Safe Houseplants for Cats

A long-haired tabby cat stand up on a safe houseplant for cats near a window.

With spring right around the corner, many people are gearing up for green leaves and bright blossoms. Adding plants to your home can be exciting and fun, but did you know some plants pose a danger to your furry friends? It’s important to get familiar with safe houseplants for cats!

What are some safe houseplants for cats?

Finding plants you and your cat can safely enjoy isn’t hard! There’s a variety of safe houseplants for cats. If gorgeous green leaves catching sunlight sounds like a dream to you, here are some plants to look for:

  • Spider plant
  • Calathea Orbifolia
  • Peperomia
  • Baby Tears
  • Prayer plant
A orange tabby kitten plays with safe houseplant for cats on the sunlight floor.

Some people prefer stunning colorful flowers hanging out in their homes. Don’t worry. There are plenty of beautiful blossoms that are also safe for cats! If you’re bringing flowers inside, either to plant or in a bouquet, here are some cat-safe ones to keep in mind:

  • Orchid
  • Rose
  • Bromeliad
  • African violet
  • Gerber daisy

Other safe houseplants for cats include:

  • Venus fly trap
  • Polka dot plant
  • Basil
  • Thyme
  • Catnip (of course!)

What plants are dangerous for cats?

While we like to focus on the positives, it is important to note that there are many plants that are toxic to cats. Lilies, tulips, and aloe have all earned the title of being dangerous for cats. If you’re unsure if your plant is cat friendly, click here for a list of plants that could pose a danger to your cat.

It is possible to create a home that’s safe for humans, cats, and plants alike! Knowing what plants to look for when finding safe houseplants for cats is extremely important. Doing a little research now can ensure your cat stays happy and healthy!

Pebbles, The Itty Bitty Kitten That Could

Pebbles an itty bitty one-eyed calico kitten cuddles a stuffed animal.

Pebbles, an itty bitty kitten weighing less than two pounds, arrived at the Humane Society of Utah’s St. George Clinic in the Summer of 2021 with a painfully swollen eye. Her eye was simmering with infection making it completely unusable. Pebbles didn’t have a family to look after her – she was a junkyard kitten who had grown up with a large feral cat colony that lived in a dumping ground littered with broken-down car parts and decaying trash.

Teaming up to help Pebbles

Fortunately for Pebbles, she had been trapped and brought to our clinic by Kris Neal, who volunteers for a local rescue called The Jackson Day Foundation. This rescue took Pebbles in after she had been trapped for our Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program. TNR involves fixing, vaccinating, and ear-tipping feral and stray cats, then returning them to their territory. TNR is a humane way to control the community cat population and stop the spread of fatal viruses, such as rabies and distemper.

After assessing Pebbles, our veterinarian, Dr. Gray, was deeply concerned. She’d discovered Pebbles had a severe upper respiratory infection that had moved up into her eye and was causing so much pressure that her eye would need to be removed immediately. Dr. Gray explained, “I was concerned because putting animals as small as Pebbles under anesthesia is incredibly risky. Most veterinarians won’t do it because of the risks involved, but Pebbles’ infection was so bad that if it continued to go untreated, it would most likely move into her lungs and other areas of her body, and she would die. So, performing eye removal surgery for her was critical to saving her life.”

Kelsie Watters, HSU’s St. George Clinic Manager, also knew that only a few veterinarian clinics in St. George have the capacity to help out the feral cat population, HSU being one of them. She shared, “For our staff, it doesn’t matter if the animal has a paying owner or is feral and without a home; we treat them all with the highest standard of care possible. Every pet’s health matters to us, even pets like Pebbles, who are not a priority to most.”

The surgery went well, but not without a hitch. Pebbles’ eye had so much built-up pressure that it ruptured as Dr. Gray removed it. But thankfully, Dr. Gray was able to stabilize her, and Pebbles’ recovery went smoothly. She went home with Kris, who looked after her and gave her antibiotics so her little body could heal.

