Even though they may be indoor pets, your cats miss the greenery outside. Whether you choose a small setting or a big one, there are ways to make an indoor cat garden that your pets will enjoy.
Cats are delicate creatures that can have bad or even deadly reactions to a lot of plants, so it’s important to look up the ASPCA’s list of cat-friendly plants at https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/cats-plant-list to be sure the plants you choose will be non-toxic. Scroll down to the section for “Plants Non-Toxic to Cats.”
If you don’t know the plants by name, the ASPCA also has a pictorial list at https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants?field_non_toxicity_value%5B%5D=01&field_non_toxicity_value%5B%5D=02.
Catnip is probably the first thing that comes to mind, but eating this can cause vomiting and diarrhea, so it is on the Toxic list. All the plants mentioned below have been checked for safety with the ASPCA website.
For a small garden, find a sunny tabletop and get a low, wide planter. If you have the space, make an arrangement with a cleared area so your kitty can camp out amid the foliage. Add some aroma with lemon balm and rosemary, and color with African violets, miniature thornless roses or Arabian gentian. You can plant basil and thyme to help digestion. Don’t forget to include something ‘jungle-like’ to peek through and hide behind, such as a trimmed spider plant. Once your plants are potted, top the soil with some large pebbles that are too big to swallow, to help retain soil moisture.
A great place to make an indoor garden for everyone is a screened porch, sunroom or fairly sunny sitting room. Include full sized potted parlor palms, Areca palms, ponytail palms, bamboo, calathea, plus hanging spider plants and Boston ferns, interspersed with phalaenopsis orchids, fireweed, blushing bromelaid for color, and a few low varieties such as a mosaic plant and pepperomia. This is the ideal place to camouflage the cat tower and tuck in a few cozy places to snooze. Create a sanctuary for both of you with comfy seating areas and a lazy fan that keeps the greenery swaying ever so slightly. For a relaxing water element, add a bubbling pet-friendly fountain that recycles and filters drinking water. Roses and African violets would be delighted to live in this environment. Your cats will be thrilled.