Cats Sleeping In Plant Pot: How to Safely Prevent them


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In our day-to-day lives, we may notice our domestic animals doing some weird things, but cats sleeping in potted plants is not such an uncommon act.

Cats will sleep in potted plants because of the comfortable environment it creates. Cats are very territorial by nature and plant pots can provide a very welcoming area for cats to rest. However, potted plants are not designed for cats, and having a cat in a plant pot for too long can cause damage to the plant and the soil.

In this article we are going to discuss why cats choose potted plants to sleep in, the dangers it poses to the plant, and the steps you can take to safely prevent them from going into your plant pots.

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Why Do Cats Sleep In Plant Pots?

Cat sleeping in potted plant

The main reason why a cat sleeps in a pot is to rest.

Animals need rest from the various activities they had during the day like hunting and other playful activities. 

In order for it to rest certain conditions must be satisfied. Just like other animals, cats require cool places away from the heat. 

The soil in a plant pot provides the perfect condition for sleep as it is soft, cool, and comfortable. 

This is because plants have leaves that provide shade and creates a cool environment that attracts the cat. 

Is It Safe For A Cat To Sleep In A Plant Pot?

Sleeping on the soil will not affect the cat. 

There is this fact that one should remember, a cat is a very clean animal so if it picks up dirt from the soil it will clean itself up thoroughly. 

To add to that point, the soil is not harmful in any way to the cat. So both ways the cat is still safe.

In addition, the cat has fur that will prevent the soil from coming into contact with the cat. 

With some well-aerated soils, there will be a certain amount of warmth that will be created as the cat sleeps on it.

Unfortunately, this causes the cat to create a habit of sleeping on the plant soil. 

The only way that soil may be harmful to a cat is if the soil was treated for insects and fungi. The chemical used may cause some negative effects if it is ingested. 

Additionally, with the addition of fertilizer, the cat may even lick the soil because of the saltiness provided by the nutrients in the fertilizer. 

You can see our detailed article on how potting soil affects dogs to get an idea of the effect of soil on pets. 

Cat sleeping in potted plants

How To Prevent Cats From Sleeping In Pots

Preventing a cat from sleeping in a plant pot can be beneficial to the cat not to mention the plant. 

Prevention methods can range from using a physical barrier to using repelling odors. All these are not harmful to the cat and at the same time save your plant from potential damages that may be caused by the cat and its playful nature. 

We are going to discuss the things you can do to effectively keep them out. 

1. Use Lava Rocks as Mulch

Lava rocks provide a protective cover for the plant-soil while preventing the cat from sleeping on it. 

The lava rock is jagged in nature and makes an uncomfortable bedding for the cat to lay. As a result, this would deter any cat from venturing into any potted plant. 

You can check out and compare lava rock on amazon here.

2. Placing the Plant on a Height

Placing the plant pot on a height prevents the cat from easily accessing the plant. 

The height itself creates a barrier for the cat. The cat now has to put in extra effort in acting the plant and would rethink its decision as it poses a risk of getting harmed. 

Caution must be taken when putting a plant on a height in order to curb a bad habit. The cat may attempt to access the plant and in doing so can topple it over causing harm to both the cat and the plant.

You should ensure that the plant is properly secured on the height to prevent any potential casualties.

3. Using a Physical Barrier

There are very many tools that a person can use as a barrier such as a perforated bucket, or fence with wires and sticks. 

You can use old nets to cover the plant. This denies the cat access to the plant. It gives it zero chances of it using the pot so it will go to some other place. 

Doing this is very important especially if you are away during the day or not monitoring the cat.

One product we found that works very well in keeping the cat out is sticky paws. This kept the cat out of the plant until the habit was broken. 

4. Using a Cat Repellant

The function of the repellant works in a way that it produces a scent that is not enjoyable to cats. 

This method works well on stray animals, especially if you have potted plants on the outside areas of your home.