Two kittens are better than one

While at Kris’ home, she found that Pebbles didn’t like touching or cuddling, which is not uncommon for feral cats. But to Kris’ surprise, Pebbles began to bond with another kitten, Daisy. Eventually, the two became buddies. One day, two women named Belinda and Beth came to adopt Daisy, but Kris told them that Pebbles and Daisy were now a bonded pair and that if they wanted one, she’d have to adopt the other.

Kelsie shared, “Belinda and Beth recognized that this was a special pair and decided to adopt both Daisy and Pebbles so they could stay together. Kris periodically sends updates on Pebbles, who has completely transformed in her new home. She now loves being cuddled and sung to by her caring adopter. It’s nice knowing that this junkyard kitten who had suffered so much now has a loving, happy life, thanks to our and Kris’ team. Everyone went the extra mile for Pebbles because we knew we were her last resort, and her transformation is what makes our work worthwhile.”

Over a year later, Kris brought a sweet and affectionate kitten named Polly into HSU’s St. George Clinic, who was in the same situation as Pebbles. She was a tiny feral kitten with a very infected eye who had been trapped for TNR and needed medical care. Dr. Gray performed the same eye removal surgery on Polly, who was up and ready to play again the next day. Kris is caring for Polly and keeping her from being too active while she recovers. When Kris shared Polly’s story with Belinda and Beth, they knew Polly was meant to be in their family, too. Once Polly is healed from surgery, she will join her new sisters, Pebbles, and Daisy, in their home.

HSU Announces New Membership Program

Cat sits on fluffy blanket with eyes closed. While a lady's arm reaches in and gives the cat a chin rub.

The Humane Society of Utah is excited to announce our new and improved membership program! Join today to give back to animals in your community while receiving amazing benefits. Sign up before the end of the year to receive a limited-edition membership gift!

Joining the Humane Society of Utah membership family is a great way to support animals in need. All proceeds from your membership fee go directly towards our mission to eliminate pain, fear, and suffering in all animals. Plus, our members receive a variety of exciting benefits and opportunities. If you love special events, exclusive content, and interacting with others who are passionate about animals, the membership program may be a great fit for you! Visit our membership page to find out more. 

For a limited time only! Sign up today at the Partner Level or higher and receive a limited edition Utah Humane member beanie with your donation. You must join before the end of the year to receive this special gift*. Perfect for the Utah winter and for showing your support of animals in need!

*The Humane Society of Utah cannot guarantee delivery of your membership gift by any specific date. To receive your gift before the holidays, you can arrange to pick-up at our facility. To arrange a pick-up, please contact our membership staff by Monday, December 19th at the latest. For any questions, please reach out to 

Extending the Rule of 3’s: Lolly’s 3-Year Gotcha Day

Lolly, a dark brindle dog with a white stripe up her nose, poses on a white backdrop while wearing a white banana.

Here at the Humane Society of Utah, we love to tell adopters about the rule of 3’s. The rule of 3’s gives adopters an idea of what to expect when bringing home a new furry friend. 

The first 3 days allow the pet to decompress in a new environment. The first 3 weeks are for bonding and creating a routine, and the first 3 months help you solidify this routine and understand your pet more. Keeping the rule of 3’s in mind can help set you and your pet up for a happy life together. However, we often don’t discuss what happens after a pet has settled in and truly becomes part of the family. That’s why we decided to check in on Lolly and her owner Kev to discuss how Lolly is doing 3 years post-adoption.

Lolly Finds a Home

In 2019 a lovely dog named Chess came into our care. Kev knew he wanted a dog and often checked the Humane Society of Utah website. When he saw her picture, he immediately fell in love! Kev says that he got in his car, drove to our Pet Resource Center, and told the adoption counselor, “That’s my dog!” Our adoption counselor recommended they meet and go for a walk, but Kev knew that Chess was the dog for him. Sure enough, when they met, it was love at first sight! “We went out into the yard, and I introduced myself to her… she responded with a kiss. Her smile just really captures your heart because it quite literally lights up the room,” Kev remembers of their first meeting. As you can guess, Kev adopted Chess and changed her name to Lolly.

