Gardens for CatsPosted by: admin July 17th, 2014
Welcome to the first blog on Happy Dogs and Cats. My aim is to share ideas and concepts which may promote happier cats and dogs, and hopefully more harmonious relationships with their humans. While this first blog focuses on cats, these ideas may be beneficial for dogs as well who react to outside stimuli.
Cats can be very private creatures, and while vast patio doors are great for views into gardens and nature (very welcome in hectic London), they can provide opportunities for neighbouring cats to stare into the home and intimidate the resident cats. If feeding bowls and sometimes litter trays are in full view of the transparent patio doors, these can further attract interested cats, and render the residents quite vulnerable.
One solution is to make the lower part of the glass opaque with frosted film. This spoils the fun of the cats staring in, and provides some privacy and sense of security for the resident cats.
Here are two links to give some ideas of the possibilities out there:
A second possibility is to place large pot plants around the entrance to the garden. These will also help in providing cover when venturing outside.
When Nimai and Syama first moved in to live with me after being abandoned by a neighbour, they would perch precariously on the sharp wooden fence. This gave me the idea to install a long cat-walk down both sides of the garden, with resting perches along the way. It also provided opportunities for them to survey their extended territories and monitor any threat of intrusion.
Planting cat-friendly plants and allowing part of the garden to grow quite wild can assist in encouraging cats to enjoy and gain much stimulation from their own garden. Catnip is popular in about 70% of the feline population. When growing, it may need to be protected initially from enthusiastic cats who may roll around in it and squash it completely. Cat grass is another popular plant and helps digestion. A third is lavender, with its lovely pungent aroma, which Nimai loved to inhale.
On the International Cat Care website there is a list of plants poisonous to cats, a few of which are: lilies, daffodils and foxglove.
Cats tend to go higher up in order to feel safe, and placing perches in trees also gives them further opportunities to survey other gardens.
Placing cat-walks at different heights, with ladders or steps for those needing more assistance in jumping would help all cats as they age, as many cats develop arthritis from the age of about 10 years old. Helping these cats, or those unable to jump, still enjoy the garden from all its many perches and viewpoints will aid in maintaining a great quality of life. The cat-walks and perches also provide excellent live TV for their human carers!