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Category: Pets & Gardens

  • A Bird Feeder — For the Cats!

    September 03, 2008
    View of the Sound in Bellingham Garden

    View of the Sound in Bellingham Garden

    A few weeks ago, I visited friends in Bellingham, Washington. They have a fantastic garden despite the deer that use it as their main thoroughfare (and their snacking gardens). It seems the humans and the deer have come to an agreement that the deer stay on the upper hillside and the people keep an uneaten garden near the house. I always like it when these “agreements” work out.

    Tuffy-the-cat in her Birdhouse Palace

    Tuffy-the-cat in her Birdhouse Palace

    While I was visiting for just two days I saw several families of deer, including a few spotted “bambi’s” trot through the garden. I also saw a black squirrel, which was new to me. But, probably the most interesting “wild animal” in the garden was Tuffy, the family cat. Tuffy is a sweet old girl who decided that a bird feeder, placed on a Big Leaf Maple stump in the hillside, was not for the birds. No, this birdfeeder is Tuffy’s personal sunshine palace. Apparently, as in this photo, each evening she climbs into her palace to take a shaded, but sunny bath and then nap before catching a mouse or two on the hillside. I suppose if someone built a napping gazebo like this in my garden, I might adopt it as Tuffy has. And what a way to make the eye-sore of an oft-whacked-back, but impossible-to-remove stump look great in the garden. Usually, adding something like a little birdhouse to the top of it would draw the eye to it in a way I wouldn’t recommend, but when a kitty like Tuffy is perched inside, sunbathing at sunset, what a great visual to enjoy!

  • Gardening with Cats

    June 23, 2008

    Truly, as much as I love having a sweet kitty come rub and roll around me in the garden, I mostly wish they’d stay out. Recently, I was interviewed by pet columnist Lisa Wogan for a piece she put together on gardening with cats. She really pulled together a great article. I look forward to trying out some of the tips and tricks she and others contributed to the article (along with the thoughts I shared that have proven to work well for me). Read the article here. (Unfortunately, the article has been removed from NW Source.)

  • Bad Kitty Eats Tree

    January 10, 2008

    I have a bad kitty. I used to have lots of indoor plants, but not anymore. Bad kitty chomps on them. The plants I do have indoors are now placed up high, out of his reach. Or they are plants he’s tried and learned he doesn’t like.

     He has one favorite that I’m constantly moving to keep out of his reach. Of course it is one of my oldest indoor plants, a Pachira aquatica bonsai. Last week he climbed on my desk in the middle of the night and ate each stem’s top leaf and apical bud. Yes, he topped my tree! Plus, he chomped on many other leaves. I did a bit of trimming and gave it some tlc. By this week, it was showing signs of recovery. Then, last night, kitty was out for the tree kill.

    At about 5am I woke to a crash. Twinky (the cat) had climbed into the kitchen sink and pulled the bonsai down from the windowsill above. The container broke, but the tree was somewhat intact. Today I’ll be replanting it in a new container, which I have yet to purchase. (Maybe I can find something with 10′ tall legs.)

    In addition to giving it fresh soil, I’ll give the tree a treatment of mycorrhizae to help it thru its various recovery needs.  And, I’ll be hiding the plant from him!

     Here is a list of plants that I’ve found my cat does not like:

    • Jade (or anything Crassulaceae )
    • Christmas cactus (tho he does chew on it sometimes)
    • Orchids (so long as they aren’t blooming)
    • Tomato (yes, I have an indoor tomato that fruits all winter)
    • Sundew (or anything sticky)

    Here’s a list of what he loves and has destroyed (besides my beloved bonsai):

    • Begonia (doesn’t matter what kind. He loves to sink his teeth into the leaves)
    • Spider plants
    • Ferns
    • Norfolk Pines
    • Christmas trees
    • Grasses

    Yes, he is an indoor cat. And, yes, he does get fresh wheatgrass quite often. But, for him, there’s nothing like eating what he shouldn’t…and then chucking it up later in the day!

    Oh, and you may ask if I have I considered buying Dumbcane to see what will happen? The thought has crossed my mind, briefly in moments of anger, but I wouldn’t dare!

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