Keep Your Cat Away From Toxic Plants
If you keep your cat indoors, make sure to provide them with cat grass as well and remove all toxic plants that they might nibble on. Whether your cat spends a lot of time outdoors or indoors, itâs useful to know this list of common toxic plants:
- Heartleaf Philodendron
- Aloe plant
- Sago palm
The list goes on, so make sure all your plants are non-toxic to cats before bringing them home.
Ingesting toxic plants can induce anything from stomach bleeding to liver failure, and be deadly.
Cats Eat Grass Because It’s Fun
Cats are predators by nature, and attacking and chomping on a waving piece of grass may remind them of catching and munching on a bird or rodent. A young cat may practice her predatory moves on gently swaying blades of grass, and an older cat that is well-fed might just like to pretend for a moment that he’s a big, bad hunter.
What Does It Mean When Cats Eat Grass
Cats eat grass for a few reasons. It may be to expel parasites or to absorb trace nutrients. But there are a few other reasons that cats eat grass.
Cats may eat grass because:
- Grass can clean the gut
- Eating grass is instinctive
- Grass is a natural cat toy
Grass can clean the gut
Since cats are obligate carnivores, their digestive system is designed to digest meat. That means plant material is not easy to digest for cats. So your cat may eat grass to help him clear out his digestive system.
Maybe your cat ate something he isn’t supposed to. Or maybe he has a hairball that needs to come up. Your cat may eat grass to help his body regurgitate what he cannot digest. Eating grass may also relieve constipation.
Cats eating grass is instinctive
As we discussed, wild cats eat grass. And these instincts are ingrained in all cats. Just think about how your cat grabs a toy and shakes his head quickly to “kill it”. Or how your cat digs and buries his waste in the litter box.
All of these instincts are ingrained. Even if your cat has never been outside. Domesticated cats may eat grass simply because their wild ancestors do it too.
Grass provides trace nutrients
Cats that eat dry food only may be deficient and/or dehydrated. Dry cat food is extruded which is cooked and pressurized three times. So the pet food manufacturer has to add back many vitamins and minerals.
Grass is a natural cat toy
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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.
Your Cat Eating Grass Is Often Nothing To Be Worried About
If they throw it up once in awhile, that is normal. Treat your kitty to a fresh pot of oat or wheat grass, it is always nice to have plants in the home. Just be sure the pot is stable enough for your cats antics or you may end up with a lawn in your living room.
Now that you know how important grass is for cats, why not spruce yours up with GreenPal, and be sure to share this with all your cat loving friends!
Want more to read? This one is for the dog lovers
Now that you know why cats eat grass, you have an interesting piece of trivia which you can share when you are on your next date!
Take care and if you’ll excuse me I need to go steam vacuum my couch.
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Reasons Cats Eat Grass
While it may seem unappealing to us humans, cats eat grass for a variety of reasons, and if their owners follow general guidelines, this behaviour is typically safe and normal.
One of the first reasons your cat may eat grass is to encourage regular bowel movements. Because cats groom themselves, their digestive systems can sometimes get blocked by bits of collected fur. Eating grass helps with this. Broad-leaf grass can have a laxative effect on your cat’s digestive system, and grass that’s narrower may help settle an upset stomach.
Another reason cats eat grass is because it can make them sick. Because cats can’t naturally digest grass, they end up vomiting when they eat too much. While this may not seem like a good thing, it actually helps your cat clear other objects that may be in her stomach, such as feathers, bones or parasites.
How Does Grass Make Cats Vomit
Grass has a very itchy texture with sharp edges on the leaves, that itches their throat lining as well as the stomach lining. This itch will make them try to purge their stomach. The second reason is that cats do not have the enzymes to digest grass. Therefore, the stomach will send a signal about this and the cats brain than sends a signal to get rid of the grass again through vomiting.
Grass does have some nutrients though, as they do give vitamin B and some other minerals and vitamins to the cat. The question remains whether the cat eats the grass in need of vitamin B, while stimulate the purging of hairballs or whether they choose to eat grass solely based on the vomiting.
What I am trying to get here is that do cats:
A) Actually know they need to eat grass to get rid of the hairballs in their stomach?
B) Eat the grass because they feel like having the need for vitamins, which is found in grass?
Both A and B leads to puking / purging the hairballs or stomach contents, but there is an intelligence difference there. B is more about nature taking care of itself, purging through vitamin need , while A is more of an intelligent approach to purging.
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A New Theory About Why Cats Eat Grass
Recently, researchers at the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine conducted an online survey of more than 1,000 cat owners asking about their cats penchant for eating grass and plants. The findings, presented in summer 2019 at the annual meeting of the International Society for Applied Ethology in Bergen, Norway, revealed some interesting facts about cats eating grass.
First, eating plant material is very common: 71 percent of cats in the study nibbled plants at least six times in their life, and 61 percent ate plant material at least 10 times. Another finding was that most cats were acting normally and did not appear to be sick in the time immediately preceding the grass eating. Of all the cats that ate plant material, only about 27 percent frequently vomited after eating the green stuff.
Based on these results, the researchers hypothesized that cats dont eat grass as a way to naturally treat an upset stomach. Instead, the scientists believe that cats might instinctually eat grass and other plant matter to rid themselves of intestinal parasitesa behavior that has been observed in wild carnivores and primates. Eating vegetation might trigger the digestive tract to physically expel troublesome parasites.
To Relieve An Upset Stomach
Narrow Grasses on the other hand, appear to relieve an upset stomach.
