A friend of mine has this Dypsis lutescens plant that was almost destroyed by a cat and she wants to know what can be applied on the stems, leaves or on the soil to deter the cat from fighting it anymore. Coffee ground and cigarette ashes might discourage the little monster, but can it also hurt the plant?

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  • Is this a cat that lives there and is unable to go outdoors, or never goes outside?
    – Bamboo
    Jan 19, 2017 at 17:35
  • Yes, Bamboo. It lives in an apartment in the city, never goes outside. It also uses a scratching post, but at least once a day it abuses the plants. A 6-ft Dracaena is already shredded, that's why the owner thinks that Dypsis lutescens will follow, unless spraying it or adding something, anything.
    – Alina
    Jan 19, 2017 at 18:09
  • Bamboo skewers stuck plentifully into the soil, (sticking up a few inches of course), works for some people I know. It sounds mean but it visually deters them from jumping in.
    – Brenn
    Jan 20, 2017 at 3:31

1 Answer 1


Cats don't like the smell of Pelargoniums, so adding a couple of pots of those around the base of the existing plants might help. Otherwise, try mothballs, but you need the old fashioned, napthalene type, that really smell strongly. The drawback with those is, the owner will be able to smell them too. Chili powder is often mentioned, but its not wise to use it - when cats get it on their paws and then clean them, its not a comfortable experience for them.

But, as its an indoor cat, it may only be attacking the plants because it needs to eat some grass - cats chew on grass to act as an emetic, which enables them to get rid of fur balls, which is essential. You can buy grass for cats, often sold as cat grass, in many outlets, and also at Amazon, or seed for growing it, example here.

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    Interesting. I didn't know cats did that too. Since we removed all the grass from our front property, we have to let our dog go across the street when he wants to eat grass and vomit. Jan 19, 2017 at 19:21
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    @GrahamChiu, that's funny, I didn't know dogs did it!
    – Bamboo
    Jan 19, 2017 at 19:33
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    Cats need a bit of grass!! Easy to grow on your window sill! They'll leave that plant alone. Also a bit of pruning so cats aren't tempted. Introducing weird chemicals and stuff just isn't necessary...
    – stormy
    Jan 19, 2017 at 19:35

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