14 Low-Light Plants Safe for Cats

If you share your home with cats and plants, then it’s important to only choose cat-safe houseplants for your indoor green space. Cats are notorious for getting into houseplants, whether that means swatting at hanging foliage or nibbling on the leaves. By only picking plants that are non-toxic to cats, you won’t have to worry about a scary trip to the vet if your cat is found snacking on your plants. So what kinds of plants can you include that grow well in low-light conditions and don’t pose a threat to your cats? Take your pick of these 14 non-toxic low-light houseplants. 

  • 01of 14

    Nerve Plant (Fittonia albivenis)

    Nerve Plant

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    Nerve plants are best known for their unique foliage. The deep green leaves are covered in white or red thin, branching lines, making it a very eye-catching plant that is also non-toxic to cats. Because it is a tropical plant, it likes warm temperatures and high humidity. These plants are not well-suited for direct light and will do well with medium to low light conditions. 

    • Light: Low to medium indirect light 
    • Water: Likes moist soil conditions. Water before the soil dries out. 
  • 02of 14

    Prayer Plant (Maranta leuconeura)

    Prayer Plant

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    Prayer plants have striking leaf patterns that include light green, dark green, and red shading. If you want a unique, cat-safe houseplant, this is one to put on your list for its nightly ritual—the leaves of the plant fold at night, appearing like praying hands. It is important to give prayer plants well-draining soil, as soggy soil can cause root rot and plant death. 

    • Light: Bright, indirect to low light. Never direct sun.
    • Water: Consistent watering. Requires that the soil stays moist. 
  • 03of 14

    Baby Rubber Plant (Peperomia obtusifolia)

    Rubber Plant

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    Baby rubber plants have thick, shiny, vibrant green leaves and round, red stems. These eye-catching plants are easy to care for and can handle inconsistent watering. Because it is a tropical plant, it enjoys medium to high humidity levels. As a low-light houseplant, choose a non-variegated cultivar. They do the best with limited light conditions. If possible, provide this plant with some light early in the day. But take note that direct light will cause the plant to burn.

    • Light: Adapts to medium or low light conditions (especially non-variegated cultivars)
    • Water: Inconsistent watering. Allow the soil to dry out before watering
  • 04of 14

    Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior)

    Cast Iron Plant

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    Cast iron plants make a great option as a large, low-light plant that is safe for cats. These plants can reach up to 3 feet tall, with large leaves that grow about 2 feet long. Cast iron plants need very little care and cannot tolerate being overwatered, making them the perfect option for those who tend to forget about watering. 

    • Light: Low lighting. Keep out of direct sun. 
    • Water: Inconsistent. Allow the soil to dry out between watering 
  • 05of 14

    Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

    Spider Plant

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    Spider plants are a very popular houseplant choice because of their ease of care and their unique foliage growth. Spider plants create offshoots, or baby spider plants, that hang down from the mother plant, creating dangling spider-like baby plants. These plants do well with some natural light but can grow in low-light conditions, just expect less prolific growth. 

    • Light: Tolerates low light
    • Water: Moderate watering. Water once the top of the soil begins to feel dry.  
  • 06of 14

    Zebra Calathea (Calathea zebrina)

    Zebra Plant

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    The zebra calathea has eye-catching foliage that is striped with bright and dark green. These plants can also be found with white or pink on their leaves. They can reach up to 3 feet tall, making a lovely statement plant in any room. While they prefer bright, indirect filtered light, they can be tolerant of a shady spot in your home, too. Aim to give this plant as much natural light as possible.

    • Light: Bright, indirect, filtered light
    • Water: Consistent watering. Keep soil moist, but never wet. 
  • 07of 14

    Burro’s Tail (Sedum morganianum)

    Burro's Tail Plant

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    Burro’s tail is a trailing succulent plant. Each vine is covered in tiny, fleshy leaves, making each vine look like the tail of a donkey, which is where it got its name. It is important to note that these tiny leaves can easily be knocked off the vine. Therefore, it is best to keep this plant in an area where it will not be disturbed. Burro’s tail plants will grow most vigorously in bright, indirect light but these succulents can adapt to low-light conditions, too. Just expect a slightly leggier appearance as the plant grows.

    • Light: Indirect light; adapts to low light conditions. Never place in direct sun.
    • Water: Inconsistent watering. Allow the soil to completely dry out between watering.
  • 08of 14

    Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata ‘Bostoniensis’)

    Boston Fern Plant

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    Boston ferns are famous for their cascading, textured fronds. These ferns are native to swamps and rainforests, so mimicking the warm, humid conditions of these areas will help your fern thrive. Like other fern varieties, the Boston fern will tolerate low-light conditions well. It’s a good pick for a bedroom or office, without the worries of your cat consuming the fronds.

