If you haven’t seen them doing it before, it might surprise you when your cat rushes outside and starts chewing on the lawn. You will ask yourself, can cats eat grass? Well, the answer is yes, cats can eat grass and in fact, they can also harvest some benefits from it.
As a cat owner, you will often witness them munching on this green stuff when they get an upset stomach. But too much grass is not good for a cat’s digestive tract and will disrupt their gut flora.
Cats cannot fully digest grass, even so, the juice will give them folic acid, minerals, and various other vitamins. When a cat eats grass, it is their body telling them they need it, but you should not force your cat to eat this plant as food.
Cat owners must keep their cats indoors because of the risks involved with grass and other plants outdoors. When your cat munches on grass from the neighborhood, there are risks that pesticides can make them terminally ill.
Pet parents can grow cat grass inside the house and remove the threat of insecticides and plant poisoning. Read along to know why your cat needs grass and what you can do to help them have a healthy body and a happy relationship with it.
Is Grass a Good Food for Cats?
Grass is not good food for cats. Rather, it is a natural remedy for their upset GI tract. Your cat knows the benefits of eating grass when they have a digestive issue, even if you keep the cat indoors and do not allow her any contact with it.
It’s in their DNA and they have inherited this knowledge from their ancestors. This knowledge has kept them healthy in the wild and in domesticity.
Don’t worry if you see your cat eating grass once in a while, but if they are munching on it regularly, it’s time to consult the vet because their digestive issues have gotten out of control.
Cats are obligate carnivores and good food for them is only the one that has lean protein and fat. Felines need 70% to 80% protein for their daily food intake. The fat should comprise 15% to 20% of their regular diet.
Water, sodium, fiber, and minerals make up the rest, which also come from the same food. Although grass has some protein and fiber, it does not provide the essential energy and nutrients for the cat’s daily needs.
Moreover, it can cause various health and digestive issues if your cat keeps on munching this plant for a couple of days.
Is grass safe/toxic for cats to eat?
Grass doesn’t contain any toxins or poisonous elements for felines, even so, it doesn’t fully complement their digestive system at all. You cannot replace cat food with grass because felines are obligate carnivores.
Cats do not need fiber as a daily food item. That’s why vet-prescribed food, fish, or chicken is the best food you can give to your furball. When it comes to eating grass, cats do it to give a healthy boost to their digestive system.
When cats sense a disturbance in their gut flora or an increase in bad bacteria, they resort to grass-eating. Fiber, vitamins, and grass juice provide immunity boosters and support to the unhappy digestive system.
The high amount of fiber in the grass helps motility. Motility is the term used when food moves along the digestive tract and helps shift any hairball or food that has obstructed the passage.
Mostly when cats suffer from constipation, the best natural remedy for them is grass. Dietary fiber pushes the food or hair and relieves your cat from pain and obstruction.
When a cat vomits because of acidity or other poisonous food, grass also eases the acidity and relieves the side effects.
Are there any side effects of feeding cat grass?
The grass is not a natural food that you can add to a feline’s daily diet. If your furball eats grass once in a blue moon it is ok. But when the grass-eating frenzy becomes a weekly routine or daily ritual, things will take a nasty turn.
Grass doesn’t contain fat and has the wrong type of protein. That’s why your furball doesn’t need it daily. When it enters the digestive tract, the cat will usually vomit out all the food already in the stomach.
Cats naturally use grass to regurgitate hazardous foods in the stomach. When cats start eating grass regularly, they become unable to hold and digest food in their stomach and will become lethargic.
Excessive weight loss will make the cat prone to diseases and reduce their immunity. Vomiting will make your cat dehydrated. The results can be fatal if you don’t take corrective measures in time and take your cat to the vet.
Grass will create prolonged gut flora imbalance in your cat’s body, making them suffer from diarrhea, bloating, and gas for a while, even after proper treatment.
Cat suffers from the following side effects after eating grass:
- Weight loss
- Gut flora imbalance
- Loss of appetite
How much grass can a cat eat?
Cats should not eat more than 20 to 30 grams of grass. There is only vegetable protein and no fat in it; that’s why it is not on the daily food menu of your beloved furball. Your kitty doesn’t need grass daily and eating too much will cause digestive issues.
Cats eat grass to empty their stomach. This knowledge is mapped into their DNA. You don’t need to teach your cat to eat grass in case of digestive issues.
What are the risks of feeding cats grass?
The biggest risk is pesticide poisoning if your cat eats grass from outside your home. Cats love to roam around and when they find grass and want to eat it, there is nothing that can stop them.
Cats cannot detect pesticides and if they eat treated grass, it will lead to terminal damage to the liver and kidneys. Pesticide poisoning can kill your cat. That’s why you should grow grass indoors to keep your cat safe.
The next thing is plant poisoning. Not every plant and kind of grass is safe for your cat. Some exotic plants and grass types are hazardous for feline consumption.
