Last Updated on: September 13, 2023 by Crystal Uys
Cats are obligate carnivores, but they can still benefit from consuming small amounts of plant-based foods. While catnip may take center stage for plant-based cat products, cat grass is another plant product that can be healthy for cats to eat.
Cat grass isn’t a particular species of grass. Rather, it’s composed of a blend of several different types of plants that are safe for cats to eat, including alfalfa, barley, oat, rye, and wheat. Feeding cat grass to cats can be good for their health, and it’s also easy to grow on your own. Here are some ways your cat may benefit from eating cat grass.
The 6 Reasons to Grow Cat Grass:
1. Helps With Digestion
Grain grasses are an excellent source of fiber that your cat may not be able to get from animal protein.1 Consuming a little extra soluble fiber can help boost digestion and support gut health. It may also help alleviate minor gastrointestinal issues, like occasional diarrhea.
Cats with chronic constipation may benefit from eating more fiber. So, if your cat is prone to certain digestive issues, it doesn’t hurt to consult your veterinarian and see if cat grass is a viable natural remedy.
2. Helps With Hairballs
While there are many lovable things about cats, coughing up hairballs isn’t one of them. It’s normal for cats to regurgitate a hairball every couple of weeks, but it can become a more significant issue if the frequency increases.2
While cat grass may not be the silver bullet to hairballs, it can certainly help cats throw up hairballs more easily. Sometimes, it can act like a laxative to help cats digest them.3
3. Safe Alternative to Outdoor Grass
Cat grass can be particularly beneficial for outdoor cats that have developed a habit of eating grass while they roam outside. You just never know how unsafe grass grown outside can be. They can be treated with pesticides that are toxic to your cat, and your cat could still eat them unknowingly.
While cats normally just graze the top of the grass, some may paw down to the root and get dirt in their mouths. This could potentially lead them to consume intestinal parasites and end up with a significant infection. Growing your own cat grass gives more control and safety to what your cat eats and greatly reduces the risk of sickness and infections.
4. Deter Cats from Chewing Houseplants
Some cats can develop a habit of chewing on houseplants for a variety of reasons. They may eat them out of boredom or simply enjoy the texture and taste. While there are houseplants that are safe and non-toxic to cats, there are also a lot of popular houseplants that produce toxins that are unsafe for them to eat.
Having cat grass in the home can provide cats with a safe alternative to houseplants. They can also help protect your houseplants from damage caused by biting and clawing.
5. Additional Source of Vitamins and Minerals
While cat grass can’t replace a significant portion of your cat’s usual diet, your cat can benefit from consuming a bit more vitamins and minerals from cat grass. Depending on the type of grass, your cat may get some extra vitamins A and D. Grass can contain folic acid, which helps improve and support healthy blood circulation. The chlorophyll found in grass may help with minor pain alleviation and skin infections. It’s also known to help freshen the breath.
6. Protects Cats from Food Poisoning
Wild cats can sometimes eat grass or plants after they’ve eaten their prey. The grass can induce vomiting and help them throw up indigestible parts of whatever they’ve eaten. While it’s unlikely your indoor cat has eaten some sort of prey with indigestible parts, it’s possible that your cat may feel a little queasy after eating something from time to time. Eating some cat grass can help your cat expel something that’s making them feel sick or nauseous and make them feel better more quickly.
How to Grow Your Own Cat Grass
Now that you know the benefits of cat grass, you may be interested in growing your own. The best and safest way to grow cat grass is by purchasing a cat grass kit. These kits typically contain blends of cat grass that are more palatable to cats. In some cases, you can find pots of already-grown cat grass at your local pet store so that you can skip the planting and growing process.
Cat grass kits usually contain a blend of seeds, and these seeds are relatively easy to grow. Some kits may recommend soaking the seeds before planting, while others will instruct you directly to plant the dry seeds in dirt and then water them. Make sure to use a well-draining container to prevent root rot and place the container in a room with plenty of sunlight.
The seeds should sprout within 3–7 days, and the grass can be eaten about 10 days after sprouting. Make sure to remove any yellow or wilting blades of grass regularly.
Overall, your cat can experience several health benefits from eating cat grass, and you may see improvements in digestion and gut health. Cat grass is also a safe alternative for cats that enjoy chewing on plant leaves. So, if your cat has a habit of eating houseplants or looks like they need more fiber in their diet, it doesn’t hurt to introduce them to cat grass.
Featured Image Credit: Kashaeva Irina, Shutterstock
About the author
Cat mom to Ivy – a feisty little rescue kitten that is her one and only child. For now! Throughout her life, she has been introduced to the special love that can be found in the bond with a cat. Having owned multiple felines, she is more than certain that their love is unmatched, unconditional and unlike any other. With a passion to educate the public about everything, there is to know about felines, their behavior, and their unique personalities, Crystal is devoted to making sure that all cats and their owners know the importance of conscious living – and loving!