You may have noticed that shortly after eating grass your cat vomits. They are doing this on purpose.
Heres why. It is not just to make you clean up an inconvenient pile of cat vomit. This happens because cats dont have the enzymes to digest large quantities of grass. As a result your cat throws up and their stomach is cleared of feathers, bones and fur. Sometimes this process can even get rid of parasites
Not only does it relieve an upset stomach, it can be a necessary part of their digestion. If your cat eats a mouse or bird, after the meat has digested, the bones, feathers and fur may be sitting in their stomach. In order to get them out, they need to eat some grass and throw up on your new coat.
Most people dont know this but if a cat doesnt throw up on at least one item that you own each year, they will lose one of their nine lives.
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Why Do Dogs And Cats Eat Grass
Legend has it that dogs and cats eat grass because they are ill and need to vomit or they are suffering from some dietary deficiency. Veterinarians from the University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine designed surveys to question pet owners about their pets grass-eating habits. Owners of healthy dogs reported that 80 percent of dogs with access to plants had eaten grass or other plants. Only eight percent of dogs showed signs of illness prior to ingesting plant material, and only 22 percent of those vomited afterward. Younger dogs were more likely to eat plants, but less likely to appear ill prior to eating or vomit after eating the plant material.
The veterinarians concluded that in most cases, grass eating is a common behavior in normal dogs and has no correlation with illness. Additionally, most dogs do not appear to routinely vomit after eating grass. Data from the surveys also shows that cats are less likely to eat plants than dogs. Just like dogs, most cats do not routinely show signs of illness prior to eating plants and dont regularly vomit afterward. Many ideas have been proposed for the cause of the plant-eating behavior but none have been proven. Most agree that it is an instinctual behavior and can be considered normal for most dogs and some cats.
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How Much Grass Is Appropriate
The grass may be greener on the other side of the fence, but just how much grass should a cat eat when she gets there? As usual, moderation is key!
Cats dont have the necessary digestive enzymes to process large quantities of grass and overeating can result in excess vomiting. On the opposite side of the digestive coin, if the cat doesnt throw up the green turf, the insoluble fiber in grass can potentially build up and cause an intestinal blockage. So how much grass is advised? Heres a good rule of thumb: Treats of any variety, including grass, should comprise no more than 10% of a cats total caloric intake.
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Eating Grass As A Way To Clear The Gastrointestinal Tract
The grass contains fiber which stimulates intestinal peristalsis. Since its resistant to digestive enzymes, fiber works as a broom that removes all the undigested leftovers from the guts. Its essential for our digestive systems as their accumulation may lead to serious digestive issues or cancer.
Fiber has great importance in a human diet, and so it does in the felines one. There is not much of it in the cats diet since theyre carnivores, their diet consists mainly of meat. The fiber in the grass can sweep up the rest of undigested food from their intestines. At the same time, it helps to remove toxins, bile, and other undesirable elements, like parasites.
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.
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What Kind Of Grass Is The Best
Outdoor cats may graze on a variety of grasses, while indoor cats depend on their owners for grassy snacks. So what type of grass should you plant? First, lets make a quick distinction. Grass and catnip are not the same thing. Catnip is a member of the mint family.
Cat grass usually refers to grass that produces cereal grains such as oat, wheat, barley, alfalfa, and rye. You can start with one variety or plant a couple of different grasses and assess your cats preference. You can also consider which variety grows best in your particular home with your personal green, or not-so-green, thumb.
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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It Relieves An Upset Stomach
You may notice that your cat vomits shortly after eating grasshe or she is actually doing this on purpose. Cats dont have the necessary enzymes to digest a large amount of grass, which is why it can make them sick. But in the process of throwing up, your cat also clears his stomach of fur, feathers, parasites or bones, which can irritate the digestive tract or even cause more lasting illness.
When your cat eats grass, he will typically self-regulate the amount. If the grass has been treated with pesticides or fertilizers, keep your cat away from itand consider growing grass indoors for your cat. Specialty retailers sell wheat or oat grass kits designed for in-home use.
If your cat begins to eat large amounts of grass or wants to eat grass every day, consult your veterinarian.
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.
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Grass Eating As A Way To Remove The Fur From The Digestive System
The cats spend a big part of their day grooming. Their tongue collects the excessive fur, which lands in their digestive system. That can lead to the formation of hairballs, which cause discomfort to cats. Coughing them up is often painful and may make the pet vomit.
Eating grass can prevent the formation of hairballs and make their removal much easier.
Why Do Cats Eat Grass
Whether you have an indoor or outdoor cat, one thing is for certain: your feline friend has probably nibbled on grass on more than one occasion. While it might seem like strange behavior — especially when your cat throws up afterwards — there’s really nothing to worry about. Not only is there no evidence to suggest that grass will harm your cat, but many experts theorize munching on those long green blades can be beneficial for your cat.
Cats regurgitate when they eat grass because they lack the necessary enzymes to break down vegetable matter. Does this mean your cat likes to throw up? Well, while it’s doubtful that kitty enjoys the act, this up-chucking sensation may eliminate all indigestible matter from the cat’s digestive tract, making it feel a whole lot better. This is important because cats eat their prey as is, including both the edible and inedible parts .
It’s in the Juice
Much like mother’s milk, the juices in grass contain folic acid. This is an essential vitamin for a cat’s bodily functions and assists in the production of hemoglobin, the protein that moves oxygen in the blood. Think of it as a wheat grass shake for your kitty .
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