Lolly, a dark brindle dog with a white stripe up her nose, wears a bunny ears headband while looking up at the camera.

Lolly Becomes Family

Throughout the years Lolly has truly become a member of Kev’s family. Lolly has really found love in many things, specifically going on walks. “You could take her on a 20 mile walk and be home for five minutes, but if you pick up her leash again, she will undoubtedly get just as excited to go back out.” Kev reports that Lolly is also a big fan of toys and food, so if you combine those with going on a walk, Lolly is in heaven! Over the three years (and counting!) Lolly has been home with Kev. He says that she has added adventure to his life. “I love Lolly’s sense of adventure and adaptability. She is not scared of a hike, she is not afraid to go for a walk in the snow, and she is okay with a night in.” Kev also said that Lolly has made him a “happier and patient person” and that she has taught him so much about life. It’s clear that Kev and Lolly were meant to find each other!

Lolly, a dark brindle dog with a white stripe up her nose, sits in her owner Kev's lap on the ground both have smiling faces.

Thinking Long Term

We love hearing stories like Kev and Lolly’s! If you’ve adopted from the Humane Society and want to share an update on your pet, you can join this Facebook page. Although life can sometimes be stressful when you are a new adopter, the rule of 3’s and thinking long-term can help immensely with the transition. We truly believe that pets add many aspects to life, and that’s why our adoption counselors work so hard to help match you with the right pet. In addition, our Behavior team is always happy to help give advice post-adoption. 

When asked what advice he would give to potential adopters, Kev said, “Go play with some animals! Animals have their own personalities and have such unique forms of love. There is truly an animal for everyone.” If you’re considering adoption, you can view our adoptable pets on our website or call (801) 261-2919 ext. 227 with any questions. 

Gary’s Journey: Looks Aren’t Everything

Gary, a three-year-old American Bulldog weighing nearly 100 pounds, arrived at our Pet Resource Center in Murray in early July with gnarly scratches on his face and his tail between his legs. This droopy-faced pup had been attacked repeatedly by two dogs in his previous home and was injured as a result. But, according to his previous owners, Gary didn’t have an aggressive bone in his body and never once fought back. They called him their “gentle giant” and described him as a dog who loved cuddling with the family cat and greeting other pups on walks with an exuberant tail wag. Gary proved looks aren’t everything.

Gary a large white dog with a black nose and scars on his face wearing a purple and white bowtie collar, stands against a grey backdrop with colorful paper flowers.

Gary’s Journey

But, despite Gary’s friendly demeanor, he would have a hard time at our center getting anyone to give him a second look, let alone a second chance. He was too big and too energetic, and of course, the jagged marks on his face didn’t help. 

HSU’s Corporate Giving and Communications Manager, Shannon Egan, closely watched Gary’s journey at our center. “Potential adopters would see how big he was and then notice the wounds on his face and assume the worst,” she shared. “They’d carefully move past his kennel as if they were afraid of him.”

As the weeks went by, Gary rarely had a visitor. At HSU, we know it’s essential to consider one’s lifestyle before adopting so you can choose a pet that will fit in nicely. However, it’s also important to take notice of any indiscretions we may show in the unfair judging of pets based solely on the way they appear. “If potential adopters had taken the time to get to know Gary, they’d have found he is house-trained, knows all kinds of tricks, and is a very good boy!” Shannon explained. 

Gary a large white dog with a black nose and scars on his face sits in the grass looking up at the camera smiling.

Gary Becomes a Staff and Volunteer Favorite

After nearly a month at our shelter, Gary’s wounds turned to scars, and he passed the time by interacting with other dogs in playgroups and going on walks with our staff and volunteers. Our team fell in love with him and promoted him on social media to better his chances of finding a home. Finally, on July 28th, a potential adopter named Cade stopped by to visit him. Before the visit, Cade had taken the time to research Gary’s breed so he knew what it would entail to give him the best possible life. That day, Cade and Gary spent quality time in our outdoor play yard, and then they went home together. 

