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How to Make an Amazing DIY Indoor Cat Garden

by Regan

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Our two cats, Orion and Pete are more than pets in our house; they’re furry little family members. As with the rest of my family, I like to make sure that my cats are happy and healthy. Part of keeping our cats healthy means being mindful of the types of plants and flowers that come in the house since many plants can be toxic to cats. If you have a cat then you know that they are mischievous critters and if they’re not supposed to get into it, the more tempting it is. Just like my kids.

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Orion and Pete were both shelter cats who had been declawed by their previous owners. This means that they can’t go outside under any circumstances to experience grass and outdoor plants. This is when I got the idea to bring the outdoors into them by making them an indoor cat garden, but I had to do my research to find out which plants my cats would enjoy and are safe.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Bring the outside in for your indoor #cats with a #cat garden filled with safe plants!” quote=”Bring the outside in for your indoor cats” theme=”style6″]

PUTTING YOUR DIY CAT GARDEN TOGETHER

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For my cat garden, I picked up the obvious cat grass (wheatgrass), fresh catnip, and catnip seed pods as well as some less obvious choices; rosemary, parsley, and mint.

After filling my pot with dirt, I took the plants out of their small pots and played with the placement of them until I was happy then planted them my big pot.

*Note: Don’t confuse Italian or curly parsley with spring parsley which is toxic to cats. Parsley in large doses could give your cat a bellyache so if your cats are eating too much of it, remove it and make some spaghetti sauce instead. 

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I found a low sided flower pot that my cats can’t knock over and had enough surface area for me to get creative with plant placement as well as some decorative elements to make my indoor cat garden a more welcome addition to my home.

Add decorative accents

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To my plants, I added some rocks and some garden figurines. The rocks were from my yard along with some smaller decorative rocks I had in a vase. The figurines were in the garden section at Walmart and they have stakes in them so the cats can’t knock them over. Aren’t they cute?

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I planted the catnip seed pods in a separate pot so it didn’t get too crowded. They go right on top of the dirt and if kept moist, they will sprout in about a week. I know Orion and Pete are going to love having more fresh catnip to munch on. If I’m lucky I might even get a cuddle of thanks or two out of them.

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This is Pete. Pete likes to eat plants. Pete is the reason that I made this cat garden after he ate some of my Valentine’s Day flowers. Harumpf. It’s a good thing he’s funny and gives good cuddles because he doesn’t always think things through.

Thankfully he didn’t get sick! Some common houseplants and flowers that are toxic to cats are lilies, philodendron, aloe, begonia, and poinsettia to name a few. It is best practice to check if a particular plant is toxic to your cats before bringing it home or put it in a hanging planter that your cats can’t get to.

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This is Orion. He is more inquisitive and investigates while Pete is more of an all-in kind of guy. Orion is an incredibly picky cat who barely eats cat food, much less a plant. Instead, he prefers to sniff and rub against the plants in the cat garden.

To find out more about what is and isn’t toxic to your pets, including plants and other things in your home, I found that the Pet Poison Helpline is very informative.  

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77 comments

77 comments

Kelly @eclecticmommy March 14, 2016 - 9:00 am

This is a wonderful idea. I don’t have any cats, but my neighbors cats almost always find themselves in my garden. I’m sure they would love this! 🙂 [client]

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Anne S March 15, 2016 - 12:24 pm

First of all, your cats are so beautiful! I’m impressed with your green thumb, because I have even a hard time keeping my indoor plants alive. This is such a useful and creative project that I just might have to try it, though!

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Regan March 15, 2016 - 8:48 pm

I have to agree, they are pretty cute. 🙂 Honestly, I’m not very good with plants but I don’t have trouble keeping herbs alive.

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Molly Ann January 25, 2017 - 1:08 am

Do they ever try to dig in pot ? We have 3 cats and they try and dig in my plants whenever they get a chance. I had to wrap pillow cases around my pots to keep them out .

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Regan January 25, 2017 - 2:04 pm

Every cat is different, but my two do not. But the way I planted mine didn’t leave much dirt available for digging if they were inclined to do so.

