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My Cat is Chewing on My Plants! Should I Be Worried?

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

 

Being one of the deadliest hunters on earth, it’s no secret that cats mainly munch on meat. But what most people don’t know about these magnificent creatures is that they also enjoy feasting on some greens from time to time.

If you accidentally catch your feline pet ravaging the plants in your garden, cast all your worries away because this seems to be a common thing among cats. Yes, even the disgusting grass puke that follows such an act is unexplainably normal.

While experts are yet to determine the reason for cats’ uncharacteristic chewing of plants, many theories have been formulated as to why they exhibit this particular behavior.

Nutrient Deficiency

As one of the true carnivores, cats are designed to digest large amounts of protein in a single feeding. However, just like humans, they also tend to seek what they lack – including some nutrients that are deficient in their system.

One of the most common beliefs as to why cats eat plants, especially grass, is because they contain a variety of nutrients including folic acid which helps produce hemoglobin in the blood and an essential vitamin that helps with many bodily functions.

Many plants also contain vitamins A and D as well as niacin. The chlorophyll in plants also helps in oxygenating the blood.

Vomit Reflex Trigger

Another possible reason why cats ingest grass and various other plants is to trigger their vomit reflex. When cats groom themselves, the hook-like structures in their tongues enable them to comb their fur and dislodge hair.

Unfortunately, they also often ingest some of the hair. While hair mostly passes through a cat’s system, there are also quite a lot that remains stuck in the stomach causing the formation of a hairball.

Furthermore, cats are known to eat their prey as they are – fur, feathers, and bones included. Because of this, they aren’t able to fully digest all the parts of their food, hence the need to expel said remains from their bodies.

By ingesting grass and other plants, cats are able to trigger their vomit reflex and expel the hairball or whatever remains in their system. The whole process may be unbearable but the comfort and relief the act provides cats afterward are definitely worth the effort.

Stress & Anxiety

Since cats do not naturally eat plants, the very act itself may be a sign of anxiety or stress. When cats feel anxious or stressed, they may exhibit bouts of stress eating as a way to relieve themselves. It just so happened that plants are one of the easiest to munch on due to your cats’ ease of access to your garden.

Plant-eating caused by stress and anxiety usually comes with other behavioral signs such as the distancing of the cat from its owner and aggressive behavior. When you notice these signs, you should immediately consult your vet or an animal behaviorist to determine the root cause of these problems.

Is It Harmful?

When it comes to eating grass, the act itself is not normally harmful to cats. But, there are some plants that can be toxic to cats.

Plants like daffodils, tulips, and sweet peas are highly poisonous to cats. Azaleas, chrysanthemums, and lilies also have the same unfortunate effects on your feline pets so it would definitely be wise to keep your cat away from them.

Along with knowing your plants, you should also know which ones could potentially kill your cat. What’s more is that the pesticides and insecticides you use on your plants can also prove fatal to cats which is why you should take the necessary steps to keep your garden and your pet safe.

Keeping Your Cat Away From Your Plants

While you can decide to place safe plants only inside your house, the outdoors is something you have less control of. Since cats are curious and playful by nature, you can’t really keep them away from the great outdoors and all the risks that the outside world brings. But there are ways you can use to deter your furry pet away from your plants.

  • One of the best ways to keep your cat away from the plants is by using a deterrent. There are many deterrents in the market today that are considered safe to use such as Bitter Apple. Spraying it on your plants will give a smell that is repulsive to them but in a way that is also unnoticeable by humans. These are also safe for plants.
  • If you can’t prevent your cat from chomping down on some fresh greens, you can try using alternatives to make sure that what your cat ingests is safe for it to eat. These safe alternatives come in the form of commercial potted cat grass – usually bought from a pet store.

Catnips would also be very much appreciated by your pet and the best part about it all is that they’re quite easy to plant and grow in your own backyard.

  • Startling your cat whenever it tries to eat plants can also help keep them away. When your cat is about to munch on the greens, do not yell at it but rather, make sounds using a can of pennies or maybe even use a squirt gun.

However, you must do that in a way that would make the cat associate your actions with the act of eating plants and not with yourself.

  • When all else fails, taking your pet to a behavior specialist would be the best course of action.

