Cats are obligate carnivores whose ancestral diets include meat as a compulsory part. Then, why does a cat eat grass? Isn’t it surprising? I wondered about this particular cat’s behavior for a long time and gathered as much information as possible.
Cats require animal protein to survive. A few theories offer possible explanations for this behavior. Such as-
Cats eat grass for various reasons, including instinctual behavior, aiding digestion, relieving stomach upset, obtaining additional nutrients, and as a natural laxative. The behavior helps eliminate indigestible matter, aids in removing hairballs, or acts as a parasiticidal agent in the wild.
Alternative explanations can be found for this behavior. Most of these reasons are based on theoretical knowledge and the results of several studies conducted by wildlife and pet experts. To be honest, some of them are factual if not all. Let me hop into the actual question and my findings.
What Is Cat Grass? And Is It Good for Cats?
Cat grass, also known as kitty grass, is a special type of grass that is grown specifically for our feline friends, usually indoors.
Picture this: a lush patch of greenery just for your cat’s enjoyment. Cat grass can be grown in a small dish or container, allowing your cat to chew on the grass directly.
Alternatively, you can sprinkle it on their food for an added touch of excitement during mealtime. The most commonly used grass species for this purpose is Oatgrass (Arrhenatherum elatius), known for its appeal to cats.
Cat grass is beneficial for cats. It is safe to feed them small amounts as a treat. Many cats enjoy nibbling on cat grass. It contains nutrients like folic acid, chlorophyll, vitamins, and minerals that promote cat health and aid digestion.
And feeding small amounts as a treat is safe. However, some cats may vomit due to their meat-based diet.
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Cat grass is also a source of fiber, helps relieve pain, heals infections, acts as a breath freshener, and improves overall health.
Therefore, the Grass is safe for cats to eat and unlikely to make them sick unless treated with chemicals.
Nature’s Salad Bar: The Intriguing Reasons Cats Choose to Eat Grass
While it’s normal for cats to occasionally consume small amounts of grass, some cats develop a more serious habit of eating grass. Now we are talking over all the other reasons why cats eat grass.
1. Cats Eat Grass to Settle Their Stomachs
Grass can act as a natural laxative and aid in digestion, helping cats alleviate any digestive discomfort.
Some cats vomit after eating grass. But rest easy; it’s quite normal for cats to naturally vomit after eating cat grass, as it aids their digestion process.
However, a key point to consider is not all grass-eating cats vomit afterward; only about a quarter of grass-eaters was observed vomiting in one study.
2. Nutritional and Instinctive Behavior
Eating grass is a natural behavior for cats. It may be instinctual, similar to how humans consume leafy greens for health benefits, but it contains essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that contribute to your cat’s overall well-being.
In the wild, cats may consume plant material to aid in digestion or fulfill their dietary needs. This instinctual behavior could persist in domesticated cats.
3. Grass Contains Folic Acid
Folic acid, a component of cat mothers’ milk, is also found in grass juice. It serves multiple purposes, including aiding in digestion, supporting cell growth, and assisting in the production of hemoglobin.
4. Supplementing Their Diet and Hairball Issue
Grass is rich in fiber, and some experts suggest that cats may eat grass to supplement their diet with additional roughage.
And one of the most popular reasons people offer cat grass to their furry companions is its ability to assist with hairball issues.
As cats groom themselves, they inevitably ingest some hair, which can accumulate in their digestive system. Cat grass acts as a natural digestive aid, helping the passage of hairballs and promoting a healthy tummy.
5. Behavioral Enrichment
Eating grass can also serve as a form of behavioral enrichment for cats. It provides mental stimulation and a chance to engage in natural foraging behaviors.
And chewing on grass blades may mimic the sensation of capturing and consuming prey, which can be satisfying for cats.
Cats may eat grass when they are sick. Eating grass can help induce vomiting, which can help them expel any indigestible material or irritants from their stomach.
Some theories suggest that cats may eat grass as a form of self-medication against an upset stomach.
Whatever the reason, grass-eating is normal behavior for some cats. Cats cannot simply digest plant matter, for their body doesn’t include the appropriate enzyme to help them break down or process the greens.
Do Cats Eat Grass When They Have Worms?
Like all carnivores, a cat’s intestine gets burdened with many parasites over time. Research on mammals’ way to avoid parasites suggests that grass fibers, when ingested by an animal, intertwine with most worms and entrap them as the grass moves through its intestinal tracts.
Then, the plant matter induces the animal to vomit those worms up. Based on this discovery and what I saw in the vomit of a few cats, I am led to believe that cats maintain the same procedure.