Then there is the risk of viruses and bacteria. Cats cannot detect micro-organisms and can fall prey to terminal diseases caused by them. Various bacteria and viruses outside can also infect your cat. These viruses can harm the nervous system, digestive system, and urinary system of your kitty.
The grass you grow inside is also not safe for daily consumption. There are more risks and side effects associated with grass, for cats, than its benefits.
Following is the list of some of those risks:
- Pesticide poisoning
- Bacteria and viruses
- Plant toxicity
- Terminal illnesses
Can kittens eat grass?
Kittens don’t need grass, and you shouldn’t feed them any at all. They rarely get stomach issues in early life because of their simple diet.
If you feed grass to kittens before weaning, their digestive system will take a serious blow. If you don’t take your kitten to the vet, the poor soul could lose their life.
After weaning, the kittens who have started solid food should not eat this plant at all. When they grow and know what is good for them, they can eat grass.
Experts agree the maturity period for cats is 6 months. After this time, you can grow grass inside your house in plants or trays to offer it to your cat only a couple of times a month.
Grass Nutrition Benefits For Cats
There is no animal protein and no fat in the grass, even so, it can offer some nutritious things to your furball. When kittens eat grass, they get folic acid and vitamins from this food.
Most of the time, if the cat is not getting folic acid from the food, the result will be grass-eating. But that doesn’t mean you should feed it to your cat routinely. Be guided by your cat, as they will know if grass-eating is essential or not.
When cats need fiber to improve motility and manage gut flora imbalance, they resort to grass-eating. The fiber from grass is the best natural remedy to shift the obstruction.
A cat doesn’t get fat and animal protein from the grass, nevertheless, they get the following benefits from it:
- Folic acid
- Enhanced motility
- Increased immunity
How Should Grass be Served to Your Cat?
You don’t need to cook or do anything special with the grass. Cats love to eat it fresh from the ground or pot. Cats simply go to the pot or ground where there is fresh grass and eat the fresh leaves.
What about grass as a seasoning for food?
No, you should not do that. Using grass as seasoning is not what your cat needs. Cats only need grass when they cannot eat because of digestive upset. Adding grass to their food when they don’t need it will make them regurgitate their food right away and your cat will suffer from vomiting or diarrhea.
Alternative Healthy Snacks
Grass is not a healthy food for cats. That’s why anything non-toxic and free from regurgitating elements will be great food. If you want to offer your cat vitamins and minerals, seaweed is the best substitute for grass.
Your cat will get significant benefits, like iron, magnesium, potassium, vitamin B, C, and A from different variations of seaweeds. You can occasionally offer seaweed to your cat, but not more than 200 grams at a time.
Seaweed, a couple of fruits, and veggies are safe to eat for cats, but only in moderation. If you increase the intake more than the prescribed quantity, your cat will suffer from digestive issues.
Diarrhea and vomiting are common symptoms associated with excessive feeding. Using seaweed or other such treats should only be given occasionally.
You can offer your cat the following in moderation to get enhanced immunity and good health:
- The grass is safe and free from toxins as long as there are no pesticides sprayed onto them.
- You should grow grass inside the house if your cat wants to munch on this treat.
- Cats eat grass when there is a digestive issue. Look out for symptoms of diarrhea or vomiting after their grass chomping.
- Regular grass eating will cause prolonged vomiting and diarrhea.
- Grass can disrupt the gut flora; that’s why you should limit the grass-eating habit of your furball.
FAQs for Cats Eating Grass
What other foods can cats eat?
Cats can eat seaweed and veggies if you want to help them get minerals, vitamins, and nutrients. The grass is not a staple food for nutrients. Rather, it is a natural remedy to ward off digestive issues.
The best use of grass is when the cat is suffering from constipation. Other than that, giving them foods such as fruit and veggies is good for their health.
Does grass cause obesity in cats?
No, grass doesn’t cause obesity in cats because there are no fats in it. Rather, regular grass eating will cause weight loss because of prolonged diarrhea or vomiting.
If your cat eats grass daily, its stomach will throw out all the food and the poor soul will have nothing to digest and harvest energy. You should watch your cat and prevent regular grass-eating.
Does grass cause digestive issues in cats?
Yes, cats start grass-eating to stop digestive issues, but if they find it appealing and carry on eating it, the result will be GI unrest.
Their stomach will be the first part of the body to take all the damage from the grass. Even though there are no toxins or poisonous elements in it, grass can still disrupt gut flora and increase acidity in the stomach.
Can a diabetic cat eat grass?
If the diabetic cat is suffering from digestive unrest, eating grass once a month is acceptable. But when the poor soul eats it two or three times a week, things will not result well.
A diabetic cat will take a great blow on the liver and pancreas because of malnutrition and increased acidity. Can cats eat grass regularly is always no and you should keep it that way!