Gary’s journey reminds us of the common misconception that shelter animals are surrendered due to behavioral issues, illnesses, or for being high maintenance. But like Gary, so many homeless pets end up in shelters for no fault of their own. People surrender their pets for various reasons: they’re experiencing financial issues, the passing of a loved one, or they’re blending into a new family, and pets don’t get along with each other. 

Shannon explained, “Most pets who come to us have a proven track record of being great companions, just like Gary. We advise potential adopters to keep an open mind and heart when meeting all animals in shelters. These pets have lost their families and homes and are now in a stressful new environment. Go easy on them. Give them the patience and understanding they deserve.” 

A One-Eyed Hedgehog Takes Home the Gold

Stanley the one-eyed hedgehog peers out of his red and black fleece tunnel.

Stanley is a bashful, young, and energetic hedgehog with only one eye. Yet despite his newfound disability, he is determined to win the Hedgehog Olympics one day. Stanley prepares for his victory by running vigorously on his exercise wheel all night long and bolting around his new home at lightning speed. He is, by all means, a hedgehog with one eye on the prize. But this doesn’t mean his disability hasn’t come with some challenges and setbacks.

Stanley’s Eye Needed Help

When Stanley came to our Pet Resource Center in Murray, his eye was horribly infected. A cat had attacked him, and his guardians couldn’t afford to take him to the vet. After an urgent assessment, our medical team discovered that Stanley’s eye needed to be removed immediately. So, we rushed him to our partner, Mountain West Veterinary Specialists, an organization specializing in exotic pets, for emergency surgery.  

Fortunately, Stanley’s surgery went well, but he had a tough road ahead. He required antibiotics, a quiet and safe place to heal, and careful oversight of his sutures. Because of this, our staff was overly cautious about his adoption process. Our team wanted to ensure Stanley fully recovered and didn’t go to another home with pets where he could potentially be injured again. So, he went into our Foster Program under the care of our Humane Education Director, Caitlin Lisle, who is skilled with hedgehogs and could appropriately screen adopters to ensure he went to the best home possible. 

Stanley the one-eyed hedgehog rests next to his human.

Fostering a Hedgehog

Caitlin fostered Stanley for eight weeks, and during that time, he retreated from human contact and acted like he was in pain. Caitlin shared, “He seemed to not only be in pain from his injury but traumatized, too. I wanted to help him feel safe around humans, so I spent a lot of time holding him and hanging out with him. I went slow with this process, so he wasn’t overwhelmed.”

With Caitlin’s support, Stanley recovered quickly. She continued to screen potential adopters for him but still hadn’t found the right person who could meet all of his needs. “A lot of people want to adopt a hedgehog because they think they’re cool or unique. But we have to make sure potential adopters have done their research and know what type of care they require. Hedgehogs have a lot of special needs and require a lot of patience because it takes time for them to warm up to you,” Caitlin informed. 

Finding the Perfect Match

Then, Samantha, a woman from Idaho, reached out to adopt Stanley. Samantha had lost her hedgehog one year previously due to old age and was ready to rescue another. She’d seen Stanley’s too-cute photo and bio on our social media and was head over heels for this one-eyed, shy guy who needed a safe home and loved running, snacking, and burrowing. Since Samantha had extensive experience with hedgehogs and no other pets in her home, she knew they were meant to be. After successfully going through our adoption process, Samantha made the six-hour trek from Idaho to bring Stanley home. 

Stanley the one-eyed hedgehog sleeps on bed tucked under a blanket next to his new owner.

Those first few days with Samantha were difficult for Stanley. He spent most of his time hiding fearfully in the corner of his cage and refusing treats. Finally, Samantha explained, “He wouldn’t even eat a worm from my hand. But over time, he started to become curious and open up.” Fast forward several months, and Stanley is now thriving. He no longer hesitates to munch on a worm from Samantha’s hand or falls asleep in her arms. And his fearful behaviors are practically non-existent. 

