Even though they are carnivores, cats seem to like a bit of greenery in their diets. Most cat owners are aware of their pet’s propensity for eating grass or houseplants. Cats in the wild usually eat their herbivorous prey’s intestines first and seem to get their “green fix” from this.
No one is exactly sure WHY these normally carnivorous creatures eat greenery but, there are several theories. Some researchers think that cats have a need for certain enzymes and/or nutrients, found in greenery or that greens form some sort of a “stomach-cleanser” with the plant fiber helping the cats’ digestion process, promoting the passage of hairballs, either through stools or vomiting. Others think that some cats simply like the taste/texture of crispy crunchy green leaves and stems.
One will see grass-eating more often in outdoor cats, as they have more opportunities. Therefore, if you have outdoor cats, it is important to be careful when using fertilizers, weed and pest control products on your lawn as these can prove extremely toxic to cats. Many indoors-only cats will snack on any available greenery as well. With many common houseplants being toxic, it’s important to screen the plants in your home. Avoid keeping plants that are a potential risk and make sure you offer your cat a suitable alternative to munch on.
It is quite simple to provide your cat(s) with their own salad bar, as cat grass is very easy to grow.
The best way to safely satisfy your cats’ taste for greens is to provide a pot of fresh organic cat grass. Cat grass is readily available, from most seed companies or pet supply catalogs and can also be found already growing and potted, at many pet stores. If you want to provide some variety, there are several types of grass, acceptable for feeding to cats: oats, wheat, Japanese barnyard millet, bluegrass, fescue, rye (watch for ergot, a fungus that grows on rye and produces a hallucinogenic chemical), ryegrass and alfalfa sprouts or bean sprouts (these should only be allowed in SMALL amounts, as they have anti-protein compounds, that reduce the protein value of other foods).
It is quite simple to provide your cat(s) with their own salad bar, as cat grass is very easy to grow. Place a 2-inch thick layer of potting soil in the bottom of a pot or planter and add enough water to moisten the soil. Completely cover the soil with a thin layer of seeds. Lightly cover the seeds with a handful of soil and then loosely cover the pot or planter with plastic wrap – this creates a greenhouse effect. After three to four days, the seeds will sprout and you can now remove the plastic wrap. As the grass grows, water as needed, to keep the soil moist (not soggy) and mist daily with a spray bottle. Trim as desired. Once the grass is about 2 inches high, place it where your cat can “graze”.
If you’re not sure about which plants are safe to use, or how to go about constructing your pet grass indoor pot, we recommend the Chia Cat Grass Planter. This fun planter adorned with the images of Sylvester and Tweety is easy to use and arrives with a fast-growing mix of sweet oat and wheatgrass seeds. If you only need seeds, check out Kitty’s Garden – Organic Grass Seed Refill with 100% Organic Seeds of Oats, Wheat, Rye, and Barley at Amazon.
If your cat vomits quite a bit after eating grass, consult your veterinarian before letting her have any more – especially if it has been eaten from your lawn (some lawn grasses have rough edges that can irritate the stomach lining). It is also recommended that you not offer grass to your cat, right after eating, as this may cause the cat to throw up its meal.