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Providing a suitable outdoor space for your cat

Providing some space outside for your cat will allow them to express their typical behavioural traits in a natural environment.

Every cat is different and will have their individual requirements when it comes to being outside.

Benefits of your cat having outdoor access

  • Feeling more relaxed while in the house
  • Less likely to have frustration related behaviour issues
  • Able to mark their territory
  • Ability to escape to a safe area from situations in the home such as other cats or any noise they dislike.

Whatever option you choose to provide for your cat, try to make sure that your garden or enclosure is suitably enriched for your cat to enjoy the outside space to its full effect.

By making a few simple changes to your garden, you can create a wonderful environment for your cat to enjoy all year round. Below are some ideas on how to enrich your outdoor space:

 Hiding places

  • Look at the area directly outside your door, where the cat flap is or where you let your cat out. Is there enough space for your cat to hide behind? Cats like to feel that they have a bolt hole nearby, so if they see or hear something that worries them, they can run for cover.
  • Placing plant pots or small shrubs in this area will enable your cat to feel safer directly outside the home. Make sure that any plants and shrubs you choose are not toxic to cats. Download our dangerous plants list (PDF)
  • Providing shelter and places to hide in the rest of the garden will protect your cat from the rain or the mid-day sun. Shelter can be in the form of large shrubs, trees, garden furniture and sun parasols.

Cats love to climb and they generally feel safer surveying their territory from up high, so provide your cat with some logs, posts and a couple of easy to reach perching platforms. They will also use these to scratch and mark their territory.

Shed roofs are usually a very popular space for cats to keep a look out. Try to work out a safe way up and down from here, as this would be a big benefit for your cat.

Outdoor toileting

If you would like to encourage your cat to toilet outside, provide a small section of the garden with some loose non-toxic sand or soil for them to use as a designated latrine area.

Ideally, make sure it is in a more sheltered area of the garden, to make it appealing for your cat to use in all weathers. This area will need to be cleaned out daily to keep your cat going back there.

Water features

Many cats prefer to drink outside from large water containers. Providing safe water features, fountains or rain collection dishes will give your cat a variety of options. Some cats even enjoy playing in water!

Cat friendly plants

Natural grasses and cat grass helps aid in your cat’s digestion and makes the environment feel more natural, as will non-toxic, cat friendly plants and herbs, such as bamboo, catnip, lavender and valerian.

Toys

Distributing plenty of toys outside (and inside) will provide plenty of entertainment for your cat, helping them to feel happy and reduce feelings of frustration.

Scratching facilities

Fences and trees make great scratching places for cats. Not only will they leave their scent and mark their territory on these areas, they also use them to sharpen their claws and condition their bodies. Providing extra logs or outdoor climbing facilities will add more adventure and opportunities for your cat.

Visit our cat advice section where you’ll find plenty of helpful guides, tips and projects.

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