‘Toxic’ and ‘dangerous’ plants to avoid: How to create a cat friendly garden – expert tips

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The arrival of the British summertime for many people equals more hours spent in their garden, enjoying the extra daylight and warmth. But it’s not just humans who like to head outdoors, as temperatures start to rise once more. Around a quarter of the adult population in Britain are thought to own a cat. So, how can you help to turn your garden into a feline paradise?

Most experts insist that the first step to creating a feline friendly garden starts with security, such as your fencing.

This is particularly important if you live near busy roads or farmland, given cats are famously curious animals.

Paul Trott, UK Marketing Manager at Catit, told Express.co.uk: “As we enter spring and summer, your cat may be spending more and more time outside.

“Keeping your garden secure with fences, doors, and cat flaps is therefore equally important, so that you can enjoy the spring and summer knowing your feline friend is as safe as possible.”

Paola Cuevas, a veterinarian with Hepper.com, added that setting boundaries for your cat will help to protect “vulnerable local fauna from predation”.

It will also keep your pet safe from transmissible diseases, such as gastrointestinal parasites, fleas, bacterial infections, and viral disease.

Cats love to explore gardens and get up close with any plants. So, it’s important you make sure to grow flowers and shrubs that won’t cause any harm to your pet.

For example, while lilies come with a gorgeous scent and a wide variety of colours, they’re also one of the most threatening for cats.

They can cause digestive pain and vomiting, and some varieties might also lead to kidney failure or even be fatal.

Other “dangerous” and “toxic” plants you should avoid keeping include:

  • Hydrangeas
  • Mistletoe
  • Mint
  • Oregano
  • Azaleas and Rhododendrons
  • English Ivy
  • Devil’s Ivy
  • Foxgloves
  • Hyacinth
  • Amaryllis

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But fear not as there are plenty of plant varieties that are completely safe for cats to interact with.

Cat grass is a great example of something that is easy to grow, and can actually benefit your cat’s health.

It’s made from a blend of grasses, grown from wheat, barely, oat, or rye seeds, which can act as a safe and fibrous snack for your pet to aid their digestion and get some extra vitamins.

To build a fun, stimulating garden for your cat you could also plant catnip and valerian, both of which have an enjoyable, happy effect on our feline friends.

Catnip is a perennial plant that is very easy to grow and requires little maintenance, so it makes a great addition to your family garden.

Despite the fact valerian dies back to the ground in the winter it always re-emerges in spring, making it perfect for longer, sunnier days spent playing outdoors.

If that’s not enough Ms Cuevas recommended planting thyme, sage, sunflowers, beebalm, petunias, cilantro and snapdragons as a way of encouraging your cat to venture outside.

Besides plants, making sure your garden has areas of shade will also help to grow the positive feeling between your pet and outdoor space.

The veterinarian said: “During the warmer summer months, you should make sure that your cat has access to a shaded area all day long.

“Some garden plants offer natural shades but given that shade availability changes as the day passes from morning to evening, we need to make sure shade is always available.

“Cardboard, fabric, and wood are all on the list of materials you could use to create additional shading around the garden.”

And if you really want to go the extra mile for your feline friend you could always introduce a drinking fountain.

Investing in one of these will help to entice your cat to drink more, and prevent the risk of dehydration during the hot summer months.

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