In a nutshell, cats will always be cats. While predominantly carnivorous, they would always chomp on some plant whenever given the chance. Your responsibility now is on making sure that when they chomp, they chomp the right plant, else, you will have an emergency meeting with your veterinarian if they come across a plant that’s toxic to them.

So, with all these unsafe plants out of the way, go ahead. Have them eat plants. After all, what harm can a little green plant do?

 

Cleaning the air around you with your garden

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

 

It’s well-known that bigger cities have more pollution than the countryside, that’s no shock to anyone. More people means more cars, more fumes, et cetera. But you might be shocked to hear just how much more pollution – according to the Guardian, London filled its yearly legal limit of air pollution for the entire year in less than 30 days. A whole year’s worth of pollution in such a short time doesn’t come without a cot either; toxic air is attributed as a factor in around 40,000 deaths every year in Britain.

If you’re a gardener in a big city such as London, what can you do to help tackle the problem?

It’s time to get in the garden to help keep the air clean! We’re joined by supplier of compost bags, Compost Direct, to see what you garden can do to become an eco-warrior.

Hedges: conifers

For dealing with air pollution, hedges are a good choice and the conifer comes with a recommendation from Homes & Property. Specifically, the western red cedar hedge is named as an idea conifer to plant in your garden. But if your garden is a little smaller, the publication also names the yew as a great alternative, citing its evergreen nature and easy trimming.

Climbing plant: English ivy

It’s quite likely that you already have an ivy plant crawling up the walls of your home. Though it has a bad reputation in the States as being a weed, it can be a lovely addition to your garden if tended to. The plant offers benefits for wildlife and for the air – Goldsmiths, University of London, states that the wide leaves of the common ivy traps particulates, which makes it a great choice for purifying the air.

Colourful flowers: gerbera daisies

Red, orange, and pink are the new green! A recent study by NASA has provided a few colourful blooms for gardeners keen to clean the air.

Gerbera daisies are a fantastic way to add a sprinkle of colour into your garden. White, orange, red, pink — whichever you pick, they’ll give your garden a splash of colour. These flowers love direct sunlight and a bit of space, so make sure not to leave them in a shady corner of your garden. NASA even states that these wonderful flowers are great for dealing with multiple air toxins, such as benzene.

Even more colour: wallflowers

If you’re looking for even more colour in your flowers, look no further than the gorgeous wallflower. Goldsmiths also names this plant as being akin to the common ivy for its particulate-cleansing power. These flowers have a bright display of petals during the first half of the year. You can grow wallflowers in many colours, with purple and yellow popular choices.

 

Beyond the petals

It’s not just the plants within your garden that can help with air purification. You have to consider how you are tending to your garden as well.

Here’s five great ways to amend your gardening habits to create cleaner air, from SmilingGardener:

 

  • Quiet equipment. This one’s more for noise pollution, but it’s certainly an added bonus for the pollution-conscious gardener to take note of!
  • Consider indoors as well as outdoors. As well as planting outdoor plants to combat air toxicity, consider bringing in some houseplants to cleanse the air in your home.
  • Start composting. You can turn many waste products into compost to stop it going to the landfill.
  • Avoid corn gluten meal. SmilingGardener notes this meal is made up from genetically modified corn, so best to stay away from using it, if possible.
  • Stay away from using pesticides. This one is probably a given, but if you can avoid using chemicals on your garden, please do.

 

 

Sources:

https://www.smilinggardener.com/introduction/5-unique-ways-to-decrease-pollution/

https://www.gold.ac.uk/news/phyto-sensor/

https://www.homesandproperty.co.uk/home-garden/gardening/clean-air-save-your-home-from-harmful-pollution-with-clever-garden-hedge-choices-a114961.html

https://www.greenpeace.org.uk/reduce-your-exposure-to-air-pollution/

http://www.itv.com/news/london/2016-10-12/how-london-is-embracing-the-vertical-garden-or-living-wall/

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/howtogrow/11035106/Green-walls-how-to-grow-a-garden-vertically.html

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/jan/30/london-reaches-legal-air-pollution-limit-just-one-month-into-the-new-year

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/flowers/gerbera-daisy/growing-gerbera-daisies.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hedera_helix

http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/plants/plant_finder/plant_pages/11278.shtml

http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/plants/plant_finder/plant_pages/25.shtml

 

How to Move Using a POD Storage in Edmonton

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

Have you run out of moves when it comes to where to pack your stuff? Are you about to move out and have no idea what to do to avoid the unexplainable high cost of hiring a moving company? If the answer to these questions is a resounding “yes,” then renting a moving container/POD storage can be a great thing to do.

