Hardly understandable from a human point of view, but some cats are actually crazy about grass. They eat the green stalks on their forays outdoors or make pots with cat grass in the apartment. But what is cat grass anyway – and is it healthy for our kitties?
Cats need to eat meat to stay healthy. A purely plant-based diet is therefore not an option for these four-legged friends – they need animal proteins from meat or fish. “Nevertheless, they sometimes like to nibble on greens,” explains veterinarian Dr. Jamie Richardson to Catster magazine. Why?
There are several reasons for that. Apparently, the grass not only tastes good to cats, but it also helps them with digestion. Eating grass regularly can help cats relieve constipation and get rid of indigestible items, such as fur balls.
Some scientists suspect that the ancestors of our house cats nibbled on the grass to induce vomiting. This could have been helpful when they couldn’t digest certain parts of their prey. One study also found that eating cat grass is believed to be innate. Other theories suggest that grass could act like a mild pain reliever or laxative in cats, keeping their breath fresh.
At the same time, you can give your kitty a nice change if you provide her home with a pot of grass that she can nibble on every now and then.
Cat Grass is a Mix of Different Types of Grass
But what is cat grass anyway? “It is not a specific type of grass but a combination, for example of rye, barley, oats, and wheat.” Lori Teller, professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Science at Texas A&M University. Cat grass kits are available from pet stores, but you can also plant them yourself.
However, the grass is not essential for your kitty to survive: “Cat grass is not a necessary part of a cat’s diet if it eats balanced food,” says Dr. Plate. However, she agrees that many cats enjoy weed. And: “In some cases, it can provide some micronutrients such as vitamins A and E.”
The decision of whether you want to give your cat grass or not is ultimately entirely up to you. Teller notes that if you have planted your own cat grass, it could also be healthier for people who are outdoors because they could nibble outside on grass that is contaminated with chemicals or water that is contaminated with bacteria. This could cause diseases.
Also important: Some cats may find it confusing that they can safely eat grass, but not other plants. Therefore, make sure that you put other, potentially poisonous house plants out of the reach of your cat – or not bring them into the house at all.
In general, however, it is completely safe for cats to eat cat grass, according to the professor. Only if your kitty suddenly gnaws excessively on it could that be a sign of malnutrition. Then the best thing to do is to seek advice from a veterinarian.