Spring is upon us, and if you’re a gardener, you’re already outside, tending to your garden. You’ve got down the basics to a T, and you plan to make 2016 your greatest harvest yet.
However, if you’re a cat owner, you may be making some mistakes when tending to your garden. As the owner of a curious feline, you need to make special changes to your garden to work in harmony with your cat.
This especially applies if your cat is outdoors. If your cat is an indoors kitty, you don’t need to take as much caution, but if Fluffy likes exploring the great outdoors, look at your garden. First, see if there are any plants that may be toxic to your cat.
Don’t Let Kitty Near These Plants!
Cats may have nine lives, but you still need to keep kitty out of danger whenever you can! There are some fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers that are safe for humans, but can be toxic to cats. Some will give your kitty a tummyache, while others can send your cat to an emergency vet trip!
Some flowers and herbs that are poisonous to cats include tulips, oleander, castor beans, yew, peace lily, tobacco, and marijuana.
If your garden contains any of these plants, don’t take the risk. Move any problematic plants to a place where your kitty can’t reach them. Perhaps you could invest in a small greenhouse where these plants can be stored.
As a side note, beware of some of the chemicals you use to treat your garden. Some of them, such as slug pellets, are dangerous for your cat. Look for alternatives. For instance, many garden centers have nematodes that will hunt slugs. Also, do not use cocoa bean mulch, either. This is toxic to both cats and dogs.
If your cat eats something toxic, call the vet ASAP. The faster you do so, the easier the poison is to treat. Even if the plant isn’t fatal, you still need to keep your cat safe.
Cats Love These Plants!
Once your garden is free from any plants that can be dangerous to your cat, why not plant something that is good for kitty in their place? Here are a few plants you can put in your garden that your kitty will adore!
- Let’s get the obvious out of the way, shall we? Why not put some catnip in your garden? A staple for cats everywhere, catnip is a great addition to any cat-friendly garden, for easy to understand reasons. Also, catnip is easy to grow, so plant away!
- Sunflowers! These big flowers will give kitty shade, and also will entertain your cat for hours. You’ll be seeing her climbing the stalks and playing with the blooms until it’s time for a catnap.
- Cat grasses. These are grasses cats love to nibble on, and they’re great for any garden. A few examples of cat grasses include wheatgrass and oat grass. Buy some seeds, and fill your garden with some cat grass today!
- Valerian. Valerian is an herb sold as a sleeping aid, as its effects on humans are calming. For cats, however, valerian is another plant that makes cats go crazy, just like catnip. If your cat doesn’t respond to catnip, valerian is a good alternative. And it’s good to harvest whenever you’re having a sleepless night.
- Strawberries! This fruit is not only delicious, but is good for your cat as an occasional dessert. What’s not to love?
- Pumpkin. Yes, pumpkins can be grown during the springtime. Besides treating yourself to an early pumpkin pie, pumpkin is safe for your cat to eat, and can even aid in kitty’s digestion. Plus, your cat will love jumping on the pumpkins, too.
- Roses. The flower contains vitamin C, which is good for your cat in small doses. Plus, they’re pretty, too. Before you give the cat a rose, make sure the stem, leaves, and thorns are all gone.
Keep Your Cat Entertained!
As your cat explores your garden, why not provide her with some cat toys to keep her entertained? Tie some toys designed for cats around tree branches, or any other place that will allow the cat toy to hang. As the wind blows, the toys will move, entertaining the kitty for hours!
Don’t Let Your Cat Overheat!
Cats can easily overheat, especially if they’re older.
Overheating can cause some serious side effects for your cat, including dizziness and tremors, and sometimes, it can be fatal.
As spring heads into summer, look for ways to provide shade for your kitty.
As mentioned before, tall plants such as sunflowers work great, but grow some trees if you haven’t already, or provide a shelter specifically designed for your cat.
Make sure kitty has a constant source of water, too. One cool way to keep your kitty hydrated is to create a watering hole. It can be good for your cat, as well as your plants.
Check up on your cat every so often to make sure she’s doing fine. If she’s panting excessively, move her into the house and call your vet.
Protect Kitty From Neighbors
If your garden is free to any neighboring cats, you may want to build a fence around your garden. Cats tend to be territorial, and if any neighbor cats wander into your garden, there could be trouble. Keep the garden available to your cat and your cat only.
Creating a cat-friendly garden can be difficult at first, but if your cat loves the great outdoors, it will be worth it in the end. As your garden, always check to see if there are any changes you can make to accommodate your cat. Soon, you’ll have the purrfect garden for both you and that special little feline in your life. Happy gardening!
Emily Parker runs Catological, her website dedicated to helping cat parents love their kitties better. She started indoor gardening this year and can’t wait to move into a bigger place with a real garden!