Why Do Cats Eat Grass? Strange, But Here’s Why!

All cat parents know that cats do a lot of weird things, right? One of these is eating grass, often to throw it up only a few minutes later. We all know that dogs sometimes consume grass just because they like its taste or when they feel the need to empty their stomachs, but is it the same for cats? Are you wondering if this cat behaviour is normal and healthy or not? You’ll be surprised to know the reasons and the benefits behind this action.

Portrait of a cute female maine coon cat tasting grass

Whether you have an indoor or outdoor cat, one thing is for sure: your feline friend has nibbled on some grass on more than one occasion. And while it might seem like strange behaviour, there’s nothing to worry about. Not only is there no evidence that grass will harm your pet, but many experts believe that munching on those long green blades can be beneficial for your kitty. Keep on reading to find out why cats eat grass and what you should have in mind to protect them from any hazards!

Why does my cat eat grass?

If you’re a cat owner, you may have noticed that they can sometimes be quite partial to munch of grass. This behaviour may seem unusual as cats are obligate carnivores, but vegetation can have numerous benefits for them. Below are the main reasons why cats eat grass.

1. Grass helps with an upset stomach and the cat’s digestive system

Cats tend to throw up after eating grass since they lack the appropriate enzymes needed to digest it. Because of this, it’s thought that they may eat it to try and help them throw up. That way, they clear their system of anything they couldn’t digest, like their own hair or bones and feathers from prey. This means that grass could help to clean their system and relieve constipation.

As a cat owner, you know that felines regularly throw up and leave lovely, small fur hairballs around the house. When the fur moves deep into their digestive tract, cats need a little help to break it down and pass it out to the other end. Grass acts as a natural laxative to cats, counteracting any unwanted cases of indigestion. Name it a sixth sense or just intuition, but your pet knows that a little bit of grass may go a long way in cleaning out its system!

2. Grass juice contains folic acid and has health benefits

Did you know that grass contains essential vitamins for cats? Grass juice carries folic acid, which is also found in a cat’s mother’s milk. This vital vitamin, which aids with digestion, helps with the production of haemoglobin (the protein that moves oxygen in the blood) and supports cell growth. If your cat feels like they’re missing these vitamins, they may foreseek lawn to try and counteract that. Think of it as a grass shake for your kitty!

White and yellow adult domestic cat eating grass on the garden

3. Anxiety

You’ve probably heard of “stress eating” or “emotional eating,” before right? Surprisingly, this is also found in cats, not only people! A kitty may eat not to relieve hunger pangs but to satisfy an oral fixation or ease anxiety. Cats who have anxiety may perform repetitive behaviours to self-soothe, including excessive vocalisation and over-grooming.

One theory holds that the reason behind grass-eating is that it gives an anxious cat something to chew on. If you notice that your furry baby is chewing on household plants or grass excessively or shows other signs of stress, get in touch with your vet to get help.

4. It’s tasty!

Well, grass could be on the main menu of a cat restaurant. Along with providing cats health benefits and extra nutrients, its taste may be the main appetising appeal for your kitty. Cats have been found to graze on grass in between meals. Whether it’s just a snack to take them throughout the afternoon or stimulating to their palate, its taste has proven popular!

Can cats digest grass?

Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning that they must eat meat. Just because there are vegan cat foods on the market does not mean they meet their nutritional needs. Meat is a biological necessity for them. 

Animals that can eat grass, like cows, have very specialised digestive systems that allow them to break down the cellulose found in it. Cows have a special chamber in their stomachs, called the rumen. Microbes in the rumen produce an enzyme, cellulase, that breaks down the cellulose into more digestible bits. There’s a lot more to that process than that, but the bottom line is that cats, like humans and dogs, don’t have a rumen. As a result, they can’t digest grass. If its blades don’t come back up as hairballs, the cat will expel them in the litter box. It’s been proven that cats younger than 3 years old are more likely to eat grass than older cats but tend to vomit less afterwards.

cute kitten with funny face eating organic grass during a sunny day

Is it safe for cats to eat grass?

When your cat eats grass in moderation and it hasn’t been treated with any pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers, then it is completely fine. However, if your kitty consumes a large amount of grass, it could get stuck inside their nasal chambers, causing them to sneeze excessively. If this happens, you should contact your vet immediately to have it removed.

Avoid toxic plants

If your cat’s in the habit of snacking on grass and plants, you should ensure that all your houseplants are non-toxic. If your cat ingests any poisonous plant, take them to the vet for treatment as soon as possible. You may already know some toxic plants to dogs, but do you know which ones to avoid for your cat? Here is a list of the main plants you should keep away from your feline:

  1. Lilies
  2. Foxglove
  3. Philodendron
  4. Azalea and Rhododendron
  5. Cyclamen
  6. Oleander
  7. Sago Palm
  8. Castor Bean
  9. Yew
  10. Tulips
  11. Marijuana 

Ensure that your cat is only eating greenery that’s safe

To ensure that your cat is only eating safe grass, purchase pots of cat lawns or create your own indoor kitty garden. That way, you’ll give your kitty their own personal patch to graze on, but it can also prevent them from chewing on your loved houseplants. These are the best grasses for your cat:

  1. Oats
  2. Rye
  3. Barley
  4. Wheat
Russian blue breed cat eating cat grass

Here are also a few plants to add greenery around your home or garden that will not cause harm to your feline friend: 

  1. Catnip
  2. Blue daisy
  3. Marigold
  4. Gloxinia
  5. Camelia
  6. Nasturtium
  7. Roses
  8. Canna
  9. Persian violet
  10. Snapdragon
  11. Viola
  12. Gerber daisy
  13. Petunia
  14. Star jasmine
  15. Zinnia
  16. Sunflower

How to create an indoor kitty garden

You can create a cat garden to stimulate your outdoor or indoor cats. Use pots for your project, and keep reading to find out how to make your kitty garden.

  1. Fill a container approximately 30 cm wide with potting soil. Sink a 10-12 cm wide bowl about 5 cm deep into the ground. Sow grass seed around your bowl.
  2. Move the container out of your cat’s reach to prevent digging while the seeds take hold. Keep its soil moist and warm and close to a sunny window.
  3. The grass should be tall enough to share with your cat in about 10-14 days. Remember to refill and clean the water dish frequently.
Cute ginger Siberian cat sitting beside a plant pot with fresh green grass

All pet parents know that their kitty enjoys the odd nibble of grass. Now that you know the answer to “Why do cats eat grass?” you can be calm and let your kitty enjoy it! Just keep in mind to avoid toxic plants and anything else that could harm your furry friend. Better yet, grow your own little patch so that your kitty has its personal, safe lawn on which to graze. Let your feline play free in the grass; a cat in the grass is a tiger in the jungle!

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