Saturday, December 26, 2015

How to Submit YOUR Cats in Gardens

Being enchanted by both cats and gardens, I decided to start this blog for fun to combine the beauty of both. I know that many of you share my interest in and I hope you will submit your own images of your cats in your gardens.


Here is how to submit your image:
- Email to KathyJentz (at) gmail (dot) com
- Put "Cats in Gardens" in the subject line
- Attach your image
- In the body of the email include:
  ~ your name or you can choose to be "anonymous"
  ~ the cat's name
  ~ where the photo was taken (city, state, country)
  ~ if you have a blog or web site you would like to be linked back to
  ~ a note about the cat or your garden or both, we love to hear your stories

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Faerie Friends

I found this illustration from an old children's book and added my own caption. Then I started to research the relationship between cats and faeries. I just knew there had to be one as they both are such friends to gardeners everywhere.

On the RavensShire blog, it states: "The Celts believed that cats had their own fairy court, and their own magical powers. In other words, in their fairy tales, cats were often a type of fairy, rather than simply another animal." What a wonderful concept! Those of us who live with cats have all glimpsed these faerie-like powers and attributes including hoarding treasures (must often cat toys) and dancing in the moonlight. 

Learn more about cats and fairy tales from this terrific blog post here.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Petscaping for Cats

Landscape designer Julie Orr wrote about petscaping on her blog awhile ago and I liked that she did not ignore cats. Here are a few of her tips for landscaping with cats in mind:
  • Low shrubs and grasses that they can lounge under are perfect. 
  • Another cat favorite is to roll in dry, warm areas like pavers, flagstone, or even better, gravel or gold fines. 
  • Always protect your kitty from dangers of the road, cat fights and other animals. 
  • Use a cat enclosure in the garden or simply keep your cat indoors- my cat has live happily for 17 years indoors.
  •  A pondless ceramic fountain can provide hours of entertainment with visiting insects and birds while also supplying fresh, moving water to your feline. Be sure to always add fresh water either manually or via your irrigation system and never add chlorine.
  • Consider your aging pets needs and put in ramps or steps for cats that can no longer leap to their destinations.
 Please share your petscaping for cats tips in the comments field below.

Photo source: "Patio" by Gjerickson (Own work) 1982
[CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kitten...

Eva Stern writes: "This cat is Raindrop. He lives at my aunt's farm in Lothian, MD, USA. I am not sure of the history on Raindrop, but he and his partner-in-crime, Katrina, have been around for at least 10 years. They are tame barn cats with access to a heated space in the winter and all of the regular house-cat perks of food and treats."

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Nontoxic Plants for Cats

Here is a lovely graphic I found on Pinterest that leads to the and shows several safe or nontoxic garden plants for cats. With so much about what is dangerous for cats, I thought this was a good list to have for a cat-friendly garden or when making an indoor bouquet.

This list includes:
- Zinnia
- Orchids
- Snapdragons
- Hollyhock
- Fern
- Rosemary
- Roses

To it, I would add:
- Wheatgrass
- Basil
- Mint
- Calendula
- African Violet
- Cosmos
- Nasturtium

And here is also a link to another safe plants for cats list, that seems well-researched.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Deep Roots

Meet Dandelion. "This Southern Belle enjoys eating vast quantities of dry cat food instead of mice, lying in the shade to watch you load wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow of compost, and prowling the tomato patch to be sure you cut out all the blight. She does not enjoy getting out of the harvest bin or dieting."

Pamela Hess, Executive Director of  Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture, in Alexandria, VA, writes, "Dandelion enjoys jumping in your car, biting your arm, and tricking you into giving her extra food."

"She dislikes: when you kick her out of your car and when you don''t give her extra food."


Saturday, November 14, 2015

And now for something completely different...

Here is another share from Graham Spencer of Plants For Europe, a leading independent plant breeders' agent. (He previously shared his kitty, Treacle, with us here.)

He writes:  "This is Monty. Treacle and he are not brother and sister, although they were kittens in the same pen at the rescue centre all those years ago. Monty thinks he is in charge. Treacle knows better."

