Why do cats eat grass often?
Perhaps you have a free-range cat yourself or have ever seen a cat chewing on a few blades of grass with great pleasure. This completely contradicts their actual diet.
After all, they are carnivores. For this reason, cat researchers have repeatedly asked themselves, “Why do cats eat grass?”
There are different answers, although some can be doubted. For example, because they want to use it to absorb fiber that is present in the grass.
On the one hand, the relatively small amount that cats consume speaks against it, on the other hand, they do not always swallow all the grass, but sometimes chew on it.
This gave the researchers another idea: Maybe cats love to eat grass or cat grass because it contains folic acid.
Since it is a water-soluble vitamin, it is not necessary to swallow the grass; it is enough to chew on it.
There is only a small amount of folic acid in the meat – so this theory is perfectly understandable.
Folic acid is an essential component of blood formation. If a deficiency occurs, anemia can result.
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Cat grass causes a gag reflex.
There is a special type of grass you can get for your cat to keep indoors and many pet lovers love doing this, but it is not the same as the grass outside in your yard.
Cat grass or other grasses are so crucial to cats that they are related to their digestion. However, cat grass does not promote digestion but instead leads to the opposite, namely a gag reflex. (1.)
Such makes sense when you look at what a cat occasionally chokes out. This is not about half-digested food, but giant hairballs that pose almost tricky tasks for the gastrointestinal tract.
But where do the extensive collections of hair come from?
On the one hand, they like to appear in free-range cats that eat their prey with their skin and hair, on the other hand, they are mainly related to the type of fur of the cat and the season.
Cat grass is essential for cats
Cats are spotless animals that take care of their fur very carefully.
Some can clean themselves for hours – and not only do they superficially clean the fur, but they also use their rough tongue to remove dead hair.
These stick to the cat’s tongue often and are primarily swallowed. The most significant accumulations of hair in the gastrointestinal tract, therefore, arise in long-haired cats during the change of fur.
Then such amounts can come together that the cat instinctively tries to get rid of them.
If it doesn’t work “out the back,” then “out the front.” The trick here is to eat grass because it is difficult to digest and leads to gagging.
The result is a hairball that is not particularly appealing, but everything is better than indigestion or even a bowel obstruction!
Which cats need cat grass?
Some cats ignore cat grass; others cannot get enough of it. Such varies from person to person and can have various reasons: Some do not need it, because they have no problems with shedding their hair.
It all depends on the cat really.
Such can be due to the particular digestion and whether the cat is short-haired or long-haired and how badly it licks off or how intensely the coat changes.
Deciding if your cat is going to need some cat grass comes down to whether your cat is an outdoor cat or a pure indoor cat. Freelancers can take care of themselves in most cases.
For safety’s sake, cats should always be provided with cat grass.
At least they still have the ideal opportunity to nibble on it.
However, if you overdo it and eat the cat grass bare, you should step in and only make it available to a limited extent, because too much of it can lead to inflammation of the stomach.
Besides, by providing cat grass, you can ensure that, on the one hand, your houseplants are spared, and on the other hand, the risk of the cats nibbling on a poisonous plant is minimized.
Which cat grass is right for you?
• Cyprus grass. Cat grass is not just cat grass! Because the expression is used for many plants that are offered under this name.
In real sense, it is understood as Cyprus grass.
This is not recommended without restriction, as there are different types and varieties.
Hard, sharp-edged Cyprus grass is not suitable for use as cat grass! It can lead to internal injuries, which may be recognized by blood in the stool.
So check what the Cyprus grass feels like.
The dwarf Cyprus grass is generally very suitable(Cyperus alternifolius Nana), which has relatively delicate leaves.
The plant always requires sufficient water and – like all plants for cats in question – should be placed in a pot that is as stable as possible to avoid tipping over.
grass The Seychelles grass is also sold under the term cat grass – also called indoor bamboo.
It needs a bright location and must not dry out. The plant is straightforward to care for and is occasionally used as a reptile feed.
• Green lily
The green lily (Chlorophytum comosum) is a prevalent plant at home or in the office because it is pretty easy to look at but straightforward to care for.
However, a disadvantage concerning use as cat grass is that it has an air-cleaning effect.
The green lily is not recommended if you live in a smoking household or a very traffic-intensive area.
• Wheat, Oats & BarleySeveral cereal saplings are also offered under the term cat grass.
While some may not find them as decorative as the plants mentioned above, there is hardly any risk that the leaves will be sharp.
Wheat, oats, and barley are mostly offered on the market.
They are quite inexpensive and in a beautiful planter also provides an attractive eye-catcher.
If you want, you can only buy seeds and plant them. For example, meadow grass is also suitable for this.
Care of cat grass
No matter which cat grass you use, you should always avoid fertilizer!
Accordingly, it would be best if you also were careful when buying plants that are not designated as cat grass.
There is still a risk that these have been treated with commercially available chemical fertilizer. All forms of cat grass are elementary to care for.
Depending on the type, the care of cat grass differs in terms of water requirement and location.
Cyprus grass likes it moist and bright, Seychelles bamboo is slightly damp and somewhat sunny.
The green lily and the grain saplings are particularly undemanding.
In the latter, it is advisable to cut them regularly (like a lawn) so that new shoots are created.
This does not mean you should try using a lawn mower for this task though…
Alternatives for cat grass
If your cat doesn’t like cat grass but has trouble choking it up, there are two things you can do. For one, you can give your cat a malt paste to offer.
The oils and fibers contained therein promote the departure of swallowed hair. Some types of feed are also particularly suitable in this regard.
Above all, you should consider whether you are doing enough grooming. With regular brushing, you can help your cat the most!
Such is especially true for long-haired cats when changing their fur, but the hair should also be groomed for short-haired cats.
A narrow-toothed comb with round tips and short prongs is suitable for this.
A rubber knob brush or glove is equally good. The main thing is that the loose hair doesn’t all end up in the cat’s stomach.
Now that we have answered the question of “why do cats eat grass?”, and why cats eat grass outside, you may also enjoy reading our article about why cats sleep so much.