Cats are considered carnivores. Now this doesn’t mean they can’t eat other things, it means that if they don’t eat meat they can’t survive. This is quite a bit different than dogs which are considered omnivores, meaning they can survive without meat in their diet. That being said, most dogs do eat meat in some way shape are form, but we are here for cats, so onto the cat diet. Most recommendations on a diet for a cat aim for a target of about 80% protein. This is why you generally speaking don’t want to feed your cat a bunch of grain based foods, they need protein to thrive. So what is your little furry pal doing when she’s chomping down on the grass outside or in one of your flower pots? And is there anything you need to worry about with your cat eating grass? Good questions. Let’s take a look into this in a bit more detail.
So what exactly is cat grass?
Cat grass is kind of a catch all for a large number of grasses that attract our feline friends. The most common ones you’ll see in the store are going to be things like Wheat Grass, Barley & Oat Grass. There’s little overall difference in the impact these will have on your cat, but it is good to know there are various different kinds out there you might run across. All of them are perfectly safe for your cat to eat and won’t have any toxicity to worry about. Note grass outside in your lawn isn’t good for your cat, and even more dangerous if you use any chemicals to fertilize or treat the grass for pests etc. Do your best to keep your cat away from eating grass outside!
And why does my cat eat it?
There is no proven reason on why cats eat cat grass. It is similar to the question we often hear people asking on why humans have an appendix. The short of it is we have a few good assumptions, but we have no guaranteed proof (yet). So let’s get into the reasons that have been theorized and have some substance to them:
- Historically when cats hunted they would typically consume their prey in a far different way than your standard house cat. The things cats swallowed could include all sorts of stuff including bits of bone, feathers and various other things the cat couldn’t digest effectively. Given this, one of the primary theories on why cats enjoy cat grass is because it tends to cause them to vomit which helps remove indigestible from their system. Note that it is totally normal for a cat to eat cat grass and then vomit. If your cat is vomiting all the time though check out my post on why your cat might be vomiting.
- Following on the same track of consuming prey, there is a theory that indoor cats crave plant matter due to genetics. Essentially, when cats used to eat their prey they would consume whatever their prey had recently eaten. These smaller animals often survived primarily on plant matter and thus cats ate plants indirectly.
- Another theory focuses on on nutrients. When your cat chews up grass she ingests with it folic acid, something she may not get enough of through her standard diet of store bought canned and dry food. Folic Acid is considered essential for the daily operation of your cat’s bodily functions. It does thing like help produce hemoglobin which helps move oxygen in the blood.
- Grass is also a great source of fiber. If your cat is constantly after cat grass it is possible your furry friend isn’t getting quite enough fiber in her diet. The cat grass might be their way of letting you know you need to change up their diet a bit to ensure their digestion is moving along as expected and they won’t get constipated.
While none of these theories has been proven as the single reason your cat is interested in grass, they all have some merit and could all be partially responsible for your cat’s behavior. So where can you get some safe grass to fulfill the desires of your cat?
Where can I get cat grass for my furry friends?
There are two primary methods of acquiring cat grass, grow it or buy it. Either way you’ll be buying something though:
- Buy: If you’d like to buy it then you can find it at most major pet stores like Petco & PetSmart, lots of hardware stores like Home Depot or Lowe’s & you can also find it even at Whole Foods, typically labeled as Wheat Grass.
- Grow: If you decide you want to grow it then you can follow my step by step guide on How to Grow Your Own Cat Grass, it has both video and picture based steps to give you a full walk through.
One key item I will point out is that if you decide to buy Cat Grass you’ll end up spending a heck of a lot more money than you would if you simply grow it yourself. There is of course a trade off in time & effort, but cat grass is quite easy to grow to be honest. A small tray of cat grass will run you a couple bucks and most cats will get through it pretty darn quickly. You can grow it for pennies on the dollar and easily setup a recurring cat grass supply to keep it handy with only a few minutes of work each week.
Closing it up
One additional note. It is by no means necessary to feed your cat Cat Grass. They would certainly not die without it in their diet, and in most cases won’t even notice the difference. That being said most cats do seem to enjoy it from time to time and it is a good way to keep them away from your potentially hazardous houseplants. If you’re anything like me, having your cat do your gardening work probably doesn’t excite you. They don’t seem to be too good at maintaining symmetry :).
If you have any other thoughts on growing Cat Grass or in relation to Cat Grass please leave a comment below or send me an email at Craig@StuffCatsWant.com so I can update this article.