Afican violets and cats

Benton, KY(Zone 7a)

Hi everyone, my 85 year old mom has acquired a cat and it has decided all plant life in her house is there for snacking. She's given up her orchids and african violets over the last 2 years and really misses them, but loves her kitty. How do you all deal with this issue...surely there is a way for both to co-exist.

She lives in a condo (ground floor) has lots of great windows and light. I've bought my first AV this year and would love to share with her (an optimara space violet) if we can come up with a workable way to protect it...that doesn't require a hermetically sealed cat-proof room.
Any ideas?

By they way...I love my violet and will probably get it a friend or two before very long...I've just never been a houseplant person, but this little gal blooms her head off and is very undemanding.

Thumbnail by melody
(Lynn) Omaha, NE(Zone 5a)

Gosh Melody,I don't know for sure,but some people plant pet grass for them to munch on.I really just dropped in to say what a stunning violet!


Benton, KY(Zone 7a)


These 'space violets' were hybridized from seeds that spent about 6 years orbiting in the space station and were subjected to radiation and gamma rays. They bloom like this almost continually and get huge...a full grown one will be about 16" across. Mine is about 6 months old and is easily a foot across. I wanted to start a plant for my mom if I could figure out how to keep the cat out of it. (the kitty has 2 different cat grass containers that it does eat)

(Lynn) Omaha, NE(Zone 5a)

I have read articles about those,but haven't tried growing one.
There are lots of members here with cats,so I'm sure someone will have some other solutions for you.

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Hi Melody,

The one thing I found that keeps the cats out of my houseplants is: Take a cotton ball and smear some Jergens hand lotion on it and put it in the pot with your plant. Depending on the size of the plants, I have put several in with them. For some reason the cats do not like the smell of the hand lotion.

I found this out quite by accident. One day I was putting the lotion on my hands and rubbing them together when my cat who just loved me, jumped into my lap. She got a shocked look on her face and pulled her head back away from my hands and then jumped down to the floor.

Who would have thought??? It was the original scent lotion. She never did get used to it.

I would suggest maybe buying your mother a cheap plant, non poisonous, and first without the cotton balls, and when the cat "discovers" the plant, then put the cotton ball {s} in the plant and see what happens.

Please let us know how it works. Or doesn't. Jeanette

Benton, KY(Zone 7a)

Great idea! I think I'll bring her a plant and some Jergens next week when we have Thanksgiving!

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Would be nice if it were that easily solved wouldn't it?

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

I do not have any blooming Violets BUT....

How about sprinkling hot pepper powder on the soil?
Seems to work for squirrels--like mixing it into bird seed.

Once, someone here suggested shaving Irish Spring soap into bits and
sprinkling it on the edges of flower beds to keep rabbits out.
You might want to try that also. Both are non-toxic.

Is it possible that ANT scented lotion would work?

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

LOL, Gita, what is ANT scented lotion? Do you manufacture it? LOL

It will be fun to hear from Melody how the Jergens worked.

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

Jnette------It was a mis-print... It was meant to be "ANY"--not Ant.

I try to proof read--but I miss things.....

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

LOL, Gita, the ANT was fun. I suppose ANY scented lotion might work. Jergens was just what I was using and my cat stuck her nose up in the air and jumped down. After that if she smelled it on me she would turn away and walk off.

All I can say is, try it.

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

I don't have any cats or dogs! G.

Benton, KY(Zone 7a)

I haven't been over to Mom's yet...we had Thanksgiving at my sister's house this year, but I promise to try the experiment...(at least I won't be searching the stores for ant scented lotion now!)

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

LOL, Melody, you are really going to have to try this. And I would say Gita is right. Anything like that will probably work. Cats are very finicky creatures. And Gita, sometimes I think it would be nice not to have any cats.

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

I had my share of cats over the years when my 2 girls were younger and
lived at home. The youngest one, especially. She rescued several cats
and we went through, I think, 6 over the years. She is still an animal lover.

My favorite was "Hobo"--a big, orange tabby.
He must have lived in the woods for a long while--and he looked it.
He sat on my front steps for 7 days, partially, because I had started to
put some food out for him. He was so pitiful.....
His feet were all sores, his ears were full of black junk, he was dirty
and sad looking--but he sat there day after day.
Finally--I succumbed. Before I would let him in--I took him to the vets for
a spaying and shots, and a good clean-up job. Then he was mine!

Adjustment came hard--as we already had 2 other cats.
After about a year or more--he was, definitely, the Alpha cat.

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

That is soooooo interesting Gita.because my cat about 4 years ago, Bob was out cutting wood and this cat would be under a limb on the cedar tree watching him. Bob finally started leaving food out for it. Bob finally sat out on the deck one night and it was so cold that Bob caught close to pneumonia. Had to get a lot of treatment from the dr. But the cat finally sat on his lap and let him bring it in. I named it Hobo. Can you believe that???? Hobo was my favorite cat too for a couple of years and then all of a sudden Hobo disappeared. About broke my heart. That is the closest i have ever been to an animal I think. Jen

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

I don't remember for sure--but MY Hobo got injured...somehow. Car?
He could not walk, was dragging his hind feet, was incontinent....

With a heavy heart and tears--i had to take him to be put down.

One of my other cats disappeared for a week. We were sure he was dead...
One night my DH and mr came home really late from a party and as we were
about to go in, we heard a distant meowing...
It was our lost cat--who seemed paralyzed in his back end. He dragged himself
up the couple steps. Sad. sad looking...
next day--he had to be put away.

Another one got hit by a car....etc... All sad events. One does get attached...

I suppose the lesson here is to keep your cats indoors. Gita

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

The 2 cats I have now I got from Pet Rescue and they definitely stress that the cats are indoor cats. However, one of them insists on going outside. So?????

Post a Reply to this Thread

You must log in and subscribe to Dave's Garden to post in this thread.