How to keep pets away from your cannabis plant

Published Jun 1, 2020 11:00 a.m. ET
iStock / NataGolubnycha

Pet lovers aren’t likely to give their furry friends up for anything, but they can be a huge barrier for anyone who wants to grow a cannabis plant. Cats, in particular, are known for getting into houseplants to root around, and in some cases, they’ll even turn your prized plants into giant litter boxes. Even if you don’t have that issue, chances are pretty good that your pets have an interest in your cannabis plant, which could have them rubbing against it, or nibbling away at the occasional pot leaf, causing long term damage that is difficult to fix.

Now, it is important to know that this isn’t dangerous for your pets, but it can be a death sentence for a cannabis plant, and if you’re growing one, then this is something that you’ll want to avoid. As a long time pet owner, it can take years to figure out what will work for your particular situation, budget, and space, but there are a few different ways that you can do it, and the struggle is well worth the reward come harvest time.

Figuring out how to get pets and a deliciously smelling cannabis plant to safely co-exist isn’t easy if you don’t know where you should start, but lucky for you, we’re here to help. Here, you’ll find the best five budget-friendly tips and tricks for keeping household pets away from a marijuana plant, and any other fragile plant specimen that you may want to keep safe from harm.

1. Invest in a grow tent

If you already know exactly where you want to keep your marijuana plant, and you’re just looking for a shroud of protection, then a grow tent might be just what you need. They come in various sizes to accommodate any number of plants, and they’re affordable; A perfect combination for someone who doesn’t want to make any alterations to their set-up.

The only problem with opting for a grow tent for your cannabis plant is that you will need a reliable supply of light, which could mean a slightly larger investment. Even if the grow tent appears to have see-through side, the amount of light that will get through the material isn’t enough to comfortably sustain a marijuana plant, so if you don’t already have one on hand, make sure that you pick a grow tent that comes with one.

2. Hang protective netting

This is sort of an old school growing trick that can be helpful both indoors and outdoors, but it can also cause issues all on its own depending on your pets. If you have a cat or dog that gets frisky at the sight of a hanging piece of material, it might actually encourage them to climb it, which is the opposite effect that you’d like to have after putting in the effort to get it all hung up.

The best way to make a net least appealing is to hang it on a frame surrounding the plant without letting any extra hang over the edges as an alluring temptation for your fuzzy friend. This option is perfect for anyone who wants to keep things simple and cheap, as nylon or plastic netting will only cost a few dollars total, and it’s easy enough to set up without anything other than the net and a couple of wood stakes.

3. Keep your cannabis plant out of reach


If you reside in a space that is smaller, this can be a challenge for sure, but it’s never impossible, and in many cases, a simple move might be enough to completely stop your pets from getting at your cannabis plant. Take a look around and find a high shelf or spot that is high enough that there is no way for them to get to it. You do have to remember that cats, in particular, are especially limber, so make sure that there are no ledges for them to climb up before you decide on a spot.

For those who don’t have a whole lot of furniture, a bookshelf top or wall shelf
might not be available, and at this point, you have two different options. You can either install your own shelf, leaving some space for breathing room along the wall to avoid moisture damage, or you can hang your cannabis plant from the ceiling. Just remember that there is no such thing as a downward growing marijuana plant, so you will need to leave enough room for it to grow upwards as it matures.

4. Use a deterrent

In some cases, none of the aforementioned options is feasible for one reason or another, but that doesn’t mean that you have to lose all hope just yet. Gardeners have been fending off irritating pests just as big as your pets for centuries, and you might be surprised to see how effective even the most natural options can be. If you don’t feel comfortable enough to use a cat spray like Nature’s Miraclearound the plant (not on it or your risk causing damage), then you can opt for a spice or other alternative.

Plastic and tinfoil make a less than enjoyable noise when touched, and it tends to be enough to scare off curious invaders and you can use it by placing it around the base of the plant. Stronger, more pungent spices like pepper or cinnamon are sometimes even more effective and can be used in small amounts and they’ll cause no damage to your cannabis plant, so feel free to experiment.

5. Portable plastic domes

This option is perfect for both experienced and new cannabis plant growers, and it’s really easy to use, but it does require a purchase. Most garden centers carry small, clear domes that are designed to fit perfectly overtop of a plant pot. These protectors act as a mini greenhouse, offering the effects without the big price tag, and they are great for keeping pets away from a marijuana plant.

The only problem with them is that you have to buy the right one. Otherwise, the size and fit will not be precise, which leaves room for it to be easily knocked over, causing potentially more damage to your cannabis plant than your pet ever did in the first place. So, if you do go this route, make sure to buy one that is the ideal size to fit onto the pot that you plan on keeping your marijuana plant for the rest of its life.

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