How to Plant a Pet-Safe Garden

There are easy ways to create a feline-friendly garden either indoors or out. Here's how to get started on a project that can offer enjoyment to all.


You may still be shoveling the last vestiges of snow off the walk, or cuddling near the fireplace soon after the sun goes down. But spring is just around the corner, and now is a good time to think about your warm weather goals while you still have some time to plan. For instance, maybe you’re thinking about how to enhance your outdoor environment for your pets, or wanting to grow some indoor greens that are cat-friendly.

Great for indoor cats

Remember that compromise is key when it comes to pets and gardens. By offering a safe feline garden, you can often take away the temptation for your cat to dig and chew plants in your garden and even inside your home. Indoor cat gardens can provide plenty of stimulation for a bored, house-bound cat, plus they give cats something safe to snack on instead of certain houseplants that can be dangerous.

Planning a cat garden can seem daunting, especially if your cat lives strictly inside or if you live in a home with no yard. If you’re planning on creating an indoor garden, you will need to buy planters and fill with organic dirt (to avoid pesticides and dangerous fertilizer). If you’re going to design an outdoor garden, you should either use planters or choose an area that definitely has not been sprayed with pesticide or other contaminants. The size of the garden should be proportioned to the number of cats you have. For example, if you live with one or two cats, a planter or two of greens should suffice.

If you’re planning on creating an outdoor garden, make certain that you have a clear path to the indoors so your cat can come inside when she chooses. That way, she’s not at the mercy of the elements and can reach food and water as required.

Lastly, if you wish to grow cat-safe plants outside — such as catnip or catmint — and bring it in for a tasty treat, that’s a great idea, too. That way, your cat can enjoy the herbs without destroying them by digging in the garden.

Simple or elaborate

Your cat garden can be as elaborate or as simple as you care to make it. You should have a water source where your cat can drink — either a bowl of fresh water or a fountain — and plenty of spots for sun and shade. If you can, put up some freestanding posts for climbing and scratching to mimic trees. Your cat will be more likely to use the garden if it features a variety of things to keep her busy.

Container gardens are particularly attractive for those who live in apartments, have limited space or who may not want the fuss and bother of a full-on garden. Plus, there is a bonus to having a container garden — you can bring your greenery indoors when the weather gets cold in order to maintain a cat garden year round.

Most people who have container gardens tend to stick with one or two plants, but there’s no reason why you couldn’t have more, especially if space permits. An added bonus for those who grow herbs: They provide a wonderful aroma to the home and can make your cooking that much more delicious. — Catnip staff


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