Sunday, July 20, 2008

Gardening with Cats (formerly on Tiny Green Thumbs)





I feel bad sometimes that my cats aren't allowed outdoors. We keep them in to keep them safe from other cats and dogs and to make sure that they don't get sick. They go out on our screened-in porch, but there are no plants. I wanted to grow plants on the porch that would be safe for the cats to enjoy. They'd have to be safe, though, in case the cats wanted to nibble on them. I started reading about safe plants for cats on the internet. These are some of the plants that I bought today to grow on my screened porch: Petunias, Thyme, Sage, Parsley, Impatiens, Hosta, and Bee Balm. Part of the porch has sunshine in the morning, so these plants should do well. I'll be putting them in some big, heavy pots this week so that my cats don't bump the pots and knock them over. My large cat, Bunkai, weighs more than 20 pounds and likes to head-butt people and things. He doesn't know his own strength. Willow is only about 10 pounds, but she likes to jump into things. Do you see why I need heavy pots? Cats like to chew on plants. They don't always know which ones are safe. Some plants can make them very sick or may kill them. It's important to make sure that if your cat is around plants, that they're safe plants.
Another thing to remember if your cats go outside in your garden is not to leave sharp objects lying around. Remember to put away all of your tools when you're finished working in the garden. Pick up any pieces of glass that you might find outside and throw them away. Also, if you or your parents are cutting the grass, make sure your cat is inside or away from where you are mowing. A lawn mower can send small objects like rocks flying through the air. Your cat needs to be someplace safe. And if you or your parents are using chemical fertilizers or bug spray in the garden, put the cats in the house until it's safe for them to be outside. Like I said before, cats don't always know what's good for them. They may walk through fertilizer and then give themselves a bath. They may just lick their feet with the chemicals on them and get sick.
Our cats give us a lot of love and are good friends to us. We need to be good friends to them as well. If you garden safely, you can be a good friend to your cat.
I'm listing here some good websites that will tell you which plants are safe for your cat:
http://www.cfa.org/articles/plants-non-toxic.html
http://www.catscans.com/index2.htm
http://cats.about.com/od/hazardousplants/Plants_for_Pets_Hazardous_and_Safe.htm
http://www.thegardenfaerie.com/gardens.html
(The Garden Faerie website has some nice pictures of cat gardens and a very nice shelter/retirement home for cats.)
And did you know that the word ailurophilia means "love of cats?"

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