Spring time is here and it’s time to get out to your garden and get your hands dirty, whether it be to plant flowers or grow vegetables, Spring is a wonderful time to be in the garden.
Both my cats are outdoors cats so it’s important to me to try and keep them close by. Creating a cat-friendly garden is my way of making sure they stay safe and near me. I hate the thought of them straying into the wrong garden because I have not provided them with a safe and comfortable place to sleep and play.
My two cats are very different in the garden. Bella loves to lounge in the shade…probably because she has a Black coat. I would normally find her under a table or curled up under a bush. Egor is the opposite, I have found him crashed out on my shed roof, up trees, asleep on top of the recycling bin…he’s very adventurous. He also loves to stalk Bella and jump on her when she’s fast asleep.
I have really enjoyed writing this piece to share with you all and can’t wait for the warmer days and nights when we can all sit outside in our gardens with a nice glass of wine watching our cats. Next week I will be writing Part II: Cute Things For Your Garden. I’ll be covering cat themed sculptures, water features, flowers pots etc.
Plants suitable for your cat:
Catnip: I have alway grown my own catnip from seeds I buy online from seedaholic.com. I love the reaction my cats get from catnip. Bella rubs her face in it, gets really hyper and runs around the garden for two minute then falls fast asleep whereas Egor plonks his whole body over the plant and then starts rolling around on it. I have catnip planted in garden pots as well as a little in my flower bed.
Strawberry Plants: Strawberry plants have got to be the easiest of fruit plants to grow in your garden. You will pick them up from any garden center around Ireland and every year they will come back. I have two strawberry plants in my garden and both are in hanging baskets. Strawberry plants contain antioxidants which are good for getting rid of anything bad in your body as well as in your cats. The next time you grow a big juicy Red strawberry, bring it into your kitchen, wash it off and chop it up into tiny squares then offer a little to your cat… they will love it.
Wheat (cat) Grass: I planted this last year in my garden. I got a lovely potted planter with 6 small holes coming out of it and placed a small amount in each. Your cats will nibble on this if they need to get rid of a furball as this grass makes them get sick. Don’t be alarmed by this behaviour (unless they are always eating it) as your cat knows best and is probably saving you a trip to the vets by doing this themselves.
Roses: I love rosebushes in gardens. Cat’s can actually eat rose petals in small amounts, I have never seen my cats eat the petals but I have seen them playing with petals on the ground. Just be careful as rosebushes have big thorns that may hurt you precious furball.
Plants not suitable for your cat:
Lilies:. I love Lilies they are one of my favorite flowers in-fact my wedding boutique was made from just Lilies. All types are a BIG NO. Lilies can be fatal to cats and if they chew on just a few petals they can develop kidney failure. All parts of the lily are poisonous to cats – including the stem, leaves, petals, stamens and pollen.
Daffodils: There everywhere at this time of the year, up & down our motorways and on most roundabouts in Ireland. They might look pretty, but they are also pretty dangerous to your precious feline especially if your cat has eaten the bulb. If your cat digests daffodil petals they may experience vomiting, diarrhea and convulsions.
Rhododendrons: My dad’s favorite plant. He’s always trying to give me some for my garden. Again, they are highly poisonous and can lead to severe digestive trouble, heart problems and seizures if digested.
Plant A Mini Herb Garden
Like in the photograph below you can take an old disused wheel barrow and make it into a mini herb garden. Having herbs in your garden will benefit both you and your cat, it’s also a great looking feature. There are lots of herbs you can plant such as; Coriander, Parsley, Dill and Basil, Rosemary, Peppermint, Oregano, Thyme, Sage and Lavender.
Trees In The Garden
Cats climb up trees for many reasons, they like to have a good look out point, hunt birds, to get away from dogs or other cats and sometimes they just want somewhere safe to have a nap. Some of the most common trees that people place in their garden are blossom trees, Apple trees or Pear trees. By pruning these, every year will stop them from getting too out of control and big. Your cat will love running up and down these after birds and it’s also really good for their nails.
Pesticides You Can Use
There are lots of ways to control pets in your garden without harming your cats. I have found making my own to be the best. You can buy pet-safe products on the market, but they normally ask you to make sure your pet is secure for a certain amount of time before they can go back into your garden. Always read the label on these products.
I always give my garden a good spray down with the hose first as this is a good way of knocking off insects from plants, then I spray any plants that look like they have a bug problem. Here are the two mixtures I use:
Greenfly: Place a small amount of washing up liquid in a spray bottle then fill up with water.
Whitefly & Eggs: Place a small amount of washing up liquid in a spray bottle then add a tablespoon of vegetable oil then fill up with water.
Do Not Forget To Control Those Fleas
Always make sure you’re up-to-date on your Spot-On treatments and make sure what you buy is from the vets and not herbal treatments from your local pet store. I’m all for organic, but I made the mistake of trying herbal Spot-On last year and I got fleas in my home……….I can tell you they are not nice to have. What I thought was an allergic reaction to a new washing powder turned out to be fleas biting my legs.
When I finally discovered I had fleas I scrubbed every part of my home from top to bottom over the next two days. I got into every crack and crevice to make sure I killed every last one of them. I spoke with my vet who said ‘you would be surprised the amount of people who have done the same thing as you’ she recommended a spray to use to kill any remaining which I bought from her. I had to fumigate my whole house and lock my cats out for hours.
Trust me when I say you don’t want to learn the hard way, get the recommended Spot-On from your vet.