Cat Grass: Your Complete Guide

Posted in: Cat Health - Last Updated: February 7, 2022 - Author: Rebekah Carter
Posted in Cat Health 
Last Updated: February 7, 2022  
Author:  Rebekah Carter
cat grass shoots with cat face

On the surface, cat grass seems like a pretty odd invention. We know our feline friends are obligate carnivores, so they’re not exactly fond of eating greenery. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean a little vegetation in their diet can’t be a good thing. 

Your little meat-eater might actually enjoy having the option to mix up their diet from time to time. You might have noticed your outdoor cat munching on plants from time to time, or your indoor kitty trying to steal your flowers. Greenery in various forms does have some very specific benefits for your furry pal – but not just any plant life will do. 

Cat grass is a special kind of vegetation designed specifically for the leafy green needs of your kitty. Today, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about it.

What is Cat Grass? An Introduction

The first thing you should know about cat grass is that, unlike catnip, cat grass isn’t a particular type of plant. Rather, when you buy it from a store, or on Amazon, you’re purchasing a selection of seeds carefully chosen for their ability to support cat digestion and health.

Cat grass usually features a number of different kinds of cereal grains and seeds, such as barley, rye, wheat grass, and oats – it’s not the same as the standard grass you get in your lawn or on a local field. This type of grass is specifically intended for growth indoors, and it’s designed for your pets. The grass outside could include dangerous pesticides and other harmful edible substances, so your furry pal definitely shouldn’t be encouraged to use your garden as a grass buffet. 

There are a few different variations of grass on the market, and each has its own ratio of certain seeds to be aware of. To find the right option for your cat, try and keep an eye on their preferences when you’re testing them out on certain recipes. Options include:

  • Wheatgrass: One of the best all-round cat grasses, wheatgrass is brimming with minerals, vitamins, and useful amino acids for your cat’s health. Wheatgrass is even something we humans eat from time to time, particularly in the form of green juices and smoothies.
  • Barley grass: The sweetest of the various kinds of grass on the market today, barley grass is more of a treat for your feline friend. This product is usually rich in nutrients, and a good source of fiber for kitties with stomach issues.
  • Ryegrass: One of the more versatile and durable kinds of grass, many cat grass products feature a decent amount of rye because it’s longer lasting than the other seeds. It gives your kitty something to chew on.
  • Oat grass: Probably the most flavorful of the cat grass options, Oat grass is a popular pick for many cats, and it’s a fantastic source of soluble fiber and protein too.
cat grass growing in cup

Why Do Cats Eat Grass?

Cats are unusual and complex creatures, with equally complicated diets. Most kitties will be able to get by comfortably in life without consuming any cat grass, so you don’t need to worry if you haven’t been growing this treat in your home over the last few years with your cat. 

Usually, grass will play a number of important roles in ensuring the good health of your kitty. Cat grass can be a helpful deterrent if you tend to bring a lot of plants and flowers home and want to prevent your furry pal from trying to chew on those (perhaps more dangerous) plants. If your kitty has a habit of gnawing on and destroying your personal plants, a cat grass garden could be a great way to minimize this behavior. 

In the wild, cats occasionally seek out grass and vegetation for digestion purposes. Usually, when your cat is gnawing on grass, it’s seeking something it might be missing in its existing diet. Plants, and particularly cat grasses, are notoriously rich in soluble fiber, which helps to promote good digestion for your cat, and keeps their bowels working well.

If your cat is having tummy trouble caused by issues like hairballs, grass can also be helpful in this instance, as it helps to move things along the digestive tract and gets rid of the excess fur which could be building up. Although it might not sound particularly fun, many cats ingest grass instinctively when they want to induce vomiting, because they’ve eaten something they think disagrees with them.

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Generally, your cat won’t need cat grass specifically for nutritional purposes. Although cat grass is rich in various nutrients and vitamins, your kitty should be getting most of what they need from their existing diet. However, that doesn’t mean your cat doesn’t enjoy eating grass. 

Cat grass can be something of a treat for your furry friend, because various kinds of grass have a unique flavor - and it's a lot safer than letting a cat eat chocolate. If your cat likes the taste of cat grass, they might eat it for this reason alone.

