How Easy Is It To Grow
Cat grass is relatively easy to grow. If youre starting from seeds, all youll need to provide is water and sunlight, and within about one week, your cat will have their very own organic garden for safe, healthy nibbling.
Cat grass is grown indoors for your cat. If you live in an apartment and your cat does not have access outside, your cat may chew on household plants instead, which can be dangerous if you have poisonous houseplants.
Cat Has Developed An Insatiable Appetite For Grass
Dear Dr. Fox:
My 12-year-old cat eats grass I mean, like a sheep eats grass! She eats it for about 15 minutes every day when I take her out in our enclosed back yard.
She always ate some grass but seems to do so constantly now. A hairball shows up every third day or so. Ive tried hairball products, but she hates them so much that she spits them out or vomits them up almost immediately. Do you have any advice?
S.N., the District
DF: Your cat is displaying her biological wisdom, eating a small amount of cat tonic grass. I wish more cats had such an opportunity. A few pots of sprouting wheatgrass for indoor cats can be a daily delight.
Like dogs and other animals, cats will eat grass and various herbs when they feel the urge, which might be from stomach or intestinal irritation caused by a hairball or parasites, or nausea from chronic liver, kidney or other health problems.
Such behavior might be innate and reinforced by the animals feeling better after consuming the selected plant. I have also seen puppies and kittens engaging in observational learning, trying out the eating of grass after seeing their mothers or an older animal do it.
This behavior calls for caution: Cats nibbling on lilies and other potentially harmful plants put themselves at risk, possibly because they want to eat something green such as grass, which is safe.
Dear Dr. Fox:
L.T., Fargo, N.D.
Dear Dr. Fox:
We have a situation that you have probably seen before, but we havent.
Dear Dr. Fox:
Helps With Stomach Upset
One of the most common theories behind why do cats eat grass is that it helps with stomach upset. This is linked to the fact that they tend to throw up after they eat it, as cats actually lack the appropriate enzymes needed to digest grass.
Due to this, its thought that they may eat it to try and help them to regurgitate, thus helping them clear their system of anything they couldnt digest such as their own hair or feathers and bones from prey. This is also a common reason why dogs eat grass.
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Dont Let Your Cat Eat Any Old Grass
While eating grass is, at best, a pleasurable activity for your cat, and, at worst, an indulgence in a non-toxic snack, not all grasses are created equal.
First of all, a cat that is looking for something green to eat might turn to other plant matter in the absence of real grass. Many household and landscape plants are poisonous to cats. Know whether your household and yard plants are dangerous for cats and seriously consider rehoming them if they are.
Also, read the labels of the fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides that you may apply to your indoor and outdoor gardens. Many of these chemicals are toxic to cats and may be inadvertently ingested by a cat seeking a little greenery to nibble.
For cats who simply must have grass to munch on, consider buying her a special kitty garden. These come with untreated seeds of safe grasses, such as oats, rye, wheat, or barley.
Is Eating Grass Harmful
Eating grass is typically not harmful. If you have an outdoor cat though, you wouldnt want her eating grass that has been chemically treated. The safest way to provide grass for your cat is to grow a pot of it for her. You can either purchase a kitty greens kit at your local pet product store or grow your own using rye, wheat or oat seeds. In fact, providing your cat with some safe kitty greens may help prevent her from nibbling on dangerous houseplants which ARE toxic to cats.
Dont confuse grass-eating with plant-eating. All houseplants are toxic to cats and most are poisonous. Keep plants out of your cats reach.
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Do Cats Eat Grass For The Fiber
Another theory holds that because grass has so much indigestible cellulose , that cats eat it to help keep their digestive tracts in good working order the way a human suffering from constipation might down a glass of Citrucel.
It is true that constipation is a common cat problem. It is possible that cats are self-medicating with grass to alleviate an overfull colon. Notice if your cat hasnt pooped in more than a day or two, or if he is crying or straining in the litter box and consult your veterinarian posthaste.
If your cat is not suffering from constipation, this is probably not the reason he is eating grass.
Why Do Cats Eat Grass And Is It Safe
As almost any cat owner who lets their feline friends outside knows, cats have a strange obsession with grass. Theyll poke and prod at it, play with it, sniff it and even bite ita lot. Cats eating grass is a pretty normal occurrence, and so is the pile of vomit youre sure to find shortly after.
Both indoor and outdoor cats are guilty of eating grass at some point. Many pet owners worry about their cats when they see them eating grass because they know the cat will eventually get sick. While its natural to assume that throwing up is synonymous with danger, that isnt the case with normal, clean grass. In reality, your cat eating grass is nothing to worry about.