If you live in Edmonton, hiring portable storage and moving service is not only easy but also way less expensive. That’s why we bring you all you need to know to choose the right Pod Storage and the best service in order to have a less stressful moving experience.

Choose the Right Moving Container Service

Broadly speaking, most moving containers are made of strong and reliable materials that make them capable of resisting hard weather conditions. However, moving containers also come in many sizes, so it is essential to know how much space you will need to pack all you need to pack.

Each company will provide a different service, depending on the circumstances. So before picking up the phone and calling them, ensure that you’re clear about your moving needs and conditions. Some services these companies provide can cover the following scenarios:

  • Weather-resistant
  • City moving
  • Overseas shipping
  • Personalized schedule
  • Personalized payment methods
  • Different size containers

Prepare Your Stuff for Storing

When it comes to storing, these containers are mostly reliable boxes that allow the storing of any object. Nevertheless, there are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind if you want to optimize your storage and get the most out of your moving container.

First of all, make sure you have the right set of tools to begin with the storing process such as

  • loading straps
  • paper and furniture pads
  • dolly

These tools will not only keep your items protected, but they will also allow you to move heavy and fragile objects with ease.

When it comes to storing sequence, the right order can make or break the efficiency of your moving container. It is highly recommended that the heaviest boxes and items go in first and leave the smallest items/boxes for last. Also, make sure that the items are tightly packed as this will reduce the risk of shifting and breaking during transportation.


Packing Process

To be successful at this, you’ll need to know the basics of proper weight distribution as well as adequate packing techniques, so you don’t end up suffering the consequences of lousy packing. On the weight part, make sure to even it out by placing similar weight objects throughout all the corners of the container to get the right balance.

Also, make sure you don’t include the following items in the container as these are of high risk or value and should be carried out with you directly.

  • hazardous material
  • highly perishable items
  • living things
  • personal documents
  • work documents
  • electronic devices (PCs and laptops)

Even though most homeowner insurance policies cover the loss of valuable items, a contents insurance policy purchased from a third-party insurance company will sometimes be required. This can apply in case you decide not to move right away and have the items stored in the moving company’s warehouse.

It’s All About the Money

Calculating the total price will depend on the kind of service and the size of the container you’ll need. According to the website movers.com, POD’s come in three sizes, and the estimated price of monthly rent according to each size can be stated as follows:

  • 7-foot containers – $116 USD
  • 12-foot containers – $170 USD
  • 16-foot containers – more than $170 USD

Beware though, because the charges don’t end up there. Besides the monthly rent, most POD’s companies tend to charge an initial delivery fee of $90-100 for delivering the container to your home. If you are looking for shipping the container, an extra $100 – 225 will be added as well.

However, wait, because those prices only apply for local moves. If you’re planning an overseas move, the prices will go higher.

Depending on your destination, the company can charge a fee per mileage that goes between $6-9. So, if you are planning on moving 100 miles away from your home, the total cost of a 12-foot container can cost you up to $1,000.

Way Better Than a Moving Truck

I know many of you may say at this point that renting a moving truck might be a little less expensive, but in the end, it is also way riskier and less convenient.

Not only would you need to drive the truck by yourself, if any items get damaged or ruined during the moving process, nothing can save you, and you will have to be 100% responsible for paying the caused damages.

What’s worse, if you don’t have a truck driver license, consider yourself out of that option. So, you’ll end up paying more money to hire a licensed truck driver that drives the truck for you.

A POD storage service is the least expensive and safe moving service that a moving company can offer. Besides, it gives you the advantage of controlling how many and from which size the PODs you desire to rent need to be, something that you can’t do with a truck.

Best Pod Storage Services (Edmonton)

Finally, here is a list of the best three companies in Edmonton that will provide you with the best quality services and the best POD containers for your needs.

  1. ALTA Storage – Portable Pod Storage: They offer an excellent service that according to Google ranks, gives them the perfect score of 5/5 stars.
  2. Cubeit Portable Storage: Besides Edmonton, it covers other areas such as Alberta, Quebec, British Columbia, Ontario, Manitoba and Nova Scotia, among other regions. Opinions on Google ranks also gives them the perfect score of 5/5 stars.

