Pet Friendly Plants for your Home

Pet Friendly Plant: Burro's tail in yellow ceramic planter.

Spring has officially hit, at least on the calendar! I’m still waiting for the weather to catch up 😉 But I do know it will be here before we know it! So, why not start planning for it now? Plants, greenery, flowers…. These are what come to mind when I think Spring in Virginia. I’m beyond ready to see color outside and inside again! But, what pet friendly plants should I use in my home? What plants are safe around my dogs? Many common indoor house plants that seem popular with interior designers are actually quite toxic for cats, dogs, or both! So, I’ve done some research. And I’m sharing my recommendations for pet friendly plants to use in your home or garden.

Before we dig into these pet friendly plant suggestions, I’d also like to remind you to check out the ASPCA website for additional information on plants that are toxic to dogs and/or cats. You can search their site a few different ways including by animal (cat, dog, or horse), common plant name, or scientific plant name. While I’m sharing a few common plants, there are so many others, too. I was quite surprised to see so many of the common house plants are toxic as I researched plants to recommend.

Gray and white cat looking longingly out a window with a sheer curtain.
Keep reading below to learn more about plants that are safe to use around your cat.
Herbs

Spruce up your kitchen with natural elements you can use in your meals and are safe for your dogs and cats. Basil, thyme, cilantro, mint, and parsley are great options! And, how adorable would it be to have new pots like these from Amazon? However, there are some herbs that aren’t safe for your four legged family members, so make sure you check with the ASPCA database before adding any herb to your kitchen garden.

Money Tree/Pachira Aquatica shown in a bark textured pot.
Gorgeous Money Tree (Pachira Aquatica) shown in a textured bark pot. Photo by York Flowers in Washington DC and Annapolis MD.
Money Tree (Pachira aquatica)

This is one of my favorite plants. Not only because I think the name is amusing (money does grow on trees!!). But I also love it’s appearance, especially the beautiful shape and green of the leaves. It’s also perfect if you’re like me and always over-water your plants! While this is not a toxic plant, it is advised to not use this plant in a home where the pets nibble on leaves. The ASPCA website does say that if it’s ingested, it should only  cause minor tummy irritation in your pet. Huge shout out to York Flowers for this beautiful image above of a Money Tree. If you’re in the DC area and need a florist, make sure you check them out. You can find them on most social media outlets, including Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.  

Calathea (Calathea spp.)

Those of you that know me, know that I’m a fan of color, and this plant definitely incorporates more than just green into your home. It’s known for the rich purples, pinks, reds, and greens that make up its leaves. This is a great plant for spaces that don’t have bright or direct sunlight. Plus, according to AirSoPure it has been shown to help purify the air around it, making it a great choice for health in addition to appearance!  

Burro’s Tail (Sedum morganianum)

Also known as the Horse’s tail, Donkey’s tail, or Lamb’s tail, this plant is another easy to care for plant. As the name suggests, it does get long (around 4 ft in about 6 years) and needs a supportive planter for its eventual weight. It does well hanging, but can also sit on a table or shelf. Flowering is possible, but it is very rare.

Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata)

The ponytail palm is a slow growing and easy to maintain plant. If you travel a lot or are forgetful of plants, this is the plant for you! Its bulbous base stores water, so you want to be sure that you have given the plant enough room in the pot. Also, make sure you do not over water this plant. I really enjoyed reading tips and tricks associated with this plant from the blog, Joy Us Plants.

Cast-Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior)

If you’re looking for a plant that needs minimal (and I do mean that!!) attention, this is the one for you. It is on the larger side, with leaves up to 2 feet tall, but it is extremely sturdy! Fascinating fact that I learned from Gardening Know How is that this plant is related to the lily family. According to them it “has small purple flowers that only appear near the soil surface and are hidden in its foliage.” Make sure to check out the link above for additional information on how to care for this plant.

Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exalta bostoniensis)

While the name didn’t seem familiar to me, once I saw the image, I immediately recognized it. According to The Spruce, this is one of the most common ferns. And it’s clear to see why with such a luscious look!  This is another fairly easy plant to maintain and looks great in just about anywhere!

