The stem of one of my potted plants was slightly chewed on by a cat. Nothing that would seriously damage the structural integrity of the plant, but it did puncture the surface with a few small tooth marks. Will the plant heal on its own? Should I be worried that damage to the surface of the stem would provide entry vectors for disease or parasites? And if so, is there anything I can do to ameliorate this risk?

EDIT: the cat is safe and healthy. The plant is a small chili pepper plant, which are indeed slightly toxic to cats, but I kept a close watch on the cat and he was (and continues to be) in excellent health. Don't think he got enough of it in his mouth to harm him. The plant is also fine, as far as I can tell, though I hesitate to close this question because a more general answer about what degree of surface puncturing is dangerous to potted plants might be helpful to some future person.

  • Which plant? Do you have a photo? Animals are recurrent in nature, so plants are adapted about their damages (thing about insects). So: harm? possibly (but it depends on the variety), die? Not probable (but also it depends). Weaker? Probably. The cat is the "entity" more at risk. Commented Jan 14, 2019 at 9:04
  • Get a sense of perspective on this. Every time you mow your lawn, you do a lot more "serious damage to the structural integrity of the grass" than your cat did to your house plant, and the grass just carries on growing!
    – alephzero
    Commented Jan 14, 2019 at 10:19
  • you may need to trim off the damaged growth, but it depends what plant it is - we really need a photo if possible. It may be the plant the cat chewed on is toxic to cats, so the damage might be more to the cat than to the plant... is it an indoor cat, never goes outside?
    – Bamboo
    Commented Jan 14, 2019 at 12:06

1 Answer 1


Without a picture I will hazard a guess that that plant will be fine. the chewing would have to have been the entire circumference to kill the plant...we need to know what plant this is, its environment, definitely a picture. Is the stem herbaceous or is it woody? Please send a picture and tell us every detail you could imagine about your situation and plant. Nothing is too little...okay?

My biggest worry right now, is your cat. There are very many plants that are very toxic to cats and dogs. Especially indoor plants!

Please send a picture! How is your kitty doing? No salivating, no overly cleaning its mouth and face, is he eating and peeing/pooping okay? Drinking more than usual water?

Let us know asap, okay?

  • Thanks for your concern. The cat is doing great, which means he's also still trying to chew on literally everything when he gets bored. The plant is also doing well, which means unfortunately I can't post pictures of the initial damage anymore - sorry I didn't see this when you first posted. Commented Jan 24, 2019 at 21:28

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