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Treacle Sponge in the Sun

Graham Spencer of Plants For Europe, a leading independent plant breeders' agent, shared this photo of Treacle. He writes: "She is 11 years old. We got her from the rescue centre when she was a kitten -- the owner of her mum was an old lady living alone and couldn't cope with a pregnant cat, so she was born in the cattery. She only talks when a tuna can is being opened. She knows she's pretty and milks it for all it is worth."

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween and Caturday!

This year Halloween is on Caturday (aka Saturday)! We here at Cats in Gardens blog LOVE this holiday. How about you?

We have shared a number of black cats on this blog through the years, view our collection of beautiful, black kitties here:

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Granny Cat

Stephanie Thompson Fleming of Behnke Nurseries in Beltsville, MD, shared this special cat memory:

"Granny was our first cat that found us. She appeared before we even built our house sometime in 1984. I think she lived to be 22 years old and one day just disappeared. We think she knew it was her time and she found a peaceful place to die. She was the BEST cat ever -- a great hunter and great friend. She loved the kids. Smokey appeared when she was about 18, so we think she trained him to behave."

"Granny loved to stretch out everywhere. In the greenhouses, she would lay down on the benches just so everyone walking by would rub her head."


Saturday, October 17, 2015

Smoke Signals

Stephanie Thompson Fleming of Behnke Nurseries in Beltsville, MD., (see her other cat posts).

She write, "Smokey... Our tomcat that showed up as a tiny runt. We had him for 18 years. What a cat. Use to have a caution sign on his cage at the vets. He pretty much hated all of us except my daughter Jaimie when he was young. As he got older he calmed down. We miss him so much. What a guy. Always thought he was a hunter.. NOT. would sneak up on everything and pounce,  but what a klutz Here he is getting a sip of water and Smokey thinking he was hiding it."


Saturday, October 10, 2015

A Man's Cat

Stephanie Thompson Fleming of Behnke Nurseries in Beltsville, MD., shared these pictutes of her grandson, Aaron, and her cat, Gabby, at their home garden.

Stephanie said, "I have always planned to write a book called the cats that have found us ... 36 years and 3 cats all whom just showed up and gave us love and joy. This is our current cat, Gabby, she found us one day about two years before our cat Smokey died. I think cats have a way of knowing things like that. She was already fixed and is such a nice cat. She is a man's cat as she follows my husband around like a dog. Pictured here is Gabby with a rabbit she caught. She is one of our best hunters. She is also pictured with Aaron saying 'hello' to the chickens."

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Gardening IS More Fun... with Cats!

Do you love gardening as much as you love your cat? Check out a few ways to bring your true loves together and double your fun!

Cats love spending time outdoors with you, so they make perfect gardening companions. Try taking your cat with you the next time you’re planting, transplanting, or weeding. Here’s how to get the most out of the experience.

Choose Cat-Friendly Blooms

Cats make the perfect gardening buddies. Your cat loves to sit in the sun, watch the wildlife, and enjoy the cool breezes. She may sit calmly — and quietly — by your side as you tend to the weeds and sow new seeds. So why not reward her attention by choosing plants that are attractive to cats?
Of course, no cat garden would be complete without catnip. You can purchase this special kitty treat as seeds and plant them in early spring. By summer, you’ll have a bundle of catnip for your kitty to sniff, play with, and roll around in. Cats also seem to enjoy sprawling plants, such as alyssum and heather, and savory-smelling herbs like parsley, sage, and thyme.

Some cats love to nibble on greens, so you should make sure you don’t have any toxic plants growing in your garden. Common flowers like foxglove are highly poisonous to cats and should be taken out of flower beds. If you must have one of these plants in your garden, grow it in hanging pots, where your cat can’t get to it. Plants that are poisonous to cats include morning glory, lily of the valley, oleander, and daffodil. Talk to your veterinarian if you have any question about what plants to avoid.

