How to Create a Cat Friendly Backyard

An orange, black and white cat rubbing against grass

Backyards are a great way to spend your time outdoors during the warmer months of the year. While we typically work to make this space more inviting for us and our guests, there are also small and easy changes you can make your backyard more enticing for your cat.

If your cat likes to roam around outside, here are some helpful tips to create a cat friendly backyard that is safe and fun for your cat to explore.

Plant a cat friendly garden

There are a few different types of plants you can include in your garden that are safe for cats to munch on and can provide them with some entertainment. These plants include:

  • Grass. If your outdoor space is full of hard surfaces, adding a patch of grass can serve as a great place for your cat to sunbathe and roll around.
  • Catnip. This plant can make some (not all) cats roll around with joy.
  • Catmint. A relative to catnip and another favourite plant for cats. This an easy plant to grow with green leaves and purple flowers.
  • Cat grass. This is an edible plant that cats enjoy chewing on. Although this is safer to grow indoors, you can bring it outside during your cat’s playtime.

Remember to always check the label of your gardening products prior to use. Some pest repellents and fertilizers can contain harmful chemicals that your cat could potentially ingest.

Avoid toxic plants for cats

Cats are independent and love to explore, often wandering into plants and bushes as they go. If you have a garden, for your cat’s safety, it’s important to avoid including plants that are toxic to cats. Some common plants that are toxic include: 

  • Azaleas
  • Chrysanthemums
  • Daffodils
  • Hydrangeas
  • Iris
  • Ivy
  • Lantana
  • Marigolds
  • Tiger lilies

If your cat has ingested a toxic plant, bring your cat to the veterinarian immediately.

Create a designated litter area

Has your cat decided that your garden is a giant litter box? You can direct your cat’s attention away from your garden by creating a separate spot that’s more appealing to cats. You can create an outdoor litter box using fine-grained sand and by planting cat friendly plants in the area. Just make sure to regularly clean the litter box, as cats prefer clean areas when going to the bathroom and may look to other, cleaner, areas of the yard to use as a litter box.

Keep your cat cool

While cats love to lounge around in the sun, there is a risk of heat exposure. It’s important to make sure that you always provide fresh water for your cat along with shady spots, such as long grasses, bushes or tarps, for your cat to rest under.

Provide a space to play

Backyard spaces have a lot of potential to create a fun area for your cat to play and connect with her instincts. Providing items like tunnels, platforms and lookout perches are a great idea to keep your cat engaged both mentally and physically. Additionally, you can satisfy your cat’s instinct to climb by providing stumps or pieces of wood for your cat to climb at safe heights.

We hope that these tips have set you on your way to creating a cat friendly backyard that both you and your feline friend can enjoy!

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