“He’s the best boy, just perfect!” Samantha shared. “I am so proud of him; he’s come so far and is getting more curious and adventurous with each passing day. He seems very happy and comfortable with us and is full of sweet little chirps when exploring the house or climbing all over us. He’s quite the runner and determined climber, hah! My little Olympian who is forever determined to take home the gold.”

Samantha continues to update Caitlin on Stanley’s progress, and these updates bring tears to Caitlin’s eyes. “I love hearing that Stanley is finally coming out of his shell. And it makes me so happy to know that I helped bring the two of them together.” 

Feeling PAW-triatic? Firework Safety Tips for Pets

Firework season can be a scary time for pets. Keep your pets safe by following these tips.

  • Exercise your pet on the morning of the holidays when you think there may be fireworks
    • This will get extra anxiety out and calm your pet down before the night begins
  • Keep pets inside and away from loud noises 
    • It’s a good idea to create a safe space where pets feel secure inside the house. Use an inner room away from windows or a crate filled with your pet’s favorite toys and bedding. Keep a light or two on and consider turning the TV or radio on for some calming background noise. If your pet hides somewhere in this safe space, allow them to do so. Do not try to coax them out, as hiding is a natural coping mechanism for animals. Make sure pets always have fresh water available
  • Leave your pets home while venturing out to loud and crowded places
    • Fido and Fluffy don’t want to go with you to your local fireworks display! Again, make sure they have a safe place to stay while you’re out
  • Pets may be tempted to run if startled by loud noises. Ensure that outdoor areas are securely fenced and your pets cannot get out of your yard
    • In case of an escape, have microchips and valid ID tags on all of your pets and make sure information is current and accurate
    • If your pet escapes during the firework show contact your local animal shelter, post online or on social media lost and found pages
  • Check with your veterinarian for additional help
    • For especially anxious pets, they may suggest a snug t-shirt to make your pet feel secure or prescribe medication to use during the holidays. If your pet is prescribed a medication, never share this with other pets or give your animal more than the recommended dose
  • Be aware that anxiety may last longer than the fireworks display
    • If your pet still seems on edge after the fireworks are over or even the next morning, continue to keep them inside and surrounded by calming things, such as their favorite treats or toys. Make sure that you’ve cleaned up any party debris before allowing your pet free reign of the yard again

5th Annual Bark at the Moon Dog-Friendly Event Returns to The Gateway

Contact: Guinn Shuster



Date: May 20, 2022

Media Alert 

5th annual Bark at the Moon dog-friendly event returns to The Gateway on May 21, 2022 

Salt Lake City — Utah, May 21, 2022 Join us this Saturday from 4-8 p.m. for a family fun event that will raise funds to support the lifesaving programs at the Humane Society of Utah (HSU). The fundraiser is Presented by Mountain West Veterinary Specialist and supported by Fuzzy, Subaru USA, and The Arrow. Ticket prices begin at $20 and include admission to the festival. Dogs must be six months of age or older, up to date on vaccinations, and socialized with other dogs and people. 

“This is a fun community event to raise money for our homeless companion animals,” said Kaya Nielsen, HSU event manager. “We’re excited to return to The Gateway this year and grateful to the participating businesses for their support that allows us to bring people and pets together.”

The fundraising event will feature over 35 local vendors, food trucks, craft beer, live music, a splash zone for the dogs, a food truck for the dogs, Instagram-worthy photo opportunities, and more. 

“We are excited to be a part of Bark at the Moon and support the Humane Society of Utah with all the wonderful work they do for homeless pets in Utah,” said Kirsten Gull, Mountain West Veterinary Specialists spokesperson. “We are so glad to be part of this great community and love to be able to give back and support our local shelters, rescues, nonprofit organizations, and educational programs.

At 8 p.m., pets and people can participate in a group stroll around The Gateway.

Rule of 3’s

3 days, 3 Weeks, and 3 Months

Bringing home a furry new family member can be one of the best days ever!  But transitioning to a new home is often one of the most stressful times in an animal’s life.

