Once your kitten starts spending time in its cat enclosure outside, it’s time to make it a kitten’s paradise — and make it look good. And what better way than adding a some kitten-friendly plants?
Whether you put them in pots outside or inside your backyard cat enclosure, first make sure that the plants or grasses in them are kitten-friendly and, second, that they’re not too fast-growing. (Otherwise you’ll have a jungle for your kitten in no time instead of a garden!)
A mini garden inside the enclosure
Have a look at your kitten’s enclosure and look how they interact with it, where the shade is during the day and where the sun is. In this way you can quickly find the best spots where your kitten will like to sleep — why not add a hammock? — and where you can put a container with some wheat or oat grass for them to nibble on. You can also mix these two grasses.
Of course, no outside paradise is complete without some catnip. Available as seedlings at many nurseries, the catnip plant is easy to upkeep and your kitten will love it. (If your kitten is younger than 6 months, though, catnip won’t have much of an effect yet.)
You can even go DIY on cat toys and dry some of the catnip to put into home made toys. Bliss!
Safe plants to use in and around your cat enclosure
Besides the grasses and catnip, you can also look at some of these plants to bring some more colour and life to your cat enclosure.
- Gerber daisies
- African daisy
- Spider plant
- Star jasmine
- Maiden grass
Be sure not to use pesticides on these plants as they may poison your kitten!
- Plant in pots — To make moving the plants around easy, as well as keeping them from forming large enough root systems that can cause harm to the cat enclosure, make use of potted plants of different sizes, depending on which of the enclosures you choose.
- Keep it in check — Be sure to trim the plants as often as necessary to keep them from taking over the cat enclosure. You also don’t need to go and plant every plant on the safe list around the enclosure. Just choose one or two favourites.
- Keep what you already have, as long as it’s safe — If you already have a bottlebrush, for instance, you can use it to cast some shade on the enclosure during the day. It will also draw birds closer — and we all know how much cats love to watch birds! However, also make sure that the root systems won’t damage the cat enclosures over time and that there is still space for you to move around to put up the shade cloths as needed.
- Keep it safe — In the event of some pests finding your plants to be a perfect meal, use only natural ways of getting rid of them — and remove any of the pots before treating the plants. (Another handy reason to have all the plants in pots!
What to do if you suspect your kitten has eaten a poisonous plant
Accidents happen and kittens are fast little critters and good climbers. If they have nibbled on a plant they shouldn’t have (for instance if you have lilies in the home for decoration), take the following steps:
- Take them to the vet immediately, along with a piece of the plant, if possible. This is especially important if you don’t know what type of plant it is.
- Don’t wait for symptoms to appear before taking them to the vet. Because kittens are small their symptoms could worsen quickly.
- If your kitten is already showing signs of poisoning, try and call the vet first (or get someone else at home to call) to let them know what happened and that you are on your way. This can save a lot of precious time once you get to the vet.
- Put them in their carrier as you usually would when taking them to the vet, along with a soft blanket. If there is time to grab a favourite toy, do so — your kitten will find it comforting.
- Don’t act panicked. The more you panic, the more your kitten will panic. Don’t talk loudly even if you feel like shouting, but talk soothingly and calmly. Keep reassuring your kitten with your voice that everything is okay.
- Tell the vet exactly what happened — even how much of the plant they ate if you know. Also tell the vet if they vomited or not and whatever other symptoms they may have shown before you got to the vet.
Photo by Koen Eijkelenboom on Unsplash