"Has anyone else noticed their pets
behaving strangely?" Lorina asked
at the chronic pain support group.
"My mental health kitty doesn't want
to snuggle anymore, she just hisses
at me. This is so not helping."
"Not pets, but I used to feed
the stray cats and put out shelters
for them," Hilla said. "Now they
won't come near me, or even
anything I've touched recently."
"Your scent changes, and so does
your body language," Randie said.
"Animals don't like changing relations."
"It could be worse," Alexandria said
as she scratched vigorously. "My dog
still loves me, but he gave me fleas."
"You could wear a flea collar,"
Minxie said. "Those work great."
"I'm not a dog," Alexandria snapped.
"Isn't there some kind of flea treatment that
you only need to put on once every month
or two?" Minxie said. "That's not a collar."
Alexandria shook her head. "I have ... had? ...
allergies, so I don't want to deal with chemicals
I can't take off if I need to," she said. "Besides,
I don't know how it might affect the baby."
"There are plenty of herbal flea products,"
Soma said. "You can buy them or make
your own. Landscaping, too, if you plant
things that discourage insects."
"Do you have a list?" Hilla asked,
taking out her notebook.
"Sure," Soma said, and rattled off
a couple dozen different herbs.
Randie just stared at them.
"What?" Hilla said. "You have
this huge amazing yard, and
it's mostly a jungle now. There's
plenty of room for an herb garden."
"Ooo, we could have a landscaping party!"
Alexandria exclaimed. "Clear out the weeds,
put in any fixtures you want, then put in
the new plants. It'll be lots of fun!"
"I don't know ..." Randie said slowly.
"We can keep whatever you like about
your yard," Hilla assured her. "But don't
you think it's time for a change? You're
getting your wolf under control now.
I think she'd enjoy a place to play.
It would be good for the group, too,
with our changing relations."
"I like forest gardens," Randie admitted.
"One forest garden, coming up,"
Alexandria declared. "Give us
a chance to scope out your place
and do a little research for ideas,
then we can get started."
"Okay," Randie said.
"Let's make a forest garden."
* * *
Stray cats benefit from winter shelters. Here are instructions for making cat shelters.
Natural flea control includes a wide range of plants and other remedies.
At first, Randie's backyard was completely overgrown.
A forest garden is typically planted in layers. There are tips on how to start a permaculture garden, how to plant a food forest, and suggestions for what species to plant.
Gardening for wildlife involves creating a backyard habitat for animals. Learn how to improve habitat in your yard.