12 NASA Approved Air-Filtering Plants That Are Cat Safe

Last Updated on February 4, 2024 by April

12 Cat Safe Indoor Plants That Filter Air

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Indoor and Outdoor Plants Safe for Cats

Sometimes when visiting other people’s homes, I get a thing that I call ‘plant envy.’ There is just something so relaxing about seeing these lush, green trees and flowers sitting by the window or in the garden that makes me want to get in on the plant action. What’s even more enticing is that these common house plants that filter your air are affordable decor.

Unfortunately, pet owners have to be VERY careful when selecting plants for their homes and backyards. One mistake with a peace lily, and we could lose our little best friends to what we initially thought would help them breathe better.

I did some research and found some beautiful plants that help clean your air while keeping your fur babies safe. Please take special care to make sure you are getting the correct plants by closely examining the names!

Spider Plant (Chlorophytum Comosum)

Spider Plant

Source: Instagram

This elegant plant with long flowing leaves has been found to do great things for the air in your home while being pet-friendly. It filters out formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene from your indoor air and is known to be one of the most effective air cleaners (according to NASA).

What I really like about the spider plant is that it is resilient to people with poor gardening skills (like me) and it can be easily grown indoors. In fact, I have one on my bookshelf right next to me. So if you’re looking for a low-maintenance plant, this is a great option.

Dwarf Date Palm (Phoenix Roebelenii)

Pygmy Date Palm
Found From Fast-Growing-Trees

This palm is a plant you are likely to see in someone’s front or backyard. Like the Spider Plant, it is excellent at filtering out formaldehyde, benzene, and xylene.

Boston Fern (Nephrolepis Exaltata ‘Bostoniensis’)

Boston Fern

Source: Instagram

This one is definitely one of my personal favorites as I find it to be absolutely stunning to look at. What makes this plant even more appealing is that it is suitable for growing indoors! The Boston Fern filters out indoor air pollutants including formaldehyde, benzene, and xylene.

Areca Palm (Dypsis Lutescens)

Areca Palm Tree Safe for Cats

The Areca Palm is, as you guessed, a species of a palm tree. It is characterized by its green leaves and yellow stems. It has actually been given the name “Golden Cane” because of its stem. This beautiful, tall houseplant is one of my favorite ways to remove toxins from the air.

Moth Orchids (Phalaenopsis spp.)

Moth Orchid

Source: Instagram

Personally, I am such a huge believer in orchids. They are one of the few flowering plants that actually don’t harm your cats if ingested. I can leave my home confident my fur baby is safe even if she decides to chomp on my beautiful flower. Haha!

Banana (Musa Oriana)

Indoor Plants That Clean Air - Musa Banana Tree

Yes! You read that correctly! The banana plant is useful for cleaning formaldehyde from your air.

Kimberly Fern Queen (Nephrolepis Obliterata)

Kimberly Fern Queen plants add so much class and good health to the household!
Found From Southern Soulmates

This plant is just so classy looking and can be placed either inside to vamp up a lifeless room or outside on your front porch to welcome guests.

Lilyturf (Liriope Spicata)

Lily Turf

A garden just does not seem complete without some beautiful flowers to add a pop of color to the scenery.

Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea Seifrizii)

Bamboo Palm Filtering Air

Also known as the reed palm, the bamboo palm is a cat-safe tree that will survive with indirect sunlight. It helps filter Benzene, Formaldehyde, Trichloroethylene, and Toluene out of your air.

If you are one of those people who are absolutely terrible with caring for plants, this bamboo palm definitely one of the easier plants to maintain. Out of all the large houseplants that I have attempted to care for, this one has lasted the longest.

Broadleaf Lady Palm (Rhapis Excelsa)

Lady Palm

I love the clean look of this palm. Be warned though, palms can easily become invested with pests so make sure to keep an eye out!

Barberton Daisy (Gerbera Jamesonii)

Barberton Daisy

Isn’t this flower just too precious looking?

Dendrobium Orchids (Dendrobium spp.)

Dendrobium orchid hybrid yellow flowers cleaning air

I think this orchid would add that wow factor to really any room you put it in!

Plants Safe for Cats & Dogs

If you are looking for plants that are safe for both cats and dogs, you’ll love all of these gorgeous options. Be sure to confirm with the ASPCA for the most up-to-date information on pet-safe gardening.

  • Gloxinia-Sinningia Speciosa
  • African Violet-Saintpaulia
  • Baby Tears-Soleirolia
  • Venus Fly Trap-Dionaea Muscipula
  • Calathea-Calathea spp.
  • Friendship Plant-Pilea Involucrata
  • Polka Dot Plant-Hypoestes Phyllostachya
  • Peperomia
  • Mosaic Plant-Fittonia spp.
  • Bromeliad-Bromeliaceae
  • Ponytail Palm-Beaucarnea Recurvata
  • Purple Waffle Plant-Hemigraphis Alternata
  • Royal Velvet-Gynura Aurantiaca
  • Haworthia

Indoor Plants Effectiveness

If you’re looking for ways to improve the quality of the air in your home, you may be wondering if an air purifier or plants is the better option. Here’s a look at the pros and cons of each approach to help you decide which is right for you:

Air Purifiers

Pros: Air purifiers are effective at removing a variety of airborne contaminants, including dust, pollen, pet dander, and smoke. Some models also feature filters that can capture or kill viruses and bacteria.

