How to make a garden safe for cats
From plants to hiding places, it's essential to ensure that your cat is safe and secure in your garden.
Look at what your garden provides for your cat and add more elements to suit his natural inclination to hide, to be high up, have safe places to sunbathe, to scratch and strop his claws, and of course a toileting area. And if you have a multi-cat household, make sure you have plenty of facilities to suit each of your cats.
If your cat is anxious about going outside, help him by looking at the garden as if through his eyes - does he feel vulnerable as he steps out of the house? Provide some cover by the door he exits via - a shrub or a couple of large container plants so he can spend time adjusting to the outdoor environment, observing what's going on before he moves any further. Garden furniture could help too - ideally something that would enable him to be high up and enclosed where he can de-stress.
Keep a litter tray inside
Provide garden latrine areas that are easy for him to access from the house. Ideally, take the pressure off by providing a litter tray in a private space in your home so that he isn't forced to go outside. (Remember, if you have more than one cat, they should have a tray each, plus one spare.) It is important for cats to have a sense of control - restriction can lead to frustration and make fear issues worse - fit a cat flap so that he can choose how long he spends outside.
How can I keep my cat in the garden and other cats out?
Many cat owners have found the solution is to enclose their back garden to contain their own cat and keep others out. This can be done on a DIY basis with sturdy fence panels and an overhanging addition at the top, or with the help of bespoke panels or fence toppers from commercial companies. It is vital to provide elements that satisfy all of your cat's needs and plant only cat-safe shrubs and flowers.
Why do owners restrict their cat's access to the outdoors?
According to our Neighbourhood Cat Campaign survey, reasons why owners restrict their cats' access to the outdoors include:
- Road traffic
- Cat may go missing
- Worry that other people may hurt cat
- Injury sustained in fights with other cats
- To prevent hunting
- To prevent prey being brought into home
- Worry about disease - AND concern about theft.