Purple Passion Plant (Gynura aurantica)

I think I went to heaven when a friend recommended this plant and I found out that it is indeed pet safe! It has rich purples and greens (with the occasional yellow flowers). And because of the raised hairs on the leaves, it is also referred to as the Velvet Plant, Royal Velvet Plant, or the Purple Velvet plant. It is a fast growing plant. Young plants make great table decor, and once mature will takes on a sprawling growth pattern making them wonderful for hanging planters.

American Rubber Plant (Peperomia obtusifolia)

This plant is often referred to as a “baby rubber plant” because of its petite size (largest varieties of this plant typically don’t exceed 15 inches). And, because of the sizing, it makes it a great addition to most design schemes and locations. It is also important to note that you must be sure that the plant you are looking to purchase is an American Rubber Plant or within the Peperomia family. Other Rubber Plants are not pet friendly and quite toxic to dogs and cats.

What to do if you believe your pet has ingested something poisonous?

If you know or suspect that your pet has ingested a toxic plant or substance, it is highly recommended that you immediately seek medical attention for them. In our area, we have a few emergency vets that we know and trust. Research emergency options for your pets in your area and have this information handy BEFORE it ever becomes needed.

The ASPCA also has a 24 hour animal poison control hotline available: 888-426-4435. (Add that number to your phone contacts now!!) In most cases, you will be charged $65 via credit card for their assistance. We have used this hotline a few times. One of our emergency vets even used the hotline for a fertilizer that Pebbles ingested a few years ago. (Long story short, the fertilizer she consumed would not harm her and the manufacturer would pay for the calls to the hotline because it was so common for it to be consumed by pets!!).

Doberman with a red and white collar sitting outside surrounded by a lush green forest of trees.
If you have dogs, you should be aware of the non-toxic plant options.
Final thoughts

I hope you have enjoyed this round up of safe plants for your pet friendly home. As a dog mom, I know how scary it is to know that something in your home or yard may not be safe for your dog or cat. Even if you may have used poisonous or toxic plants in the past, don’t fixate on that. Instead, do your research now and be proud of the fact that you are making changes as you learn more. Focus on growth: in yourself and in your new pet friendly plants!

xoxo,

Kayla

Burro's Tail, Money Tree, Basil Plant, Mint, and Boston Fern
Here are a few pet friendly house plants: burro’s tail, money tree, basil, mint, and boston fern.

Playful Cat, Sleepy Cat

kitten sitting on table, title playful cat, sleepy cat

I’m guessing it’s pretty obvious at this point that I’m a dog mom. And while I’ve had some great posts for both dog and cat parents (pet-friendly fabrics, reducing pet odors, and my top recommended rescues), I wanted to write something specifically for the cat parents. A resource for a recurring theme I seem to be asked about quite often. So, this blog post is for the cat moms and cat dads. And most especially, it’s for your playful cat, sleepy cat!

Please note, while I have looked at Amazon reviews and ratings of these products, I have not tested or used any items. You know your pet best, so keep that in mind when considering a purchase of any of these.

“Where can I find attractive cat condos, towers, and perches?”

I’ve seen some custom items for both dogs and cats on a variety of websites. Many gorgeous and unique designs never before seen. But, for today’s blog, I’m going to share some attractive options for your playful cat, sleepy cat from Amazon. Most of these products that I’m suggesting have Amazon Prime shipping available, which can save quite a bit in shipping and often these products ship fast! If you’re not already a member, I highly recommend signing up for a free 30 day trial here.

And, in addition to Prime, you could also earn some money back, if you order through the ebates website or app! Plus, ebates isn’t just for Amazon. If you shop online often, this site will be your best friend! Not only do you earn cash back, but it can also show you available coupons for that retailer!