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Elnyr Polchow November 1, 2016 - 8:48 pm

Regan, I am here to tell you I have killed house plants for 65 years. At 70, after a move to different house, I put some plants in a double window area, and I have never had double windows anywhere. The plants took off, are SOOOOO big now, I ALMOST have to move out and let the plants enjoy themselves. All those years my plants needed more light. I hope THIS sheds some light on your situation. ENJOY……

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Erin Will March 17, 2016 - 9:51 pm

I am in love with the whole look of this garden, beautiful!!! I know my cat would love it also! Thank you for sharing and for the giveaway!!!!

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Regan March 17, 2016 - 10:01 pm

Thank you so much! It was fun to make.

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Angelic Sinova March 17, 2016 - 11:06 pm

What a fun idea! Orion and Pete are so adorable. Pets really are the best. My dog Loki is definitely more than a pet, he’s a member of the family just like everyone else <3

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Kita March 18, 2016 - 5:41 am

We don’t have a cat but this is a cute idea regardless. I love mini gardens. Think I will make a few specific for our deck.

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Jenn @ EngineerMommy March 18, 2016 - 8:19 am

I love this garden idea. I don’t have a cat, but my cousins had such a cute cat and I remember playing with their cat so often. This sounds like such a great product for kitty owners.

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Pam March 18, 2016 - 9:27 am

I love the idea of a cat garden! We don’t let our cats go outside because we live near a busy street, so something like this would be perfect to let them enjoy the grass while laying in their favorite patch of sunshine.

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Jenn March 18, 2016 - 10:12 am

This is awesome. I can’t wait to show this blog post to my teenage daughter. We have two cats that would love for us to make one.

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Heather March 18, 2016 - 10:33 am

I never thought of this idea but it’s a great one. My cats are not into catnip but they love eating grass!

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Liz Mays March 18, 2016 - 12:06 pm

I absolutely love this idea. I think our cat would really enjoy having some plants near her favorite windows.

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Heather March 18, 2016 - 12:48 pm

That’s really cute. I’m not sure we have the space for a little indoor garden, but I love this idea with indoor cats. We have one cat who is declawed and one who isn’t and I know my indoor cat would love something like this.

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Vera Sweeney March 18, 2016 - 2:30 pm

What a great idea for indoor cats!! What a great way for them to entertain them and also make a great decorating piece for your house!

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Michelle March 18, 2016 - 10:52 pm

We have several indoor cats and I don’t dare have a single indoor plant. I’m too afraid of them getting poisoned. I must admit that I would love to have some and I am definitely going to use your idea. My family will love it and so will our furry children. Thank you so much for sharing!

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Maureen March 18, 2016 - 11:52 pm

That is such a pretty indoor garden! It really looks like a mini garden but indoor. So creative 😀

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Mimi "MimiCuteLips" Green March 19, 2016 - 10:49 am

I’ve never heard of a cat garden but it looks really cool. I think your cat likes it too.

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rika March 19, 2016 - 7:08 pm

I love the idea! Cat garden? Sounds too cute! Thanks for hosting an awesome giveaway.

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coolchillmom March 20, 2016 - 9:19 am

That garden is absolutely gorgeous! So glad you found the perfect one that Pete and Oron can’t knock down

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ricci March 20, 2016 - 10:02 am

I have dogs, not cats but I do love your indoor cat garden! Great idea!!

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aaronica @ the crunchy mommy March 20, 2016 - 6:08 pm

this is such a cute idea! i don’t have cats but i love the idea of creating this space for them.

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tyra March 20, 2016 - 8:12 pm

I don’t have cats but that is a cute little garden. So clever how you put it together.

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Angela @ Setting My Intention March 20, 2016 - 8:36 pm

I love this idea of having an indoor cat garden. I’m not sure why I haven’t thought of this! We have 2 cats and our newest kitten is definitely mischievous! Thanks for the tip about getting a large bottomed, heavy container because I know Simba, our kitten, would definitely be trying to knock it down otherwise!

