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10 Non-Toxic Indoor Plants For Cats in Malaysia

Decorative indoor plants are meant as a visual appeal for humans. Unfortunately, the same doesn't apply to our dear furry friends—cats.

Plants have the unique ability to release chemical toxins as a part of their defensive mechanism against perceived threats. For that reason, some indoor plants may cause mild poisoning or even lead to fatal consequences when ingested by cats. 

Moreover, cats are well-known for their curious and playful nature. While that's an absolutely adorable characteristic, it might land them in trouble at times. That said, being a cat owner doesn't mean you should altogether leave your love for indoor plants behind.

Here are ten amazing cat-friendly indoor plants in Malaysia that are completely safe for your furry friends. This way, you get the best of both worlds!

1. Hibiscus

The hibiscus, Malaysia's national flower, comes in various vibrant colours, making it a perfect indoor plant choice. Luckily, hibiscus plants are just as safe around cats as it is around humans. When placing the hibiscus plant at your home, ensure an area with adequate amounts of sunlight exposure.

Although the hibiscus is generally safe around cats, there have been reports of mild toxic effects on cats when eaten in large amounts. However, this would be less of a concern if you’re planting them in indoor pots rather than in the ground. This is because ground plantation may result in a larger scale of growth in the long run and risk endangering the health of your cats if consumed by accident.

2. Fittonia

Fittonia, or the mosaic plant, is a famous household plant in Malaysia. The leaves of the fittonia have white or pink veins-like streaks, making them distinct from other plant leaves. When placing this mosaic plant at home, make sure to put them in a reasonably lit area but out of direct sunlight exposure.

For instance, you can place a potted mosaic plant as your dinner table centrepiece.

3. The Bamboo Plant 

The bamboo plant symbolises a strong, healthy, and prosperous life. Bamboo plants are also fast-growing and luscious indoor plants that can effortlessly fill up any empty space. Hence, it's no wonder bamboo plants are a go-to indoor plant for many house owners. Fortunately, bamboo plants are indeed cat-friendly plants. 

On top of that, they can also be safely chewed on by cats without any worries of toxicity. That said, remember not to confuse actual bamboo plants with plastic bamboo plants that are moulded and coloured to look as convincing as possible. Plastic materials are indigestible; therefore, if your cat chews or swallows a piece of plastic bamboo, it may start having internal blockages.

4. Blue rose echeveria

Here's a fun fact: blue echeverias are not blue. They're primarily green in colour, with just a hint of blue. This elegant succulent plant is one of the safest household plants for cat owners. When caring for blue rose echeveria, make sure to put this plant under a shady area or beside closed windows to avoid direct hot sunlight exposure. Furthermore, you should only water this plant once a week or when its soil is dry to touch.

5. Orchids

The family of orchid plants is enormous and diverse—there are up to 2000 different types of orchid species. Despite that, Phalaenopsis orchid is the safest genus of orchid as a house plant for cat owners. The Phalaenopsis orchids are commonly called moth orchids or butterfly orchids secondary to their unique and striking appearances. 

Many scientific pieces of research have backed up the safety of Phalaenopsis orchids over the years. Additionally, it's also proven that Phalaenopsis orchids are non-toxic to cats and also horses. In a nutshell, your cats are more likely to experience toxicity from residues of pesticides or fertilisers on Phalaenopsis orchids rather than the plant itself.

6. Rosemary

This fragrant shrub plant is multi-purpose: a perfect household plant and also a tasty food flavouring. The flowers of rosemary can come in white, purple, pink, or blue. Therefore, you have the flexibility to choose one that best compliments your indoor settings.

Rosemary is non-toxic for cats, but some cats may be allergic to rosemary essential oils, the scent of rosemary, or the plant itself. That being the case, you can buy a small pot of rosemary and test out your cat's tolerance for a month or so before adding more rosemary plants to your collection.

7. Chlorophytum

Chlorophytum, or the spider plant, is an easy-growing flowering plant that's non-toxic to cats. This species of plants are ideal for indoor hanging plants because they grow into dense mediums and have their leaves gracefully displayed. 

Besides that, having a hanging chlorophytum plant also minimises the risk of your cat making a mess out of it. Remember, chlorophytum roots do not like having too much water. So, it's recommended for you to water chlorophytum plants sparingly. 

8. Money Tree

According to Feng Shui beliefs, the money plant brings good luck, fortune, and existential harmony. The smooth and round-edged leaves of the money tree symbolises a great sign of luck, and it's often chosen as an indoor plant for that reason. As luck would have it, money trees are also non-toxic for cats, and therefore a safe household plant for cat owners. 

Nevertheless, it's still best to prevent your cat from chewing or nibbling on the money tree, as these trees have large leaves that cats can easily choke on. Therefore, it's always advisable for you to monitor your cat when it's around the money plant!

9. African Violet

African violets favour bright, warm, and humid living conditions, and the weather in Malaysia satisfies these requirements well. Although this plant is non-toxic to cats, you'd have to regularly check for insect pests such as cyclamen mites or mealybugs, as these insects may latch onto your cat while it's around the African Violet plant, causing significant discomfort to your cat. 

10. Pandan

It's no doubt that the sweet fragrance is the first thing that comes to the minds of Malaysians when the pandan plant is mentioned. In the context of cat safety, pandan is also a cat-safe indoor plant. The tender texture of pandan leaves makes them a favourite non-toxic chew toy for cats.  

A common misconception is that aloe vera, which may look similar to pandan, is also safe for cats—this is wrong. The white latex in aloe vera plants is highly toxic to cats, and cats shouldn't chew them!

Conclusion

Cats are allowed around indoor plants. However, you need to make sure the plants are cat-friendly and safe. If you're worried about your cat, here are some symptoms of potential poisoning you may want to may look out for from time to time:

  • Nausea 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Vomiting 
  • Lethargy 

If you suspect cat poisoning, please immediately contact your veterinarian for prompt diagnosis and medical management. Some vet clinics provide emergency services, and sometimes, getting prompt treatment is essential to safeguard your furbaby’s life.