Playful Cat: Cat Condos and Towers

I absolutely love the shape of this first cat tower by The Refined Feline. The fluidity of the curves offers a sculptural element to any space. Available in 3 colors: espresso (shown below), mahogany, and smoke (my favorite!!). The lotus cat tree stands 69″ tall and offers sisal padding for scratching, several perch options, and a hide-a-way cubby .

espresso cat tower with three perch options, curvilinear lines, a hide-a-way cubby, and sisal for scratching
A sleek, organic design, the Lotus cat tower is a modern take on cat furniture.

The next cat condo tower would be a sleek addition to any modern room. It features a solid wood leg construction for stability, sisal posts for scratching, platforms to perch on, a dangling toy to entertain, and a cozy hide-a-way cat shelter. This condo tower by CO-Z stands at just over 57″ and has several varying height levels for your cat to move around and enjoy. The list even states that there’s plenty of room for 3-4 kitties at once!

Roomy and enjoyable, it has a large platform bed on the top level your fur babies to sit on and look out the window. On the second level there is a capacious observation deck for your kitty to enjoy the sunbath while taking a cozy nap on it. And just imagine an exquisite hideaway cat house,a shelter for nothing but a sound sleep.

Multi-level design makes your feline friends feel free to jump, climb and explore around the kitty house; hanging plush ball l can be pawed at for fun.
The third option is perfect for kittens and smaller cats (less than 15 lbs). There’s a few varieties of smaller cat condos and cat trees from PetPals that I liked, but this one seemed to have the best reviews. It’s a smaller scale option (only 23″ tall!), perfect for small spaces. Plus, the chocolate & gray color palette and the sleek & simple design will fit in many different types of styles. With two different perch options, handmade paper rope scratching posts, and a hanging toy, you’ll have a smitten kitten in no time!

This tree features 2 different plush perch styles with a top cradle perch for your cat to play or rest. Perches are supported by handmade paper rope scratching posts for your cats to dig into. The idea of the cradle is to help keep your cat snugged safely up top for their nap time. It’s also perfect for multiple cats playing hide and seek!

The contemporary design of this cat tree makes it the perfect addition to your home decor! Durable and sturdy, the perfect combination of shape and function.

And one last option for your playful cat is probably the one that I find the most intriguing. This product line requires some wall space, but the ingenuity and creativity truly makes it functional art! CatastrophiCreations has many varieties available for their Cat Mod products with various price points. The design below incorporates hammocks, planters for cat friendly plants, and sisal poles for climbing or scratching. It also comes in several finishes including English Chestnut and Natural, as shown below.

Hand-crafted beautiful, large, and sleek design Perfect play structure to bring out the acrobat in your cat Gives cats an outlet for their climbing needs Fabric can be easily removed for washing Add a touch of the wild by adding cat friendly plants
This beautiful cat complex incorporates a large, sprawling design along with planters that can hold cat-friendly plants.
Sleepy Cat: Cat Beds

We all know that cats love to sleep, so why not give them a stylish and cozy spot! Here are two cat beds that I think are stylish and cat friendly. The first one that I found is a felted bed cave for cats by Meowfia. It’s made from 100% merino wool, a proven textile for pets because it is naturally antibacterial and repels stains, odor, and dirt. The design accommodates cats and kittens either inside or on top. It is sold in several color variations, perfect for any decor. My favorite is the slate grey variation (shown below).

Each cat cave is carefully handcrafted from 100% all-natural wool by artisans in Nepal. Using an ancient fabrication technique called felting, every cat bed is individually molded using only soap, water, and pressure.

Warm, cozy and durable cat bed for your lovely cat and special touch to home decor.

This next bed, the Cat Pod Bed by Hepper, reminds me of a sleek stool or ottoman you’d include in your home! The construction includes an upholstered fabric exterior, a thick fleece liner, and a sleek base with non-skid rubber pads. This bed can be used open or closed, depending on your cat.

