Making sure you have a safe cat garden is doubly important during the warmer months of the year.
After all this is when your cat will spend most of its time roaming and exploring outside and although you can never protect your cat from every danger you certainly can make sure that you have a garden that is as safe as possible for your feline friend.
Our cat Little Mo was definitely a summer cat, she spent all winter looking sad and curled up next to the fire and yelling at us when it rained.
But as soon as the weather turned a little warmer, well we hardly see her, she just couldn't wait to get outside and lie in the sun and hunt around the bushes for little insects to play with.
She never roams far from home these days, so the garden is definitely her main territory.
Many cat owners are worried about letting their cat outside in case they roam too far.
However if you can make your garden as safe and as interesting as possible for the cat, they will have far less desire to go off in search of somewhere more interesting to play.
Also making sure your cat is neutered will also help to keep them closer to home.
To understand how your cat sees your garden is the first step in making your garden safe for your cat. So get down on your hands and knees and see your garden from your cats eye view.
Wander around and look for all the places your cat may find interesting to explore and then consider if there are any dangers such as:
Ponds and pools - Although cats can swim they are not the best and so ensuring that ponds and pools are covered when not attended is essential to prevent kitty falling in. Wire mess is a good option for ponds as it still allows light to get to the water and if your cat decides to go fishing both your cat and the fish will be safe.
Trees - cats love to climb, it is a natural instinct and generally they are very good at it. However if you have very tall trees in your garden and a cat that just loves to climb them, it is a good idea to place netting around the base of the lower branches in case of falls, it may also deter your cat from climbing them in the first place.
Sheds and outbuildings - These are favourite places for your cat to explore and can be one of the main areas that can make your cat garden a dangerous place for your pet. Toxic substances such as:
These can be easily spilt onto the floor and picked up on the cat's fur, then when they lick them off this can cause serious illness or even death. The solution is to make sure that all spillages are cleaned up immediately and that these substances are kept in a secure box or cupboard where they cannot be easily knocked over.
Also ensuring that that sheds and similar buildings are kept locked and secure at all times to prevent not only your cat but also your neighbour's cats from entering is a must. Encourage your neighbours to do the same.
A cat garden should be as interesting as possible to persuade your cat from wandering too far from home. If everything they need is in their garden then they will not have the desire to go looking for adventure elsewhere.
So what does your cat want from a garden?
Shelter - Having lots of comfy places to shelter from either the rain or the hot sun is a must for any cat. A bare piece of garden or yard will not be very appealing and when the weather dictates that a nice sheltered place is called for, your cat will wander off to find one.
The answer is to provide various cat houses and huts around the garden in different places. Shelters can be either
Make sure you place the shelters in safe areas where the cat can see out easily and that are secluded and out of direct sunlight.
Watch Towers - To make a cat garden interesting and varied for your cat, provide places off the ground where they can sit and be able to see further areas. Cats love to sit up high, it gives them the advantage of surprise against their enemies, and they feel safer and because they see more, keep them entertained longer.
Simple perches can be attached to tress or fences or freestanding cat trees can be either bought or made.
Water - making sure that there is plenty of fresh drinking water available in the garden will prevent your cats looking for it elsewhere.
This is very important during the hot summer months where heat stroke can be a common occurrence. Place several bowls of water around the garden, to keep it interesting for your cat to find them.
Planting - Having lots of different types of plants in your garden is great for attracting various insects to your garden and chasing and pouncing on these insects will keep your cat entertained all day long.
However it is important to remember that not all plants are safe for your cat, so always check before you buy new plants that they are safe in a cat garden and not toxic.
A few examples of safe plants are:
Catnip - if you have a cat that loves catnip then planting your own catnip plants around the garden will make it a paradise for your cat.
However remember to plant it in areas where you won't mind the plants being trampled and laid on, as Catnip will often entice cats to roll around in it and generally flatten surrounding planting.
Making your cat garden a safe and fun one for your pets is not that hard to do if you look at your garden as if you were a cat yourself. Ask yourself:
Once you have answered these questions it is easy to transform your garden into the perfect play area for your feline friend to call their own.