They make lovable companions, but cats can drive their owners batty by eating houseplants. Cat owners, upon seeing their cat chewing on a houseplant, may worry about the toxicity of the plant. It is good for cat owners to know that impatiens are nontoxic to cats, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).
Although there are numerous theories as to why cats eat plants, cat owners often find their prized houseplants well chewed. Cats eat plants possibly as a method of supplementing their fiber intake, or to cause themselves to regurgitate hairballs. The habit remains both problematic and worrisome.
Many plants are toxic to cats and dogs, but cheerful impatiens (Impatiens wallerana) aren't toxic to pets. This annual is typically used as a flowering houseplant, or in flower beds or window boxes, placing the plant right in the middle of cat territory.
If a cat is prone to chewing on the impatiens, place mothballs in the plant's soil or spray the plant with a pet-avoidance spray. Provide an alternate plant for ingestion, like cat grass.