Planting a garden for cats (or cat-friendly planting in the garden)

I always intended to make our garden as edible as possible. So much so, in fact, that everything in it apart from one “Golden Showers” RHS climbing rose is in itself, or produces, something edible. Edible for humans, that is. Our cats love the raspberry canes and like to rub up against them and sleep underneath them, but there isn’t a huge amount else for them to nibble on.

So when it came to trying to decide how best to use the side return, it occurred to me that whilst I wanted a herb garden and a row of beans and peas, I needed to think of the cats too. Our urban outdoor space is so small that we’ve left it paved as a patio. It’s a far cry from the lawn and wildflower expanse I hope to have one day but you deal with what you get in the city. So the poor cats have nowhere soft to sunbathe.  
My solution? To plant three very large planters with cat grass and other edible cat goodies. The cat grass (avena sativa) really surprised me. It grows about an inch a day and even pruning it with kitchen scissors on a strict weekly basis barely keeps it in check. I also planted catnip (nepata cataria) with a lot less success. The cats crushed the small shoots by rolling on them and those that survived being bulldozed got gobbled up very quickly. So at the moment, the “cat beds” (as we call them) are just that. Large beds of tall grasses that the cats love to stretch out on for a sunbathing session as well as to snack on. It’s lovely to see them so happy and cat grass is very easy to do. Every cat lover should grow some!

Dahlia hiding in the cat grass

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We farm a three acre smallholding in Hampshire, England, having fled London in pursuit of the good life for our little family. We mess about with an assorted menagerie and try to be as self-sufficient as possible in meat and fruit and vegetables whilst enjoying our plot and an outdoors lifestyle with our son. I am the luckiest person that I know.

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