As the cats crunch on their delicious grass bucket at their newly decorated Spring Oasis lounge, I am reminded of how important it is to offer new and exciting textures that are attractive to cats. Sensory enrichment for your cats is just as vital to his well-being as any other form of enrichment.
Overflowing with a myriad of textures and smells, the Spring Oasis Cat Lounge offers an attractive space to explore, drink, hunt and relax after a long winter.
If your cat had a bucket list of things to do, what would they be?
Catch the red dot? Nah, that’s for kittens!
Kill the vacuum cleaner? Perhaps! It’s loud and sucks up all their favorite toys!
Sail away with an owl on a beautiful pea-green boat? Wait, what? Never mind…
Instead, fill your cat’s bucket
Forget the elusive bucket list. Rather, fill your cat’s bucket and engage your furry hunter-gatherers with a Spring Oasis chock-full of cat enrichment goodness they cannot resist.
Well, what could this Spring bucket of cat delights possibly contain?
Our Spring Oasis lounge features a DIY bird nest made with natural objects such as twigs, leaves and vine branches. The nest rests on a bucket of cat grass and accessorized with homemade Easter eggs cat toys made from cold porcelain and feathers from old cat toys. No cat oasis is complete without a water source, so a fountain is essential. We used both the elegant Swan fountain for a clean look and feel as well as the Bamboo Accents fountain for a more rustic woodsy feel.
For the perfect setup, find a high traffic area that gets used a lot with plenty of sun puddles. This is ideally the place where they hang out and timeshare as well as share their ‘daily cat gossip.’
Materials needed for the Spring Oasis
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- Large Galvanized bucket (Michaels) – This is solid and sturdy, something that the cats cannot tip over and makes a really pretty display once the grass starts to grow and it’s ‘crowned’ with a bird nest.
- Tissue paper Spring grass – The cats love the texture of these paper mats!
- For the display platforms, I used the long LACK shelving units (IKEA) as well as the small square LACK units to elevate the fountains and grass bucket.
- Organic potting soil
- Grass seeds (For this Spring crop I used oat grass instead of wheatgrass) It seems that some cats like the slightly sweeter taste of oat grass. Jimmy, however, is not fussy!)
- Vines, twigs, leaves for the bird nest
- Fountains – I love the Swan fountain from Pioneer Pet for a clean elegant look. If you prefer a more rustic woodsy ambiance, go with the Bamboo Accents fountain, (which is for both indoor and outdoor use). For the Chirpies’ Spring Oasis I tried out both options and they look great on their displays. Pounce over to our post about creating a watering hole for your Summer catio.
- Cat Vine sticks and various pastel and natural shades of twine for the ‘Spring cleaning’ cat broomsticks
Ready to set up your Cat’s Spring Oasis? Let’s go!
Plant the grass seeds as per the instructions in our Ultimate Guide to Growing cat Grass. The only variation with our Spring bucket is to plant the seeds in the center of the bucket, leaving a space of about an inch away from the rim. You will need some space for the bird nest to rest securely.
Make the bird nest
While the grass is growing, let’s make the bird nest. It’s time for some fun foraging outside for some twigs or vine stems. Gather a few leaves and if you’re anything like me you will have plenty of catnip stems left over from last Fall. Collect the twigs and branches on the same day you decide to make the nest. This way they won’t break if you try to bend them. Ensure that whatever stems or twigs you use are from cat-friendly plants.
Bend the vine stems into a circle and tie securely with twine. This circular piece should be able to fit inside the rim of the grass bucket. Make several circular pieces, with every second piece slightly large in circumference than the first. There is no methodical way of doing this, but slowly building up your Spring ‘wreath’ and tie the stems together. To add bulk I also scrunched up some strips of brown paper to interweave between a few stems and then filled in the gaps with leftover dried catnip stems and leaves. I use the dried leaves from a money plant tree which is a cat-safe plant.
NOTE: The vine I use is called Kiwi vine or Actinidia Kolomikta which is related to the popular Silver vines (Actinidia Polygama) cats love. My cats seem to like this variety too, so as you can see from the photos below, I had a little ‘help’ building the bird nest! In the end, I gave up saying “No, Mr. Jack, no!”
A new Spring broom sweeps Spring clean
These cute little ‘Spring cleaning’ brooms are easy to make using twine and the cat vine sticks. Cut about 20 pieces of twine, each at 8 inches long. Tie them all together in the middle loosely with another piece of twine. Now fold over the twine pieces at the one end and stick a piece of cat vine through the hole you have made. Glue around the cat vine stick where it meets the twine using Elmer’s glue. Fold over all the broom’s ‘bristles’ and press down with your fingers to ensure the twine is sticking. Roll a different color of twine around the top to add the finishing touch to your cat’s mini broom.
NOTE: Ensure all twine is secure and there are no loose pieces. Elmer’s glue is non-toxic but I always keep wet glues and acrylic paints out of reach of the cats.
Easter egg cat toys with a difference
Instead of throwing out old feather toys, I keep the undamaged feathers and repurpose them for a brand new toy. My cats enjoy rolling things around on the floors so I thought I’d make a few add-on items for their Spring bucket. These Easter egg toys are made from my homemade cold porcelain recipe and polystyrene balls.
I make a hole at one end of the ball and glue a bunch of feathers, twigs or twine securely into the hole. I then ‘wrap’ the polystyrene balls with different colored cold porcelain and shape them into a basic egg shape. This is hung out to dry, cured and sealed.
The unveiling of the Spring Oasis
So, you’ve arranged your platforms, spread out the grass mats and set up your fountains. Now place the bird nest securely on top of the grass bucket and place it on a LACK IKEA platform. Arrange your add-on accessories such as the Easter egg feather toys and broomsticks around the nest. For added fun, I’ve also made little speckled eggs (cold porcelain) which I’ve nestled on top of the bamboo fountain as well as laid them into tiny decorative buckets.
As soon as the Chirpies discovered the Spring Oasis Lounge they were salivating over tantalizing vine broomsticks, fresh cat grass and drawn toward the bird nest. Soon they were batting the egg toys around and rolling around on the tissue grass mats.
After a few days our kitchen became the playground for daily Easter egg scavenger hunts with these homemade cat toys.
So While your cat might be dreaming of things to put on her bucket list, surprise her with an Oasis of Spring goodness.
When your cat’s bucket is running on empty it’s time to fill it with something special, especially after a long and dreary winter!
This Easter, how are you making your cat happy? When last have you filled your cat’s bucket?
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