Anyone who owns a cat will probably have asked ‘why do cats eat grass?’. This is because you will have noticed that sometimes your cat likes to nibble your houseplants or your lawn, this behaviour may seem strange for a carnivorous creature however it is actually quite normal for cats to eat grass and there are a number of reasons why they may do so.
Grass is full of vital vitamins which your cat may be lacking in its diet. Grass can be a useful addition to your cat’s diet which can help in the digestion process.
- Eating Grass Helps Your Cats Digestion
- Cats Eat Grass Because It Is Full Of Vitamins & Minerals That Are Good For Them
- Some Cats May Eat Grass Because They Enjoy The Taste
- Reasons Why Your Cat May Vomit After Eating Grass
- How To Grow Your Own Cat Grass
Eating Grass Helps Your Cats Digestion
If your cat is having digestion problems they may eat grass to help their stomach digest their food more efficiently. Grass can help in a number of ways:
Grass Helps Your Cat Throw Up Hairballs
Grass is emetic, this means that it can be used to cause vomiting because of its high levels of fibre. Your cat may choose to eat grass if they have a particularly troublesome hairball which they are struggling to get rid of.
Throwing up may not look nice but it can actually be good for your cat as it helps clear their stomach of things like hair, parasites, bones, dirt and other foreign bodies that shouldn’t be there. Getting rid of these helps your cat to digest their food much more efficiently.
Eating Grass Helps With Constipation
Cats can suffer from constipation if they are experiencing stress or if their diet is poor. Grass is natures laxative so will help your cat get unblocked…encouraging your cat to drink more water will also help with constipation too.
Cats Eat Grass Because It Is Full Of Vitamins & Minerals That Are Good For Them
Normal lawn grass can have some great health benefits for cats providing it has not been treated or contaminated with anything. Cat grass is a better alternative to lawn grass as it will be contaminant free and is grown specifically for feline consumption. It is also filled with vitamins and minerals which have plenty of health benefits.
Cat grass contains all of the following highly beneficial vitamins:
- Folic Acid: Folic acid is great for your cat’s health as it helps increase blood oxygen levels.
- Vitamin A: This helps with growth, muscle maintenance and maintaining your cat’s ability to see well in the dark.
- Vitamin B: These vitamins help in maintaining a healthy and fully functional nervous system.
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C helps your cat absorb vital minerals and also helps ensure that their immune systems stay healthy and functional.
- Vitamin K: Is important for good liver function and also help minimise the risk of blood clots forming in your cat.
- Vitamin E: Helps boost your cat’s immune system and is also great for their coat and skin.
- Chlorophyll: This is the pigment that gives grass its colour, it is useful in the healing process for your cat and also helps with bad breath too!
Some Cats May Eat Grass Because They Enjoy The Taste
It sounds almost too simple but some cats will eat grass because they genuinely enjoy the taste and texture of grass. Eating grass isn’t necessarily a sign that your cat has a nutritional deficiency or is trying to move a stubborn hairball it may simply mean that your cat likes the flavour of grass.
Reasons Why Your Cat May Vomit After Eating Grass
Grass may cause your cat to throw up too, however, this is not always a bad thing, cats sometimes use grass to stimulate the pharyngeal reflex (responsible for gagging) which will cause them to vomit thus helping in dislodging foreign bodies from their stomach including things like; hairballs, bone fragments, potentially harmful germs and any other piece of rubbish that they may have inadvertently swallowed.
One thing that it is important to be aware of is that if your lawn has been treated with pesticides then this can potentially be harmful to your cat, so if your cat does enjoy eating your lawn then avoid using any pesticides.
A better, safer and more nutritious alternative to lawn grass is specially grown cat grass.
What Is Cat Grass?
Cat grass is grass which is grown specifically for cats to eat.
The Latin name for the most common form of cat grass is Avena Sativa which is the common oat, the type you can make porridge from. However, although this is the preferred grass type for cats it is not the only type of grass which is suitable.
Flax, Barley and Wheatgrass are also often referred to as cat grass, catnip is often categorised as cat grass too however catnip is not a grass.
How To Grow Your Own Cat Grass
It is well worth ensuring that you have cat grass available for your cats to eat, failure to provide cat grass will mean that your houseplants will definitely suffer or your cats will resort to eating plants outside which may have been treated with pesticides which could make them very ill.
Fortunately cat grass is very easy to grow, all you need to grow cat grass is:
- a small bowl
- some compost or soil
- Cat grass seeds
- a plastic wrap
- some water
Once you have gathered everything you need then follow these five simple steps:
- Fill the bowl half full with soil and add the seeds on top.
- Cover the seeds with another layer of soil about 5mm deep.
- Water the seeds so that the soil feels nicely moist but not sodden.
- Cover the bowl with the plastic wrap and leave it in a warm dry place.
- Remove the plastic wrap in a couple of days with the grass grows through, it should take about no more than one week of growth until the grass is ready for your cats to enjoy.
How Long Does Cat Grass Take To Grow?
You should start to see grass shoots a couple of days after planting and watering your seeds, these should then grow quite quickly and within 7 – 14 days (depending on the seed and how favourable the growing conditions are) they should reach their full optimal height of around four inches. At this stage it is ready for your cat to eat it.
How Long Does It Last?
Cat grass has quite a short life-cycle and will usually die within 10 – 21 days. With a bit of luck your cat grass may survive a full month however when it does discolour and start to wilt you should throw it out and plant some new seeds.
To extend the life of your cat grass for as long as possible keep your grass in a place where it is exposed to as much natural sunlight as possible and water it regularly. It is important to make sure you don’t over-water your cat grass though, using a spray bottle is a good way of replicating the dew that would feed them in the wild and will prevent over watering.