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Dotty J Boucher March 28, 2016 - 12:41 pm

I love this, I have been wanting to make a couple since I have more than one adopted cat. Love your idea of mixing different plants in with the cat nip 🙂
@tisonlyme143

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Dotty J Boucher April 4, 2016 - 12:00 pm

I am glad I got this email again, because I lost it on my pinterest, I wanted to make sure I got some of
the positive plants to put in the pots for the cats .. Anyway’ I pinned it and shared this again on facebook, I really do love this idea..
@tisonlyme143

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Regan April 4, 2016 - 12:07 pm

Oh, good! I’m so glad you found it again. It was a fun project. My cats are still enjoying the cat grass and I have been loving the fresh herbs.

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Vicky January 10, 2017 - 8:11 am

You listed where you got most of the stuff to make it, except the most important part, the plants! Lol – online all I seem to find is seeds and I rather get plants over seeds. Where can the plants be purchased? I want to make one for my dogs. Ty

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Regan January 10, 2017 - 9:02 am

Hi Vicky,

The plants I just got at a local nursery except for the catnip and cat grass. Those were from either Petco or Petsmart. If I remember correctly I got the cat grass at Petco but could only find the catnip seeds so I went to Petsmart and found a catnip plant. Since then, I have seen catnip plants at Petco.

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Stephanie April 9, 2016 - 4:48 pm

I LOVE this so much. I have cat safe plants in my house, and have brought catnip into the house before, but never thought to make them their own dedicated planter. It’s so cute!

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Drizzt April 16, 2016 - 3:29 pm

FYI according to the ASCPA website, several of your plants are toxic to cats, including mint and all parsley. http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants/mint

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Regan April 16, 2016 - 3:50 pm

I saw that prior to writing my post, however every other site I consulted and my veterinarians say it’s okay. It seems that the ASPCA website, while highly informative, seems to be overly cautious and lists plants that are both truly toxic (Poinsettia, lilies, etc) and plants that could cause vomiting in large quantities. Since catnip is a member of the mint family, I decided that for my cats, it’s fine.

Other sites mention that parsley in large quantities could cause an upset stomach, which is noted in my post. As far as my cats go, the only plant they actually eat in any real quantity is the cat grass. If I saw them eating any plant in large quantities I would remove it.

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Regan April 16, 2016 - 4:07 pm

This is the Animal Poison Control site and it is just one of the several sources I used when planting this garden. Neither mint nor parsley are on the list. http://petpoisonhelp.wpengine.com/poisons/

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Mel May 5, 2016 - 5:55 pm

Where did you find the pot to plant them in?

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Regan May 6, 2016 - 5:06 pm

Hi Mel. This pot was one that I had in my garage and I’m not sure where it came from. A coworker made a plant arrangement for me in this pot that died when I went on vacation. Oops!

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Lindsay Urban May 13, 2016 - 7:09 am

Love this! We just got a kitten and I would love a cute garden for her. Where did you buy the plants from?

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Regan May 17, 2016 - 7:08 am

The plants were purchased at a local nursery as well as Home Depot. This time of year, all of them should be available anywhere that sells plants.

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DORLIS GROTE May 18, 2016 - 1:12 am

iNSTEAD OF CLAY LITTER which does not break down, I use World’s Greatest or Blue buffalo, both of which are biodegradeable. I have a seperate compost pit for the litter. This way I do not contribute to the landfill problems.

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Regan May 26, 2016 - 8:23 am

While clay litters may have their downsides and I prefer biodegradable options whenever possible, my cats and many others will not use non-clay litters. They want to scratch and cover up their business which is harder for them with pellet litters and they don’t like the smell of pine litters.

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Ashley Flora May 28, 2016 - 4:26 pm

Love this idea! We recently added to Siamese boys to our house! They’d love one of these!

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Regan May 28, 2016 - 6:58 pm

Congrats on your new kitties! Enjoy pampering them 🙂

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Mark wiley June 20, 2016 - 5:19 pm

I cannot get oat grass to grow, I get it at whole foods. It lasts for about 2 weeks and then dies. Any idea what is wrong?

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Regan June 21, 2016 - 1:36 pm

Hi Mark. I haven’t attempted to grow oat grass, so I’m not sure. The grass in my container is wheatgrass and I found it to be very easy to grow. I kept my container next to a window and watered when the soil was dry or the plants started to look a bit droopy.

