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Does your cat eat grass? What about houseplants?
I was so surprised the first time I saw my outdoor cat eat grass. But after doing some research, I learned that cats actually enjoy eating grass. Yes, they are carnivores so they don’t need grass in their diets. But cats still eat it.
My next cat was an indoor cat, so she didn’t have access to outdoor grass. However, she still tried to eat my houseplants. After speaking with my vet, I decided to grow my own cat grass. This was new to me, so I wasn’t sure how my cat would respond.
But this actually worked! My cat loved the grass and it kept her from eating my houseplants.
So what exactly is cat grass? Is it safe for cats? Can you grow your own?
I had all the same questions before I grew my own cat grass. So we are going to dive into all of those questions (and more) in this article. Ready? Let’s get started.
What is Cat Grass?
No, it’s not catnip. That’s an entirely different plant.
Cat grass is a generic term that refers to plants that are safe for cats to consume. Generally, when you purchase cat grass, you are buying a combination of rye, barley, oat, and wheat grasses.
Cat grass aids in digestion and can act as a laxative. Unlike catnip, cat grass does not cause cats to act playfully. Instead, cat grass acts as a supplement to help with digestion and hairballs.
If you have an outdoor cat, you have probably seen your pet nibble on grass. Although cats are carnivores, they also instinctively eat grass. Cat grass is a safe, healthy option for indoor cats.
Most cat grass is sold in a growing kit. These kits include cat grass seeds, planting trays, soil, and growing instructions.
Do Cats Need Grass?
Short answer? Probably not.
Cats are carnivores, meaning they get all of their nutrients from meat. Wildcats meet their nutritional needs by eating their prey’s flesh. Domestic house cats receive the right amount of vitamins and minerals from their kibble or wet food.
Although cats are carnivores, their digestive system is equipped to handle grass. And you will often see cats nibbling on grass or plants. Even though cats don’t need grass, this can help aid in digestion. Cats might eat grass to ease an upset stomach, help pass a hairball, or relieve constipation. Often, cats look for grass if they are missing fiber in their normal diet.
Cats sometimes can’t differentiate between toxic and safe plants. If your cat has a habit of chewing on your houseplants, you may want to introduce cat grass as a safe non-toxic option.
Is Cat Grass Safe?
Yes! Cat grass is a safe non-toxic plant.
When cats need additional fiber, they often try to eat plants. If you have a house cat, their only available option might be a toxic plant. Some of the most toxic houseplants are:
- Aloe Vera
To keep your cat from consuming toxic houseplants plants, consider introducing cat grass to your home. The sweet grass can keep your cat from choosing the unsafe houseplants.
Cat grass is also a good alternative to outdoor grass. Outside, grass has the potential to be contaminated with pesticides or weed-killer. Instead of giving this to your pet, offer your cat safe and non-toxic cat grass.
However, if you notice that your cat consumes too much cat grass, you should speak to your vet. Although the grass is safe to consume, overeating might be a sign that something is missing from your cat’s diet.
What are the Benefits of Cat Grass?
Cat grass offers many health benefits for your cat.
- Cat grass aids in digestion. If your cat has an upset stomach, cat grass can ease their discomfort. It helps keep their digestive system running smoothly. This can relieve constipation or diarrhea.
- Your cat might use cat grass to start vomiting. If they ate something that disagreed with them or consumed something toxic, cat grass can be used to induce vomiting. Instead of chewing the grass, they will use it to “tickle their stomach” and cause vomiting.
- This can help pass a hairball. Regularly consuming cat grass can actually help your cat produce fewer hairballs. Although coughing usually helps a cat with a hairball, sometimes they are difficult to pass. Cat grass can help a cat who is struggling to cough up a hairball.
- If your cat has bad breath, try introducing them to cat grass. This can be used to freshen their breath.
- Cat grass acts as a dietary supplement for your pet. If your cat isn’t receiving enough fiber from their diet, cat grass can provide this necessary nutrient.
- Some varieties of cat grass (specifically alfalfa grass) have been shown to prevent or reduce kidney disease in cats.
Can You Grow Your Own Cat Grass?
Growing your own cat grass is easy and inexpensive. All you need is:
- A small planter
- Cat grass seeds
- Plastic Wrap
Fill your planter with a layer of soil (leave about 1-2 inches of space at the top). Drop a handful of seeds on top of the soil. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil.
Next, add some water to the planter and cover with a layer of plastic wrap. Keep this in a cool, dark area. Check the planter every few days (to make sure the soil is still wet).
After a few days, you should begin to notice grass sprouts. Once the grass is about an inch tall, remove the plastic wrap. Move the planter to a sunny spot. Remember to water the grass daily. Soon you will have a tall cat grass for your kitty to enjoy.
Another option is to purchase a complete cat grass kit. These kits include everything you need (including instructions) to grow your own cat grass.
If you are a parent, you probably know that your child wants to help take care of your cat. Planting and caring for cat grass is a simple and fun way activity for young children. This is a great way to keep them involved in your cat’s care.
How do You Care For Cat Grass?
Cat grass is very low-maintenance. Once your cat grass has sprouted, you just need to make sure it receives enough sunlight and water.
Keep the cat grass in a sunny spot and water it daily. You should use a spray bottle to spritz the cat grass. It is important not to overwater this plant. Mold grows easily if the plant is overwatered. If you notice mold, it is important to discard the plant as this can be harmful to your cat.
Most likely, you won’t have a lot of cat grass to maintain because your cat will eat it as soon as it sprouts. Cats generally enjoy the taste, so your cat will probably eat the grass before it can grow too tall. However, if the grass starts to wilt or turn brown, discard it and plant a new batch.
What are the Varieties of Cat Grass?
Cat grass is typically a mix of rye, oat, barley, and wheat grass. These varieties are safe for cats to consume and are easy to grow.
Some pet owners also grow alfalfa grass for their cats. Alfalfa has been shown to reduce and prevent kidney disease in cats.
Cat grass is not catnip. These two plants are often confused, but they are not the same. Catnip is a member of the mint family. It produces a very specific and playful attitude in cats. Cat grass is a mix of grasses that are used to aid in digestion.
Although cats are carnivores, they can benefit from consuming grass. Grass aids digestion, reduces hairballs, and can even prevent kidney disease.
However, when cats eat outdoor grass, they could be exposed to pesticides, weed killer, or other poisonous chemicals. Indoor cats often eat toxic houseplants when they don’t have access to grass.
Cat grass is a safe non-toxic alternative to houseplants and outdoor grass. Growing cat grass is simple and inexpensive. (This is a great activity for kids.) Within a week of planting, you will have sprouts for your cat to enjoy.
Indoor cats can receive all the nutrients they require through their normal cat food. However, your cat might benefit from additional fiber. Consider introducing cat grass to your home to help your furry friend avoid toxic plants and ease any digestive problems they might experience.
My cat loves cat grass. I have grown small planters of cat grass multiple times. Every time I have cat grass in the house, my cat happily eats the sprouts. Personally, I think cat grass is an easy and safe plant for every cat owner. Even if your cat doesn’t currently have digestive problems, I would still consider growing cat grass. They will probably enjoy the grass as a special (and healthy) treat.
Have you grown cat grass before? We would love to hear about your experience. Please feel free to leave your story in the comments below.