Lancashire Times
Weekend Edition
2:00 AM 28th May 2022

How To Create A Feline Friendly Garden This Spring

As spring blooms, your cat might be enjoying longer days in the sunshine and spending more time in the garden. If you want to keep them as safe as possible when venturing outdoors, the pet care specialists at Catit have shared their top tips on making a feline-friendly garden.

Gardens can provide an excellent sensory experience that satisfies your cat's curiosity within a safe, secure environment.

While you may want to add to your outdoor area with flowers, plants, and shrubs, some plants can be toxic to cats and cause them serious harm if ingested. Not only this, but straying too far from home can also put your cat in harm's way or risk them getting lost. From picking the right plants to creating a secure outdoor environment for them to play and exercise in, here's how to make your garden a safe haven for your four-legged friends.

Lillies - Photo by Cody Fitzgerald on Unsplash
Lillies - Photo by Cody Fitzgerald on Unsplash
Plants to avoid

With their gorgeous scent and wide variety of pastel colours, lilies are a popular choice both for indoor and outdoor display. However, they are also one of the most dangerous plants for cats: while some varieties like the peace and calla lily can be slightly less harmful, they still cause digestive pain and vomiting, and all other varieties can cause kidney failure or even be fatal. It’s therefore best to avoid lilies in your garden altogether, so you can be sure your feline is safe and sound when exploring outside.

Hydrangea - Image by 1195798 from Pixabay
Hydrangea - Image by 1195798 from Pixabay
Hydrangeas are also a popular plant for their bright colours and large, fluffy blooms, but it's worth noting that they contain a compound that breaks down into cyanide. They are therefore toxic to pets, causing oxygen deprivation, a rash, intense stomach pain, and even death if eaten in large quantities. When planted in flower beds, hydrangea shrubs also grow into wide, low bushes that are at eye-level to your pet — this makes them too easily accessible for curious cats.

You may be surprised to know that, if ingested, mistletoe can also be toxic to cats. As well as causing an irritated stomach, raised temperature, and seizures, it can even have fatal results. So, if you ever want to bring some festive cheer into your garden, it's best to stick to other classics like holly or red poinsettias — these are much safer as while the latter can lead to some digestive problems, a massive amount would have to be ingested for your cat to experience any symptoms (Gardening Knowhow).

Feline-friendly flowers

Catnip - Image by thstl from Pixabay
Catnip - Image by thstl from Pixabay
Some plants, on the other hand, can help to create an outdoor space that your furry friend is sure to love. Cat grass is a great example of this, and it's not only easy to grow at home but it can actually benefit your pet's health. A blend of grasses grown from wheat, barely, oat, or rye seeds, cat grass can act as a safe and fibrous snack for your pet to aid their digestion and get some extra vitamins (Masterclass). This can also help to keep them from nibbling other plants in your garden that you want to keep in good condition. Alternatively, if you have an indoor cat or a back yard with no lawn, you could try indoor grass planters to still provide your cat with a stimulating, healthy environment.

Sunflowers - Photo by Stella de Smit on Unsplash
Sunflowers - Photo by Stella de Smit on Unsplash
To build a fun, stimulating garden for your cat you could also plant catnip and valerian, both of which have an enjoyable, happy effect on our feline friends. Catnip is a perennial plant that is very easy to grow and requires little maintenance, so it makes a great addition to your family garden. Valerian is also very hardy, so despite dying back to the ground in the winter it always re-emerges in spring, making them perfect for longer, sunnier days spent playing in the garden.

Planting tall plants like sunflowers or Russian sage can create a sheltered spot in your garden, providing your cat with access to shade on hot days. This can also give them an obscured spot to hide in while playing and hunting, but be sure to give your outdoor cat a collar with a bell so that the surrounding wildlife has a fighting chance!

Garden security

It's also wise to check the security of your garden, especially if you leave near busy roads or farmland. Cats are famously curious animals, and a hole in your fence can be just too tempting to ignore! Ensure that your fence is intact, encompasses your whole garden, and is high enough to prevent them climbing over. If you don't want your cat to stray too far from home without your knowledge, try blocking off any garden paths that lead to unsafe areas. This way you can spend your spring days outside knowing that your cat is safe and happy.

Paul Trott, UK Marketing Manager at Catit said:
"As we enter spring and summer, your cat may be spending more and more time outside. If you want to create a fun, stimulating environment to satisfy their curiosity, start by ensuring that your garden has pet friendly, non-toxic plants. Popular flowers like lilies, hydrangeas, and even mistletoe can all be incredibly dangerous to cats and so knowing which ones are toxic — and which aren't — is crucial to keeping them safe.

"Straying too far from home can also put your cat at risk of injury, or even getting lost. Keeping your garden secure with fences, doors, and cat flaps is therefore equally important, so that you can enjoy the spring and summer knowing your feline friend is as safe as possible."

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