How to Make Your Garden Cat Friendly

Cats are curious creatures that love exploring the outdoors. Nature’s sights, sounds, and smells keep them mesmerized for hours and give them a reason to get some much-needed exercise. Additionally, a little time outside actually decreases indoor destructive behaviors. So if you don’t have a safe outdoor space for your cat, it might be time to create one.

Photo by Utku Özen | @theutkuozen on Unsplash

A garden can easily be transformed into an outdoor oasis that encourages play and keeps your furry feline safe from predators. You can develop this safe, inviting space with a few reasonable changes. Here are some tips to help you create an enticing sanctuary for your furry feline.

Enclose the Area

Perhaps you view your entire backyard as a garden because of its various shrubbery types, or maybe you have a smaller designated area where you grow flowers or produce. Whatever the case, if you’re allowing your cat to enter this space, you should consider installing a fence or an outside cat enclosure to ensure your pet stays in that area. Felines that are allowed to roam freely are at risk of leaving the site to chase small creatures or explore, which means they may end up on busy highways or get lost.

Catios are a popular alternative if you don’t want to enclose the entire area. These cat kits allow you to create an enclosure based on your cat’s needs and wants. They come in different shapes and sizes, and you can customize them by adding challenging obstacles, such as tunnels, stairs, and bridges.

Offer Shelter

Have you ever relentlessly called for your cat to realize your furry feline is peering out at you from behind the couch, unwilling to come? Similar scenarios show just how stubborn cats can be when they’re comfortable. When a cat finds a perfect place to lounge, it won’t get up until it’s ready.

Keep this concept in mind when creating cozy places for your cat to sit or hide in when it’s outside. Felines like to feel safe and secure, and a small area, such as a cat house, can help them feel protected. Add some blankets or towels to make this space extra comfortable. Additionally, much like people, cats can overheat or get burnt in the hot sun, so your cat needs a place that provides shade so it can cool down and relax.

Incorporate Pet-Friendly Greenery

You should evaluate the greenery in your garden before allowing your cat to go outside, as many plants are toxic to felines. However, here are some safe, cat-approved options:

  • Catnip
  • Cat grass
  • Pumpkins 
  • Squash
  • Runner beans
  • Sunflowers

Each plant offers a different color scheme, keeping your garden looking spectacular. The various plant types and sizes create a maze, allowing your cat to run, hide, and play at its leisure. Further, your cat has the chance to nibble on the tasty catnip while you get to enjoy garden-fresh produce.

Alternatively, some plants should be avoided, as they can be dangerous or even deadly to your furry feline. In some cases, even if your cat doesn’t chew on the plant, licking toxic pollen from its fur can have detrimental consequences. Some harmful plants to avoid include:

  • Tomato
  • Potato
  • Azaleas
  • Daffodils
  • Lilies
  • Morning Glories

If your cat is allowed in the garden and you have any dangerous plants, you should remove them. However, if you want to keep the foliage, you can place them in a separate area your furry feline can’t access.

Add a Water Source

Running around outside can cause cats to drink more water than usual. For your cat to stay adequately hydrated, it’s crucial to provide at least one water source. If you have multiple cats, consider using more water dishes, so your furry felines don’t fight.

Many cats prefer drinking from moving water sources rather than stagnant supplies. A fountain is an aesthetically pleasing addition to a garden, and it will supply those pickier cats with flowing water.

Include Toys and Accessories

Photo by Robin Wersich on Unsplash

While the greenery is sure to occupy your pet’s time, you can add an extra element of entertainment with cat toys and accessories. For example, you can toss some of your cat’s favorite stuffed mice or jingle balls into the garden. Your cat can chase these toys around the plants and through the dirt, which will successfully keep your feline mentally and physically stimulated. 

Most cats also like to sit in high places. Higher vantage points make them feel safe and secure because they can easily spot potential dangers. Plus, they get a great view of the birds, butterflies, and chipmunks as they frolic about. If your garden area doesn’t have a tree for your cat to climb, consider adding ledges to your home’s exterior or tables and benches around the yard so your cat can get into a higher position.

Add a Suitable Bathroom Option

The last thing you want is for your cat to use your garden as a litter box. However, if you don’t offer a proper substitute, your furry feline will do exactly that! Luckily, cats are extremely clean animals and prefer to use an area away from food and water to go to the bathroom. If you provide your pet with a suitable option and show it where the site is, your cat is highly likely to utilize this area. 

To create a proper toileting area, you can use a regular litter box with classic litter, clear a spot and put down wood chips, or simply loosen some dirt. You may need to try each option to see which your cat prefers before making a final decision. Also, cats favor privacy, so try to place your furry feline’s bathroom area between shrubs or grass if possible.

Keep Safety in Mind

Allowing your cat to go outside is risky, even if your fence in the selected area. Because your furry feline has a chance of escaping, you should take extra precautions, including keeping a watchful eye on your cat while it’s outside and putting a collar on its neck that states your name and phone number. Further, it is a good idea to keep your cat updated on its vaccinations in case it comes in contact with other animals.

Additionally, you may be tempted to use chemicals in your garden to eliminate bugs. Be wary when utilizing these products, as many are toxic to pets. Opt for cat-friendly alternatives if possible.

Turning your garden into a cat-friendly haven doesn’t have to be a complicated process. By applying a few safety measures, you can create a cat-friendly area your furry feline will enjoy and thrive in for years to come. 

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