Grey/White Herringbone Woven Fabric Pod with Silver Steel Frame Grey Fleece / Black Microfiber Interior Liner

The Pod Bed looks great in your home, and actually adds to a room’s aesthetics, rather than detracting from them

Playful Cat, Sleepy Cat: Cardboard Scratcher and Lounge

As with all pets, your cat may prefer the cardboard cat scratchers. PetFusion has quite a few designs, but these were my top two favorites. Both are made from recycled cardboard and cornstarch glue (non-toxic); the construction ensures a last quality. The curved design makes it easier to scratch, and more comfortable to rest or play. Plus, these are reversible, allowing for even more use before needing to be fully replaced!

PetFusion's Cat Scratcher Lounge serves double duty as both a cat scratcher and lounge that promises to keep your finicky companions coming back for more. Custom made for cats who enjoy scratching, playing and lounging around. This is more than just a typical scratcher. It stimulates a cat’s natural instincts and curiosity. Available in 3 colors: slate gray (shown), walnut brown, and cloud white.Attractive design, neutral colors. Two tiered & long. Built for sharing & interactive play. Subtle curves make for easier scratching & a more comfortable place to rest & play. Two tiered & long. Built for sharing & interactive play. Subtle curves make for easier scratching & a more comfortable place to rest & play. Naturally attracts cats; holds up to 4 large cats.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it! Eight attractive cat items ranging from cat trees, cat condos, cat beds, and cardboard scratchers! Which is your favorite? Would these work for your cat(s)? Share in the comments below. I’d love to hear your thoughts 🙂

xoxo,

Kayla

kitten sitting on a bed with pillows, white text and black background
Your home decor style does not have to suffer to keep your cats happy.

Upholstery Fabrics Not Pet-Friendly

worst fabrics to use in a pet friendly home

Earlier this week, I discussed the “Best Fabrics for Pet-Friendly Spaces”.  Now it’s time to chat about the worst fabrics for upholstery in pet-friendly spaces and why! Scroll down to see my “Worst Fabrics for Pet-Friendly Spaces” list!

Silk

In my research to see what others online are saying, I noticed several resources say that silk is pet hair resistant.  While that may be true, silk is a very fragile and high maintenance fabric. It can easily stain, rip or tear. And it doesn’t respond well to liquids, making it very tough to clean, too. Due to these factors, and the expense (!), I personally do not recommend silk on upholstery. And, depending on the client and the space, I often don’t recommend it at all in a pet-friendly space (i.e. window treatments or pillows, etc).

worst fabrics for pets, don't use these fabrics in a pet friendly home
cat on stool
Velvet

While a luxurious upholstery fabric, Velvet, is another fabric I don’t recommend. It is a high maintenance and delicate fiber for anyone, but especially pets. It’s super easy for the fibers to be damaged and crushed. Any rough playing, cleaning, or scratching/digging on the fabric can permanently damage the fibers. Professional cleaning is also recommended, and that can add up quickly! And on top of all that, pet hair clings to it like a magnet!

worst fabrics to use in a pet friendly home
dog on chair
Loose Weaves

The Loose Weaves category include many types of fabrics. These include linens, cottons, tweed, chenille, and many other open weave upholstery fabrics. The looser the weave, the more likely these fabrics will snag or unravel. Claws easily get caught in the fibers, while dirt, hair, and dust get trapped. And, over time, that trapped debris embedded into the fibers, will cause the furniture to smell. It is best to save the open weave fibers for machine washable knits or fabrics to use as accents in your space, like removable pillow covers and blankets that you can easily and regularly clean.

Suede

I’m sure many of you think that suede should be a good option for upholstery due to its strength and durability, however, it is not something I’d recommend with pets. Water spots from cleaning, wet pet hair, licking, etc. make this fabric one to skip when furniture shopping. Please note, ultrasuede is a whole other subject, which you can read about here. 

worst fabrics to use with cats
cat sunbathing on sofa

Have you had experience with any of these fabric types? Let me know your real life examples in the comments below!

xoxo,

Kayla

it’s time to chat about the worst fabrics for upholstery in pet-friendly spaces and why!
Have a dog? Avoid these 4 fabrics for upholstery!