    • Light: Bright, indirect to low light. Keep out of direct sun.
    • Water: Consistent watering. Keep soil moist, but never soggy.  
  • 09of 14

    Bird’s Nest Fern (Asplenium nidus)

    Bird's Nest Fern Plant

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    The bird’s nest fern produces long, wavy, solid fronds, giving this fern its crinkled, unique look. They thrive in high humidity, so it is ideal to place these plants near sinks or showers, such as in the bathroom or kitchen. 

    • Light: Bright, indirect to low light
    • Water: Consistent watering. Keep soil moist, but never soggy. Avoid getting the foliage wet. 
  • 10of 14

    Friendship Plant (Pilea involucrata)

    Friendship Plant

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    The friendship plant has thick, hairy, crinkled leaves, making this plant stand out from the crowd. Its highly textured leaves are bright green with deep brown-red veins, adding to this plant’s eye-catching looks. This is another plant that requires high humidity, so it is recommended to either keep this plant on top of a tray of pebbles and water or near a humidifier. 

    While it will gladly accept bright, indirect light, you can keep this plant in moderate-to-low light conditions. Keep in mind that it should never be placed in direct light, which can dry out its thick leaves that are the star of the show.

    • Light: Moderate, indirect light
    • Water: Consistent watering. Allow the top of the soil to begin to dry out between waterings. 
  • 11of 14

    Watermelon Peperomia (Peperomia argyreia)

    Watermelon Plant

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    The watermelon peperomia’s rounded, light and dark green striped leaves are reminiscent of little watermelons, which is where it earned its name. These plants require an attentive waterer, as they do not handle overwatering or underwatering. It is best to keep the soil moist, then allow the top inch or so to dry out before watering thoroughly again. 

    • Light: Bright, indirect to low light
    • Water: Consistent, thorough watering.  
  • 12of 14

    Haworthia (Haworthia)

    Haworthia Plant

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    Haworthia is a small succulent plant recognizable for its spiky foliage and raised white stripes or dots. These succulents are known for being easy to care for and can be grown in most indoor conditions. And although many succulents require lots of light, these plants can thrive in medium to low-light conditions. 

    • Light: Bright, indirect to low light
    • Water: Inconsistent watering. Water thoroughly, then allow the soil to dry out before watering again. 
  • 13of 14

    Chinese Money Plant (Pilea peperomioides)

    Chinese Money Plant

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    Known for its rounded shape and almost perfectly rounded leaves, the Chinese money plant is famous for its unique shape and growing habits. As the plant grows, it produces offshoots that can be transplanted to grow your cat-safe houseplant collection. 

    While it benefits from bright, indirect light it can adapt to low-light conditions. Expect fewer offshoots and slightly smaller leaves or a leggy appearance. 

    • Light: Bright, indirect light. Can handle low light, but may look leggier.
    • Water: Inconsistent watering. Allow soil to dry out completely, then water thoroughly. 
  • 14of 14

    Brazilian Orchid (Sophronitis spp.)

    Brazilian Orchid Plant

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    Unlike other orchids, Brazilian orchids only reach about 3 inches tall, making them a uniquely compact orchid variety. However, their flowers still reach up to 2 inches wide, making them a showy plant. They thrive in high-moisture environments and require frequent watering and warm temperatures. 

    • Light: Bright, indirect to low light 
    • Water: Consistent watering. Never allow the soil mix to dry out. 

  • What plants are okay for cats to be around?

    There is a wide range of plants that are safe for your cats to be around. Apart from the plants listed above, other cat-safe plants include the parlor palm, gloxinia, and venus fly trap. However, this is by no means an exhaustive list. When selecting a plant, be sure to do your research and ensure that it is non-toxic to cats. Checking the ASPCA for a list of toxic and non-toxic plants is advised. 

  • What large indoor plants are safe for cats?

    As stated, there are a wide range of plants that are safe for cats. Some large varieties to consider include the money tree, bamboo palm, and plants with large leaves—like the cast iron plant.

  • Is hanging ivy safe for cats?

    Yes, hanging ivy (Pilea nummulariifolia), sometimes called creeping Charlie, creeping pilea, or Swedish ivy, is considered non-toxic and is a cat-safe houseplant1