If you’re like me, you’d love to have plants in your home, but you worry that they may not work and play well with your feline housemates. We all know that catnip and oat grass are obvious choices for your cat, but what if you want plants for you? Here’s a place to start.
Herbs can be a wonderful accompaniment to meals, and often they add more than just flavor: Some of them even provide important antioxidants that can help keep us healthy. Here are a few of my favorite cat-safe herbs:
1. Basil (Ocimum basilicum) is a member of the mint family, and like all mints, it is safe for cats to consume. I can’t even imagine a summer without salads made of fresh tomatoes, fresh basil and fresh mozzarella cheese.
2. German Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) is a member of the daisy family. If you’re a tea drinker, you’ll know this stuff well: It makes for a great fresh tea on a hot summer day. Please note that English Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) is toxic to cats. Make sure you get the right kind!
3. Coriander (Coriandrum sativum), also known as cilantro, is a key herb in the cookery of almost the whole world. Coriander leaves are commonly used in Mexican, Chinese, and South Asian cuisine.
4. Dill (Anethum graveolens) is a great way to spice up a cucumber salad, borscht, or your favorite fish dish. It’s especially yummy on salmon.
5. Parsley (Petroselinum hortense) is another great cat-safe herb. Although it’s often used as a garnish or sprinkled on top of potato or rice dishes, it’s also a key ingredient in tabbouleh salad.
If you’re not big on cooking but you love to plant things that look and smell beautiful, fear not: There are plenty of cat-safe flowers for you to choose from.
1. Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus), also known as Bachelor’s Button, will add a beautiful blue to your flowerpots. As an extra bonus, the flower is edible and can be used to add color to salads.
2. Impatiens (any member of the species) comes in so many amazing colors and flower shapes that you can find something to fit any color palette or sun level.
3. If you’re a hardcore gardener and you live in the right climate zone, the Moon Orchid (Phalaenopsis amabilis) can bring a gorgeous aroma and beautiful flowery goodness to your home.
4. If you’re not such a hardcore gardener, Petunias (all 35 species of them) are easy to grow, come in lots of beautiful colors. and smell absolutely amazing!
5. Zinnias also come in a variety of colors and, as a bonus, are also known to attract butterflies and hummingbirds.
Do you have some favorite indoor or balcony garden favorites? Please share them with us below! For more information on cat-safe plants, consult the ASPCA’s list of toxic and nontoxic plants.