8 ways to create a cat-friendly garden
25th June 2014
Giving your cat outdoor access is good, but only if the outdoor environment is inviting to your pet. By making a few simple, inexpensive changes to your garden, you can create a cat-friendly haven for your pet. Your cat is less likely to venture beyond the garden to neighbouring gardens or across roads if you employ these techniques. Take a look at our top tips below.
Large shrubs, trees or garden umbrellas can provide the perfect shelter for your cat. Offering shade will ensure your cat won’t overheat in the warm summer months and will protect pets that are vulnerable to skin cancer, such as white cats or cats with pink noses and ears. Shelter also gives cats something to hide under when it’s raining and should encourage older cats to enter the garden if they have somewhere safe to relax.
Your cat will feel more secure in your garden if you provide places for him to hide. Large plant pots work well. If there are lots of other cats in the neighbourhood, hiding spots will make your cat feel safer when they are exploring their territory.
Cat toys needn’t just be used inside the house. Attach toys to pieces of string and dot them about the garden. When the wind blows, the toys are sure to keep your cat entertained.
Opportunities to climb
Cats love to climb and they will use just about anything made of wood as a scratching post. To protect your trees and keep your cat happy, install vertical logs of varying heights for your cat to climb on. Cats also like to perch up high to survey their territory so provide a high spot that they can easily access. A high perch could also be the perfect place for them to bask when the sun is shining.
Supply a toileting area
A patch of loose sand will encourage your cat to toilet in a designated place in the garden and should discourage them from visiting the neighbour’s garden to do their business. Try to ensure this area has some shelter so that he will still use it even if it’s raining.
Choose plants carefully
Cats are usually quite selective about what they eat, but to be on the safe side, keep plants and flowers that may harm your cat out of your garden. For example, lilies are toxic to cats. Plant hard-wearing shrubs in borders and install delicate plants in pots to avoid them getting trampled by your cat. Provide an area of grass - cats nibble grass to help them bring up hairballs.
Be wary of using garden chemicals as many will be harmful to your pet. For example, slug pellets are toxic to cats. Use organic, cat-friendly alternatives.
Deter neighbouring cats
Cats are territorial creatures and the presence of other cats in the garden can be a source of conflict. They may even put your cat off spending time in the garden. A strip of plastic mesh at the top of your fence will deter the neighbour’s cat. It should also discourage your cat from leaving your garden.