But then again, I must admit that it is just a plausible idea.
Why Do Cats Eat Grass and Throw Up/Vomit/Puke?
Cats vomit after eating grass because their digestive systems don’t contain the enzymes to properly digest grass, so vomiting is a natural part of the process.
Some researchers believe cats munch on the grass to trigger vomiting when they’re feeling under the weather.
So, if you know your cat has ingested grass, it may come back out again, along with the hairballs and other indigestible items.
But what if my cat eats grass but doesn’t throw up? Well, not all cats who chomp on grass end up hurling. A study on 1000 cats revealed that only about 25% of grass-eating kitties were seen vomiting afterward.
So, vomiting might not be the primary motive behind your cat’s grassy feast.
Should I let my cat eat grass and throw up? If your cat eats grass and throws up afterward, there’s usually no need to worry. And this is actually a natural behavior for many cats and helps them get rid of indigestible materials.
Also, the grass itself is generally not harmful to cats, and some experts believe it can be beneficial for them.
Therefore, it is normal for cats to occasionally vomit after eating grass; frequent vomiting or other signs of gastrointestinal upset could be a sign of an underlying health issue.
How Long After Eating Grass Will A Cat Vomiting?
Cats’ reactions to eating grass can vary. While not all cats vomit after munching on grass, some may experience vomiting within minutes to a few hours. The timing of vomiting depends on Three factors. like
If your cat vomits after eating grass, it’s better to monitor them closely and consult a veterinarian if the vomiting seems unusual or severe.
Potential Dangers for Cats After Eating Grass
While grass itself is generally considered safe and nutritious for cats, it’s important to be cautious about the grass they consume. Here are some potential dangers for cats after eating grass:
Exposure to Chemicals
Eating grass poses a significant risk for cats, particularly when they consume grass treated with fertilizers, weed killers, or other chemicals. Ingesting grass exposed to these substances can jeopardize their health and well-being.
Ingestion of Toxic Plants
Cats may accidentally chew on toxic plants or foliage that can be present alongside the grass they are eating. Some plants can be poisonous to cats, and ingestion can lead to various health issues.
The Possibility Of Choking or Intestinal Blockages
When cats chew on grass, particularly long blades, there is a risk of the grass getting caught in their throat. Intestinal blockages are another potential danger.
And sometimes, ingested grass can clump together in a cat’s digestive system, causing blockages. Both choking and intestinal blockages can pose significant risks and may require immediate veterinary attention.
Just like humans, cats can experience allergies to different types of grass. These allergies may manifest as skin irritation, itching, redness, swelling, or even respiratory symptoms like sneezing or coughing.
When a cat with a grass allergy consumes grass, it can potentially worsen these allergic reactions.
Eating grass can sometimes lead to cats vomiting. But not all grass-eating cats vomit afterward, and most cats do not appear sick before consuming grass. However, if excessive vomiting occurs, address the vet immediately.
To ensure your cat’s safety, it is recommended to provide them with cat grass specifically grown for their consumption. And cat grass is a safe alternative that can be grown indoors, eliminating the risks associated with outdoor grass.
What Types of Grass Your Cat Can Eat (5 Types)
When it comes to providing safe grass for your furry feline companion, a few types are generally considered safe and beneficial. Here are some grass options that are OK for cats:
When choosing grass for your cat, ensure that it is free from harmful substances, such as pesticides or fertilizers. It’s best to opt for specially packaged cat grass seeds or kits that are specifically labeled as safe for feline consumption.
How to Grown Safe Grass For Your Cat?
As mentioned, cat grass, also known as pet grass, is a type of grass that is completely safe and healthy for cats to consume.
Growing safe grass for your cat is a wonderful way to provide them with a natural treat and enhance their environment.
And creating a lush and safe grass patch for your beloved cat is easier than you might think. Follow these simple steps:
Step 1: Choose the Right Grass Seeds
Select cat-friendly grass seeds for your project. Common options include oat grass, wheatgrass, or barley grass. These seeds are readily available at pet stores or online.
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Step 2: Find the Perfect Container
Choose a suitable container for growing the grass. A shallow tray or a pot with drainage holes works well. Ensure the container is wide enough for your cat to comfortably access the grass.
Step 3: Prepare the Soil
Fill the container with high-quality potting soil or organic compost. This will provide the necessary nutrients for healthy grass growth. Avoid using soil from your garden, as it may contain harmful substances.
Step 4: Sow the Seeds
Evenly spread the grass seeds over the soil surface. Press them lightly into the soil but avoid burying them too deeply. Gently mist the seeds with water to moisten the soil.
