A Sentiment

God knew what He was doing when He sent a gentle breeze and brought a lovely butterfly to set my heart at ease. The happiness of your friendship and the gentleness of your words have touched my life in special ways and now I feel assured. Thank you for your loyalty and for reading everyday. I only hope you find things to make a happy day.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Cats in the Garden

I thought that with my post yesterday I would put some ideas here for making your cat happy in your garden.This information can be used next year...I'm looking ahead already.While many people want to keep cats out of the garden, if you'd rather invite them in, here's what you do. Create a garden for your kitty by planting catnip, catmint, and other plants they love. In fact, giving cats their own space may help keep them out of your flower beds and vegetable plot.
Because cats will want to eat, sleep, and play in their garden, the plants may become bedraggled, bent, or broken. So, you'll probably want to hide it somewhat. It's also a good idea to isolate it from favorite flowers or your vegetable crops.
Prepare the soil as you would any new garden, working plenty of organic matter and fertilizer into the soil. Clay and sandy soils especially will benefit from the addition of compost or peat moss. Water frequently throughout the season, but not when kitty is in it.
Although not all cats respond the same way to all so-called cat aphrodisiacs, most will go crazy over catnip. We used to bring catnip home from the pet shop...shook a small amount on the rug and watched our kitties roll in it. Our Siamese, Dinah, was so crazy, when she had some catnip.

It was used for tea and as a medicinal herb to treat a number of ailments. It is also said to be an effective mosquito repellent.
Plant catnip in full sun in well-drained soil. Plants will grow to a height of nine to 12 inches, producing tiny lavender flowers beginning in early summer. I planted some back in the border of the woods last year. Forgetting all about it...we watched as cats prowled back there and chewed on the plants. I wondered why we had cats back there and then realized that it was the catnip that had attracted them..
Most cats also will adore catmint ,which induces similar frenzies in cats. The plant has silvery leaves, and flowers ranging in color from white to dark blue, depending on variety. The compact plants make a nice place for an afternoon catnap. For best results, this cultivar needs to be grown in a sunny location. My catmint is in partial shade and does very well.
No cat's garden would be complete without the herb..valerian ,The herb is a member of the mint family and has deep green leaves and purple spires. A Mediterranean native, it may grow to heights of one to two feet if planted in full sun in a moist, well-drained spot. Valerian, a sedative for humans but a stimulant for cats, also goes by the name garden heliotrope. It's an attractive plant with fern-like foliage and fragrant pink, white, or lavender flowers. At maturity, plants may reach heights of three to four feet. The one drawback of planting this is that it may attract rats although that won't be a problem if your cats are good hunters or you plant plenty of catnip, a known deterrent to these undesirable rodents. Valerian can be grown in sun or partial shade and is not particular fussy about soil conditions. I guess that I wouldn't plant this one. I wouldn't want to attract rats.
In addition to planting a smorgasbord of favorite plants, be sure to leave a patch of loose dirt for rolling and digging. Compost is sometimes even better than dirt for cats, but if you use this in a good flowerbed be aware that they may use this for a litter box! You can put some wire mesh under mulch or compost to make less attractive. My cats used to go out and do their business in the flower beds...Ewwww!
Consider adding a water feature like small pond for drinking water for your cats. However, if you put in fish, you may need to place a net just under the water surface to protect them!
If you have bird feeders near your garden, make sure that they are high enough so the cats can't climb up to get birds. Finally, cats like to nibble on grass. So, include some nice grassy plants in your garden or leave a patch of unmown grass near the garden for munching. Then sit back, relax, and watch your pet enjoy their new outdoor space. Every garden should have a cat - maybe a litter of kittens. I used to love watching my cat follow me around the yard, after she got used to being out. She would slink around with her belly to the ground checking everything out. Cats may make a mess in your flowerbeds, but they also know how to make you forget your cares, when they suddenly roll over happily on a sun-warmed path, or sit contentedly on a garden chair - usually the one you want to sit on yourself. Bless them.


Barbee' said...

Cute post, B. They do give endless entertainment especially around their favorite plants.

Amber Star said...

That looks like a good idea if you have the room. In a small garden it might have a couple of problems or so. Right now we are without a pet so I won't be planting any catnip...not this year anyway. It is a lovely idea, though. We have a large garden and there would have been plenty of room for some.