If cats can eat grass, but will almost certainly get sick after doing so, then why do they continue to eat it? Veterinarians and animal experts dont have an exact reason behind this, but they do have a few theories for why cats love to nibble on natures most prevalent greens.
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It Must Be Something I Ate
Cats may eat grass as a way of ridding their digestive tract of something unpleasant or inedible. Grass nibbling may be of particular importance to outdoor cats who eat prey in order to get rid of any inedible parts that get swallowed . It can also be a way for a cat to get rid of some hair that gets swallowed during grooming which may cut down on hairballs.
Top Reasons Why Your Cat Is Eating Grass
Simply put, cats eat grass because it comes naturally to them. Its an instinct ingrained in them long ago by their ancestors. Eating grass has a number of health benefits, which helps to explain why even our domestic kittens like to munch on the green stuff.
A quick summary of why your cat is eating grass, you say? Youre welcome ð
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Why Do Cats Eat Grass Is Grass Safe For Cats
Cats can exhibit some quirky and questionable behaviors now and then because well, theyre cats! If youre a cat owner, youve probably noticed your feline friend munching away at grass every once in a while, and wonder why?Its perfectly normal for cats to eat grass and most cats do it. The main reason cats eat grass is because it comes naturally to them and helps support their overall health. Here are a few more specific reasons why cats eat grass.
Eating Your Greens: The Basics Of Cat Grass
When confronted with the topic of healthy eating, we, as humans, are frequently reminded of the importance of including daily greens in our diets. Does your cats diet need the same?
Dr. Lori Teller, a clinical associate professor at the Texas A& M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, discusses the basics of cat grass that every cat owner should know.
Cat grass isnt any one type of grass but can be a combination of grasses, such as rye, barley, oat, and wheat, Teller said. Cat owners can buy kits at many stores to grow cat grass for their kitties.
Most owners dont need to rush to the store to purchase this grass for their pet, however, as it is not always necessary to complete their diet.
Cat grass is not a required part of a cats diet if the food they are eating is well-balanced, but it is something that many cats enjoy, Teller said. Especially for indoor cats, it can be a source of environmental enrichment. In some cases, it may provide some micronutrients, such as vitamins A and D.
The reasons cats seek out such grass are still unclear. Though veterinarians have yet to come to a consensus on one definitive answer, several theories exist.
Teller also advises that owners shouldnt be nervous about introducing cat grass to their pets environment, even if it something their pet hasnt yet encountered.
Owners residing in multiple-pet households can also be assured that cat grass is likely a safe addition to their home.
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Grass Is A Laxative For Cats
One of the most common feline behaviours is licking, and depending on the length of hair your cat grows, excess hair can be ingested and block your pets digestive tract causing constipation and discomfort.
Your cat may be eating grass as it serves as a natural laxative to aid the digestive system. It also encourages vomiting, which your cat may use to self-medicate when they swallow inedible items like bones and feathers from their outdoor prey.
Can Cats Become Sick From Wheatgrass
If you noticed your cat puking after eating wheatgrass, this is nothing to worry about. In the wild, cats will use grass and vegetation as a means to regurgitate feathers, fur, and bones from their pray. If your cat has a stomach ache, gas, or is having trouble digesting its food, it may look to wheatgrass as a means to expel the food for discomfort relief. Cats can however become sick from eating wheatgrass that is grown outdoors from parasites so be sure to thoroughly clean this grass before offering it to your cat.
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What Is The Best Grass For Indoor Cats
The best grass for indoor cats is one that is cat-safe and nontoxic. You can easily grow a cat garden indoors or in your cat’s outdoor catio enclosure. A cat garden can keep your cat entertained, provide some trace nutrients, and give him a safe household item to chew on.
Best grass and plants for indoor cats:
- Spider plant
Catnip toys are very popular for a good reason. The catnip plant is part of the catmint family and contains a chemical terpene called nepetalactone.
This terpene tickles the cat’s opioid receptors in the brain. And it promotes a happy, calm, and playful mood. Some cats rub and roll around on catnip. Others may drool and appear very relaxed.
If your cat doesn’t fancy catnip, Silvervine is an excellent alternative.
In a study among 100 domestic cats, 79% of them responded to Silvervine. And 68% responded to catnip. Silvervine smells a bit minty, just like catnip.
Tatarian Honeysuckle is another catnip alternative. In that same study, 53% of cats responded to Tatarian Honeysuckle. This is another great alternative to catnip.
All of these plants contain compounds that stimulate olfactory enrichment. This enrichment can be very beneficial, especially for indoor cats. Enrichment and mental stimulation keep cats busy and can prevent boredom and stress.
And I’ve found that Valerian root smells a bit like feet. Many cats do love sniffing inside shoes, though!