Fabrics Best Used in Pet-Friendly Spaces

If you’re like me, your pets have full or almost full access to your house. I even jokingly say that the sofa we bought when we first moved to the new place (3 years ago already!!) was a purchase for them, not us! And, almost daily, I get asked what fabrics are best for pet friendly homes. Below, I’ve created a brief review of the types of fabrics that are best for you and your pets. Don’t forget to check out this other blog post with the worst fabrics to use with dogs or cats.

use these fabrics for pet friendly homes
cat on sofa with pillows

One quick reminder, each home and space are different! Each pet, each breed, each living situation, different seasons, different environments, etc., so while these are the best fabrics overall for pet friendly spaces, things may be slightly different for your own living situation. If you aren’t sure which is best for you or if you’d like some guidance, let’s set up a virtual consultation and chat!

these are the best fabrics to use in a pet friendly home
large dog sitting on dog bed; tongue sticking out
High Performance Crypton/Commercial Fabrics

Most think of healthcare or educational settings when mentioning commercial fabrics, but the reality is that there are so many uses for these fabrics, including among pets!! Options are seemingly endless and often quite luxurious, rivaling some of the top residential fabric brands out there. They come in a large variety of patterns, solids, and textures; are stain, odor, bacteria, and water resistant; and, due to their durability and technology used to produce the fibers, they are easy to maintain.

Crypton is a specific name brand for this technology, and many other fabric companies have begun to develop residential fabrics using this brand technology in their own brand. It is becoming easier to find on the market.

High Performance Sunbrella and Indoor/Outdoor

We are long past the days of “crunching” or that plastic fabric when sitting on indoor/outdoor fabrics! In fact, most would NEVER guess these fabrics are outdoor safe! Technology has indeed come a very long way! Sunbrella is a top leading brand in the industry, however, there are others as well. All come in a variety of patterns, colors, and textures.

This type of material is also a favorite of mine for pillows and accent furniture (chairs, ottomans, etc.), but easily work for larger pieces (think sofa, sectional, headboards, etc). Very easy maintenance with these fabrics in case of spills or areas needing to be cleaned. Some can even be cleaned with a diluted bleach solution!

Leather/Vegan Leather

Leather is resistant to smells and doesn’t attract pet hair. In fact, it’s super easy to wipe clean with a dust cloth. If scratches occur, a high-quality leather can typically be buffed. Distressed or patterned leathers may even disguise added scratches. There are also vegan leather options with similar characteristics and options to natural leather.

That being said, not all leather out there is the same. It is critical to make sure the leather that you are looking to put on your furniture is high quality. Leather is sold in different quality types: genuine/bonded, bicast, split-grain, top-grain, nubuck, and full-grain. Genuine/bonded and split grain are the lowest quality, top-grain is the upper mid to high-level, and full-grain is high-level. I highly recommend the top-grain or full-grain leather qualities for furniture in any house hold, but especially with pets.

I’ll be sure to go into detail on each of these in a future blog post.

Ultrasuede/Microfibers

This is one of my favorite fabrics for pets and their owners. It wears exceptionally well, is easy to clean, and typically is available in a variety of colors, although mainly only solids or a heathered look. This material does attract pet hair, but it is very easy to brush off because it does not embed itself into the fibers. It’s also resistant to nail or claw punctures! Add accents with pillows and throws (perfect for those nesters!!) in various prints, colors, and textures to add a personal touch.

Ultrasuede is the name brand and original microfiber invented (Japan, 1970s). Since then, many other fabric houses have developed their own microfibers, in varying price points (usually less expensive). While just about any of the microfibers on the market today are quite durable and hold up to pets well, the name brand, Ultrasuede, is still the best on the market. If you were to compare samples of the typical microfibers in competition to the Ultrasuede, you would see some differences, including that Ultrasuede is usually thicker than the other variations.

use these fabrics for a dog friendly home; blue gray sofa, tufted sofa, living room design, interior design
dog sitting on human’s lap on a sofa

Still have some questions about one of these fabrics? Feel free to send me an email or post a comment below! Don’t miss my blog post on the worst fabrics for pet friendly spaces!

xoxo,

Kayla