Cat-loving gardeners can pick up tips for creating the perfect outdoor space for their cat when Cats Protection visits the Southport Flower Show this summer.

The charity will be on hand with ideas and planting suggestions for green-fingered visitors to the event, at Victoria Park, Southport, from 20-23 August.

As well as gardening tips, cat owners will also be able to find out how to keep their pets safe in the sun and what potential hazards may lurk outdoors.

Cats Protection is the UK’s largest cat charity and helps over 205,000 cats every year through a national network of 250 volunteer-run branches and 31 adoption centres.

The charity’s Events Manager Emma Osborne said: “Cats are renowned for their love of lounging in the warm weather and what better place to do it than a British garden in summertime.

“We’re often asked for ideas about creating a cat-friendly garden by owners who want their cats to spend more time closer to home. So we’ve come up with some tips for providing a safe and interesting outdoor space that your cat can enjoy this summer.”

Cats Protection’s tips for creating a cat-friendly garden and keeping cats safe outdoors are:

  • 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, keeping your cat closer to home.
  • Cats Protection recommends microchipping as a safe, effective way of identifying your cat should he become lost when outdoors.
  • Cats with white fur – including those with white ears or noses – can be susceptible to sunburn during the summer months and sun exposure can be a trigger for a type of cancer. The best way to protect your cat is to try to keep him indoors during the hottest part of the day and provide shade from plants and trees.
  • Be aware of poisonous substances in your shed and garage which cats may be able to access. Antifreeze, disinfectants, insect and pest killers can all be lethal to cats and should be kept well out of your cat’s reach.
  • 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 the International Cat Care’s website www.icatcare.org.
  • Choose cat-friendly plants such as catnip (Nepeta cataria), mint, cat thyme (Teucrium marum) and lavender.
  • A patch of longer grass can provide a soft bed and cats may also nibble on it to help cough up hairballs.
  • Logs provide excellent outdoor scratching posts.
  • If you have a pond, cats may be tempted to drink from it. To reduce the risk of them falling in, place some wire mesh securely over the pond, or make sure that there is a low edge so it is easy for a cat to get out. Ensure that any water butts also have a lid on them.
  • Use humane methods to keep your cat away from wildlife nesting areas or sections you do not want them to use. Cats dislike the smell of citrus fruit peel and can also be deterred using chicken manure, or pellets of lion dung, available from pet shops. Cats will also be deterred by materials that feel uncomfortable under their paws such as broken egg shells, stone chippings and prickly plants.

Visitors to Cats Protection’s stand at the Southport Flower Show will also be able to find out more about the work of the charity, including how to become a volunteer, and browse a variety of cat-related merchandise.

There will be information available for anyone considering adopting a cat from the charity or anyone who would like to know more about neutering or caring for their cat.

To find out more about the work of Cats Protection, please visit www.cats.org.uk

For more about the Southport Flower Show, please visit http://www.southportflowershow.co.uk/