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Cat retreat

Gardening expert and cat owner Graham Strong shares some tried ans tested ideas for a cat-friendly garden:

Provide an elevated retreat for your cat

Cover your compost bin with a piece of old carpet to keep in the heat and speed the rotting process, and it will quickly become your cat's favourite lounging hot spot. I've made quite a few specially-built perching points where a cat can look down on their kingdom, but it's surprising how often they prefer to improvise.

Wooden wheelbarrows are my cat Twinky's favourite - they're semi-enclosed, warm to the fur and of course, the ideal spot to give the flowers marks out of ten!

Fence-top mesh to keep your cat in - and keep intruder cats out!

Cats are very reluctant to venture onto suspended mesh. Prefabricated galvanized brackets are available that will hold chicken wire or plastic mesh at 45 degrees to your fence line and can be screwed to the posts. As a cheaper alternative, bend galvanized straps stocked by builders' merchants to create just the right profile and wired on plastic climber support.

Cover water butts

It's our responsibility to identify potential hazards in our garden. Uncovered water butts, for example, can easily, result in a cat drowning unnecessarily. A sturdy wire-mesh covering over the container will make sure this doesn't happen.