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Step 5: Provide Optimal Growing Conditions
Place the container in a well-lit area, preferably near a window where your cat can enjoy the sunlight. Cats are naturally drawn to warmth, so find a cozy spot where they can bask in the sun while tending to their grass.
Step 6: Water Regularly
Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Use a spray bottle or a watering can with a gentle shower setting to avoid displacing the seeds. Aim to keep the soil damp, allowing the grass to grow and thrive.
Step 7: Monitor and Adjust
Observe the grass as it begins to sprout. Ensure it is growing evenly and adjust the watering frequency if needed. Avoid overwatering, as excessive moisture can lead to mold or rot.
Step 8: Allow Grass to Reach an Optimal Height
Ensure that you let the grass grow naturally until it reaches a height of around 3 to 4 inches (approximately 7-10 cm) before allowing your beloved feline friend to indulge in it.
This essential step make sure that the grass has matured fully and guarantees a plentiful supply for your cat to nibble on and enjoy playing with.
Step 9: Introduce the Grass to Your Cat
Place the container with the grown-safe grass in an easily accessible area for your cat. Encourage them to explore and interact with it at their own pace. Some cats may immediately start nibbling, while others may need a little encouragement.
Step 10: Maintain and Trim
To ensure a continuous supply of fresh grass, continue watering and maintaining the container. Trim the grass regularly to encourage new growth and prevent it from becoming too long or tangled.
By following these step-by-step guidelines, you can create a safe and inviting grass patch that will bring joy and numerous health benefits to your feline companion.
Watch as your cat indulges in their instincts, all while enjoying the comfort of your home.
What to Do with a Cat Obsessed with Eating Grass?
I heard from my colleagues and buddies quite a few times that their cats keep munching on green matters, especially grass. Most of those pets had problems in their digestive system, as they confirmed.
Based on research and their statements, we can reach a verdict that cats crave grass more often when they experience digestion issues.
Another interesting theory is that obsession with grass indicates
displacement activities often result from the consistent presence of anxiety, stress, or any negative experience in the cat’s life.
Cats follow different actions, and chewing on grass or plants is one of those ways for them to cope with the problem.
Instead of doing anything upfront to help the pet, you should contact a vet and let the professional know everything to find out the reason.
How to Stop My Cat from Eating Grass?
As you already know, eating grass is part of a cat’s natural behavior under certain circumstances; you can allow the pet to do it unless the habit makes an alarming case, as we discussed above.
However, you can think of ending this if you know that the feline creature is in a healthy environment where she can thrive without experiencing any deficiency. Follow the list below to find the right way:
Well, there could be other ways you can prevent your cat from eating grass. Adjust your case according to your environment and situation.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Cat Grass Should a Cat Eat?
When it comes to how much cat grass a cat should eat, there’s no exact rule, but moderation is key. It’s generally recommended to offer cat grass as no more than 10% of their diet, as cats are primarily meat eaters.
Also, the amount of cat grass a cat consumes can vary depending on the individual cat’s preference and mood. And cats can regulate their own intake based on their preferences and need.
Why Do Cats Eat Plants?
Cats eat plants for various reasons. They might be seeking a different texture or fiber in their diet or be bored and looking for enrichment.
Some cats eat plants to induce vomiting or dislodge something from their throat or intestines. However, it’s important to be cautious as certain plants, such as lilies, can be toxic to cats.
Why Does My Indoor Cat Eat Grass?
Indoor cats often have a natural inclination to eat grass. One reason is that grass contains folic acid, which is also present in their mother’s milk and supports digestion, cell growth, and hemoglobin production.
What is more, grass can provide essential vitamins and help counteract potential deficiencies. Also, eating grass is a natural instinct for cats, as their ancestors would consume plant matter in the wild.
Do Indoor Cats Need to Eat Grass?
While it’s not necessary for indoor cats to eat grass, it can have benefits for their overall well-being. Actually, it depends on the situation a cat is given to abide in. Not all cats are interested in grass, and it’s not a mandatory part of their diet.
Also, you usually won’t see a cat indulging in the grass if she gets everything that is necessary and her living condition doesn’t have anything to cause her emotional stress or intestinal disorders.
At this point, you might have the clues to the question, “Why does a cat eat grass?” Let me recap the discussion in a brief note you can remember.
Eating grass that is free of toxins or fertilizer/pesticides is not detrimental to your cat’s health, but excessive indulgence is. Include healthy grass in your cat’s diet only after consulting your vet.
And take necessary steps to ensure that the indoor is a safe abode for the prized pet and that it doesn’t need to rely on grass for getting nutrients or removing hard-to-digest substances and worms.