Do Cats Eat Grass For The Folic Acid
Another theory is that cats chew on grass to extract the vitamin folic acid from its juices. Folic acid helps the cats body produce hemoglobin, a protein that transports oxygen in the blood. Its true that cat mothers produce folic acid in their milk because its so important that their kittens get enough. Adult cats who are low in folic acid can become anemic.
The idea that cats eat grass for the folic acid assumes that there is an epidemic of cats deficient in folic acid, but the science doesnt support that contention. DSM, one of the worlds leaders in animal nutrition, contends that folic acid produced by intestinal microflora is usually adequate to meet requirements. In other words, the bacteria in cats own bellies makes all the folic acid a cat needs.
A true folic acid deficiency was noted specifically in cats on special diets who were also taking antibiotics. Folic acid deficiency is probably not a concern for most cats.
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How Can Wheatgrass Benefit My Cat
Wheat grass is loaded with powerful anti-oxidants, minerals, and vitamins that can lead to wonderful benefits for your cat. These benefits range from weight loss and management, fertility , pain relief, detoxification, and more! We have listed 9 of the best benefits wheatgrass can provide for your cat.
How Can Eating Grass Help My Cat
Eating grass can be beneficial to your cat in a number of different ways. Grass contains folic acid, this Vitamin helps cats produce hemoglobin, a protein that moves oxygen in the blood.
Most of the time cats will eat or chew on grass to help alleviate an upset or nauseous stomach. Also, if a cats stomach is full of hairballs, or feathers it may eat grass to regurgitate, in turn, this will help clear the stomach.
According to Animal Planet, cats just like the texture and taste of grass, no matter what benefits it might do for their bodies. Also, different types of grass have different effects on the cats digestive system. Broad grasses are aimed to help a cat cope with an upset stomach.
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Can Cats Digest Grass
Cats are obligate carnivores. This means that cats must eat meat. Obligate means by necessity and carnivore means meat eater. Just because there are vegan cat foods on the market does not mean they meet a cats nutritional needs. Meat is a biological necessity for cats. There is some thought that cats have no need for carbohydrates at all.
Humans and dogs, by contrast, are omnivores, meaning we are able to remain healthy by eating both animals and plants.
But even humans and dogs who eat everything dont eat grass. Grass is non-toxic and is edible, and plenty of animals thrive on it. Why dont we?
The reason we dont eat grass is because of the cellulose. The cell walls of most plants contain cellulose, a complex carbohydrate, and humans, cats, and dogs, cannot digest cellulose. The plants we do eat contain other nutrients that we can digest and so we take what we can from them. But grass is mostly cellulose and there isnt much nutrition in it for us.
Animals that can eat grass have very specialized digestive systems that allow them to break down all that cellulose in grass. Cows, for example, have a special chamber in their stomachs called a rumen. Microbes in the rumen produce an enzyme called cellulase that breaks down the cellulose into more digestible bits. Theres a lot more to the whole process than that, but the bottom line is that cats dont have a rumen. They cant digest grass.
Is Eating Grass Related To Stress
That said, eating grass may also be a sign that your kitty is stressed out. Find out the things you do that your cat secretly hates.
Some people say if a cat is in a stressful environment, they may stress eat, similar to the way humans stress or emotionally eat to kind of help relax them or calm them down, Lands says. That may be the case with feral cats.
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What Can You Do To Keep Your Cat Safe
- Grow a patch of grass in your home for your cat. That way you know its not covered in dangerous fertilizers or wild animal droppings that could be infected.
- Growing a small amount of catnip is another option for your cat. Not only will your kitty possibly do some Americas Funniest Home Videos worthy behavior, but theyll also satisfy their need for the green munchies.
- Make sure all of the plants in your home are not poisonous to your pet. You can check out our guide When Pets and Plants Dont Mix.
- If you do let your cat outside, make sure to use a pet-friendly fertilizer and weed control spray.
- Keep your kittys vaccinations up-to-date. If your fur-baby comes in contact with an infected or sick wild animal , youll want them protected as much as possible.
While finding the remnants of your kittys grass-nibbling snacks are less than pleasant, its worth noting that they were trying to get some extra fiber, folic acid, or relieving an upset stomach. Its is worth mentioning that if your cat is displaying any other odd behaviors other than throwing up, contact your veterinarian right way to schedule an examination.
Where Can You Get Cat Grass
For your indoor or indoor/outdoor cat, cat grass is usually available in small packs at your local pet store. You may also consider growing your own. You can find a variety of cat grass kits as seeds or starts at or Chewy. Cat grass is easy to care for and grows quickly. One highly-rated cat grass kit is this organic pet grass kit that grows in just five to seven days.
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