|What is cat grass? Why do cats eat grass? Where can I buy cat grass? How to grow cat grass|
Cat grass (catgrass or kitty grass) is a name used to describe a number of different types of grass which are popular with cats. It is completely safe for cats to eat and enjoy some non-toxic greenery.
Image David Blackwell, Flickr
Cats lack the necessary digestive enzymes to fully digest grass, which makes them vomit the grass back up. In the process, they also bring up undigestible products such as hairballs and indigestible parts of prey such as bones and feathers.
Other possible reasons cats enjoy grass include:
- Grass contains micro-nutrients which aren’t a part of their normal carnivorous diet. Folic acid is an essential water-soluble vitamin which is responsible for a number of functions including metabolising fat, production of oxygen and growth and development.
- It acts as a laxative and can help with the passage of indigestible objects such as hair further along the digestive tract.
- They like the taste of it.
What are the benefits of cat grass?
Because cats are unable to digest cat grass, when consumed it can assist in the regurgitation of hairballs before they become a problem.
There are several types of cat grass which are safe for cats to eat.
Dactylis glomerata (orchard grass or cock’s-foot)
Avena sativa (common oat, cat oat)
Hordeum vulgare (Barley)
Triticum aestivum (wheatgrass)
Cat grass can easily be grown in pots, making it an ideal snack for indoor cats.
Some pet owners plant cat grass seeds in a large, shallow tray (such as one used to grow seedlings), which not only provides the cat something to much on, but also cool greenery to lie on.
Cat grass is an easy plant to grow from seed which should be available from your local garden centre.
- Add potting mix to the pot
- Add seeds evenly over the top of the soil, press down lightly. Do not over-crowd the seeds
- Water the seeds in
- Place on a sunny windowsill
- Check daily and water if the soil dries out, seeds should start sprouting within 5-7 days.
- Once the grass is an inch or two long, move to a spot easily accessible to your cat.
- Water when the soil becomes dry, but be careful not to over-water.
It is also a good idea to have some growing outdoors in an enclosure if your cat has access to one.
Most cats prefer to nibble on the fresh shoots, but will often lose interest once the grass matures.
Cat grass FAQ: