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Go Back   Orchid Board - Most Complete Orchid Forum on the web ! > ORCHID DISCUSSIONS > Pests & Diseases
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  #1  
Unread 12-04-2012, 09:27 PM
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Default If your cat eats your orchids --

Hey OB members and visitors -
I have seen several posts lately about people losing orchid leaves and spikes to their cat s). I can think of a several reasons for this, one being that the keen smelling ability of the cat may detect a scent (early nectar/) that you cannot smell and is attracted to the spike, OR the spike is something they rub their jaws on (marking it) and then start to chew, which is natural for cats as this also gets their smell on things. But, most likely it is because cats LOVE chlorophyll and the spike "is just right" for a healthy snack. Unless you have just used a pesticide, then you have bigger problems.
If you are having trouble with cats nibbling your Orchids (our cat Max seems to prefer Oncidium with a side of Maxillaria to be followed by a dessert of Masdevallia leaves and roots, if it is not too much trouble), try putting out pots of sprouted wheat or oats. Most supermarket pet areas are selling 'cat grass seed' just for this purpose. I place a pot of greens beside Max's food bowl and he stopped seeing my collection as his salad bar. Also, I take a handful of the bagged Spring Mix greens, let the preservative gas air out for a few minutes, then let him chose what he wants from it. If you can identify a lettuce or other green that he likes, grow a pot of that for him to mince on. Also, cat nip or cat mint is easy to grow and HARDY; some cats will chew on one of these, although some cats seem disinterested in them.
If it is a jaw-rubbing behavior - check your cats jaw teeth. He may be showing you he has sore gums. This is best corrected by vet care.
But EVERY cat loves his jaws rubbed, so this may just be a 'feel-good' thing for the cat which in damage to the plant. The plant may have to be moved or some form of repellent used to avoid this. Citrus peels in the pot used to work for a cat I had in the past - cats tend to avoid citrus smells, but if you find something that works for you - POST IT!
If it is territorial marking behavior, then your cat is either just a 'marker' or is feeling threatened and thus needs to reinforce his ego with a lot of his own smell. I also have purchased a plug-in defuser that lets a natural hormone loose in the home; the hormone has a calming effect (medical grade nip, anyone?) and is said to duplicate that of a cat who is secure. We bought it due to some urination issues we were having and it seemed to have the side effect of curbing the facial rubbing quite a bit. Noticeably in Max. Not that the lazy thing would turn down a facial rub, but he does not seem as bad about scrubbing his face on every surface!
Well, Max tends his own garden now, leaving mine alone. He is very possessive of his grass and when I remove it to give it light or water, he stands and stares at me to return it. I always feel as if there is an unspoken understanding that it's "the grass or the Angraecum ", so I make sure there is an extra pot of cat grass sprouting in the house somewhere.
Hope some of this helps save some plants - In some cases you may just have to put the plant out of reach - perhaps hang it rather than let it sit. Because as you know, when it comes to cats, they have - well, if you have a cat you will finish that sentence without my help!
Steve
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Last edited by Stray59; 12-04-2012 at 09:34 PM..
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  #2  
Unread 12-04-2012, 10:01 PM
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Thanks Steve!

My cat used to have it out for my orchids, he did a real number on all of the leaves of my Miltonia spectabilis, check it out:

If your cat eats your orchids ---mangled-miltonia.jpg

How sad is that?

Anyway what worked for me is I sprayed it with Grannick's Bitter Apple spray and he never went for it again.

He also seems to get jealous when I'm paying too much attention to the orchids. He's perfectly content sleeping all day but if I'm spending too much time tending to the orchids he'll make himself known and I make sure to give him some attention.
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  #3  
Unread 12-04-2012, 10:18 PM
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Hi escualida:
GREAT NATURAL IDEA! I like it and it makes sense - bitter is not a cat's favorite taste! But I do encourage people to grow greens for their cat(s); It really helps with digestion (Max tends to be a real stinker in the litter box, not so much with greens - Kitty Beano, maybe) and there are indications it has many other benefits, no draw backs, and kitty loves it!
Yeah, hate to say it, but the Milt looks a little rough for the wear. If the damage is not far down on the leaf, you can trim them in a downward - Vee shape; hold the leaf at the midrib, pinching the blade together without breaking it. Starting at the midrib, cut down and angled toward the outer edge. The deeper the cut, the more gently the slope, but don't cut off any good leaf material you can help, only that which is really ragged and will either result in more tearing or just looks really bad. Dust your cuts with cinnamon and they will not turn black.
Max does get jealous, but he will not move enough for it to matter! We have unfortunately let him get about 20 lbs overweight and we now have him on a strict diet. He has always had very loose skin and he had started to grow into it. We had noticed his energy levels were down, dragging (literally) from bed to food bowl to litter box, then down for a nap. No playing. He is a rescue kitten that probably went hungry too often so now he has not natural shut-off when it comes to eating. But, he is back to playing again, and I really think the greens help him stay full rather than feel hungry between the smaller meals.
Keep the great ideas coming!!!! Once we have enough input, a compilation might be worth a sticky!
Steve

Last edited by Stray59; 12-04-2012 at 10:30 PM..
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  #4  
Unread 12-04-2012, 10:31 PM
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I think you're right Steve, I've been meaning to get cat grass for Blue but I keep forgetting.

Great advice!
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  #5  
Unread 12-04-2012, 10:37 PM
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Every cat of mine has eaten grass and I would rather he eat what I grow rather than what he find on the patio - I have no idea what chems are used in the lawns around this apartment place and that is why I sleep well at night!
Give it a try - very simple and your cat will loooove you!!!
Steve
Oops - I guess I ought to say something like 'Yes, I think this would curb your Orchid problem' or else we are way off the thread!

Last edited by Stray59; 12-04-2012 at 10:41 PM..
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  #6  
Unread 12-05-2012, 11:42 PM
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I don't have a cat to eat my orchids but I do have a chihuahua that use to go after them when they would start to spike, I now move them when I have one ready to spike to where she can't get it, she won't bother any orchid unless its going to send up a spike. she a bit of an odd ball but I love her any how
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A lap is a terrible thing to waste. Don't let yours go unfilled
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  #7  
Unread 12-24-2012, 05:19 PM
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Ferns Daddy: (Do you have a child named Fern or just a penchant for ferns?)
Sorry for the late response, but better late than never!
Your chihuahua sounds like a cocker I used to have - she seemed to know when I loved something and would tear into it just before the bloom opened. I had to put everything out of her reach. When she couldn't get to the orchids, she started eating my hardback books! She was a bit of an odd ball herself, but loved me to no end! and that is what matters.
Have a great holiday season - best wishes to all!
Steve

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  #8  
Unread 12-24-2012, 09:38 PM
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Steve, Fern is my fur baby, she best known as Nosy Rosy because she's got to get her nose into every thing. She is my second Chihuahua from the shelter, she has become the love of my life and will do just about every thing she told to do some times, the only thing she will eat in the garden is the veggies I grow, she loves pole beans, she will sniff the orchids but not harm them
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  #9  
Unread 12-24-2012, 10:14 PM
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Interesting thread, Steve. We don't have a cat any more (allergies) but I enjoyed reading your suggestions.
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  #10  
Unread 12-25-2012, 05:54 PM
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James bites his lip real hard and stifles a politically incorrect response to this thread. (but then again James doesn't like cats except for miss shtinkypew).
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