Create a Cat Perch

Most cats enjoy climbing and perching on high structures to better peruse their surroundings and take a quick nap. If this sounds like your kitty, build her an elevated space to call her own in your garden. You can purchase outdoor cat perches at a pet supply store or make your own out of a few pieces of plywood.

Keep Her Safe

If your cat is used to spending most of her time indoors, make sure to keep your cat safe when you venture outside. First, you’ll want to keep her on a leash so she won’t scamper off or go traipsing into a neighbor’s garden. Next, nix any pesticides and herbicides from your garden. Pesticides aren’t good for anyone, least of all your cat.

Final Touches

If you don’t mind doing some garden redesign, you might want to add a couple of extra touches just for your cat. For example, you could create small hidden places for her or a shady wooden shelter for when she wants to take a break from all the gardening she’s helping you with. Your cat is sure to appreciate the love and attention you put into your garden just for her — as well as all the quality time spent by your side.

Photo Credit: Barbara Walsh via Flickr of her cat, Mojito
Source: The Petcentric Team

Saturday, September 26, 2015

You can call me Ray, you can call me Jay…

Janet Loughrey recently shared this photo of "Raymond in my garden at dusk." Janet explained, "He's not my cat. He just hangs out in my yard with my cat, Tonka. They are buddies. I don't even know his name; I just call him Raymond because he needed to be called something." Her own cat, Tonka, was "just behind me supervising my photo skills."
You can see more of Janet's beautiful photography at

Saturday, September 19, 2015

A True Garden Companion

 Rob Chambon of Bicknell, Indiana, USA, recently posted this lovely essay about his late cat to his Facebook page and agreed to share it here as well.

Rob wrote: "Cabbie Girl, my faithful and loving companion, is gone. She has left me today to pass into another realm where, in the words of a beloved friend, she is now running freely amidst butterflies and fields of beautiful wildflowers, forever without end. She came to me in the fall of 2007, abandoned by her previous owners. I don't know if I found her, or she found me, but either way, she touched me deeply. Cabbie filled a void in my life for all those glorious years she stayed here with me, often times running out to greet my car as it turned into the driveway. I could always count on her being near at all times, sleeping as she usually did, on my deck beneath the lights of my tree.

"Countless times over the years, Cabbie would follow me into my woodland garden, waiting patiently for me, while I toiled away at building another section or adding more plants. She was there almost from the very beginning, seeing for herself how the garden was expanding, and often times giving her a new place to roam. I'd turn and see here there, lying on a rotting log, or resting on a cut up tree stump watching me and waiting to once again follow me out of the woods when I was through. I shall miss those moments forever.

"It's truly amazing how much we can be so touched by loving animals like this. They give us unconditional love and fill voids in our lives like nothing else can. Cabbie, I am so very blessed with your presence these past nine years, but it was time to let you go, dear girl. And so, with that said, I finish this message, with tears in my eyes, saying goodbye one last time to the finest pet a guy like me could ever have. Goodbye dear girl, my beloved Cabbie. I love you so much and miss you terribly. You are free now."

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Pumpkin Spice

This is Pumpkin. He is one of four cats that lives at the home of a lovely lady in Brandywine. MD. She hosted a  Mount Airy Clay Breakers Garden Club meeting at her home which I gave a talk at about "Getting Your Garden Ready for Winter."

Pumpkin is about five-years-old and is a bit shy. He prefers the company of other cats to people, but don't we all sometimes?

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Warning: Invasive Species

Thanksgiving Farms is a 57-acre family-run farm in Adamstown, MD. We have a 40+ greenhouse operation. Specializing in the unusual, CSA, produce, and orchard. 
They recently shared this photo and warning on their Facebook page:
"Cat-nap -- it's very invasive. Grows in sun or shade depending on the season. You don't plant it, it plants itself and that is usually on the most expensive flower in your garden and/or container. Hungry feeder and likes lots of water. Has briars/claws. Also comes in Dog-nap. This variety is much larger, with more destruction. The Dog-nap has a tendency to uproot vegetation in order to plant it's self. Both can/should be transplanted indoors to overwinter."

