Friday, December 19, 2008

African Violets--Kitty Style

On a gloomy day last March, I purchased four African Violets in shades of blue, purple and pink:
Wanting to brighten up my kitchen, I even planted them in colorful pots:
I set them where they got the morning sun, on the kitchen counter in front of the window:
That seemed to be the perfect spot for them. They began to thrive there by the window.

It just so happens that my family shares our home with a kitty named Smokie:
He's a rather lazy and fat cat, but we love him anyway:

Well, Smokie seemed to have a fondness for these plants. He wanted to spend as much time with them as possible. It was then that we discovered that Smokie really loved his greens. He just could not resist a good green leaf:
(Too bad he didn't like vegetables. I would've been happy to share some lettuce with him!)
Anyway, every day I would wake up and go down to the kitchen, finding the same horrific sight on the windowsill:
after day...
after day. And, day after day after day, I would seek new ways to discourage Smokie from getting up on the counter... and eating my African Violets!
It was a battle, but after months of trying, one of us gave up. Do you know which one?

No, it wasn't Smokie. He is still with us, but he's not eating African Violets anymore. They seemed to have disappeared.

Perhaps one day, when Smokie is in that great big cat-box in the sky, I will be able to form a relationship with some new African Violets.

But until then, I've resigned myself to the fact that my kitchen counter will remain pretty bare!

--Today I am thankful cat, Smokie:)


  1. They are just divine Jan. They are obviously doing very well indoors.

  2. Well Stuart, They 'were' doing very well indoors...emphasis on the word 'were'!!!

  3. What a nice post. You really hit the nail on the head with it as so many gardeners and garden bloggers have this issue. Your violets are beautiful.

  4. Aw! I'd say that Fat Smokie won!

  5. Tina: Thanks! Yes, I'm glad to know I'm not alone in this. Some cats just cannot be trained to avoid plants! It's either the plant or the, as you know, we made our choice:)
    Bonnie: You're right:)

  6. I loved that photo-story, Jan. And those African Violets! So very pretty! Pity about them, though. Smokie obviously decided to get the competition out of the way.
    I wish we would get such pretty ones here but no! the nursery gods dont believe we need AVs :(

  7. Too bad that Smokey was eating the leaves. The flowers were lovely! They were obviously very happy in that spot!

  8. Beautiful pictures of your African violets.
    I'm sure you found good homes for them, and now both plants and Smokie are happy and healthy! ~Aerie-el

  9. I love African violets also, Jan. Smokey has good taste! Happy Holidays!

  10. Jan, what a sweet post. Such pretty violets and pots too. And you have a great view from the kitchen window.

  11. Nice kitchen view and a great place to display them. Smokie is a fatty and so is mine. It can't be the violets, I don't have any. ;) Loved your post.

  12. That's one reason we don't have any indoor plants! It doesn't matter where you put the plants. Cats are finding a way to go after them. One of our cats even managed to eat the long arms from a spiderplant, that's hanging from the ceiling..

  13. Hi everyone!
    Sunita, Believe it or not, those pretty violets were so old and beat-up looking when I bought them that they looked almost dead. I spent time nurturing them, and to get rid of them was hard after bringing them back to life;(
    Robin: You are so lucky that your kitty doesn't go after your plants! Smokie is just a pain that way...but, he's part of the family, so, he knows he isn't going anywhere! The flowers did love that spot, and I would put more there, but not right now:(
    Aeriel: I won't tell you what happened to the plants. It's too sad a story:( Let's just say that Smokie is happy & healthy!
    Hi Joey, Kanak, Tammy & Bek! Those plants were beautiful and if I had another place to put them, where the cat couldn't get them, I would--maybe I could get a plant light and put them up high somewhere? I'll have to think about it.
    Bek: Smokie has eaten silk plants, and even stuff made of other material! He's impossible!

  14. Dear Jan,
    So happy to meet you!
    We are kindred spirits!
    We love the birds and the bugs!
    May you and yours have a Happy Christmas.
    Looking forward to 2009 and getting to know you.

  15. P.S.!!!
    I don't know if anyone noticed, but there are 2 different windows pictured in the kitchen. The one pictured 1st is actually the current window, which replaced the old one, which is pictured toward the end of the post. We had the windows replaced in the spring, and the plants were still doing pretty good at that point. I love my new window. It lets me see the birds so clearly...and take photos without having to worry about capturing a window pane.

  16. Dear Jan,
    So nice to meet you.
    We are kindred spirits, we both love the birds and the butterflies.
    May you and yours have a Happy Christmas.
    Looking forward to 2009, and getting to know you.

