Ask a Question forum: Transferring Cat-Safe Plant to Pot with previously Not-Safe plant

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Sep 11, 2016 6:42 PM CST
Hello, I have a cat. I have a terra-cotta pot with dirt up high, away from the cat, because it used to hold a large succulent which was not safe for cats. The succulent died, so I have the terra cotta pot now. I have a money tree in a plastic pot, which is mostly safe for cats if they only nibble a little -- he doesn't bother it much, anyway -- and I want to transfer it into the terra cotta planter and put it in a spot on the ground, that would be possibly reachable by my cat. If he nibbles on the money tree in the terra cotta planter, would the money tree or the terra cotta pot be unsafe? Would it absorb any of the toxicity from the dirt of the old toxic succulent?

NOTE: Nothing in this post or thread is to be taken as cat care advice for another cat, because all cats and plants are different. I do not intend to advise on how to care for a cat, and cannot be responsible for any advice on this matter. The ASPCA website does say that money trees can sometimes cause stomach irritation. Link:
[Last edited by kate_s - Sep 11, 2016 8:06 PM (+)]
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Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
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Sep 11, 2016 6:49 PM CST
Hi and welcome, Kate. It should be just fine to use that terra cotta pot for your money tree. I would pitch the old soil that the succulent was growing in, just in case there are residual roots in the soil. Pot up the money tree in nice new sterile potting soil.

But, if you have an indoor cat that likes to nibble on your plants, I'd also advise you to get some cat grass and plant it in that plastic pot that's going to be vacated by the money tree. Don't use the silly little pots they supply at the pet store. If you grow the grass nicely in a pot, it will grow much better, you can plant two pots of grass from the amount of seeds they give you, and maybe kitty will be more inclined to leave your other plants alone.

My daughter grows big pots of cat grass for her two cats all winter on the windowsill, and they love it, sitting like book ends, eating the grass and looking out the window. Wish I had a picture, I'll have to ask her to send me one.

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Sep 11, 2016 7:38 PM CST
Growing the cat grass is an excellent idea, Elaine.

And, if your cat tends to dig in the dirt of a large pot, cut a piece of "plastic canvas" (from a craft store) to fit in the top of the pot, with an opening for the plant... easy to water and the cats can't get to the dirt.
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Sep 11, 2016 8:07 PM CST
Thank you for your thoughtful suggestions, Elaine and Sandy.
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Sep 11, 2016 10:03 PM CST
Kate ...

You can also use used coffee grounds on the top of the soil of your pot as a cat deterrent. None of my indoor cats liked the scent of coffee. I now use coffee grounds in my garden beds to keep the neighbor's cat from using the beds for her toilet. So far, I haven't met a cat that is a coffee lover ... Smiling
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Name: James
Anacortes, WA (Zone 8b)
(Heat zone - 1, Sunset zone - 5)
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Sep 11, 2016 10:12 PM CST
Thumbs up You guys are great!
Maybe you could get together and make a "Gardening Ideas" article about gardening & cats. I never would have thought about these solutions! I tip my hat to you.
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