Cat gardens are outdoor areas that have been specifically designed for cats. They are relaxation areas where your cat can stretch its legs, enjoy a leisurely afternoon stroll, or sleep in the sun.
If you’ve got multiple cats at home, a cat garden can also act as a play area for them; kind of like a kiddie playground where everyone brings his or her children to interact, socialize, and have fun with one another.
Since cat gardens are engineered with cats in mind, paying attention to the details of a cat’s common behavior is critical.
1The Purr-fect Garden
Exits and entrances to this paradise have a “pet door”, one low enough that only cats can pass through. Just as kiddie playgrounds have slides, swings, and other playthings to keep children entertained, “kitty” playgrounds are also designed to be similarly interesting to their feline occupants.
There are structures to climb upon, hide inside, or crawl underneath, and of course – toys. These can range from something as simple as balls of string to dangling branches/sticks to bouncy balls that can be chased around.
Cats are curious by nature (as the saying goes) and their love for exploration is encouraged in cat gardens by creating mazes out of the shrubbery, hedges, pathways, and bushes. Cat trees can be placed at strategic points throughout the garden to ensure that the fun never ends.
And if they get tired of all that exercise and play, of course, there’s a shaded area where they can rest and catch some “zzzs”. Mounds of sand or dirt are scattered in certain areas in case a kitty needs to take an emergency “bathroom break”.
Besides the obvious benefits of having an outdoor area for cats to socialize and play in, cat gardens are also great because they are a restricted zone. Every cat owner knows that cats love to escape from the house and venture away into parts unknown, carried by their wild spirit of adventure.
The dangers that await your pet in the outside world are aplenty – dogs, people, and vehicles are just a few to name. Having the cat garden means that they have a place to go on those adventures, but in a contained area where there is no threat or possibility of harm.
Last but not the least, a cat garden should include, well… a garden. This serves a dual purpose; plants and some vegetables attract butterflies and other insects which cats absolutely love, and at the same time it acts as a regular garden which provides fresh veggies and fruits for your personal consumption.
Creating a suitable garden for your cats will take some considerable prep work as there are many plants, vegetables, and fruits that are toxic to animals. Furthermore, the entire garden should be 100% organic – which means that pesticides and manufactured fertilizers must never be used; otherwise, your lovely cat playground might quickly turn into a Pet Sematary.
Since cats have been known to occasionally nibble on a veggie here and there, care must be taken when choosing what to plant. We’ve compiled below a list of 10 feline-friendly fruits and vegetables suitable for growth in a cat garden.
These delicious little blue balls of juicy sweet goodness are famous for being a superfood. Blueberries contain plenty of vitamins such as Vitamin C, Vitamin K, manganese, and more. In fact, research has shown that these superfruits are also good for skin care and can even protect against heart diseases.
Are they okay for cats to eat? Absolutely! Blueberry plants may be a bit trickier to grow correctly as they require a specific climate and soil type. But if you can pull it off, they’re the perfect first choice of fruit for your cat garden.
Next on the list are strawberries. They’re a great source of Vitamin C, folate, potassium, and manganese. These nutrients support the immune system and fight cellular damage.
Strawberries, like blueberries, contain flavonoids which are powerful antioxidants that help in counteracting free radicals in the body. They’re good for your cat’s health, too. Strawberries need plenty of sunlight, so look for a warm spot in your cat garden for them.
These yellow fruits are a prime source of potassium, a mineral which nourishes and protects the heart and kidney. If you want to grow a banana tree in your backdoor cat garden, go for it. Cats are not especially fond of bananas, but if they do happen to claw their way up and have a bite, no harm can come of it.
However, too much of anything good can be bad. Keep a close eye on your kitty and if they are enjoying a little too much of the sweet, mushy fruit, you may have to consider sectioning off the tree with fencing. The reason is that cats naturally have no requirement for carbohydrates (which bananas are chock-full of) in their diet, and over-consumption of such can lead to health problems.
This watery fruit makes for a delightful snack on a hot summer day. Watermelons contain Vitamins A and C as well as potassium and magnesium. However, what makes this treat most especially attractive for cats is its water content; almost 92 percent of a watermelon is made of water (as its name implies).
The moisture content in this fruit keeps dehydration at bay, and the creeping vines of the plant make a great play area for your cats. Just be careful that they don’t eat too many of the seeds, as they can pose a poisonous threat.
They are also part of the melon family; thereby having many of the same nutrients and minerals as the watermelon.
Cantaloupes are a great choice because their seeds are easier to spot and remove. They’re delicious and totally safe for consumption in case your cat takes a bite.
Even though cats are carnivorous and feed primarily on meat, fruits and even some vegetables can provide health benefits if consumed in moderation.
Broccoli is an edible veggie in the cabbage family that’s easy to grow and isn’t very fragile; which is even more of an important trait, considering its location in a garden full of mischievous kitties. Broccoli contains Vitamins K and C, is a great source of folic acid, and also has generous amounts of fiber and potassium.
Green Beans are an excellent source of fiber and can help your cat to fight obesity and promote weight loss. They’re one of the best garden vegetables that you can include in a cat garden.
Beans grow as a climbing vine, so you’ll need trellis or poles embedded into the ground. These are good because cats love having a scratching post, so your green-bean pole can provide fresh produce to grace your kitchens and simultaneously give your kitty some measure of fun.
Green beans are also laden with generous helpings of riboflavin, thiamin, iron, and potassium.
According to PurringPal, cucumbers have several health benefits which affect both humans and cats. Eating cucumbers reduces the risk of several types of cancer, as well as provides much-needed high-doses of Vitamin K.
Cucumbers are also rich in other essential Vitamins such as A, C, and folic acid. They have high water content and can make for a cool, refreshing snack on a scorching summer day.
A cultivar of the squash plant, pumpkins have a thick outer shell that is perfect for keeping them safe from accidental claw swipes. Playful kitties in a cat garden can sometimes tend to become over-excited, so this vegetable’s protective outside layer makes it a perfect candidate for inclusion into their play-zone.
Additionally, pumpkins are also great for cultivation and personal consumption because they contain tons of Vitamins (A, C, and E) as well as calcium, iron, and alpha-carotene.
For the final veggie on our list, we present you the celery. Many cats have shown great interest in celery leaves, sometimes playing with it and reacting in a manner similar to when they encounter catnip. For this reason, celery is an excellent choice of vegetable to consider including in your cat garden.
Cats are prone to chewing the leaves and taking small bites which are perfectly normal and cannot cause them harm in any way.
Celery contains most of the essential vitamins, folate, and is plentiful in minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and sodium.
In closing, one final point to keep in mind is that all things should be kept in moderation. Whether you’re sharing a bowl of blueberries with your furry friend or watching it gnaw at a cucumber in the garden, remember that cats do not actually need to eat fruits and vegetables. All the nutrients and minerals that they need to sustain a healthy diet are available in their preferred food of choice: meat.
We hope you found this list helpful and informative, and your cat garden becomes a “meow-nificent” success.