If your cat has outside access, here are just a few ways you can help your cat feel safer outside and enjoy spending time in the garden.
- Avoid vast open spaces outside
- Cats can feel vulnerable when roaming across wide expanses of lawn or big open areas and will avoid them. Therefore, break up your garden into smaller areas by planting hedges or shrubs to give your cats some seclusion when navigating the garden.
- Strategically positioned pots can even do the trick, particularly around the cat flap as cats can feel exposed when first stepping out into the garden without any immediate seclusion nearby to allow them to survey the environment for danger.
- Provide opportunities to explore
- Cats love to climb and view their environment three dimensionally. Providing vertical areas at varying heights will instantly create more space for your cat. Trellis, pergolas, walls tops, and shelves attached to fencing can all be used to create extra areas and walkways.
- Provide opportunities for predatory behaviour
- You might not be happy with your cat hunting prey but there are other ways to provide an outlet for this natural behaviour outside. Options include scatter feeding their dry food outside or encouraging your cat to use puzzle feeders (just clear up any missed food after they have finished). You can also play with your cat outside as there is often much more space than inside! Drag wand toys through long grasses and vegetation to give your cat opportunity to stalk, chase and pounce toys.
- Provide safety and shelter
- As cats can feel vulnerable outdoors, providing secure places can give cats areas to retreat to or hide under when they want to avoid any potential stressors. Items such as strategically placed garden furniture, purpose-built cat houses or elevated platforms can give your cat a safe place to sit and survey.