So you just returned home only to find out that your furry feline friend treated itself to your prized spider plant. What now? Will your spider plant grow back if a cat eats it?
Spider plants tend to grow back even after they’ve taken a fair bit of damage. So, as long as the plant wasn’t shredded down to its roots, there is a decent chance of recovery. The recovery process is time-consuming and can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to several months.
In the remainder of this article, we’ll talk more about whether or not your spider plant will grow back if it’s been eaten by a cat, what you can do to speed up the recovery process, and precautionary steps you can take to prevent something similar from happening in the future. Stick around to learn more.
Assessing the Damage
As you might expect, this largely depends on the extent of damage done. For example, if you have a fully grown spider plant (they can grow up to 15 inches or 38 cm in height), your cat probably won’t be able to do irreversible damage to the plant, even if they tried.
On the other hand, if your spider plant is still in its earlier stages of growth, or if you have a smaller variety, such as a curly spider plant, you might have some problems.
Speaking of which, did you know that curly spider plants and spider plants are two separate plants with very distinct features? Here’s a detailed comparison of the two so that you can know which one suits you best: Curly Spider Plant Vs. Spider Plant: 6 Differences
Smaller spider plants are rather vulnerable to being damaged by cats. Just a little bit of nibbling and clawing can leave visible damage.
Another factor that determines whether or not your spider plant will be able to grow back is the health of the root system. Even the most beat-up plants can make a gradual return if their root system remains unharmed.
Once you’ve looked at these two factors, you’ll probably have a good idea of whether or not it’s worth the effort to try and save your spider plant. And in most cases, it is worth the effort because cats seldom do enough damage to warrant uprooting and removing the plant entirely.
Addressing Minor to Moderate Damage
Torn leaves, some visible roots, and a roughed-up plant are examples of minor damage. The good news is that this kind of damage will heal on its own with time.
This means that while you don’t have to do anything in particular, there are some steps you can take to improve and speed up recovery:
Prune or Cut off the Damaged Leaves
Whether or not pruning is necessary depends upon the extent of damage done. Half-eaten leaves can look untidy and unaesthetic. If you find the look to be displeasing, feel free to cut off the damaged parts of the spider plant for a cleaner look during recovery.
Cover Visible Roots With Soil
Covering the visible roots helps stave off any root damage and helps get the nutrient-gathering systems back up and running. The sooner you do this, the better.
Provide Optimal Care
It goes without saying that establishing good fundamental care practices is beneficial whether or not your spider plant is damaged. But your damaged spider plant needs extra care to make a successful recovery.
You’ll also need to pay more attention to improving the air circulation around your plant since wet soil and foliage can attract fungi, and damaged roots and foliage are more vulnerable to microbial infections.
Pay Attention to Your Plant’s Basic Needs
Stick to an appropriate watering routine, use some fertilizer to speed up growth, and eliminate any damaging environmental factors such as excessive or too little sunlight, extreme temperatures, or pests.
Consider Getting a Humidifier for Indoor Plants
We, humans, tend to dislike high humidity. Spider plants, on the other hand, absolutely love it. They thrive best with indoor humidity levels above 50%. This can be too high to maintain indoors using a pebble tray or regular misting, so a humidifier is essential.
Take Preventive Measures
Take measures to ensure your spider plant won’t suffer any more damage at the hands of your cat. You can place the plant in a bright bathroom to keep it out of your cat’s reach. Frequently used bathrooms also have higher humidity than the rest of the house, eliminating the need for a humidifier.
Simple enough, right? In essence, you just need to take good care of the plant by paying extra attention to factors such as water, sunlight, fertilization, etc. Optimal conditions will help the plant regenerate lost matter faster.
Pruning isn’t necessary. If the look of the plant doesn’t displease you, you don’t have to go for it. Depending on the damage, recovery can take anywhere from a week to a few months.
Addressing Severe Damage
If your cat really messed up your spider plant, most of the leaves have been ripped to shreds, and the plant has been uprooted almost entirely. This is most likely the case if you have a curly or smaller spider plant. So, where do you go from here?
