Going Organic

How to provide a safe green environment for your cats

By Sandy Robins

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Most cats would love the opportunity to sun themselves in a safe outdoor environment that offers plants to nibble on, a shady spot to snooze and even a tree to scratch on and climb. It's very easy to create an environmentally friendly organic area with some simple planning.

Before you begin to think organic gardening, find a part of your outdoor area that can be safely enclosed. There are special cat-proof fences that can be erected by themselves or on top of existing fences to prevent cats from escaping and coming into contact with predators or other dangers, such as traffic.

"Consider turning an atrium or enclosed patio that has planting areas into a cat-friendly outdoor area," says Nancy Matsuoka, a landscape designer and owner of Laguna Hills Nursery in Laguna Hills, Calif., who has designed many cat-friendly areas as well as special indoor planters for cats. "If you are worried about birds flying in and falling prey to feline paws, you can add a light shade cover or latticework to prevent this from happening."

Preparing the Soil
Using organic materials instead of chemicals is not only better for the environment, but also for people and their pets. Proper soil preparation is the key to successful organic gardening. "It takes time for an area that has previously been treated with chemical fertilizers and pesticides to become all natural again," Matsuoka says. "A soil rich in organic nutrients will successfully feed your plant material."

Garden supply stores sell soil test kits if you want to check the acidity or alkalinity of your soil. The pH should be between 6 and 8.

**Get the October 2011 issue of CAT FANCY to read the full article or click here to purchase a PDF version.**
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