Feel that SUN! After a looooong cold winter, my body is in serious need for some vitamin d (I think my skin’s discovered a new shade of translucent). Which means it’s time to polish up the ol’ green thumb and get down to dirt.
But what about poor Mr. or Ms. Indoor Cat? They’d certainly like to join you for a frolic in the wild, it is their nature after all…
Don’t worry, and don’t feel guilty. If you’ve made the conscious decision to keep your precious purr ball safe and sound indoors away from all the neighborhood predators, then there is still a way to give him/her a taste of the great outdoors:
Grow an Indoor Cat Garden
There are PLENTY of plants and herbs that cats can enjoy and benefit from. Humans can even take advantage of a few of these. AND, added bonus, if you already have plants in the house that your King of the Cat-stle is chewing on/messing with, then these will likely distract him from his Game of Potted Thrones.
Yes, there is a type of grass specifically nicknamed for the Cat. It’s actually wheat, oat, rye, or barley grass, or a mixture of the four. Pretty common in the cat community, you’ll most likely see patches of this grass at your local pet store (like this), or you can purchase seeds and plant them yourself (like this), which is always a plus because then you can control the space it takes up, and the container it’s in. Cat Grass can aid your cat’s digestion, and has a whole heap ton of nutrients. Although, it’s up in the air whether or not Cats actually eat enough to benefit from those nutrients. Regardless, if a Cat’s going to chew, it might as well chew it’s own plant instead of your prized house plant.
Of course, no cat garden would be complete without the cats’ drug of choice. The scent mimics happy pheromones that drives cats crazy, while ingesting catnip has a calming stress-relieving effect. Catnip can also be made into a calming tea for us humans.
While catnip is part of the mint family, you can really plant any variety of mint for your cat to enjoy (and you too, mojitos anyone?). Peppermint can be good for neausea and digestion, but only in small doses. If too much is consumed it can have the opposite effect. For the most part though, cats just like to rub up against the peppermint plant.
If you thought your cat was cuckoo for catnip, wait until you see them with Valerian root. Another stimulant for cats, this herb can get even the laziest of lay-abouts up and working those cat muscles. The plant, although a pretty addition to your cat garden, isn’t what drives cats crazy though. The magic is in the root, which can be harvested for a crazy cat trip, or, here’s a plot twist, for calming teas. Warning though, Valerian isn’t the nicest smelling herb in the patch.
Zinnias & Marigolds
If your cat garden is looking a little green, turn up the color with these safe-to-nibble flowers. While they might not be in your cats top 5, these plants will add some needed ambiance to a one-note garden.
After a binge of valerian or catnip, your cat might want to kick back with some lavender. This is a soothing plant, and the aroma is quite pleasant for everyone, cats and humans alike. It can also be used in the kitchen, so another win win.
While not necessarily having any benefits for your feline, they aren’t inherintly dangerous, and cats love playing with these. Maybe it’s the way the leaves hang, making it fun to bat at, or maybe it’s the fact that spider plants contain a compound related to opium. We can’t say for sure, but we do know that if your one of many that love to rock these plants like an 80’s hair band, then welcome to the jungle, kitty.
So lets review:
Cat gardens are fun for your kitty, can be a good source of nutrients, and distracts the mischief maker from other household destruction. Not to mention (actually mentioned quite frequently), a lot of feline-friendly plants can double as human-beneficial plants. BUT, not every cat is created equal, so a few of these plants might work for some cats, while other cats couldn’t care less. Test out a couple different ones to find which ones your cat likes best. Also, another Meowntain Tip, try planting in a container big enough for your cat to lounge in, (like kitty litter box sized), nothing says relaxation like a cat-nap in a soft patch of grass on a nice day.