3. BigSteelBox Moving & Storage: The professional and client-oriented service they offer has given them mostly positive reviews, giving them a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars according to Google.

Can gardening help fight against depression?

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

 

You’re not alone if you are feeling under pressure or depressed. According to research carried out by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), moments of anxiety or depression will be experienced by almost a fifth of UK adults. The ONS has also revealed that more women will report their problems than men, though the fact that depression can come on from a major life event, like a family bereavement, or from overthinking situations means that the issue can affect anyone. This being said, certain genetic variations can mean that some individuals will be more at risk of suffering from depression than others.

 

While prescribed anti-depressants will be used by many people when they are depressed — acting as ‘mood enhancers’ — these don’t work for all individuals. As an alternative solution, have you considered gardening? After all, reports have suggested that 87% of people who spend time gardening for over six hours a week feel happier. Here’s a look at four reasons why that might be the case…

 

  1. It gets you around plant scented flowers

The feelings of stress and depression can drop by inhaling the scents released by plants such as lavender. On top of this, scientists in Japan claim that gene activity being altered. Aromatherapy, for example, is used as a form of alternative medicine and relies on scents such as this.  

 

Jasmine’s fragrance is also claimed to help you sleep, so make an effort to get this plant somewhere within your garden. Rosemary will be beneficial too, as it is said to improve air quality, memory function and banish anxiety.

 

  1. It allows you to grow your own produce

When you choose to making gardening a hobby, one activity that should be towards the top of you to-do list is to grow your own veg. It is believed that producing your own food can help you reconnect with our planet, its seasons and rhythms. Not only this, but tending to your crops will provide enough light exercise — at your own pace — to boost your endorphin levels.

 

When you feel you’re not in control, depression can be a result. With that in mind, growing your own fruit and veg can help give back some of that power. It’s also thought that folate-rich foods, such as kale and spinach, can help lift your morale. So, what better way to boost yourself than growing it yourself?

 

When you’re harvesting your own crops, dopamine may be released into the brain — with this often referred to as the ‘pleasure chemical’. This will, in turn, trigger a state of bliss. This release can be caused by sight, smell and actually plucking fruit, so be sure to plant as many different edible options as possible and get that dopamine flowing!

 

  1. It’s an activity that can involve the entire family

Make gardening a family activity and you will have the chance to socialise somewhere that you consider a comfort zone. This is especially important when you consider that your confidence can be drained when you suffer from depression. Most kids love the garden — and spending time with you — so by creating fun tasks to improve your garden, they will instinctively have fun which will help lift your spirits.

 

According to scientists, soil contains various forms of friendly bacteria that work to boost your immune system too. In effect, this process will work in a similar way that anti-depressants do.

 

  1. It keeps you busy

Without the requirement to becoming too much of a chore, gardening is a hobby that will help keep your mind and body busy. Tasks such as digging, mowing and planting can keep you occupied for hours on end and always thinking, while being outdoors can increase serotonin in the brain. On top of this, the relaxing ambience provided by being outside can leave you feeling rejuvenated.

 

“While I haven’t come across anyone claiming that gardening has single-handedly overcome their depression, as part of a wide set of tools, gardening can be beneficial in the battle against depression,” points out Dr Sheri Jacobson, Harley Therapy’s clinical director and a psychotherapist, to Huffington Post.

 

“Being in the outdoors in more natural surroundings can help lift our mood as it brings a sense of simplicity and tranquillity which is therapeutic for many people.”

 

Gardening can still seem like too much hard work for some people though, despite these advantages being spotlighted. However, with so many potential benefits, it’s clearly worth trying to get into this hobby. Remember though, you are not alone in your struggle, so be sure to talk to professionals and those closest to you if you are depressed. There are many people out there to discuss your feelings with.

 

Sources

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/jun/19/anxiety-depression-office-national-statistics

http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/0/22020430

 

https://www.rachel-kelly.net/gardening-helps-depression/

https://www.rebootwithjoe.com/fruit-and-vegetables-may-help-fight-depression/

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090722110901.htm

https://www.serenataflowers.com/pollennation/plants-anti-anxiety-benefits/

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/07/16/gardening-helps-depression-_n_3602877.html