Feline-friendly advice at gardening shows

25 May 2017
Feline-friendly advice at gardening shows

With the arrival of the outdoor show season, the Cats Protection Events team is busy gearing up to visit Gardening Scotland next month (2-4 June at the Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston) before heading to the other end of the country for the South of England Show (8-10 June, Ardingly).

Visitors to our summerhouse-style stand at both shows will be able to pick up some great tips on creating a feline-friendly outdoor space as well as find out more about the environmentally-friendly pest control service offered by feral cats.

CP's top gardening tips for 2017 include:

  • cats love to nibble grass and it is believed that it helps them to cough up hairballs. A particularly popular variety is Cocksfoot, which has broad leaves making it easy to bite. Seeds are available from garden centres and pet shops and it can easily be grown in trays within the home for indoor cats. Outdoors, cats will love their own grassy patch in their favourite spot in the garden
  • the ultimate garden treat for fun-loving felines is Catnip (Nepeta cataria), a plant which is renowned for inducing a highly excitable reaction in cats. Not all cats are susceptible, but 70% of them will show great interest in the plant – rubbing, licking and sniffing it with delirious enjoyment for around 10 minutes. Dried catnip is available in pet shops, but the fresh plant makes an attractive addition to the garden for both owner and puss. As it’s a member of the mint family, it can become invasive so is best confined to a pot rather than in the ground 
  • lavender is a great herb to plant in a feline-friendly garden, providing a bushy and attractive hiding place for cats
  • cats love to lounge in the sun, but can be prone to sunburn. Planting large shrubs gives cats the opportunity to seek shade while still enjoying the warm weather
  • aside from planting, gardeners can look at other ways to make their garden interesting for their cat. Piles of logs make excellent areas for scratching claws, while low shrubs make interesting hiding places for cats to snuggle up in for an al fresco snooze
  • avoid plants which can be dangerous to cats. Lilies in particular can be lethal to cats. A full list of plants that are dangerous to cats can be found on the International Cat Care’s website www.icatcare.org 
  • ensure your cat is fully vaccinated before venturing outdoors to protect against diseases and parasites. Neutering is also vital to prevent unwanted kittens being born and to reduce roaming
  • Cats Protection recommends microchipping as a safe, effective way of identifying your cat should they become lost when outdoors

Stand staff at the shows are looking forward to meeting potential adopters – for example, farmers, smallholders and stable yard owners – for some of the feral cats currently in our care. As they have never been domesticated, adult feral cats do not crave or need human affection but do require a safe, warm and dry home in an outdoor setting. In return for shelter, regular food and fresh water, they provide unrivalled pest control services, keeping barns and animal feed areas clear of rats and mice.

Cats Protection's Events Manager Emma Osborne said: “Stable yards, farms and smallholdings all make ideal homes for feral cats, but we have also homed them at garden centres, pubs and other businesses. Often, it is just the scent and presence of a cat that will deter rodents.”

Stands at both shows will also feature a great retail feline-themed merchandise range as well as a touch screen facility to browse Cats Protection cats available for adoption by a postcode search. Free cat care guides and information on volunteering opportunities with the us will also be available.

For more information about adopting a feral cat or creating a feline-friendly outdoor space, please visit www.cats.org.uk or contact our National Information Line: helpline@cats.org.uk