 It can be especially decent for indoor cats as it can act as a source of environmental enrichment. In some cases, it may provide some micronutrients, such as vitamins A and D.

Is Cat Grass Safe?

In general, there are only a handful of specific kinds of plants you should be feeding your kitty. As mentioned above, cats are designed to get the majority of their nutrition from meats, so vegetation isn’t really necessary. In fact, there are a number of plants which can be extremely dangerous to your cat, like lilies. Even the standard grass outside on your lawn may not be safe for your cat.

Everyday outdoor grass can be covered in pests, pesticides, and other unwanted substances which cause sickness in your feline friend. However, cat grass isn’t the same as your “everyday” grass. 

In general, grass should be safe for your furry pal, because it’s specially designed to only include seeds which aren’t going to cause cats any harm. Just make sure you keep your cat garden separate from any other houseplants and greenery. There’s a comprehensive list available from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals which highlights the most dangerous plants for cats.

If you’re worried about the quality of the cat grass you’re buying, we’d recommend doing as much research as you can before you invest. Take some time to examine the ingredients in the product and read the reviews from other customers. This should offer some peace of mind.

Do Cats Only Eat Grass When They’re Sick?

Cats frequently eat grass to manage their digestive system and address various problems with sickness. If your furry pal eats something that disagrees with them, you might have noticed them chewing on grass outside or seeking out some extra plant life. This is because vegetation can help with inducing vomiting in cats.

However, just because cats frequently eat grass when they’re unwell, doesn’t mean they only ever use grass for sickness. Cat grass can positively influence your cat’s digestive system, and it can benefit your kitty’s life by giving them something fun and delicious to chew on.

Most forms of grass will contain valuable substances for your feline friend, including folic acid. This vitamin is commonly found in human cereals and grains, and it helps to promote proper bloodstream flow. Cat grass also works as a handy laxative for flushing out hairballs and getting rid of bits of food that your cat has ingested. 

If your furry pal starts eating excessive amounts of grass, or throwing up regularly, of course, it’s important to check with your veterinarian. Your vet can ensure there are no underlying medical reasons for the over-consumption of grass.

white cat sniffing green cat grass

Can Cats Eat Too Much Grass?

Cat grass is a relatively safe alternative to most outdoor grass and plants. However, like any vegetation, it’s not the healthiest product your kitty can eat. There are no strict guidelines or “dosage” suggestions when it comes to cat grass, so the best thing you can do is keep an eye on your feline and pay attention to how they’re using their very own cat garden.

If you notice your cat throwing up a lot of hairballs, or consuming excessive amounts of cat grass, to the point where they’re not eating their other food as much, this could be a sign of a problem. Ideally, you should only plant around a handful of seeds at a time and try not to leave your cat alone with the plant to eat everything at once if you know they have a habit for binging. 

Watching your cat when initially introducing them to grass is also helpful because it will allow you to pinpoint signs of other issues like Pica. If your kitty starts eating the soil or other products around your cat grass, this may indicate a more significant problem, like an absence of crucial nutrients in your cat’s diet. 

Keep in mind there are also cats who may not enjoy eating grass at all. Cats are notorious for snubbing all kinds of food – even the ones they’re supposed to enjoy.

How to Grow Cat Grass

If you think your kitty might enjoy having access to their own little feline garden, then you’re in luck. These days, there are tons of cat grass growing kits available, so you shouldn’t have too much problem growing your own cat grass. Because you’re basically just growing a number of seeds, the grass is also reasonably easy to take care of too. 

To begin, you’ll need a shallow container – some of the cat grass kits on the market come with a container, while others require you to find your own. You’ll also need some potting soil, a little water, and the selection of cat grass seeds you’re going to be using. Ideally, you’ll want to place your cat grass in a relatively sunny area in your home, out of the way of paws while it grows. 

