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Are Air Plants Toxic to Cats, Dogs & Other Pets? Answered

Tillandsia Plant

Air plants are not poisonous. They are non-toxic to pets, so don’t worry if your furry friend nibbles on one of your air plants. It wouldn’t be fun, though, for your precious houseplant.

Tillandsia, otherwise known as air plants, is a member of a plant family known as Bromeliaceae. This genus consists of 650 species. It is an evergreen perennial, which ensures that this plant family has a permanent shade of green.

If you are looking for something that requires minimal effort to keep alive, air plants are your number one choice. In fact, they don’t need soil to stay alive. For this reason, air plants are aptly named.

So, you might still have a few questions about the toxicity of air plants. In this guide, I’ll cover their effect on domestic animals, how to stop your pets from eating your air plants, and other common queries.

Air Plants and Cats

Anyone who owns a cat knows that they have a strange relationship with plants. Everyone has seen their reactions to catnip, but how do they react with other plants, like the ones in your house?

There is at least one plant you do not have to worry about – Tillandsia.

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Are Air Plants Poisonous to Cats?

Air plants are safe for cats.So, don’t worry if your cat’s favorite pastime is chewing on your air plant leaves because they cannot harm your kitty. Your kitty can, on the other hand, damage your precious air plant.

Come to think of it, air plants are actually great to have around cats. They provide a range of health benefits, and they are usually kept in terrariums, which are pretty safe from prying paws. The fact that air plants are safe for cats is just an added bonus.

Air plants are not alone; there are a lot of non-toxic plants for cats. Prayer plants, moth orchids, and bamboo palm plants are all great examples of cat-friendly plants. ZZ plants, alocasia, and snake plants are all examples of common houseplants that are toxic to cats.

Pink Air Plant

Are Air Plants Good For Your Cat’s Health?

Tillandsia has an air-purifying effect on cats. They can clean the air of chemicals that are totally fine to humans but wreak havoc on your pets. Keep air plants in your kitty’s favorite spots to keep it healthy.

If you love your feline, then you probably want them to be around for as long as possible. Vet bills can test your love for your pet, so make sure it doesn’t come to that by taking extra precautions.

Animals are a part of nature. They synergize with plants to create the natural cycle that exists on earth. This is still true for your domestic animals, even though it may not seem like it at times. Certain plants can help to prolong their lives.

Keeping Your Air Plants Away From Cats

Just because your tillandsia isn’t toxic to cats, it doesn’t mean that you want them eating your precious plant babies. Luckily there are ways to stop your cat from munching on all your air plants.

Use Smells That Cats Hate

Cats have very powerful noses. Usually, a cat uses its sense of smell to gain an advantage, but now your cat will use it to your advantage. Two smells that can be used to deter a cat are citrus and chili.

You can try to make your air plants unappealing by placing peels of citrus fruit, like lemons, around your plant. The stronger the scent of citrus, the stronger the scent will be. Avoid using citrus oils because they contain chemicals that could be toxic to cats.

You can also sprinkle some cayenne pepper around your air plants. Sprinkled cayenne pepper may not look the best, so an alternative method is to mix water with cayenne-based flakes or hot sauce and spray it on your plants.

Choose Your Surrounding Plants Wisely

This may seem obvious but surround your air plant with plants that your cats don’t enjoy, and they likely won’t bother with them.

The best part is that your air plants thrive when they are together with other plants. Try pairing them with plants that cats don’t like, rosemary is a perfect example. Cats don’t like the fragrance of rosemary and are likely to stay away from these plants.

In addition, there are other factors besides smell that deter cats. Cacti, for example, will keep cats away with their thorns and spikes.

Before you choose companions for your air plant, make sure that the plants are safe for cats. You can always check the ASPCA plant toxicity rating if you’re unsure.

Air plant care guide

Cat Spray and Other Devices

Borrowing off the logic that cats have a sensitive sense of smell, spray your plant leaves with organic cat spray. Make sure that the cat spray you buy is approved by your vet first.

Alternatively, you can make a plant spray out of one part vinegar and 3 parts water.

