Looking to develop a garden perfectly suited to your cat? We take a look at cat-friendly gardens to help you create a sensory and safe masterpiece for your feline friend.
For many cat owners, the dangers lurking in their pretty gardens can come as a bit of a shock. Many plants are highly toxic to cats that happily bloom in neighborhoods across the globe. So how can you create an attractive outdoor space that is also safe for your cat?
The key is to consider what plants are toxic to your cat and ensure these are not currently living in your yard. For some cats, many of these plants will simply not register on their play or explore list. However, for the curious cat or young kitten, they could spell disaster and an emergency trip to the local vet.
Common Plants Toxic to Cats
- Azaleas and Rhododendrons
- Castor Bean
- English Ivy
- Sago Palm
- Spanish thyme
- Tulip and Narcissus bulbs
It is impossible to eradicate all toxic plants from your environment. Keeping your cat indoors can also help. It is advised for all kittens to keep them indoors until they reach a ‘less curious’ age. Also, become prolific at storing your garden chemicals correctly and keeping your cat indoors after weed spraying and fertilizing your yard.
All lilies are highly toxic to cats and are the main culprit when it comes to cat poisoning. Interestingly the bulbs can also be more toxic than flowers so ensure you keep these away from your pet’s environment and remember to store them securely in sealed containers when not in the ground. With kittens, extra care is advised to guarantee your super curious fluff-ball doesn’t accidentally ingest any of the above.
If you do have toxic plants that you want to keep, consider spraying citronella or another citrus-based oil around the soil of the plant to deter your pet. Or plant herbs around the base of the offending plants that pets (particularly cats) do not like such as lavender, rosemary, or lemon balm.
Popular lilies highly toxic to cats
- Asian Lily
- Easter Lily
- Glory Lily
- Japanese Show Lily
- Peace Lily
- Red Lily
- Rubrum Lily
- Stargaszer Lily
- Tiger Lily
- Wood Lily
When creating your perfect cat-friendly garden it’s important to start from the soil. Choose a good pet-friendly soil and fertilizer and prepare your flower beds well to ensure your new plants thrive.
Seaweed based fertilizers are great, and also ensure any slug bait is safe for pets. There is plenty of safe pest control on the market that can keep your garden looking wonderful and also keeping your cat safe from accidental poisoning. Cats love to rub and are prolific cleaning machines. Combining this with deadly chemicals is not ideal for any cat-friendly garden.
When looking for a burst of safe color consider plants such as:
These plants are not only safe but make a welcome addition to any garden. Plus, the bees and butterflies will love you! If you’re thinking of creating an indoor green sanctuary, consider plants such as orchids which are safe for your furry friend.
#CATFACT Did you know that planting certain herbs in your yard will be hugely beneficial for your cat? There are plenty of cat-friendly herbs that your feline friend can enjoy that will also help with a range of conditions from their mental well-being, teeth, and even their stomach health.
Herbs Herbs Herbs
When considering some cat-friendly additions to your garden you can’t go past the trusty herbs. These can enlighten your cat’s garden experience and also help with ailments commonly known to cats. Some cats have been known to seek out these herbs to self-medicate when feeling down.
Valerian – A wonderful stimulant for cats. Many cats will quickly seek this out in the garden for nibble and smell. It can encourage play and also boost their immune systems.
Basil – Basil is a commonly known kitty safe herb. Many cats seem to love to chew and rub up against this wonder herb, however it doesn’t seem to have any actual benefits in nutritional terms, but it does seem to offer a form of entertainment for your curious cat.
Catnip – all cat owners are familiar with the benefits of catnip. This powerful herb allows your cat a heightened sense of play and adventure. If your cat doesn’t like catnip you can also try cat thyme.
Mint – a welcome addition to any garden. Mint is known as a natural pet’s control and is said to help soothe the skin.
Dill – Many cats will seek dill out when feeling gassy or under the weather. This wonder herb is well-known to help with stomach upsets.
Don’t forget the cat grass! This is a definite must in all cat-friendly gardens and can even be grown indoors for extra nibble potential. Planting this between the herbs will encourage your cat to explore their special space.
If you want to also enjoy the herbs, you’ll need to plant certain cat zones and human zones. If you are planting vegetables, consider raised beds, and fencing these areas off from your cat to prevent them from toileting in this area. Some vegetables can also be toxic to pets, as too, pips and seeds from fruit trees. By sectioning this area off you can create zones in your yard that are suitable for your cat, and ones that are not.
Fun in the Yard
If you want to create a perfect outdoor space that’s full of fun and also safe for your cat, adding some special features can also help encourage your cat to spend more time in your yard compared to the neighbors.
If you have an indoor cat – creating a caged area full of cat-friendly herbs and grasses, alongside a few fun features is a great way to allow your cat to have the full advantages of indoor and outdoor life. These can be cleverly disguised and attached to the home with cat doors.
If you want to keep your cat in your yard without the use of cages or enclosures, consider building a cat-proof fence that can prevent your cat from jumping into the adjoining properties. This can also prevent other cats from adventuring into your purrrfect pet garden.
Consider adding these to your cat friendly garden:
- Plenty of hiding spaces around the yard
- Climbing zones – get creative, adding platforms to trees allows your cat the perfect high perch and climbing area.
- A cat-friendly exploring zone full of herbs and cat grass.
- A toileting area – this can also prevent your cat from using the bathroom in your prized garden bed.
With a little creativity and thought, you can develop a perfectly safe garden that your cat will simply adore. Happy gardening!
Lisa Illman is the Founder of Kritter Kommunity, LLC. She has a tuxedo adult cat and has had him since he was a baby kitten. Before her cat Finnegan, Lisa had had two FIV-positive cats for over a decade. They inspired Lisa to invent a cat enclosure and a portable catio so they could safely sit outside and enjoy fresh air and sunshine. Lisa had a Poodle and a parakeet growing up. She currently loves to pet-sit for her neighbors’ dogs and cats.