Now that the last of the snow has finally melted, it’s time to get out the sun-tan lotion, not for you but for your cat.
That’s the message from Cats Protection, which has created 8 top tips for keeping your kitty safe and happy in your garden this summer.
Cats Protection's Emma Osborne said: "Just like us, cats love to be out and about, particularly during the warm summer months, and will seek out areas to play, snooze and relax outdoors. Creating a feline-friendly garden is a great way to encourage your
cat to stay closer to home, keeping them safer and ensuring you can enjoy their company."
1. Don't forget the suntan lotion
Cats love to lounge in the sun, but can be prone to sunburn. Planting large shrubs gives cats the opportunity to seek shade while still enjoying the warm weather.
2. Let them eat grass
Cats love to nibble grass, and it is believed that it helps them to cough up hairballs. A particularly popular variety is Cocksfoot, which has broad leaves making it easy to bite. Cats will love their own grassy patch in their favourite spot in the garden.
3. Lose the lilies
Avoid plants which can be dangerous to cats. Lilies in particular can be lethal if a cat ingests pollen from its fur after brushing against them. A full list of plants that are dangerous to cats can be found on Cats Protection’s website.
4. Build it and they will stay
Aside from planting, gardeners can look at other ways to make their garden interesting for their cat. Piles of logs make excellent areas for scratching claws, while low shrubs make interesting hiding places for cats to snuggle up in for an al-fresco snooze.
5. Vaccinations are a necessary evil
Ensure your cat is fully vaccinated before venturing outdoors to protect against diseases and parasites. Neutering is also vital to prevent unwanted kittens being born and to reduce roaming
6. Cats love a bit of lavendar
Lavender is a great herb to plant in a feline-friendly garden, providing a bushy and attractive hiding place for cats.
7. Microchip your moggy
Cats Protection recommends microchipping as a safe, effective way of identifying your cat should he become lost when outdoors.
8. Wild catnip will drive them crazy
The ultimate garden treat for fun-loving felines is Catnip (Nepeta cataria), a plant which is renowned for inducing a highly excitable reaction in cats. Not all cats are susceptible, but those that do will show great interest in the plant - rubbing, licking and sniffing it with delirious enjoyment for around 10 minutes. Dried catnip is available in pet shops, but the fresh plant makes an attractive addition to the garden for both owner and puss. As it’s a member of the mint family, it can become invasive so is best confined to a pot rather than in the ground.