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Cat Grasses and Other Kitty Treats: You Can Grow That!

Guest Post by Claire Splan

Cats (and some dogs) love to nibble at grass, but you may not want to encourage them to chew on the lawn, particularly if the lawn's been treated with non-organic amendments or pesticides. Planting a pot of grasses especially for your pets will encourage them to leave other plants alone (particularly housecats that sometimes nibble out of boredom). You can sow seeds of just about any annual cereal grass but many seed companies sell packets of grass mixes especially for cats. These combinations of rye, oats, barley, and wheat are very appealing to cats, especially when you fertilize them with a shot of fish emulsion.

Growing Annual Grasses

Choose a wide, shallow pot, such as a bulb pot, to sow the seeds in. Fill it up to about an inch from the top with potting soil, then sprinkle the grass seeds over the top. Aim to space the seeds about 1/4 inch apart. Sprinkle about 1/2 inch of potting mix over the seeds and press to get good contact between the soil and seeds. Water well and place where it will get at least a half-day of sun. Keep evenly moist and seeds should germinate within a week. Wait until the grass is a couple inches high before giving it to your cats to nibble. Water regularly and feed with a fish emulsion solution every couple of weeks. If you plant a container every 4 to 6 weeks, you'll have a steady crop of grass to keep your cats happy.

Growing Catmint and Catnip

While cat grasses are fast-growing and tasty (if you're a cat), they are annuals, which means you need to re-sow seeds in order to keep them continuously growing. Catmint (Nepeta mussinii) and catnip (Nepeta cataria) are herbaceous perennials, meaning that they will die back to the roots in the winter, but re-sprout from the same root system in the spring. They also both contain the organic compound called nepetalactone, which is known to attract felines. In other words, catmint and catnip are recreational drugs for cats.

Linus, the undergardener, looking for catnip
Catmint and catnip need full sun. Sow seeds in the spring or plant container-grown plants in the spring or fall. They will  grow into mounded plants between 12 and 18 inches high. Catmint in particular makes a nice groundcover. Both plants will develop flower spikes (catmint flowers are lavender and catnip can be white/pink/lavender). When the flowers fade, just cut them back and the plant will be rebloom. Although they tend to be hardy plants that will grow in almost any soil, they do best when fed every couple weeks with a weak organic fertilizer. With regular feeding they'll be better able to withstand the constant nibbling that they will have to endure.


There are several companies that offer seed mixes for cat grasses as well as catmint or catnip seeds. My favorites include Renee's Garden Seeds, Burpee, Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply, and Botanical Interests. You can also use pre-seeded disks, available from Botanical Interests, which are more expensive, but easy to use and result in more even sprouting.


About the Author:

 Claire Splan is an Alameda native with a deep appreciation for the joys of gardening in sandy soil and a Mediterranean climate. She says of her blog, An Alameda Garden, "This is where I share my gardening successes and frustrations (of which there are many), as well as news of gardening events and developments in and around the San Francisco Bay Area. I love writing and talking about gardening and am a member of the Garden Writers Association, but I also enjoy writing fiction and other types of nonfiction."

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Simon's Cat Loves His Garden

Who isn't a fan of Simon's Cat? I was pleasantly surprised to see that the last few cartoons of Simon's Cat take place in their humble garden. I true garden cat, this kitty loves being out in his garden, except when the weather is uncooperative.

His kitty cat friends also enjoy Mother Nature -- but perhaps his cat girlfriend likes butterflies a little too much!?!

What is your favorite Simon's Cat episode?

Saturday, August 15, 2015

This Cat is Quite Koi

Joyce Grigonis a landscape designer in Southold, NY, posted this video of "our cat Ernie eating waterlilies." He is one of her 7 cats.

"Ernie's full name is Ernest Hemingway because he is polydactyl like Hemingway's cats in Key West. He is quite unique and about 22 pounds."
 Joyce shared another of her 7 cats, Pussy Willow II, here with us.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Thirsty Cat

Caren Madsen of Silver Spring, MD, shared this picture. She wrote, " Tiger is our next door neighbor's boy. When they're on vacation, we feed him and take him in at night. He hangs out on our patio while they're away."