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Edemia Johnson July 10, 2016 - 7:55 am

I recently got my daughter a kitten and we wanted him to be an inside cat (too many dogs around). I saw your post and made one for “Chase”. He loves it. I put catnip, petunias, cat grass, and some wheat grass seeds.
I found a list of safe plants for cats at
http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants

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Patricia Heredia August 13, 2016 - 1:31 pm

I loved the idea. Unfortunately, where I live (a small town in Mexico), there’s no place where I can buy cat grass or fresh cat nip. I’ve asked in different places where they sell plants and they don’t even know them. If you happen to know what they are called in Spanish; I’d appreciate the information. I’ll try to do one using rosemary or mint but my cats really need something like grass.

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Regan August 13, 2016 - 5:11 pm

Patricia, cat grass is also called wheatgrass. I don’t speak Spanish, but according to Google Translate, wheatgrass is pasto de trigo and catnip is la hierba gatera. I’m not sure how accurate that is, but it might help.

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Judith September 8, 2016 - 9:18 am

Love the cat garden, try to get unscented litter as cats do not like the scented plus it’s extra chemicals.

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Regan September 8, 2016 - 10:13 am

There aren’t many brands make an unscented litter that doesn’t leave our box and laundry room stinky, that clumps well, and that my cats will use. One of mine is very picky about texture. I wish more brands had unscented options.

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Eric September 17, 2016 - 9:16 am

The part about Italian and curly parsley versus spring parsley is a bit ambivalent. I looked it up and it is spring parsley that is toxic to cats.

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Regan September 17, 2016 - 11:00 am

Yes, it is spring parsley that is toxic. However, there is a trusted source that lists parsley on the toxic list when curly and Italian flat leaf parsley are not actually toxic. They can give some cats an upset stomach, but that isn’t due to toxicity which is why I noted it the way I did.

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Megan September 17, 2016 - 9:58 am

Hi Regan,

I love this idea! Just wondering how long your cat grass survived? Looks like a wheatgrass variety? I’ve purchased several times from several different sources, and it never makes it more than 2 weeks. I’m starting to wonder if that is the typical lifespan, or if I’m doing something wrong. =)

Thanks!
-Megan

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Regan September 17, 2016 - 10:55 am

Hi Megan,

I believe it is wheatgrass. It said cat grass on the container, but I’m pretty sure it said wheatgrass at the bottom. For me, it grew like crazy and continued to grow better than some of the other plants in the container.

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Ally Buhler December 18, 2016 - 12:34 pm

What kind of potting soil did you use? Any fertilizers included or added? Where was it purchased?

Thanks!

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Regan December 18, 2016 - 12:39 pm

I don’t remember exactly, but I usually use Miracle Gro pitting mix. I don’t use added fertilizer, just what is already in the soil. It can be bought anywhere – Target, Walmart, Home Depot.

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Tonya January 13, 2017 - 7:22 pm

You mentioned the litter situation. I have a bad back and finally had to breakdown and buy the Cat Genie (Wal-Mart online). I wish I would have gotten it a long time ago. The litter box is connected to the toilet water and has a tube that dumps the waste into the toilet bowl. There is still “litter” but it is actually plastic pellets that get washed after the Cat leaves the box. Litter is changed out every six months and no more emptying the litter box. Just flush the toilet.

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Regan January 13, 2017 - 7:42 pm

That sounds amazing! One of my cats is VERY picky about litter (food, toys, everything -ha!) but I may have to look into this.

Since writing this I have gotten a Litter Genie. It really is convenient.

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Val January 28, 2017 - 7:38 pm

Regan,

Your cat garden id adorable but, if I may, it has been my experience with cats that they don’t respond to spearmint like catnip or peppermint. Some of the others herbs I want to try; and by the way, I love the size and color of the pot you chose to plant your cat garden in.

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Deb Courtney April 12, 2017 - 11:48 pm

I have 5 cats, all indoor only & all plant eaters. I live in a tiny 8×24 RV in an RV park in the Ozark Mountains. Up until I saw this post on Pinterest, I was picking grass & bringing it to my fur babies at least weekly. THIS idea is brilliant. Since I don’t have a lot of spare room in this tiny trailer, I am going to use 2 long, plastic planters instead of a bowl type planter. It will be much easier to find places for them. And I can say right now that all of my “kids” are going to go crazy for this. Since I already grow catnip in clay pots outside & bring them in periodically, I think I will double up on the wheatgrass since they are so fond of grass. This is absolutely brilliant & I’m so pleased to have found this on Pinterest. Thank you for sharing….I appreciate it & so will my kids….

