not harmful to cats. So, your cat and Calathea plant can harmoniously exist in your house. If anything, be keen on your cat and keep it away if it starts biting or nibbling the plant’s leave. 

owner stopping a kitten from biting a houseplant

(owner stopping a kitten from biting a houseplant)

Calathea’s safety is due to its lack of chemicals, like insoluble calcium oxalate, that can potentially lead to organ failure. Hence, a cat eating or rubbing against the plant causes no harm. 

However, a cat can get sick from petroleum-based cleaners, topical pesticides, or systemic pesticides used to maintain Calathea. We, therefore, urge you to take great care when handling your plant and cat. 

a sick cat getting a medical examination by a veterinary doctor

(a sick cat getting a medical examination by a veterinary doctor)

How To Keep Cats Away From Calathea?

The following steps will guide you in maintaining your Calathea’s healthy by keeping cats at bay. 

Give the cats some plants.

If your cat likes to eat leaves, you can keep it from chewing your Calathea plant by giving it its plants. Instead of catnip, keep thyme, cat grass (a mixture of barley grass and oats), or a pot of mint.  

cat chewing on fresh catmint

(cat chewing on fresh catmint)

Cats, like plants mentioned earlier, can safely chew on them occasionally. Then, for other ‘genuine’ plant tips, ensure your cat pays more attention to the fake plant.

Position the plant strategically

Moving the plant is a good idea, but it cannot be easy if the cats are determined and swift. Therefore, it could be useful to utilize containers that directly mount to walls or hang the basket slightly away from the furniture.

houseplant in a hanging pot

(houseplant in a hanging pot)

Using a spray bottle

You can use the traditional cat training method of spraying your cat whenever it closely approaches the houseplant. Despite being easy, it’s most effective when you’re constantly at home watching the plants since some cats can be sneaky in your absence. 

Repellent Spray

Fourthly, DIY or buy strong-scented products that cause your cat to sneeze if it gets too close to the Calathea. For instance, a puree of garlic in water or a mixture of a strongly scented soap (citrus) and water should do the trick. 

Remember to be careful with the products because, in excess, they may irritate your cat’s eyes or nose.

Heavy Pebbles

As diggers, we know that cats may dig for toilets in your Calathea’s loose soil. 

Thus, you can cover the plant pot with heavy stones and use items like seashells or broken ceramics to decorate. If not overly compacted, it should allow water to reach the soil underneath. In the long run, the pot won’t be as inviting as a litter box.

clay pebbles in a pot

(clay pebbles in a pot)


If you still want a Calathea, here is your chance. Besides being safe for your cat, the houseplant is beautiful and will improve your home aesthetics. 

For more information on cat-friendly houseplants or products, visit our website today.