How to create a cat-friendly garden

Wherever possible, you should let your cat roam free in the great outdoors. Exploring new environments gives them mental stimulation and opportunity for different kinds of exercise.

There are some risks to letting your cat outside — especially if you live near busy roads. But you can ensure your cat has a safe haven outdoors by making your garden feline-friendly. Here’s how:

Watch out for wildlife

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While it’s nice to invite wildlife into your garden, it’s not a great idea when you have a natural hunter in your home. If you do want to invite squirrels or birds, make sure feeders are kept well out of the way, and fit your cat’s collar with a bell.

Be careful with ponds and water features

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Your cat will probably be tempted to drink from a pond, or even go fishing. To reduce the risk of them — or any pond life — coming to harm, fit a wire mesh above your pond.

If you have a water butt, make sure to keep the lid securely fastened.

Think about garden decorations

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Garden decorations can be fun for your cat to explore — just make sure they can’t topple over and hurt them. Shallow water features, empty plant pots and benches are a good idea.

Check for toxic plants

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There are a number of plants that are toxic to cats, so you should always double-check before planting something new. You should also make sure that anything already growing in your garden is safe for your feline friends. You can always plant something like catnip instead! Our UK readers can buy this from their local Wyevale Garden Centre.

Below is a list of some of the most common toxic plant species. You can find a full list on the Cats Protection website.

  • Lily
  • Hyacinth
  • Daffodil
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Snowdrop
  • Cowslip
  • Crocus
  • Foxglove
  • Holly

Create a toilet area

Providing your cat with a toilet area will reduce the risk of them digging up your flower beds, and help them to feel a lot more comfortable outside. Leave some fine soil in a secluded area, sprinkling over some used cat litter at first so they recognise their scent. Regularly dig the area over for hygiene purposes.

Provide shelter

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Ensure your cat has a shelter when it’s particularly cold or wet out by installing a cat flap in your shed, making sure hazardous items like hedge trimmers are safely stored away.

Provide a scratching post

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Prevent your cats sharpening their claws on your furniture by providing a scratching post outside. A fence post or large log will be ideal. 

Prevent them from straying

If you’re worried about your cat straying too far and getting into harm’s way, bordering your garden with a tall fence and hedge should prevent them from veering. Alternatively, you could invest in a cat run like these from Omlet.

Creating a cat-friendly garden is a fantastic way to ensure your furry friend has a fun and safe outdoor space to enjoy. Let us know if you have any tips in the comments section!

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During the day I work in PR and Marketing. In my free time I like to travel and spend time with my partner and our two cats.

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34 thoughts on “How to create a cat-friendly garden

      1. There are busy roads around there, too, but Murrli’s range luckily does not extend there. Her cat friends’ ranges do cross the roads but luckily no fatal accidents yet. How does Nubia cope with her three legs? 🙂

        1. Nubia never ventured further than our front porch. Unless we take her on her little camouflage (pink camo) to the shared garden area. Though we generally have to carry her there and when let her hobble about. She does get tired of hobbling for long distances quite quickly and will just flop on the floor and give you this cute look of “surely you can carry me. I’m not that heavy!”

          1. They most certainly are. She is normally super capable and will even climb up to the top of a scratch tree without any issue. She is worthy of the cat Paralympics haha.

            Just not when she is feeling lazy and knows a gullible human will do her bidding 😀

  1. Please don’t use collars for your cats. They can so easily choke on them – even the so-called safety collars can be a danger.
    And bells are even worse. Imagine how loud the ring in cats’ ears.
    Cats are natural hunters so they hunt.

    1. I actually listened in to a talk from vets and cat behaviour specialists here in the UK and the question of collars and bells came up from the audience. The bottom line was only to use collars if your cats go outside and tend to roam far (always making sure only to get high quality safety collars). They also explained that the “loud bell” making cats deaf / hurting their ears is actually a myth. As long as they are small bells for cats the noise they make is acceptable to their ears based on studies conducted.

      Though I personally don’t like putting collars on them. 🙂

      1. Ok, that’s new to me then. My latest knowledge was different 🙂
        Anyway, most cats I know manage to lose their collars within a day and I even met one once who managed to move in a way that the bell never rang. Amazingly creative creatures 🙂

  2. We have a big fence around the garden : we cannot escape, we enjoy the outside safely, and Claire made sure to check all the points you mention in your post. We have a cat flap, so we can go in and out and in and out… as we want, you get the idea ! Purrs

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