As you can imagine, a successful recovery is less likely in this scenario.
One factor that plays a role in determining whether or not recovery will be successful is how healthy the plant was before the attack.
Fully grown, healthy spider plants, with their higher nutrients and energy reserves, can better regenerate and repair roots. Smaller and younger spider plants don’t have these same reserves, so root damage tends to be harder to repair.
There are steps you can take to give your struggling spider plant better odds of survival:
Quickly Replant in Soil or Potting Mix
Spider plants can last outside the soil for some time, but replanting soon is essential to allow the roots to reestablish themself in the soil and reduce the risk of a transplant shock.
Trim Back Dead Foliage
In this case, cutting back any dead or dying leaves is important. Doing so ensures that your spider plant doesn’t waste any more resources on trying to preserve said leaves but focuses on growing new ones instead.
Provide Adequate Care and Attention
Once you’ve taken the steps above, the rest ultimately comes down to care and attention. Be sure to give your plant the right amount of water, humidity, and sunlight. The better you can manage these decisive factors, the faster your spider plant will grow back.
Give Your Plant More Sunlight
Dead leaves cannot aid in photosynthesis, reducing the extent to which your spider plant will be able to utilize the sunlight it gets. Greater exposure to sunlight becomes particularly important during recovery to allow the remaining leaves to maximize the use of available sunlight.
However, that doesn’t mean placing your plant in direct sunlight. Bright, indirect sunlight is still the way to go, but be sure to rotate your plant more religiously (at least a quarter or half turn every time you water your plant). This will ensure the plant will grow evenly.
You can expect to wait a month or two before your spider plant recovers fully. The plant will most likely recover as long as it has even a few live roots remaining after the attack.
If, despite your best efforts, you don’t see any new growth in the following weeks, your plant might be beyond recovery. This is rare, though. Again, most spider plants will brush off an attack from a cat and make a full recovery. Only baby spider plants are at practical risk of dying after being chomped on by a cat.
Cats and Spider Plants
Fortunately, spider plants are not harmful to cats, even if ingested in moderate quantities. Mild digestive issues may occur with excessive consumption, but severe distress is uncommon. Nonetheless, if you observe severe symptoms like labored breathing, consult your veterinarian promptly.
Cats are drawn to spider plants due to their attractive chemical composition, which can become addictive. Preventive measures are crucial to deter your cat from further feasting on your greenery.
This makes taking preventative measures all the more important.
Preventing Future Incidents
Here are some practical suggestions to get your cat to stop eating spider plants (or any other plant, for that matter):
Safe plants that cats are attracted to are cat grass and catnip. You can grow them as a sacrificial substitute to protect other, more important plants in your house.
Peppers or Citrus
Cats have a strong sense of smell, making them more sensitive to unpleasant smells. Spicy and bitter foods give off aromas that are too much for cats to handle. Add a small amount of household peppers or spices near your spider plant. Alternatively, use lemon or citrus peels.
You can leave spider plants outdoors when daytime temperatures remain between 70 and 90 °F (21 and 32 °C). Although they can tolerate lower temperatures, growth stops when temperatures hit below 65 °F (18 °C). You’ll want your recovering spider plant to maximize its growth potential.
Unless you own a variety vulnerable to overheating and/or sun damage, placing spider plants outdoors in partial shade should be fine. A roofed balcony or a shaded patio receiving filtered light during warm weather is suitable for most spider plants.
If you would rather not place your spider plant outdoors, put it in a place that’s difficult for your cat to get to it. Hanging plants are often harder for cats to get into. It’s probably not the best idea if your cat likes jumping to reach high surfaces, though.
In summary, spider plants exhibit remarkable resilience when faced with cat-induced adversity. By tending to their roots and providing extra care, you can expect most spider plants to recover successfully.
Preventive measures, including safe alternatives and aroma-based deterrents, can help safeguard your beloved greenery from future feline dining escapades.