  17. Beautiful African Violets ... sorry they got eaten by Smokie ;--(
    I enjoyed the music as I visited here too.
    Hugs and blessings,

  18. Hi Sherry: I'm happy to meet you too! I look forward to seeing more of your birds and butterflies:)Your blog is very pretty!
    Thanks, Storyteller. So nice to have you visit.
    I have a problem with your website, in that once I'm on it, I cannot get off it without shutting my computer down entirely. This has happened EVERY time I've visited you. So, I probably won't be able to visit unless you figure out what the problem is. I don't have this happen on any other site:(

  19. Hi!
    Smokie looks totally innocent!!! I used to grow African Violets years ago. I think I'll get me one and see what happens!


  20. Nice African Violets too bad about the cat liking them so much. I was in someone's house recently and they had a few AVs in hanging pots which I thought was odd until I noticed the cat laying on top of the television set.

  21. Jan, well they WERE pretty while they lasted. Smokie really liked flowers with his salad and he wanted to try each flavor of course.

  22. They look so fantastic Jan. Too bad Smokie hasn't learnt yet. Those flowers with the colorful pots beautify your kitchen well!

  23. Hi Jan, I really feel your pain on this one, having Hazel the plant eating cat. She does however have a great fondness for lettuce, but that does not help with the houseplants, even bromedliads and orchids whose leaves are so thick and yuckey will have the same bite marks on them if we kept them in the main house. Having those violets above the kitchen sink is so perfect. I have heard of others with the same problem having the cat proof room, that is what we have too, door MUST be kept closed at all times! :-) Smokey is a lovely creature though, good choice.

  24. Hi all...thanks for your comments. Yes, Smokie is one plant-eating-cat. He ate only the leaves, not the flowers. Of course, he would always throw up afterwards, which was another reason I got rid of the plants.
    I kind of like the idea of putting them in hanging plants, MrBrownThumb...I could still keep them in front of that window. Hmmm...
    This cat will eat everything that resembles a plant...plastic and silk and even straw ones included! It's a hopeless situation:( Now Frances, the idea of a separate room with the door closed defeats my purpose for having them, because I just like to look at them as I enter the kitchen. I wouldn't want to have to go into a separate room to see them. So that's why I'm going to wait 'til he's gone to that 'big cat-house in the sky'. (Well, some place like that;))
    Smokie came to us...he landed on our doorstep and kept coming back during 2 wks of rain. One day I just said if he's there this morning I'm keeping him--and sure enough, he was! He probably lived on plants when he was free to wander outdoors:)

  25. Oh how annoying Jan, especially as African Violets bloom for months :( Luckily our two keep off mine.

  26. I always like a story with illustrations. Yours were awesome! You really are a great photographer!


  27. Hi Jan, Why not plant some cat grass for Smokie to nibble on? (I'm not saying this will keep him from eating any other plants, I'm just saying my cats love it.) I get oat and wheat seeds from the feed store (which are sold in bulk and are very cheap in the small amount I get), but you can also buy cat grass seeds in pet stores. I sow them into a small pot or into a window box, which my cats will sit on in late March when they're really missing grass outside (see photo). I have some extra seeds I can send you if you email me your postal addy.
    ~ Monica

  28. Hi VP...thanks for your thoughts. AF's can last forever, in the right environment...and watching them thrive then get destroyed was maddening to me:( You are fortunate that your cat doesn't have a plant-eating addiction!!
    Sue, thanks for your nice comments;) I'm glad I saved my photos from last winter/spring so I could 'retell' this story;)
    GF: Hmm, Let me think about this, because I have had 'cat grass' for smokie before. Of course, he loves it--but, he has a type of digestive issue (actually, his thyroid & kidneys have some problems) and whenever he eats these things he throws up all over my house. He does this from time to time anyway, with his illness...but then, adding greens to it makes it more frequent. I just don't think that's the answer...but thank you for being thoughtful:)

  29. Another reason to be thankful? That Smokey didn't get SICK (or worse) from eating your violets. I hope they found a nice home... they were doing beautifully until "you know who" found them! ha.

  30. LOL...sad for you violets but that cat is funny. I've never heard of a violet eating cat before. Then again I had never heard of a tomato eating camel before either, lol! Great post, Kim

  31. Shady G: I've learned that african violets aren't there was never any danger to the cat. They do make him throw up, however. As far as 'nice home'...hmm. By the time I had decided to get rid of them, they were so far gone I just dumped them in the trash. Shhh. There are a lot of gardeners here that would put me to shame for that. I just had no way to take care of them anymore (or so I thought, at the time).
    Kim: I've read where quite a lot of cat owners have had similar it's not really uncommon. Now camels? And tomatoes? I have no idea about that--it does sound a bit strange!!:)

  32. Your cat Smokie looks just like my cat Kitten-Little, she is a snowshoe. Thanks for stopping in to and commenting on my growing fruit post.

  33. I was searching for African Violets and was glad to drop by your blog. Love your story telling way of posting. Very interesting to read with beautiful picture to enjoy too. :)


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