How to create a cat-friendly garden
Although we don’t usually associate cats with the outdoors, most cats actually love going out and exploring open spaces. This differs from cat to cat; some may prefer to stay inside whilst others might have health conditions which mean they have to be indoors-cats. If you do decide to introduce your cat to the great outdoors, there are a few important things to keep in mind.
Collars and Microchipping
Before letting your cat go out, you must make sure that they either have a collar with an ID tag on - with your address and contact number on - or that they have been microchipped. Microchipping is the best way to permanently identify your cat, plus they’re quick and safe to fit so your cat won’t be aware of the implanted chip. If your cat wanders off and gets lost, they will be easily identifiable.
If you prefer to use a collar and ID tag, make sure that your contact details are correct and visible, and you can choose to put your cat’s name on there too. The best collar to use is a quick-release collar, which prevents your cat from becoming trapped if their collar gets snagged. Elasticated or loose-fitting collars can also be hazardous if they get caught on branches.
Letting Your Cat Outside
For cat-owners living near busy roads, avoid letting your cat outside around rush hour when there is more traffic. It’s also ideal to keep your cat inside at night time too, to avoid any predators. If you have a new cat or you’ve just moved into a new area with your cat, let them adjust to your home first and spread their scent around the house. This helps them to find their way back home when they do go outside, and it takes around three to four weeks.
When letting your cat out for the first time, it’s a good idea to let them out just before meal times so that they are more likely to return when you call them in for food. If they don’t come back after you call, try tapping the side of a tin of a cat food; they may recognise the noise and come back home. We advise that you only let neutered cats outdoors, so that they don’t have kittens.
Keeping Them Close To Home
It’s difficult to keep your cat confined in your garden, as they inevitably wriggle through fences or climb trees. But by creating a more cat-friendly garden, you can encourage your cat not to stray and instead stay close to the house. Provide your cat with a safe toilet area in soil, sand or gravel, with some cat litter there for encouragement. Dig it over regularly to keep it hygienic.
Whilst cats can easily climb over most fences, a fence about two metres high with close boards and a parallel hedge can encourage them to stay in the garden. Planting cat-friendly plants such as catnip, mint and cat thyme, along with long grass to provide a soft bed, makes the garden more pleasing to your cat. With plenty of hiding places in the garden, your cat will feel less threatened and prefer napping in shady spots.
Can Your Cat Go Outdoors?
Whilst some cats simply prefer to stay indoors, others need to stay inside because of health reasons. Cats with hearing and vision impairments are vulnerable to traffic and other hazards, whilst those with Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) shouldn’t go outside as they could spread the disease to other cats.
If you own an indoor cat, it’s essential to keep them occupied to prevent any health problems from arising. Toys and scratching posts can help to provide an enriching and stimulating environment, as they encourage them to practice their natural hunting instincts and channel any restless behaviour into playfulness.
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To keep your cat safe when they’re outdoors, collars such as our Sparkle Cat Collar are perfect for cats in the garden and beyond, thanks to the bell to alert others of your cat and the safety clasp which automatically opens to prevent your cat from getting snagged. To make your garden more alluring to your cat, scatter some Catnip Sprinkles in a corner to encourage them not to stray too far. If your cat is nervous about going outside, our Pet Calming Tablets are ideal to soothe anxious cats without causing drowsiness.