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Caught Napping

Joe Luebke of Hyattsville, MD, and is Director of Horticulture and Grounds at the Washington National Cathedral posted this cat photo to his Facebook profile.

He writes, " Agnes is adopted from our neighbor's across the street. We cat-sit for them and she decided to make our home hers."

Sunday, July 26, 2015

One for Sorrow, Two for Mirth...

Lynn Title writes, "Magpie was adopted in 2003 from the D'arcy Street Prince George's County, Maryland, shelter, the same place we got Tilde and Zeli from. That would make her 12-years-old. We think from her color and mannerisms that she is part Burmese as she is actually dark brown, not black. As an adult, she is still very curious and playful and steals small shiny objects at every chance; and she talks all the time, though not in a Siamese voice. Her name was an obvious choice, given the above. 

"She also helps my husband, Richard, with plumbing repairs... picking through his toolbox and stealing the ratchets one by one. Fortunately we know where her stashes are and comb through them whenever anything important goes missing."

And if you are wondering about the name of this post, counting sightings of magpies or crows has a long tradition. See more on that folklore here.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

A Gentle Giant

Daryl Pulis of America's Home Grown Veggies weekly radio show writes: "Alex first showed up a few years ago wanting nothing but food. He gradually decided that we were okay and I was able to get him into a crate, checked for a chip (none) and get him vetted. He wanted no part of being inside, despite our best efforts. Even when he was drugged after neutering, he tried to dig out of the greenhouse. A couple of years ago, he decided that sleeping on our screened porch in bad weather was okay -- as long as we didn't close the screen door. When the door was closed, he tore through a screen and jumped 8-feet or so to the ground to escape. We learned to keep the door open.  
   "We made him a specially insulated box and put a heating pad in it for him for the winter before last, and that was ok. He was content to sleep on the porch with the open door and he eventually followed me in and out of the utility room when I was washing clothes and gardening out front.
   "This past winter in Georgia, it was just too cold, with temps below zero. I brought him and his bedding into the utility room and we toughed it out. He hated having the doors closed. He tore the curtains, shredded the carpeting by the doors and otherwise expressed his disapproval . It was rough on both of us, but he came back in every night if coaxed. 
   "There's more to the saga, but the big news is that he likes it here with us and is getting used to the other cats (he's number 9) and no longer considers them an automatic threat. It took a couple of years, but now Alex is now happy to be inside and snuggle."
    Daryl adds: "He always listens to me when I record America's Home Grown Veggies. He's the only one who doesn't try to get in front of my monitor or bounce a (loud) ball to get my attention as some of the other cats do. He waits quietly until I'm done and then makes a beeline for my desk for a cuddle. It was certainly worth the work it took to tame him."

Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Life of Riley

Margaret Koogle of Lilypons Water Gardens in Adamstown, MD, USA, writes:

"Our cat, Riley, enjoys our pond as much as we do! How about at your house? Do you have a pet that enjoys your pond? Love to hear and see! We think he especially loved what was swimming in the pond."

"Riley was a stray cat my daughters found at Lilypons. They found him as a kitten and tamed him by feeding him. He loved the outdoors!" (We are sad to note that Riley passed away in 2010.)

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Welcome to my Catio

Reader John Looser lives on a busy highway—making it downright scary for him to let his cats outside. So he decided to build an outdoor cage so they can go out whenever they want. The cage is built right in front of a busted-out basement window, so his feline friends can come and go whenever they please.

Apparently, "Catios" are a thing now. A Catio is basically a screened-in area where cats can experience the outdoors and still be safe indoors. (In other words, a cat's patio.) I wonder though why you would build such a retreat just for your cats and not also for you and your fellow humans to enjoy as well?

