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Which plants would be interesting for cats?

Bel2Bel2 Posts: 16
I've been asked to  enrich an area for our local Cat's Protection Centre here on the Isle of Wight.
When the cats are in their enclosed outside space, they look out onto a bare brick wall.
I would be grateful for your ideas.
Trellis is one- which plants would be interesting for the cats to look at- I'm thinking about movement as well as fragrance and colour- especially to include some interest for the winter months.
Also for large planters- maybe a central bush/tree which could be underplanted with different seasonal flowers.
Thank you.
Bel 2.


  • seacrowsseacrows Posts: 230
    Our cat spends a lot of time watching the pyracantha. Possibly because the berries make it a popular stop for small birds. I know it's a stereotype, but he also enjoys the catmint (nepeta), he sniffs it, eats it and rolls in it.
  • RedwingRedwing Posts: 1,391
    A tree to climb?
    Based in Sussex, I garden to encourage as many birds to my garden as possible.
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,041
    hang up a bird feeder. 
    The psychopathic feline murderers will have a field day.
  • TheGreenManTheGreenMan Posts: 1,838
    My cat doesn’t seem to be interested in plants or flowers. She’ll show some interest if there’s a bird or insect on them but otherwise she’s as nonchalant as any cat toward the plants themselves. 

    I would go for plants that you and the workers/volunteers like to look at. 

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 21,650
    The neighbour's cat loved my catmint, used to roll in it. I had to plant sticks all round it.
    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • TheGreenManTheGreenMan Posts: 1,838
    Forgot to say: cat mint is the obvious plant for cats but are they only going to be looking at these plants or will they be free to roam around them? 
  • BenCottoBenCotto Posts: 4,266
    Having had considerable experience of cats and gardens I am afraid to say that the cats take almost no interest in the planting, with catmint being an honourable exception. They like trees to climb, possibly with a wooden ladder to allow the less agile to get paw holds. Perhaps fashion the ladder into a multi level climbing frame. They like logs to scratch and, at any rate in our garden, an elevated stone to sit on to get a view of anything coming over the horizon. In an enclosed cat pen I doubt that will be an issue. 

    Places to rest, in the sun and the shade, are always appreciated but you can be certain that whatever comfortable billet you provide will be ignored in favour of what they find for themselves. Dug over soil to be used as a giant litter tray will be valued but I think it will have to be ‘farmed’ and frequently refreshed to eliminate odours.

    What is clearly lacking in this advice is suggestions of plants to add. To be honest I would just add ones that please the cats’ staff and, to be on the safe side, avoid plants that are toxic to cats. With the exception of lilies, cat poisoning from plants is incredibly rare but you might as well err on the side of extreme caution. And, contrary to the zillions of postings on Facebook, I would actively avoid plants attractive to bees and wasps. Inquisitive cats can pick fights with bees - and lose. 

    You’ve been given a challenge that looks very simple, but actually isn’t. A giant activity centre made of ladders, hidey holes, and sitting/jumping platforms will please cats much more than natural plants ever will.
    Rutland, England
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,092
    My cats like trees to climb and shrubs  to hide under when it's hot.   Both ignore the catmint/nepeta but most cats love it - with previous cats I've had to protect it - and valerian is supposed to be another plant they love.   Both of mine chew grass occasionally.   They like space to scamper, play and explore so I agree with others - a climbing frame/play zone for the cats and some easy grasses and perennials for their hoomans but not lillies.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • AthelasAthelas Posts: 743
    edited August 2021
    My cat likes playing with, and chomping on, the long thin leaves of Carex oshimensis and Chinese fountain grass on a daily basis; she also likes hiding in the grass. When I hold her up, she bats at and eats young bamboo leaves. Inside the house, she always has a pot of cat grass to nibble on — guess you could grow some in a large pot outside.

    Funnily enough she’s not interested in my nepeta Purrsian Blue. She ignores the rest of the plants in the garden as well, but chases the butterflies and bees that come in because of the flowers.
  • GearóidGearóid Posts: 198
    My cat loved nibbling on various ornamental grasses in the garden. And climbing. And nice spots to sunbathe. 
    But yeah, I'd put in grasses and things to climb. 
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