Despite being carnivores by nature, cats can often be found seeking out grass to nibble on, and many cat owners encourage it by providing them something called cat grass. But what is cat grass and what are its benefits?
Common varieties include rye, barley, oat, and wheat. These grasses are usually grown indoors, where cats can chew on them to their heart’s content or, sometimes, added directly to their food.
Let’s take a closer look.
Cat Grass Benefits
For cats, there are a number of benefits to eating cat grass:
- Aids Digestion: Eating cat grass can ease stomach issues in cats or improve other digestion-related symptoms such as constipation.
- Removes Unwanted Materials: Cats often consume things they cannot digest, most commonly hair. Eating cat grass helps your cat expel these unwanted materials from its body.
- Provides Vitamins & Minerals: The juices in cat grass contain vitamins such as folic acid, which can increase the oxygen levels in your cat’s blood, improving growth.
What Does Cat Grass Do?
Cat grass contains high levels of fiber, which is an essential nutrient for a healthy digestive system in animals and humans alike. When cats consume cat grass, the fiber passes through the digestive system and absorbs water, forming a substance that keeps the digestive tract flowing smoothly.
As cat grass passes through the system, the vitamins and minerals it contains are also absorbed by the body, which can help supplement your cat’s dietary needs. It can also help expel unwanted substances by making cats vomit, which brings us to the next point.
Cat Grass Vomit
Cats will sometimes vomit after eating cat grass, but this is not necessarily something to worry about. As cats don’t have the correct stomach enzymes for digesting plant material, their bodies often react by vomiting.
In many cases, your cat actually wants this to happen because it helps remove substances such as bones or hair that cannot be digested and might clog up their intestines. It’s completely natural and very beneficial for their health.
However, it is important to monitor is how often your cat is vomiting after eating cat grass. If this is happening a lot, it can cause dehydration and might sign an underlying health condition, which should be examined by a vet.
Why Do Cats Like Cat Grass?
There are several theories as to why cats like cat grass. Your furry friend may or may not spend time hunting outdoors, but their ancestors certainly did.
Back then, fur and bones would be consumed much more often than nowadays, so it would have been necessary for cats to aid digestion as much as possible. The attraction to cat grass in modern cats may simply be a remnant of their wild past, and one that still benefits them to this day.
So, Is Cat Grass Good For Cats?
There is a range of benefits and very few downsides to providing your cat with its very own patch of grass. Being very low in calories and not containing any fat, cat grass can be easily incorporated into your cat’s diet without worrying about it affecting their weight and health.
It also provides vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. And, as we’ve mentioned, it helps your cat’s digestive system function better.
Frequently Asked Questions
Cat Grass For Kittens
Many people wonder if cat grass is suitable for kittens or is best kept for later years. Well, cat grass is perfectly fine for kittens! As soon as your kitten is weaned, it can enjoy cat grass with no issues whatsoever.
Cat Grass Benefits for Dogs
Having established that cat grass is very beneficial to cats, does it have the same effect on dogs?
The simple answer is yes! Just like cats, dogs can benefit from the vitamins and minerals present in cat grass. Many wild canine species include plant material in their diets, and this is thought, similar to felines, to be a behavior that improves digestive health and removes unwanted materials.
The effect on domestic dogs is very similar, with the aiding of digestion being the main health benefit. However, if your dog is eating cat grass in large amounts, it may be a sign that something is wrong, and a vet should check this out.
How Much Cat Grass Should A Cat Eat
Cats can usually nibble on as much cat grass as they want without suffering any problems. However, if your cat tends to vomit excessively after eating it, it may be a good idea to limit their consumption to ensure they don’t become dehydrated.
Aside from this, there is no specific amount of cat grass to suit every cat. Simply keep an eye on your cat’s habits and adjust the amount available to them accordingly.
Is Cat Grass Safe For Cats?
Cat grass is perfectly safe for your cat to consume and is a considerably healthier option than eating grass that grows outdoors. It can often contain toxic substances such as pesticides or fertilizer, or bacteria and parasites.
So, growing your own cat grass indoors is crucial and ensures that your cat has a healthy option whenever they need it.
Just be sure to grow the cat grass away from other houseplants to prevent your cat from getting confused between them and potentially eating something that is not good for them.
Can Cats Eat Cat Grass?
In general, cats can eat cat grass without any issues. However, they cannot digest it, meaning in the majority of cases that the cat grass simply passes through the digestive system and is expelled at the other end.
In some cases, your cat might react to eating cat grass by vomiting. This is a natural behavior and can benefit your cat by expelling unwanted materials from its body. However, if you feel that your cat is vomiting too often after consuming cat grass, then it’s a good idea to remove the grass and discuss the issue with your vet.