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Andrea Mehrer April 18, 2017 - 4:53 am

I found some other ok plants Christmas/holiday cactus many orchids lilyturf and and some others the cactus plants are really pretty always do your research first ! I bought oat seeds to grow grass simple and easy

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Mikki April 24, 2017 - 1:25 pm

I love this! I can’t keep plants indoors because my two cats, Hallow & Rover, especially Hallow, eat them all. This is a perfect solution! Thank you so much for sharing!

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Lauren April 26, 2017 - 11:20 pm

A wonderful idea! And looks so pretty! I just have a long long with cat grass for my silly felines. They love it! And they leave my garden alone because of it.

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Andrea April 30, 2017 - 8:19 am

Is there a certain kind of dirt/soil that should be used since they will be ingesting the plants? I have miracle grow potting soil but I would be hesitant to use that.

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Regan April 30, 2017 - 9:16 am

I just used regular flower and vegetable potting soil. I don’t typically use soils with added plant food in it since I add it separately when needed.

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Nancy Towne May 1, 2017 - 6:48 am

I enjoyed your article! I definitely want to make a little cat garden for my kitty.
My question is, what type of soil did you use? I know some commercial houseplant soils have a lot of chemical fertilizers, etc. Would an organic soil work best?
Thanks!

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Regan May 1, 2017 - 8:12 am

I don’t use soil with added fertilizer and plant food since I like to know how much I’m adding, so I used plain soil. I’m not a gardening expert, but any soil for flowers and vegetables should be fine.

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Lindsey May 10, 2017 - 1:04 pm

I made my indoor cat garden yesterday based on this post. Thank you for the inspiration!

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Regan May 10, 2017 - 1:43 pm

Yay! I hope your kitties enjoy it. I need to make another one for mine soon.

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gingerrox1877 May 20, 2017 - 9:21 am

The cat grass I get from the local pet store is oat grass, and it indeed only lasts 1-2 weeks before dying. I’ve never tried wheat grass for the cats but apparently it doesn’t have the same problem.

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Regan May 20, 2017 - 9:29 am

I haven’t tried oat grass; it’s a bummer that it only lasts a few weeks. The wheatgrass I bought was from Petco I think and it lasted a long time.

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Ashley Chassereau Parks June 21, 2017 - 4:15 pm

This is such a neat idea!! My parents have a cat that mainly stays outdoors, but I could make one of these to put on their back porch! My kids would really enjoy making one of these.

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Tina@waterheatertalk.com August 10, 2017 - 9:50 pm

LOVE this, and every cat in the world would love it too! Thank you so much for sharing with us.

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RenaissanceGirl September 18, 2017 - 8:51 am

Bookmarked! We have an indoor cat, and I’ve been looking for ideas to give him a taste of the outdoors!

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Mandy September 29, 2017 - 2:22 am

Here’s a tip a neighbor shared with me, to keep feline mischief makers from digging in plant dirt. Place pine cones on top of the soil. They look quite natural and cats hate touching them.

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Elisabeth October 28, 2017 - 1:13 pm

For the cat grass or wheat grass I keep having issues keeping it alive. The individuals i buy it from at the farmers market or petco have said its short lasting, but I can’t imagine people would be planting it in an indoor kitty planter if it needs to be replaced every couple weeks. If I leave it in its container and just water it every few days or if I take it out and plant it in the planter soil it takes only a few weeks to get inundated with little fruit flies, as if the roots are rotting. I’d love to have a permanent indoor planter like this for my Mango who eats every green in the house she can get her paws on. Any recommendations for what I might be doing wrong? Also, to keep it growing and from turning brown do I need to cut it regularly? I grow cats well..plants..not so much. Appreciate the advise!

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Regan November 1, 2017 - 10:38 am

Hi Elisabeth. It sounds like you probably have fungus gnats. This site has some tips on how to get rid of them. https://getbusygardening.com/control-soil-gnats/

Reply

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