One of the first addition I put on my house when I moved in almost 15 years ago was a screened-in sun room. It is unheated, so I only open up the kitchen door to it when the weather gets about 60 degrees -- usually from about April to October. I don't use air-conditioning, so the sun room's open windows are a vital part of my house's air-flow in the heat of summer. It is also where I hang my laundry to dry each week -- a very convenient way to have fresh, crisp towels and sheets in the city and not have them out in the elements or letting my undergarments be exposed to my neighborhoods' prying eyes. The sun room is also where I collect, dry, and save seeds from my garden as well cure my garden harvests such as garlic and sweet potatoes. Of course, I also use it for relaxing on a summer evening free from annoying mosquitoes and a place for having guests over to chat and relax.

For my cats though, it is Xanadu. They run to the door out to the sun room when I come down to make breakfast in the morning and they spend practically the whole day in there watching my water garden out one side window and all the rest of the gardens through the other two sides of the sun room. It provides a panoramic view on an endless parade of bird visitors, flying insects, and other wildlife that keeps them absorbed all day. Before I go to bed each night, I have to kick the cats out of this paradise and lock up. They don't object too badly, but occasionally, Santino, my big Maine Coon, throws a fit and refuses to come "in." If I let him, he'd live out there 24-7 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Do you have an indoor/outdoor area that you and your cats enjoy together?

Here is the Country Living article on the catios trend:

(Image from -- uncredited -- source being sought.)

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Feathers Appear when Angels are Near

This is Feather, a 20-year-old kitty who lives in Shelley Rockwell's garden in Cleveland Park Washington, DC. Shelley reports that Feather is half-feral, but friendly enough. Her she is enjoying the shade on a hot and humid summer day.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Toasted Bulbs

Sarah O'Neil, also known as Sarah the Gardener, submitted this photo of her cat: Toast.
"We live near Waiuku in New Zealand I have a blog: and a YouTube Channel:  where Toast is a frequent star (when she chooses to be!) She also appears on my Facebook page from time to time."

"Toast is 12-years-old and she loves to hang out in the garden, and is often not far away from where I'm gardening." 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Shadow Dancer

Laura Livengood of the InterLeafings blogs says, "Haku is a 12-year-old Tabby who, for the last four years, has been an indoor cat and is just getting used to the freedom of being outside again. Since we moved to a 100-year-old farmhouse in Ben Lomond, CA. At his age he's less into chasing squirrels and more into surveying his domain from the porch."

Laura writes on her blog that: "Haku's sister, Zen, has always been good at tucking herself picturesquely into the garden, preferring to observe her domain from the safety of a leafy bower. Evergreen shrubs, trimmed up and well mulched, are natural shelters year-round."

Read more about Lauren's garden cats here:

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Toilet Humor

 Garden writer and humorist, David Hobson, shares his thoughts on cats and gardens in this blog post: David shares that, "I like gardening and I like cats, but not necessarily in the same place..." How do YOU feel about cats in gardens?

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Capitol Cat

I stumbled upon this lovely kitty at the Church of St. Monica and St. James, an Episcopal church on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. USA. The rectory and church grounds include a beautiful garden that was part of the Capitol Hill Restoration Society's House and Graden Tour earlier this month.

I took these photos right at dusk so the cat's eyes really stood out amongst the shade foliage. The kitty had no visible name tag, but by the collar and bell and her gentle demeanor, I assume she lives happily at the rectory -- welcoming one and all.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

A Ticking Time-Bomb

Dan Heims of Terra Nova Nurseries took this picture of a pretty kitty at a nursery in Seaside, OR. His name is Smokey. In bloom behind him is a Dogwood (Cornus venus) tree.

The cat is one of those ticking time-bombs that will let you know when it is DONE being petted. They love the attention and then, when it becomes too much for them, they lash out.

Dan says he had cats for 30+ years, now he has furniture.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Tree Climbing Cats

Martin Krischik shared these cat photos on Google+. He said, "They are both Siberians and are about two years old. They have longer formal names, but I just call them Misch and Liz. They live at the outscorts of Bern, Germany."

You can see more photos of these amazing cats, here on Martin's G+ profile here: .