Once you’ve chosen your cat grass:

  • Find a shallow container your cats aren’t likely to accidentally knock over on their own. Although it’s best to keep the container out of the way during the growing period, you don’t want your cat to flip it when they’re eating the grass shoots that eventually grow.
  • Fill your container of about three-quarters of the way with loose, organic potting soil. You’ll need to keep the soil damp and reasonably flat as you’re adding it. To avoid allowing water to go everywhere, place your container on a tray or saucer.
  • Sprinkle a handful of your cat grass seeds on the surface. You’ll usually see instructions on how many seeds you should add at one time on the packaging for your cat grass. Try not to grow too much at once, as this can be harder to maintain.
  • To help the seeds germinate and grow, cover your container with a very loose strip of plastic wrap. You’ll need to keep the tray and the seeds at room temperature, so avoid any overly hot or cold spots. Before sprouting, your seeds will need to be kept reasonably damp at all times.
  • When sprouting starts, usually within 3 to 7 days, you can remove the plastic wrap, and move your cat grass to a sunny spot with natural light, where it can begin to thrive. Again, try to avoid choosing a space too warm, as this can dry out the seeds.
  • Water the seed sprouts regularly when the soil begins to feel a little dry to the touch. You don’t want to add too much water here. Excessive amounts of water can cause mold to grow around the container – which isn’t good for your cat.
  • Wait until the grass sprouts to around 3-4 inches tall before you begin offering it to your cat. This usually takes a couple of weeks after sprouting, so be patient. You don’t need to snip off sections of grass for your kitty, just let them eat it out of the container.
  • When the grass begins to wilt after a few weeks, pull the shoots from the soil, and plant a new selection of seeds. If you want to maintain a consistent supply of cat grass, you can always plant a few different pots a week or two apart. Make sure you monitor your cats for signs of excessive consumption and vomiting.
cat chewing green cat grass

What if My Cat Doesn’t Like it?

Even if your cat likes to spend their afternoons in the summer munching on your grass outdoors, this doesn’t mean they’re definitely going to love cat grass. Our kitties are often confusing and fickle creatures, so it’s worth keeping this in mind when you’re introducing the grass to your furry pal. 

Remember, if your cat doesn’t like eating cat grass, you can always consider trying a different mixture of seeds. However, most cats can easily get by and enjoy a healthy life without consuming cat grass. If you can’t convince your feline to eat this treat, just let them go without. 

No matter what, don’t allow your cat to eat outdoor grass and other plants instead of cat grass. You could be exposing your cat to some dangerous additional substances this way.

FAQs

Do indoor cats need cat grass?

If your cat spends most of its life indoors, you might assume it needs more vegetation than an outdoor cat. The reality is grass isn’t a required part of your kitty’s diet, but it could be something they enjoy. Indoor cats could see cat grass as a source of valuable environmental enrichment.

What are the benefits of cat grass?

Generally, cat grass is best suited to giving your cat an extra source of dietary fiber. This fiber helps to speed up and stimulate digestion. Because of the high fiber levels, cat grass can also work as a natural laxative, and it’s great for getting rid of hairballs.

Can cat grass make cats sick?

While your cat might vomit after eating cat grass, this doesn’t mean the grass itself is “making” your cat sick. Your cat might be inducing vomiting on purpose to get rid of something in their system they don’t like, such as a bad piece of food.

How do you serve cat grass?

You can allow your cat to eat grass directly out of the container it comes in. Usually, you should serve cat grass when it’s around 3-4 inches tall. Continue to keep it moist with a spray bottle over time and remove the grass when it begins to wilt.

Should I let my cat eat grass?

Allowing your cat to eat regular grass can be dangerous due to the pesticides and other substances on outdoor fields. However, you can safely allow your kitty to eat cat grass if they enjoy the taste. Try not to let your cat eat too much grass without supervision.

Can I grow cat grass without soil?

Yes, all you need is a jug filled with stone and a piece of paper towel. Place the seeds on the paper towel and fill the jug with water below the towel. The seeds should begin to sprout within a few days, and the grass should grow normally.

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About the author

Rebekah Carter is a dedicated animal lover. Her Savannah cat, Roscoe, has a lot of attitude, while her Maine Coon, Dukino, is full of love. When not writing, she’s looking after her cats and researching ways to help them live their best possible life. Her passion for animals and natural skill for writing led her to pursue pet blogging.

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