Garden decking can really change the way you look at the outdoor area of your property. Having a place to set a table and chairs, a barbecue and some lighting really opens up opportunities for relaxing and entertaining. People who have decking installed are often surprised at just how much more time they spend outdoors.
That's all well and good, but don't forget the smaller, furrier members of your family. After all, when you're indoors or out at work, if you have a cat or two, chances are they'll be using the decking for lounging and playing anyway. With a few small adjustments and inclusions, you can give them a bit of fun and help make sure they don't wreck your decking at the same time.
Give somewhere to scratch
Cats scratch things to sharpen their claws and mark their territory, and if you don't give them somewhere to do so, there's a good chance they'll have a go at your decking timber. This is sure to leave little claw marks and gradually get worse over time.
All you need is a small piece of weather-resistant outdoor carpet. If you can, adding an upright post covered in the carpet is ideal. If not, you can just add the carpet to one of the existing decking parts and encourage the cat to scratch there so the wood isn't damaged.
Make playtime fun
Giving cats somewhere to practice their hunting skills not only keeps them entertained, but it also helps stop them messing with your decking and killing wildlife. Cats will play with pretty much anything that's hanging down, so tie some toys on strings to the railing of your decking. If you don't have a railing, just tie them wherever you've put the scratching carpet.
Provide a lookout
It's important for cats to have a good view when they want to, as it makes them feel safe and secure. On top of an upright post, fix a flat surface for the cat to sit and lie on, and make sure it's low enough for them to reach. It's a good idea to cover this in outdoor carpet to limit damage.
Don't forget a cosy spot
When it's sunny, cats love to lounge around, soaking up the warmth. Get a plastic pet bed that will withstand the changing weather, and have a blanket you can put in and remove as needed. Place it in a corner to keep the cat out of the way when you're using the decking.