Home > Great Big Greenhouse Blog > January 2017 > BONNIE'S GARDEN--Growing Plants for Kitties?

BONNIE'S GARDEN--Growing Plants for Kitties?

If you know me, it’s no secret that I’m the neighborhood “cat lady.”  I didn’t start out to be the neighborhood cat lady, you understand, but it happens.  You start out feeding one stray—and they bring friends.  Next thing you know, they’re yours. 
 
My all-time record high was nine cats—six inside and three (mostly) outside.  Now, outside at my house is a relative term, you understand,  Those outside cats each had their own chair under the overhang—with a heating pad on low under the folded up blanket in the chair. Now I’m down to four inside and one little feral cat outside, who doesn’t hang around, but comes by to eat the food I leave out.
So having had cats all my life—and having been a gardener the same length of time—here are a few things I’ve learned.
 
Outside—Grow catnip for your cats.  It’s easy, tough and durable.  Grow it in hanging baskets, however, as growing it in the ground gets it mangled repeatedly by cats rolling around in it—yours or anyone else’s.  My indoor cats love getting a sprig or two to play with/munch on/roll on.
 
A mister bottle with the nozzle turned to a sharp spray is a great deterrent to cats wanting to use your flower bed as a litter box.  There are also commercial repellents available at pet stores which are very effective.  Hang on to that mister bottle—it also comes in handy inside…
 
Indoors—Grow cat grass.  The seeds are usually wheat, oats, barley and/or rye and are readily available at garden centers and most pet stores.  Eating grass is a natural behavior for cats—the greens provide folic acid—a necessary nutrient as well as fiber beneficial for helping to move hairballs through the digestive tract.  A grass specifically for cats is better than outdoor grass--first there is no assurance that the seed for outdoor grass has not been treated with something.  Secondly wheat grass and/or oats, etc. are more tender and less abrasive and tend to cause less “barfing.”
 
Cat grass is inexpensive and easy to grow.  Fill a pot with moistened soil and press the seeds into the top.  I usually cover the top with a piece of plastic wrap and place in a sunny window until green appears.  Remove the plastic and allow grass to grow to around four inches tall.  I then place the pot with the cats’ food dishes for about five minutes every couple of days.  I then put the pot back into a window they can’t get to it and allow it to recuperate a day or two before putting it back down. Or you can plant two pots at a time and alternate them.  Each pot will last two to three weeks.
 
You can also grow catnip in a sunny window inside—but take it from someone who knows—grow it in a hanging basket, just like outdoors, or you’ll come home from work to find happy, catnip-drunk kitties rolling on a mangled plant and pile of soil on the carpet…
 
If you have kitties who are REALLY attracted to houseplants, then you may want to get a list of plants that are toxic to pets from aspca.org.   A couple to watch for are Easter lilies which are highly toxic to cats and Sago palms.  Oddly enough, poinsettias have gotten a bad rap.  They are only mildly toxic, causing mild gastric irritation and, occasionally, skin irritation.  Far more toxic are mistletoe and holly berries.
 
Posted: 1/2/2017 by Bonnie Pega | with 1 comment(s)
Comments
Jerold Winslow
I read that what we need: a small pot to grow in organic potting soil cat grass seeds plastic wrap water I say organic potting soil because your kitties are going to be eating.
5/10/2017 3:31:07 AM

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