You tell your kids not to eat anything that has fallen to the ground, not to stick their tongue to taste dirt, or eat flowers. But another member of the family seems to do exactly that – your cat. Why do cats eat grass?
All cat owners would surely like to know why. And they’re also interested to find out what happens when their pet cat ingests grass.
So we’ve decided to write a short guide that aims to answer these questions. Read on to learn more.
Why Do Cats Eat Grass? (A Cat's Natural Diet)
Before we focus on the topic of cats eating grass, let me first explain that pre-packed cat food is not your pet's natural diet. Cats nowadays are fed food from packets or cans and are even given milk from cows.
Modern cats have become so domesticated they are barely allowed to go out the door on their own. This situation has limited not only your cat's range of motion and physical activity but also the kind of food she has access too.
But the thing is, cats are predatory animals. They are used to stalking and hunting their prey. Like their larger cousins, the lions, and the tigers, cats prefer to eat raw meat.
They are known for chasing and eating mice, and birds (think Sylvester and Tweety Bird) and other small animals.
Basically, anything they can find, catch and swallow.
Cats are normally very active and would sometimes spend a good part of their day hunting in areas that they have marked and mapped out.
Think of them as efficient hunters rather than sweet and docile pets that play with strings and get photographed for sharing on social media.
Now, to answer the question regarding why cats eat grass.
Since cats hunt live prey and eat them whole – beak, claws, feathers and all, they often find it difficult to digest their food.
So it turns out that grass for cats is actually a good thing. They eat grass in order for the digestive systems not to break down.
Grass helps them regurgitate the nasty bits of bird or mice that they have swallowed.
It’s OK to Let Your Pet Eat Grass
Cats should be allowed to play and roam outdoors. They're territorial creatures and need to do that to exercise control and dominance over others.
Even if it's just a small alley or the back of a building, your cat values space that is hers.
If your cat is confined indoors, she will still try to hunt for small animals to eat. And when she swallows that poor creature, expect her to go outside and look for grass to eat.
If you don't let her go outside, she may very well resort to eating houseplants, which could be toxic to the cat.
Cats eating grass is as natural as a monkey eating bananas, it just so happened that this generation is no longer used to seeing cats behaving as they really should be– as top players in the food chain.
Cats will eat all and any grass for roughage.
As explained earlier, the grass goes down the cat's guts and mixes with the undigestable portions of her meal.
The grass will then help the cat regurgitate these food bits. The cat feels better after the release and moves on to plan her next hunting expedition.
If you don't see your cat looking for grass or eating them, it's probably because you've been feeding her protein-rich meals or food packs.
There's not much needed to be regurgitated from these pre-packed meals that honestly look like they've already been chewed on and partially digested.
Still, cats should be looking for grass to cough out furballs. If she is not doing this, it will serve you well to find out why.
According to experts, all cats eat grass. Even their much larger cousins, the lions, and tigers.
However, these bigger cats have more equipped digestive systems. They can chew and chomp down bones and ligaments and have no need to barf them back out.
So they need grass is in order to neutralize stomach acids after a big fatty and meaty meal. (Maybe so they don't get heartburn?)
Note that lions can eat an entire gazelle or antelope, and they will certainly need a lot of fiber in their systems to break that food down.
Is A Cat Eating Grass Sick?
Now that we have established that eating grass is healthy for cats, it is important to note that there are exceptions.
Eating grass causes a cat's stomach to convulse and expel contents that her system considers too hard to digest.
If this is not done, these food items will go down their intestines and may cause an obstruction that may be dangerous and sometimes, require surgery.
On the other hand, a cat that eats too much grass may be vomiting more frequently than normal. And this is not good.
Normally, felines need to cough out furballs on a regular basis. Eating grass helps them do this.
So if they don't regurgitate stuff and refuse to eat or become lethargic, take your cat to the vet because chances are, the furball or other undigestible material has passed through her intestines and could be causing a blockage.
Too much vomiting should also be considered as a red flag.
Are There Dangers of Eating Grass?
Cats are used to living in the wild. That was what they were intended to do before man took her home and made her his pet.
The food that they ate then were natural and did not cause them to become sick.
The same goes for the grass that they ate, there were no pesticides or toxic chemicals in the water and soil. So the grass was safe to eat for cats, cows, and other animals.
The problem now is that the grass that cats eat have been treated or at least exposed to chemicals.
Imagine if they were eating grass on a manicured lawn or garden. The water will have chlorine, and the grass itself is treated with chemicals and pesticides.
This is not good for your cat. So try to monitor if your cat is behaving differently after eating grass. Chances are it might have upset his system too.
But to be 100% safe, you can let her eat grass that’s not laden with chemicals.
To answer the question, why do cats eat grass, we need to go back to the fundamental nature of cats. They are hunters who can eat anything from the wild and chomp down on it whole.
The grass is needed to make their stomachs convulse so they can regurgitate bones, feathers, claws, and other objects.
If a cat does not do this, she may suffer from an obstruction in her intestinal tract, and this may ultimately lead to death if not addressed right away.
But then again, even though grass is good for cats, you still need to monitor them.
If your cat has consumed grass that has been treated with chemicals or if she exhibits any of the following symptoms, take her to the vet immediately:
• Frequent vomiting
• Unending cough
Does your cat eat grass? Share your thoughts, ideas and opinions in the comment section.