Why do cats eat grass?

Posted by | Mar 25, 2016 |

It is not uncommon to see cats happily chewing grass, no matter how amazing food they have consumed already. It is not only regular in outdoor cat’s behavior, but even indoor felines are tempted to try out the houseplants at some point or another.

I am sure this sounds familiar to you also, as this happened to me many times as well. I have often watched my cat silently sitting in the garden and eating grass for about five-ten minutes. Once she finished, it was majorly followed by her moving to a quiet spot and vomiting. Since it was frustrating, I have always wondered: Did this actually mean that she liked to throw up? Is it good for her? Or is it even necessary? Why does my cat eat grass if it causes her vomiting?

These are the main things that almost every cat owner asks about grazing, and these are the questions that will be discussed in this article.

Why do cats eat grass?
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Author Amira

Hi there!

I’m Amira, founder and editor at Cattention.

This website is dedicated to share useful but entertaining information and help You understand Your cat’s actions, behavior and needs.

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Reasons

Although it is largely known that cats eat grass, the reason (or reasons) for this action is not completely understood. Though not proven, there are many theories and explanations of this behavior that seem to represent the real valuable function. Let’s see some of these feasible reasons.

Getting rid of hairball

We all are well aware that cats do love to lick themselves regularly which is a part of their grooming process. When a cat grooms, her tongue inevitably will carry some of that fur into her mouth and then straight to her stomach. Unfortunately, she has no way to break it down and more and more fur piles up in her stomach forming an offending hairball. Sooner or later this undigested furball can make her feel uncomfortable, so she needs to find a way to get rid of it.

Eating grass causes regurgitation as the cat’s body does not have the enzyme to digest plant material and so it irritates her little stomach resulting in vomiting. Even though it is worrying for you, your cat knows that eating grass helps her vomit, so she does it on purpose to remove the undigested things including the unwanted fur from her stomach. It actually makes the cat feel better and clears the digestive system.

Cat grooming

Using it as natural laxative

Another feasible assumption is that cats use grass as a natural laxative. Unlike humans, cats are not picky in terms of food. When a cat hunts and eats her prey, she does not choose between parts but eats the entire thing altogether including unwanted and indigestible parts like bones, fur or feather. Sometimes even the furball gets stuck deep inside the intestines because of which she cannot throw it up.

This time also, she may instinctively eat grass as a remedy, in order to help the undigested products pass through her digestive system and out of her rear end.

Consuming some nutrients

The most popular speculation is that cats consume grass in order to control their nutritional needs. Even though grass does not have much nutritional value from a cat’s diet perspective, it does contain certain nutrients like moisture, vitamins and minerals which may not be normally available for a cat in her natural diet.

Having a weird chewing habit

In addition to these health issues, there is a theory that some cats have behavior problems and simply like to chew on something. It can be foreign material like a toy, cables, strings, paper, etc. And what else would be better than some attractive greenery?

Simply enjoying the taste

You would have never thought of it, but another valid reason for this behavior could be because they just simply enjoy the delicious taste of grass. Plain and simple.

Cat enjoying grass

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Cat grass

Since providing grass seems to be a health issue for your furry little friend and so it appears that cats do enjoy nibble on grass, I suggest you to have some greenery. Why do you need it?

Outdoor cat

If you have an outdoor cat, then she must have access to some safe cat grass because in your garden she may end up hunting and eating small prey instinctively (even if she is well fed) and she will need some cat grass in order to help herself vomit the undigested parts of her prey.

Indoor cat

Cat grass for indoor cats is absolutely necessary, even though you have fed her well. She will need it to remove the unwanted furball from her stomach after her intense grooming sessions.

Whether outdoor or indoor, please make sure that the provided cat grass does not contain any pesticides because it can be harmful to the beloved kitty. If you are worried that the grass your cat is eating might be treated with pesticides or any other poisonous chemicals, the safest way of providing grass to your cat is growing some of your own. There actually is a plant called cat grass which includes different species, such as the common oat, barley and wheatgrass. You can also opt for cat-friendly greenery, like thyme, sage or parsley. Many pet stores offer special cat grass in many brands and types either in pots or as seeds. Have some and place them in an easily accessible spot so that your four legged friend can enjoy her own delicious greenery any time she desires. I recommend you choose any of the following:

SmartCat Kitty’s Garden

SmartCat Kitty's Garden

Todd’s Wheatgrass Seeds

Todd's Seeds

Pureness Oat Garden Kit

Pureness Oat Garden Kit

Petlinks Nibble-Licious Cat Grass

Petlinks Nibble-Licious Cat Grass

Please do not make the mistake of confusing cat grass with catnip. They are two completely different things, and catnip is not grass at all.

Cat ate too much grass

Is it healthy or harmful?

If you are noticing your cat eating grass for the first time, then it may cause you some worry. But according to the theories mentioned above, grazing is not only harmless, but it may be beneficial to a cat as it helps her to clear the digestive system from the unwanted products and make her feel better.

Even though grass ingestion does appear healthy, there are some things you should pay attention about:

  • Most of the houseplants are poisonous to cats so do make sure that you keep only non-toxic ones.
  • If you have an outdoor cat, or your kitty is allowed to go outside, always try to have an eye on her. While you keep your lawn and plants pet-friendly, your neighbors may not do the same and could use chemicals on their greenery which can be poisonous to your beloved furry friend. Try to keep her away from chemically treated grass and plants and make sure she does not graze from unknown places.
  • If your cat eats grass too often and in too large amounts, please contact your veterinarian as it can indicate digestive or any other underlying problem and it can also cause diarrhea.
Cat having problem with grass

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Conclusion

If you have noticed your cat ingesting grass for whatever reason, do not worry, your pet is fairly typical – most felines do eat grass. Since there is no proven evidence that it could cause any harm to them, rather it seems to be beneficial, and on top of all this they appear to enjoy eating grass, there is no reason to stop them doing so (even if it seems to be a strange habit).

Make sure you have no toxic greenery and keep your cat away from chemically treated lawn and plants. In case you experience anything out of ordinary in your kitty’s behavior, like consuming too much grass or showing any illness, please do turn to your nearest veterinarian as soon as possible.

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