Are you an ailurophile (cat lover)?

pa260381  Ash getting up from a nap

I always enjoy all the various gardening blogs that I visit during my evenings on the computer. While surfing, I’ve noticed a good number of gardeners are also cat lovers. I have to wonder, is there a correlation between gardening and cats?

Through the years, I’ve owned both cats and dogs and have enjoyed and loved them all. My pets have always been unwanted animals, as either strays or  abandoned by their owners. Currently, I am down to one cat,  by the name of Ash. I’m guessing that she’s an old lady of 15 or 20 years old, though I don’t know for sure, since she turned up on my doorstep one cold February day 14 years ago. During her younger years, she spent a lot of time outside, sometimes following my dog Sammie and I around the whole neighborhood as we went for our walk. My fondest memories are of me working in the garden while she curled up near me in a sunny spot, supervising the work. She was the queen and was not afraid to boss myself and the dog around.

Nowadays, she’d rather not be outside at all. She tends to sleep all the time, and because of the arthritis in her back legs, she likes to burrow under the covers in my bed to keep warm. She has some other health issues, but still, she has a good appetite and has those days when she pats at my shoelaces in play just like the old days. 

So back to the question, what is it about gardeners and cats?

I’m sure there are those that hate cats in their garden. While I like to see my cat basking in the sun or sniffing at something interesting, others feel that cats are annoyances, chomping on plants, spraying and generally using your newly turned garden bed as their personal litter box. Now that Ash no longer rules the property, I tend to have a lot of neighborhood feline visitors, the closeness of the birds at my birdfeeder is too tempting to resist. Some of my regulars include an orange tabby, a black and grey tabby, a tortoiseshell and a really beautiful pure white tom, I call Buddy, because unlike the other scaredy cats, Buddy is sweet and friendly likes to hang out with me.

pb130514 One of my regular visitors

In order to be a good hostess, I’ve decided to  designate a small space as a kitty garden to be installed next spring. Hopefully, this will encourage my visitors to use their own area and not mine as a litter box. Next spring, I’ll put aside a small sunny spot and plant some catnip or catmint. Now, not all cats actually care about catnip. Apparently, in order to be affected by the herb, a cat must have a certain gene. Not all cats have the proper gene to be affected. I’ve heard that cats also like alyssun and creeping rosemary so I’ll also plant those plants as well. I’ll also add a low container of wheat grass and lemon grass for nibbling.

I’ve got a small bench that Buddy enjoys using. This will be the perfect place for a nap in the sun and a dry place to hide under during the rainy days.  The last item to add will be an outdoor litter box. I don’t have the space for anything too big, just blocking off a corner with a wood frame and adding sand.

The Kitty garden will not be near the birdfeeder. I’d hate to have to banish the cats because of their culinary love of birds.

 pa310434 Uh, oh. Evidence of an unwanted visitor sampling the guest?


About Jill-O

a girl who likes lakes, trees and critters; making an attempt at living the artistic life.
This entry was posted in cats, gardening, pets and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Are you an ailurophile (cat lover)?

  1. Joy says:

    This is a wonderful post yo have done : )
    I think there is a serious connection with gardeners and cats. Yes .. there are those dog people (and they are sweet souls too) but there is something about us “cat gardeners” isn’t there.
    I think that is wonderful of you to plan a special place for your visiting cats .. so far right now I only have “Mr. Mystery” as a visiting cat .. my girls haven’t had a good look at him because he hasn’t ventured up to the deck doors yet. I’m sure he has without me knowing ? haha
    I hope ash still has some happy years with you yet. I have a girlfriend in the UK and her Ayla is getting on in years .. a “gray” girl .. some what like Ash ? When we got Emma from the Humane Society, my friend said to me “So you have fallen for a GRAY finally ?” LOL
    We love these little creatures and they love us .. the garden is a little bridge we enjoy with them too.
    I really enjoyed this post : ) Thank You !

  2. jellyfishbay says:

    Thanks, Joy. You and your pretty kitties are definitely one of the inspirations for this post.

  3. Philip says:

    What a completely charming post, as is Ash. I love how she would garden with you and you are planning a place for cats in the garden. I can just see Ash batting shoelaces!
    We have a Siamese, now 8 months old. She was a feral rescue kitten, and she came to us at 4 months. it has taken lots of love and attention, but she is now sleeping on the bed and being generally attentive. She loves to play with her toys. She is completely different from our last Cat, Caliban. I thinks she bosses us around, rather herds us and tells us what to do. We love her.
    I am not sure what it is about gardens and cats, but they do go together, for sure.

    I have loved looking at your beautiful blog.
    Best regards,

  4. jellyfishbay says:

    Thanks so much for the lovely compliments. I have loved all my pets, and they all have had totally different personalities. Ash has always been the queen of the roost, while my first cat, Babe was my little princess. Sammi, a golden retreiver mix, was the peacemaker between the two royals. These are only the animals I have had as an adult; the list doesn’t include all my childhood pets.

  5. spookydragonfly says:

    Besides my love for the dragonflies, I am a cat lover. Five indoor cats, and five outdoor cats, all resulting from nurturing the first stray that appeared in my woods, weighing just a couple of pounds. We have two dogs , also. I enjoy my outdoor cats as they accompany me on my garden walks. They now have a heated cathouse outdoors to call their own. I was just browsing and found this post very interesting!

  6. jellyfishbay says:

    I am often tempted to adopt more animals, and I have had to pass them on to our animal rescue organization, because of limited space, money, time, etc. It is wonderful that you have been able to open your home to all those unwanted animals. Thanks.

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