Cat-loving gardeners can pick up tips for creating the perfect outdoor space for their pet when Cats Protection visits the RHS Malvern Spring Festival.
The charity will be on hand with ideas and planting suggestions for visitors to the event, at the Three Counties Showground in Malvern, from 5-8 May.
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.
The charity will be unveiling its new vintage-inspired summerhouse stand to welcome visitors, complete with cat care leaflets, cat-related goods for sale, and touch screen facilities to find cats available for rehoming across the UK.
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 32 centres.
The charity’s Events Manager Emma Osborne said: “Cats are renowned for their love of the great outdoors and lazing in a garden during the warm weather must be one of their favourite pastimes.
“Many cat owners like to encourage their pets to stay closer to home, both to enjoy their company and keep them safe. We’re often asked for ideas to create interesting and stimulating environments for cats so we’ve come up with some tips for designing a cat-friendly garden.
“With a little time and imagination, your garden can be transformed into a cat’s paradise, leaving you both to enjoy the summer months in a safe and attractive space.”
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.
· 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 away from your cat.
· 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.
Some gardeners may prefer to keep cats away from their gardens and Cats Protection recommends a number of humane deterrents. Shouting or clapping your hands, squirting water from a low-powered water pistol or spreading chicken manure, citrus peel, or lion dung pellets will all put cats off entering a garden.
Visitors to Cats Protection’s stand at the RHS Malvern Spring Festival will also be able to find out more about the work of the charity and how to become a volunteer.
To find out more about the work of Cats Protection, please visit www.cats.org.uk