Cons: Air purifiers can be expensive to purchase and operate. They also require regular maintenance, such as the replacement of filters.


Pros: Plants are a natural way to improve air quality and they require less expensive maintenance. They also provide psychological relief to those who are around them.

Cons: Plants aren’t as effective as most people believe at removing pollutants from the air. Some plants may also release toxins into the air. Also, plants can be dangerous to pets, even if they aren’t listed as toxic.

So, which is the better option? It really depends on your needs and budget. If you’re looking for a way to remove a variety of pollutants from the air, an air purifier is the better option. If you’re looking for a more affordable and natural approach, plants are good.

So how effective are indoor plants at filtering air? To an extent, indoor plants can improve indoor quality, but maybe not as much as you’d hope. If you are looking to clean the air in your home while minimizing the risk to your beloved pets, look into getting a quality air purifier.

Lately, I have been using the iAdaptAir® HEPA UV Air Purifier and have found it helps reduce my seasonal allergies (which can get pretty bad here in the desert around Spring).

Toxic Substances Plants Filter Out


Found in: Facial tissues, paper towels, plywood paneling, paper bags, waxed papers, and synthetic fabrics.

Symptoms when exposed to it: Mouth, throat, and nose irritation as well as swelling of the lungs and larynx in extreme cases.


Found in: Resins, detergents, drugs, lubricants, plastics, glue, tobacco smoke, and furniture wax.

Symptoms when exposed to it: Drowsiness, irritation to eyes, dizziness, headache, speeding heart rate, confusion, headaches, and in rarer cases unconsciousness.


Found in: Leather, tobacco smoke, vehicle exhaust, and rubber.

Symptoms when exposed to it: Irritation to mouth and throat, heart issues, confusion, headaches, dizziness, coma, liver damage, and kidney damage.

Be careful to remember to ALWAYS double-check the scientific name of the plant to make sure what you are really getting is what you wanted. Our little kitties are just so near and dear to our hearts that we have to make sure they are safe even when they feel like taking a tiny nibble from our plants (because we know this is what they love to do!). So take care and enjoy your fresh air! Let me know in the comments your favorite air-purifying plant that filters your air!

Source: NASA Clean Air Study

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    • Hi Tasha,

      I’m so glad it helps! : ) I love having plants in my home. I may not be the best at taking care of them but whenever I get a spider plant, whatever smells are in my home disappear within two days! It is amazing!

  1. This was very helpful because I have been very cautious everytime I go to lowe hardware to buy my plants and I am so impressed with how pretty some are and then I google it and find out that is harmful to cats. So thank you very much for your information.

    • Hi Dorothea!

      I am so glad my post was helpful to you! I had the same situation where I would be at the store looking at all of these STUNNING plants just to be disappointed when I look up the plant on my phone. Almost always, I would learn that my cat could become very ill from the plant (especially flowers). I hope you are able to find what you need and enjoy it! Take care!

  2. Thank you.. I never even thought about plants being dangerous to cats. Until.I saw my kittens eating a plant like it was a delicious snack.. I looked it up and it was OK. But about every other plant I love was not… Our former cat and dog were never interested in plants. Great article..

    • I am the same way, Robin! I used to just buy whatever plants I wanted but when I saw my kitty wanting to chomp on them I got really concerned. It’s a shame. So many beautiful plants aren’t pet friendly after all!

  3. Loved this post! Thanks! Are all of these plants 100% cat safe? Do you know if they are all dog safe as well? Thanks again for the post!

    • Hey Jacquline!

      Yes, the plants on the list are safe for your doggies as well. : ) Be sure to do a double check before buying and make sure you’re using the scientific name.

      Here’s an easy copy and paste list of dog safe plants:
      Spider Plant
      Dwarf Date Palm (Phoenix Roebelenii)
      Boston Fern (Nephrolepis Exaltata ‘Bostoniensis’)
      Areca Palm (Dypsis Lutescens)
      Phalaenopsis Orchid (Phalaenopsis spp.)
      Banana Plant (Musa Oriana)
      Kimberly Fern (Nephrolepis Obliterata)
      LilyTurf (Liriope Spicata)
      Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea Seifrizii)
      Lady Palm (Rhapis Excelsa)
      Gerber Daisy (Gerbera Jamesonii)
      Dendrobium Orchid (Dendrobium spp.)

      Thanks so much for reaching out. Take care! <3

  4. The picture of the Musa banana is actually a picture of a Bird of Paradise. They look very similar except birds are NOT pet friendly.


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