A garden for cats | Living the Country Life

A garden for cats

If you can't keep the cats out of your garden, create one especially for them. Your feline friends will go crazy over fresh catnip, dirt to roll in, and other things.

Radio interview source: Dr. Leonard Perry, Extension Horticulturist, University of Vermont

Cats that like to join you in the garden may like one of their very own!
Leonard Perry is an extension horticulturist at the University of Vermont. He says catnip is one of the best plants to grow in a cat garden because most felines are very attracted to it. 
"They either can go crazy and get wild or else they get sleepy but they love it," he says. "And cat mint, which is related, a lot of cats like that too. Another one is cat thyme, which is actually not a thyme, it's related to the herb germander. A lot of cats get crazy with the cat thyme which is more of a tender plant. The perennial valerian, which can be used as a sedative in humans, actually stimulates cats."
Perry suggests adding something in the garden that offers cats shade and a place to hide.
"One of the things some people do is get a small plastic culvert and bury it partly in the ground so it doesn't tip over," says Perry. "Of course, if it is not too hot, they love to lie in the sun, maybe a little grassy patch, patio pavers, some place they can lie in the sun. They love heights, so if you have a post, if you have a fence that you can put some shelving on that they can get up on."
Add some loose dirt around the plants for kitties to roll and dig in. Keep in mind it might also become a litter box.
Cats that sharpen their claws on your favorite tree may change their minds if there is a simple scratching post in their garden. Also consider adding a water feature like a small pond for drinking water. If you put in fish, you may need to install a net just under the surface to prevent them from becoming dinner. 

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