Reason My Cat is a Jerk #27: She Kills My Plants

14 07 2010

You may have noticed that I don’t exactly live in a palace. It’s a one-bedroom in a not-particularly nice part of Brooklyn. It faces onto a “courtyard,” which means our windows look out onto our neighbors’ brick wall. We don’t love it, but it’s cheap, and there’s plenty of room for our cats to roam, and I have learned to distinguish the sounds of people throwing heavy objects out their windows from the noise of gunfire, so it’s been an educational experience.

The one thing we really lack is light. We’re on the third floor on a block (“courtyard”) of six-story buildings, and there are some trees between the buildings, so not a ton of vitamin D filters down our way. I don’t mind that much. We live very close to a big park, and I get out a lot. The main problem that we cannot grow plants. At all. Here’s a wee tomato I once managed to coax out of the soil in a planter by the window, and I considered this a major victory. I could almost garnish a salad.

Transition.

Hey, do you know what Jezebel’s favorite food is?

That’s right. Plants. Which means that even when I manage to get one to survive on big hopes and good wishes and Miracle-Gro, she still somehow finds a way to destroy it.

When we first got the little jerks, we had this wonderful hanging plant with long, gorgeous tendrils. Jezebel thought it was SO fun to swipe at those tendrils. She was still so new and so little and so cute I didn’t have the heart take swift action to stop it. That was a huge mistake. She took off a couple of leaves a day. She killed that one within weeks.

Then we tried to grow herbs. Oh man. There is nothing more fun than herbs. She couldn’t stop biting them, and swatting at them, and doing whatever she could to uproot them. Adios, basil.

And cut flowers? Jezebel can’t get enough.

Jezebel's glamour shot

When we bring some home, she has to get up on the table to check them out. And then they smell so good, she just needs to sniff them. Just a little bit. And then, oh man, if they smell that good, they must taste amazing! So she bites them. Just to check. And then, they taste so good…

Jezebel Killing Things

These ended up with tiny little teethmarks all up and down them.

A while back, we tried to grow regular-sized (as opposed to wee) tomatoes on the fire escape. Those were done in by a rabid squirrel (seriously) who decided a tomato plant pot was the perfect place to build a nest. This is technically not the fault of my cats, who are indoor cats and utterly defenseless in the wilderness, and therefore couldn’t possibly have done anything to stop the squirrel. But they did love to sit in the windowsill and watch the squirrel and growl at him through the glass, which I can only imagine must have encouraged the ratty little thing. So that’s on them too.

We have two tiny little plants left.

plants

These things are basically unkillable. Trust me, she’s tried. The other day I came home to find dirt all over the kitchen floor. She’d been digging in my pots. I don’t know what she was looking for, but I hope she found it.

If she were any other cat, I might perhaps see this unfortunate interest in botany as a sign of intelligence and broad intellectual interests. But seriously. I know better. She’s a jerk. When she finds something that makes me happy, she simply has to destroy it.

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19 responses

14 07 2010
keith

there has got to be a book someday. i’ll read it to my 8.5 cats (3 from my backyard, one from under my wife’s office, one from a thrift store, and one feral schizophrenic that loves my wife and thinks i’m hell spawn. 1 shop cat who owns the neighborhood and is loved by all, and .5 of a cat that hangs out in the shop on cold days and sneers at everybody (well he would sneer but he can’t be bothered.)) compared to my indolent pack yours’ are really sweet!

19 07 2010
Emmu

Maybe your cat is an anti-semite? I can’t help but notice your two remaining plants are Wandering Jew plants.

19 07 2010
Steven

don’t let your cat eat the tomato stems because then he’ll die.

19 07 2010
Mardel

Sorry about your plants. I have had cats that love to chew on plants. My sister’s cat likes to ROLL in flowers, so sometimes he makes a mess of her bouquets….he also tries to hide within plant leaves-kind of tough for a huge tom-cat with a rather small house cat – but he tries.

I second Steven, there are some plants that are poisonous to cats. On that note, I would try to find some plants that adore shade, they might survive with your sunless apartment – if they survive the cat. 🙂

CATS! can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em. LOL

20 07 2010
Bethani

Please be careful with your next plant/flower attempts! Many plants are toxic and some are even deadly! ASPCA has a list of plants that can kill cats. aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/plants/ My friend’s cat died because of stargazer lilies her boyfriend brought her 😦 My friend had no idea that lilies can cause kidney failure in some cats 😦

28 07 2010
Ashley

Mine try to eat even fake plants. 😦

1 10 2010
M Kelly

I’ve had similar success with plants since I got my cat. The only difference is that she doesn’t eat plants, she knocks them off of high counters. And she doesn’t do this because she’s interested in the plants, she does this because she doesn’t like to see me spend time or energy on anything other than herself.
It doesn’t matter how much time i spend petting her, feeding her, cleaning her litter and dangling toys in front of her, she still seems to have issues when i take care of the plants.
When she sees me watering the plants she waits patiently until I move away and then she hops up on the window sill where they sit and she systematically knocks them to the ground. At first i thought this was to get my attention, but I’ve come home from school several times to find the plants dashed across my living room floor.

