Last updated April 11th, 2021
Make this interactive grass pond for your cat using water beads to grow the cat grass. No soil needed. Dress up the grass pond with some robot fish and surprise your cat with a unique and fun cat enrichment experience.
When you find yourself stuck indoors, your cats might be judging your every move… or smothering you to bits! Either way, if you’re going to do this “stay at home” thing right, there is a whole lot you can do to improve the bond between you and your cat. Sure, plenty of extra snuggles are wonderful but let’s examine a cat enrichment ‘cativity‘ that would make your cat say, “She’s a keeper.”
Why your cat would love a grass pond
In the past, my DIY tutorials included holiday-themed cat toys, a festive watering hole, and a Spring Oasis lounge to enrich our cat’s senses. There is one element that remains consistent in all of these cat enrichment themes, and that is water.
Is your cat drinking enough water?
We know that cat hydration is so important but trying to encourage your cat to drink water is quite a challenge. In every cat household, there is at least one cat that turns up his whiskers at a boring, stagnant water bowl. Our Charlie boy is one of them.
For some cats, if the water is not moving, or if it’s placed next to their food dish, it will probably be avoided. Hydration avoidance is real! Cats evolved from their wild ancestors that were desert dwellers and they got most of their hydration from their prey. Many domestic house cats are fed dry food for convenience’s sake which offers little in the way of hydration.
Most of our cats love water fountains and we have a few of these ‘watering holes’ interspersed between several different glass bowls at various watering stations around the house. We also call them ‘fountains of youth.’ Yes, we’re a little obsessed with cat hydration!
I also love having a constant supply of cat grass for the cat salad bar stations which include different cat grasses near the water fountains.. Interestingly, I have also noticed the grass grazers will wash it down with a little drink at the fountain.
Are you thinking what I’m thinking? What better way to merge these two elements than by making a cat grass pond! So if your water-challenged cat is not into watering hole gossip, a cat grass pond might be an attractive solution to encourage drinking.
Is your cat obsessed with the fishbowl?
Some cats have bad habits and make friends in the wrong places. Take my coworker’s cat Gougou, for example. He loves to drink from the fishbowl. He doesn’t go after the fish, because Gougou is all about love and peace. But while this kitty may have struck up a weird relationship with his fish friend, your cat might have other ideas in mind. There are many opinions about this weird habit and its safety, but if you’re a cat owner who’s frustrated at trying to keep your cats away from the fishbowl, then skip right down to the instructions below!
So what’s so special about a grass pond?
Our cat grass pond is a very simple setup. It comprises a small fishbowl within a large glass bowl filled with water. The fishbowl is the centerpiece containing the cat grass grown in colorful water beads. The finishing touch is adding the interactive robot fish to entertain your cats!
We use glass bowls to achieve the effect of a real fishbowl but the chief attraction is the glass. Why? Because our cats love drinking from our glasses and I’m sure many of your cats do the same! This is a surefire way of tricking your cats to drink from their own “glasses” so to speak and leave yours alone.
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Materials you need for your Cat Grass Pond
NOTE: If you are concerned that your cat may be a little too rambunctious and might break glass, get the plastic versions of these bowls. Also note, the large glass bowl is super thick and quite safe.
1. Soak the water beads in water
Soak the different bead colors in separate bowls and allow them to ‘grow’ in the water until they are fully plump and ready to use. My tip: Avoid mixing the bead colors. Keeping the colors separate allows you the option of creating your own palette of color gradients.
2. Layer the colors
I normally first place a few heavy river stones at the bottom of the bowl for sturdiness. This acts as an anchor when the bowl is immersed in water and prevents it from bobbing around like a buoy. Then layer it with the water beads in the color palette of your choice.
3. Sow the cat grass seeds
Sprinkle the cat grass seeds directly on top of the water beads. Alternatively, you can also place a grow mat cut in a circle the size of the opening of the fishbowl and place the moistened grow mat on top of the water beads. Sprinkle the seeds on the mat. NOTE: The grow mats prevent the seeds from falling too far below in between the gel water beads and acts as an even bed for even sprouting. After you have sprinkled the seeds evenly over the mats, spray with water.
Check out my Ultimate guide to growing cat grass for more info on growing cat grass.
Soaking the seeds supposed to speed up germination. But in my experience, germination depends on a combination of conditions such as humidity, warmth, sunlight and the grass seed type, etc. You can experiment to see what works best. If you’re in a hurry to get started, soaking is unnecessary.
Cover the top with cling wrap or a plastic cover punched with a few holes for good aeration. Place the bowl in a dark room or cupboard and wait for germination. Do not allow the seeds to dry out. Spray with a water bottle throughout the day if you can.
Note: you may see some mold growth on the roots due to too much humidity and not enough air circulation. When this happens, just remove the plastic cover for a few hours. The holes in the plastic wrap or cover should prevent this but always avoid overcrowding your seeds.
4. Place the grass in direct sunlight
After about 2 or three days you will notice the pale-colored green shoot on the one end of the seed and a tiny root on the other. Now is the time to uncover and place the cat grass in full sun. And here I really mean as much sunlight as you can get. You can use grow lights, but only for a day or so otherwise you end up with tall leggy grass. After about 5 to 7 days, the grass will be green and ready to be used for the grass pond.
5. Fill the pond with water
Position the smaller fishbowl in the center of the larger bowl and fill it with water. I always get excited to see the cats’ reactions when I’m about to present a new enrichment project. For this one, the cats couldn’t wait, especially when adding the robot fish!
Decorate the surrounding grass pond with river stones or your choice of crystals to add to the positive Zen vibes.
6. Add the robot fish!
This is the highlight of your cat grass pond. The lights and the movement activate once you immerse the robot fish in water. Pretty soon the cats gathered around and watering hole gossip took on a new meaning. Some cats were hypnotized, as if meditating, and were drawn in by the clicky sound and flashy lights of the moving fish. Suddenly, after much silence and forethought, a paw would strike out to test the waters. A little sip here, a little graze there. I think the cat grass pond will become a standard cat enrichment watering hole feature at the Chirpy house.
NOTE ABOUT THE ROBOT FISH: I recommend 10-minute sessions at a time. This is more or less the time your cat will be engaged, anyway. Dry the fish and store it in the same packaging. Always supervise your cats while they’re playing with the fish. Do not leave your cat unattended.
Water bowls don’t have to be boring. With a little creativity and whimsy, you can transform it into a space that’s appealing to the grass grazers and the water drinkers. The cat grass pond is also a wonderful and sneaky way to encourage your cats to drink more water. It may also provide a much-needed distraction and redirect your fish-loving cat away from visiting his scaly housemates.
Watch our video below to see the Chirpies play at their new grass pond
So give the cat in your life something to ponder about and make his very own cat grass pond. Do you think you might give this a try? Please chirp us a line in the comments below!
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