Cats love the freedom of exploring overgrown, jungle-like gardens, bewitched by playful insects and enjoying the scents and textures of a myriad of fascinating plants. The experience inspires a certain hunting instinct in them that lets them roam with passion.
Exactly what should be included in a garden in order for it to appeal to those fierce feline foragers? Try these simple yet clever tips:
(1) Cats are renowned for adoring the heady scents of catmint, catnip and cat grass. As the names suggest, these selections are the perfect category (wink) to start with. But why not also plant an array of other scented delights? Herbs such as sage, lemon balm, thyme and chamomile will give an overall fragrant cornucopia to your Puss's Paradise.
(2) Plant some larger, bushy shrubs to provide shade and exciting nooks to explore. Although it can be a daunting challenge to select non-toxic varieties that won't pose a problem for your pets, there are many nonpoisonous choices that are perfect garden additions. Asparagus ferns, fuchsias, hibiscus, honeysuckle, Norfolk Island pine trees, palms, rose, umbrella trees and others are all considered safe for not only cats but children too!
(3) Your pet will love to catnap after a session of exploring so plant some soft, springy grasses to provide a comfortable bed. Any of the varieties of mondo grasses, available from your local nursery, would make a good choice.
(4) A great idea to protect your young tree seedlings is to provide a scratching post, handily positioned for any needed claw-scratching sessions; your trees will thank you for the inclusion!
(5) You want the garden to have some splashes of color to add some visual interest so consider planting out a flower bed or two to add a dash of vibrancy. Carefully select annuals and perennials from the following proven safe list. African violets, carnations, dandelion, gardenia, geranium, impatiens, lilac, marigold, pansy, petunia, snapdragon, zinnia. Leave one bedded area clear and well dug, in a private corner, to encourage toileting activities.
(6) Add a few potted plants and well placed rocks for privacy and camouflage purposes and incorporate perches and look-out posts to let your beloved friend claim the best vantage point in her new domain.
(7) A secure fence as a border may be practical to keep the garden area contained.
With sensible planning and a bit of practical forethought an appealing garden is achievable and affordable for most budgets and need not become an overgrown, jungle-like 'cat'astrophe! Happy gardening cat lovers!
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