You know what’s great about having my daughter Britta and daughter-in-law Kaitlyn help out with posts for the blog? You get the benefit of post ideas that come from a whole different frame of reference! Case in point, today’s post. I don’t have a cat and, since my husband would rather jump off a tall building than get a cat, chances are I never will! But BRITTA does…and because she does, today she is sharing with us a smart solution to a “cat problem” that I’m assuming she’s not alone in. Pretty cool huh? I think so. :-)
Britta writes: A couple of weeks ago, my friend Randi Lynn was kind enough to give me one of the many Spider Plants she had growing in her kitchen. I have wanted a houseplant for a while to keep in my office, so I was very excited to get it home! I decided that I would place it on my windowsill during the day, to make sure that it received as much light as possible.
Enter my cat, Katara. I had forgotten to take into account that Katara enjoys sitting on that particular windowsill during the day, in order to watch the birds who live in the tree outside the window. Apparently she was offended by the arrival of the Spider Plant on HER windowsill, because she has been kicking soil out of the pot and onto the sill nearly every day since I brought it into the house. I suppose it could be worse, because she doesn’t appear to be eating the plant or destroying it in any way, just pushing dirt out. BUT STILL – it is very obnoxious!
(Side note from Jillee: But look at that cute face!!)
So I found myself faced with a conundrum. Do I give in to my cat’s bad behavior and accept that I can’t keep plants in the house, or do I resign myself to the fact that I will have to sweep dirt off my windowsill daily? Neither were very attractive options, so I decided I needed to come up with a third option: find a way to keep my cat away from my plant.
A bit of research yielded an intriguing idea: a spray made from essential oils that would repel my cat, but that would also be harmless to the plant itself. This sounded like the ideal solution, so I eagerly gave it a try!
In a 4 oz glass spray bottle, I added 2 drops each of Lemon, Sweet Orange, and Lavender essential oils, and then topped it off with enough water to fill the bottle. Cats are several times more sensitive to smells than humans, so they will tend to steer clear of particularly strong scents like citrus. Apparently they don’t like lavender either.
Note: Dr. Richard Palmquist, Chief of Integrative Health Services at Centinela Animal Hospital in Inglewood, California, advises that one drop of essential oil diluted in 50 drops carrier oil or water is safe for pets. The toxicity from this very small amount of diluted EO’s is far less harmful in the long run than the ingredients and artificial ‘fragrance’ in most products. However, never apply essential oils directly on a cat.
After shaking the bottle well, I sprayed the soil of the plant, trying to avoid the leaves as much as possible. I also sprayed the outside of the pot.
Since I wrote this post yesterday, I haven’t seen Katara anywhere near my plant, which is very encouraging! And as an ADDED BONUS….this spray smells great! It is a very bright and cheerful scent, which is perfect for a home office like mine. Who couldn’t use an extra bit of cheer at work??
And let’s not forget the cheerful feeling I will get from knowing that my plant will continue to flourish on the windowsill, free from the torment of Katara’s incessant pawing. :-)