Starting seeds indoors with a cat can be problematic.
My cat Trouble is a destructive force of yowling nature.

The last time I attempted to start seeds indoors, my cat yowled angrily for weeks and then ate all my onion plants at the first opportunity. This opportunity arose when the onion sprouts had grown so tall that I needed to remove the cover so that they could continue their upright growth. Alas, my cat Trouble had other plans. He loves all things green and spiky. Starting seeds indoors with an overenthusiastic cat determined to eat whatever sprouts is not a small challenge. No matter the type of greenery, Trouble yowls every time we bring in something from the garden. He likes onions, leeks, and garlics best, but he’s equally excited about carrot tops and turnip greens. Is it verdant and fresh? He wants it. He makes sure to let you know too: YOWL!

Of course, one of my goals is to be more self-sufficient. I would like to start seedlings myself, perhaps saving more of my own seeds, rather than rely on the local nursery or shipping plants and seeds. This desire is in direct conflict with my persistent, yowling cat. I am determined, however, to find solutions. When I quit my job and brought my houseplants home, though, my cat reminded made sure to remind me why this champion of my large garden doesn’t have a single indoor houseplant. That’s right. I have a cat. A yowling cat.

Starting seeds in doors is tough if a cat can demolish this plant in a week.
In the space of a week, my cat ate most of this plant.

In the space of a week, Trouble has eaten most of a particularly spiky (and thus attractive to him) plant. As cats are wont to do, he proceeded to puke it up in various parts of the house as a way to repay my kindness of bringing him this inedible offering. He has also discovered the large potted plant I have on the floor.

The plant is very large and genuinely belongs on the floor. It’s too large to put on the dresser. So what does my yowling cat decide to do with this magnificent houseplant on the floor? Use it as a litter box. Yep. Dirt everywhere in my office, and a giant smelly present left in my houseplant. Now, I love cats and all. I even usually love my cat Trouble. But sometimes cats are the worst. Never worse than squirrels or rabbits, but the worst all the same.

You may wonder why I just don’t close the door to my office. Well, part of it is because my office is on the other side of the house from the wood-burning stove. It is very cold in my office after opening it up first thing on a cold winter morning at 3:30 a.m. to get ready to teach Chinese children for VIPKid. Very cold. Of course, I do shut up the office when I’m no longer using it because a cold office is significantly better than a litter-box office. All the same, I’d rather leave the door open and have a warmer office. Nor am I about to rehome my 11-year-old yowling cat who eats and pukes up green spiky things and uses plants as litter boxes. Who would take him anyway?

You can imagine, then, that I am facing no small challenges in starting seeds indoors while my fanatic-of-all-things-spiky-and-green cat Trouble lives with us. Additionally, we only have two south-facing windows in our whole house. Luckily, one of them is in the office. We’ve decided to try starting seeds indoors on a shelf set in the south-facing office window. The room may be a touch cold, but with grow lights I hope to be just fine! Never mind the ceaseless endeavors of a particular cat who likes yowling almost as much as he likes spiky green things.

My starting seeds indoors set-up, sans grow lights, at my one of my two south-facing windows.
My starting seeds indoors set-up, sans grow lights, at my one of my two south-facing windows.

2 thoughts on “Starting Seeds Indoors… with Cats”

  1. I have been here! I also have plant-eating cats, and I’m constantly fighting them off from my seedlings, too. I wish I had some good advice for you, but it’s ever the battle. You could put heat mats under your flats for extra heat if you’re worried, or even an electric blanket if you have one (I’ve done that before!). Also, and this is super far-fetched, but what about replacing your current office door with a screen door? Then you could still get some heat but Trouble couldn’t get in?

    Good luck!

    1. Boo having the cat-eating-plants struggle!

      I’ve thought about the heat pads, but I’ll see how they do first.

      That’s definitely a suggestion for the screened door that isn’t too far-fetched, but I think being able to shut the door when I’m teaching online at 4:00 a.m. in the morning is more important to my husband than the seedlings. Hehe. 🙂 Thanks for suggesting it though!

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