There are other over-the-counter methods besides cat spray. Devices like ultrasonic animal repellers are great tools for keeping any small to medium animals at bay. The best part is that it’s non-toxic and lets off no chemicals.

Plant Placement

This is the most basic method of keeping your cats away from your air plants. With cats, this can be difficult. They climb on most things and have access to almost all areas of the house, so how do you choose the perfect spot?

There is bound to be one place in your house which your cat doesn’t like. Or at the very least, a place which he visits infrequently.

Find that spot and make it your air plant’s new home. This method is best used in conjunction with one of the above.

Frequently Asked Questions

From beginners to seasoned veterans, every plant owner has questions. These are some of the most commonly asked questions that people have about air plants and their toxicology.

What Other Plants Are Toxic To Cats?

If you love your feline friends as much as we do, you probably want to know about the plants that are toxic to cats. Below is a list of 12 common houseplants that are toxic to cats:

  • Alocasia
  • Aloe
  • Apple Trees
  • Apricot Trees
  • Arrowhead Vine
  • Butterfly Iris
  • Carnation
  • Catnip (They are considered toxic for their apparent narcotic effect on cats)
  • Chamomile
  • Daffodil
  • Dahlia
  • Daisy

Are Air Plants Poisonous to Dogs?

The answer is no. You have probably noticed that your dog likes to eat plants, especially grass, when it has an upset stomach. However, air plants are perfectly safe to have around your pooch.

If you worry that your dog might tuck into your air plants, then place them on a host plant that is out of reach of your pet.

That’s the beauty of air plants – they can grow anywhere. A citronella spray could also work for keeping your nosey mutt at bay.

Are Air Plants Poisonous to Bunnies?

Your tillandsia is not toxic to rabbits. Rabbits are foragers, though, so it’s probably best to keep them away from your air plants. Luckily, rabbits prefer fruiting plants and root vegetables to your air plants.

Rabbits have really great hearing. The best things to keep them away from your plants are ultrasonic animal repellers.

These will keep your furballs out of your houseplants. If all else fails, you can try to lure them away with tastier-looking plants.

Are Air Plants Poisonous to Parakeets?

Air plants are not harmful to birds, reptiles, or horses. They are safe to eat for many animals, including most domestic animals.

However, you should not buy it as a food source because it is way more expensive and would look much better in your home.

How Do You Look After Your Air Plants?

The great thing about air plants is that they tend to look after themselves. They do not require soil, and they obtain moisture and nutrients from the air. There are some things you can do to make sure that they are thriving.

Their leaves are the most vital plant part. They are responsible for absorbing moisture instead of the roots. They also absorb nutrients through their leaves and roots.

It is possible to feed your air plant by misting it with a spray bottle. You can even add air plant fertilizer to the misting solution. This is recommended for young air plants.

Do Air Plants Need Sun?

Air plants grow best when they are exposed to bright light. The sunlight that the plant gets exposed to should be indirect.

This is because they usually grow off a host plant, so in their native habitat, they would be shielded from the sun by the host plant’s leaves.

If you are growing them indoors, you can use an LED light. They are bright enough to allow your air plant to thrive, but not as intense for it to be considered direct light. They are also energy-efficient, and it’s never a bad thing to save a quick buck.

How Long Do Air Plants Live?

If you’re looking for a plant companion that will last you several years, you’ve found it. Air plants can live upwards of 5 years. However, they only bloom once in their lifetime.

The blooming time of an air plant is quite a spectacular event. It produces a vibrant flower that lasts for a couple of weeks before dying. It is while they bloom that air plants produce offspring called pups.

The parent plant will continue to support these pups until they are ready to be grown-up air plants. Air plants win the mother of the year award for sure, which is something you don’t often hear in nature.

Adopt An Air Plant Today

Air plants are the perfect addition to your home. They compliment your indoor garden, they are safe for your cats, and they produce the cutest offspring ever – pups.

Not only are they feline-friendly, but they are great to have around your dogs, birds, rabbits, and horses.

Air plants love to share. They will attach themselves to any plants that will protect them from the sun. Use them to spice up a dull-looking plant or if you think that plan is just feeling lonely.