1 10 2010
M Kelly

I’ve had similar success with plants since I got my cat. The only difference is that she doesn’t eat plants, she knocks them off of high counters. And she doesn’t do this because she’s interested in the plants, she does this because she doesn’t like to see me spend time or energy on anything other than herself.

It doesn’t matter how much time i spend petting her, feeding her, cleaning her litter and dangling toys in front of her, she still seems to have issues when i take care of the plants.

When she sees me watering the plants she waits patiently until I move away and then she hops up on the window sill where they sit and she systematically knocks them to the ground. At first i thought this was to get my attention, but I’ve come home from school several times to find the plants dashed across my living room floor.

So far the only plants to survive my cat’s attention have been hanging plants. And this isn’t for lack of effort on my cat’s part, it’s simply a logistical problem for her…

21 02 2011
Nyssa

I stumbled across this blog, and I’m really enjoying it. I find my cats do similar things, so it’s funny to hear your stories. My cats also like to eat plants, and we have tons of them (and some of them are enormous) because my mom likes plants. We’ve managed to keep them from eating them, though. Mostly because my mom’s a hardass and is willing to chew the cats out even thought they’re JUST SO DAMN CUTE. If they’re digging in your plants, though, maybe put tinfoil over the dirt. They might still sit on it and crinkle it, but if you do a good job covering them, you might not have to deal with dirt everywhere.

27 04 2011
Brandi

I’m sorry, but I couldn’t help but notice… Why do you have cats if all yer gonna do is complain? Lmao. Makes NO sense(:

20 05 2011
Kayleigh

Just stumbled across this blog… very similar to my cats haha! Thanks for the laugh!

11 06 2011
Sassy

@ Brandi – I don’t think he is complaining Sweetie he is sharing it in a humorous manner. Unfortunately you don’t seem to have a sense of humor OR you really don’t like cats

12 06 2011
Alicia

These aren’t reasons your cat is a jerk they are reasons people who don’t understand normal cat behavior shouldn’t have cats. Why would you fault an animal for living within it’s nature. Please reconsider being a pet owner and find loving homes for your cats.

1 07 2011
alexes

hi there. your cat rubs her face on things to claim them as part of her territory. the scent makes her feel safe. she might feel stressed for some reason, or she might feel that your other cat is in competition with her for the territory, which would explain the compulsive behaviour. there are products you can use for a short time that send out the “safe” pheromone (and that only they can smell) which can help to alleviate any stress she may be feeling. just ask at the pet store.
a wonderful way to get the cats to leave your plants alone is cat grass – it can be found at most pet stores, and cats love to eat it right out of the pot.
cats will try to eat most plants but even the water in the vase that some sit in (lilies) can be poisonous. if you leave the cat grass in a place they can reach and the rest in a place they can’t it might help. this really helped me to stop the munching. i give them a few strands of the grass a day, and they love it.

9 07 2011
linz

to the couple with 8.5 cats, I will give you the other .5, her name is prozac for good reasons

15 07 2011
Monkeysee

I had that problem! I ended up using a large aquarium with a lid and turning that into a home for my plants. My parents laughed when they saw my solution–they said it was quite the turn of events to see the plants in cages and the wild animals roaming free.

I have had others say that planting cactus in with the plants discourages cats from investigating too closely, but to make sure they are the kinds of cactus where needles will stay in the plant, not in the cat.

They also sell a bitter spray of something made from grapefruit skins to deter cats from chewing on things they shouldn’t. It isn’t toxic, but it tastes horrible (to cats and people). I used it to deter some cats that liked to chew on electrical cords, but unfortunately found that it was impossible to touch the cords afterwards without getting the bitter stuff on my fingers, and it is hard to get off even after washing hands!

10 08 2011
louisa

i think shes cute

29 10 2012
Kathleen Otero

OMG this is your funniest post yet! I love you! lol

29 10 2012
Kathleen Otero

Oh yeah,..I grew up in Brooklyn and lived in one of those walk-up apartment buildings with 2 cats. So, I feel your pain/love/etc.

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