To the cat, it is an odor. Cats will not rest in a place that smells unpleasant as the odor will keep the cat away from the pot.

A simple homemade repellant such as vinegar and water will do the trick.

5. Provide Enough Space for the Cat

Cats are very territorial and everything from the floor to the ceiling is seen as its own. 

If you provide a comfortable space for your cat to play and rest, the cat will not venture into your plant pot seeking a resting place as it will have its own.

In addition, the space provided for the cat will cause it to feel more secure and confident and will not seek out other places to sleep.

6. Move the Pot to Another Area

Relocating the planter to another area is also an option. 

The cat may have found the current area where the plant is located is very conducive to sleep. 

Relocating the plant can break the normal routine and environmental conditions the cat is accustomed to when it ventures into the plant pot. 

Pro tip: Placing the plant in a separate room and banning the cat from going into the room is probably the most effective method of prevention.

7. Use Cat Grass as a Distraction

Cat grass proposes a tempting distraction to cats from your houseplants. 

Cat grass is very easy to grow and can grow in almost any container. However, a flat rectangular container is recommended as it gives the cats easy access to eat and play with the grass without having to even come close to other plants in the house.

The cat and its territorial nature will know that the grass is his.

Check out the cat grass options on amazon here.

8. Use a Bright Light

Keep a bright light shining onto the base of the plant. 

When seeking a place to sleep a bright light can help deter the habit by producing an unfavorable habit for the cat.

The light must be kept at the base in order not to affect the plant’s circadian rhythm.

9. Use Distractive Toys

Placing toys that the cat may like away from the plant pot can also provide an effective distraction.

Having the cat play with the toys away from the plant will help break the habit of sleep in the plant as it will become exhausted after its playtime and just sleep where the toys are placed.

Can the Cat cause Harm to the Plant

Ideally, when you apply pressure on something it will become compact if not break. 

The weight of the cat can cause the soil to become compact. 

Some might argue that the weight of the cat is very small to cause compactness but the truth of the matter is that it will cause compactness even if it’s a small amount. 

The soil in potted plants can have different structures, some have very small particles and some have big. 

Some are also sticky when wet. Now, the extent to which the soil becomes compact will depend on the type of soil in the pot. 

If soil now becomes contact after a series of the cat’s actions sleeping continuously for some days this will cause problems for the plant which we will discuss next.

How will Soil Compaction Affect the plant? 

As weight is applied to the soil it will force the particles to draw closer to each other. 

The overall effect of compaction is poor drainage as the water will either sit on top of the soil or drain very slowly into and out of the soil. 

This causes waterlogging and lack of aeration for the roots of the plant which leads to the ripple effect of root rot. 

Why do Cats Play in and Around Plants

Cats often play around plant pots because the leaves and branches are perceived as a toy with its springy nature. 

For this reason, cats often hit the leaves with their paws in a playful nature which causes the leaf to bounce back and forth.

Another reason why cats play in a potted plant is because they find treasures in the soil. If the soil in the potted plant has stones, the cat will find pleasure in digging in and removing these stones which they can then play with.

The Takeaway

The conclusion to this discussion is very straightforward, one is that the cat sleeps in plant pots because it has a very conducive environment for it to rest. 

For the cat, it is safe to sleep in the pot and nothing will harm it.

It is not very safe due to damages that the cat might cause like stepping on the plant or going for a long call on the plant. 

So one should use the ways we mentioned above in the article to keep the cats away from the plant pot. 

The soil in potted plants is usually not harmful to cats. However, the weight of the cat can cause the soil within the pot to become compact.

Using a barrier is a great method for keeping cats out of potted plants as well as providing the cat with a more comfortable place to sleep will curb the cat’s urge of looking elsewhere for a resting place.

It is not costly to set up some of these preventive measures and there are easy to put in place.

JayLea

JayLea has a passion for plants and has been gardening since 2015. He has valuable knowledge about gardening and houseplant care and can answer everyday practical questions that every plant owner has.

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