To help make this transition as smooth as possible, it can help to break it down to 3 days, 3 weeks, and 3 months.

First 3 Days

The first 3 days should be set aside for your dog or cat to decompress. It’s exciting to bring home a new family member and it can be easy to accidentally overwhelm them! Prepare a quiet place ahead of time where the dog or cat can relax and find their bearings. This space should be a safe place for them to rest and a place where they will not get into trouble when unsupervised. This might mean setting up a small room or bathroom for your cat as they can panic when given too much space too soon.  You might use a baby gate or exercise pen to create a safety zone for your new dog set up with food, water, and a soft place to rest. This can help cut down on accidents or chewed on household items while your new dog is adjusting to a new routine.

cat at the feet of a person

Follow your new pet’s lead and keep your interactions short at first. Give them plenty of chances to rest and decompress. You should avoid any unnecessary interactions that they may not be prepared to handle. A trip to the dog park or the pet store may cause a meltdown! Family members may want to visit right away, but this can be overwhelming. Save these visits for a few weeks down the road when you have had a chance to grow your relationship with your new pet.

First 3 Weeks

Over the next few weeks, you will start to see your new pet’s personality begin to emerge. Creating a consistent schedule with plenty of opportunities for you to reward your pet will help grow this new bond. This is a good time to start to establish a routine with meal times, regular potty breaks, exercise, and enrichment. This is also the time you will want to slowly integrate your new pet with other animals and children in the home. Any introductions should be done using short sessions and an adult should actively supervise all interactions.

Start to engage them with new toys and different activities to see what keeps them engaged and can burn their extra energy. This is also a great time to begin teaching some foundational skills using reward-based training. Cats love reinforcement too! So figure out what toys or treats they like. Use them to reward them for behaviors you want to see. 

Three Months

The next few months will be a chance to identify what routines work for you and your new pet. You should start to notice how much exercise they need and which activities they enjoy. Once they seem relaxed and comfortable with your routine at home, this is a great time to slowly start to integrate new activities like a trip to the park or introductions to family and friends.

Dog kissing a lady

This might also be the time that you start to notice some less desirable behaviors. Most of the time, you can work this through together with support from a behavior expert or veterinarian.

Remember that your new pet is doing their best, but they may not understand what you’re expecting of them. Keep in mind that their behavior may be species-appropriate or age-appropriate even if it’s not ideal for us. We can suggest more desirable outlets for those behaviors. Our behavior staff is happy to assess the situation and send you resources to help you and your pet. You can contact our behavior department for support.

$5,000 reward offered for Utah puppy thrown from a car window

Contact: Guinn Shuster                         

May 17, 2022

News Release
$5,000 reward offered for Utah puppy thrown from a car window

Murray – Utah, May 17, 2022 — Humane Society of Utah offers a $5,000 reward for information leading to arrest and conviction in Malin’s case. According to Kevin Hansen of the South Salt Lake Animal Services, a bystander saw a 2-month-old puppy thrown from a moving car at 3300 S 300 W on Friday, May 13, 2022. South Salt Lake Animal Services named the critically injured puppy “Malin,” who is now receiving medical attention for two broken legs, two fractured ribs, and a punctured lung.

The Humane Society of Utah’s advocacy director, Rachel Heatley, praised South Salt Lake Animal Services’ response. “South Salt Lake Animal Services handled Malin’s injuries with urgency and deep compassion, ensuring Malin received the treatment she needed,” she said. “We only hope this reward will help bring the perpetrators of this cruelty to justice.”   

Malin is currently in the care of South Salt Lake Animal Services and will be brought into a foster home to help her heal this evening. The Humane Society of Utah is grateful for the tireless efforts of animal control officers in helping animals like Malin and caring for animals in our community. 

The Humane Society of Utah urges anyone with information regarding who injured Malin to contact the South Salt Lake Animal Service’s Office dispatch at 801-840-4000. Any tipster can choose to remain anonymous.