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Why do cats eat grass?

Maine coon cat in the grass advice
© Pexels

You feed your kitty high-quality, delicious meat-based food, only to spot them munching on the grass in the garden. So why do cats eat grass? From a natural laxative to tummy troubles, the reasons may surprise you!

By Alice Lang

If you’re an experienced cat owner, you’ll be aware that cats are obligate carnivores. This means they need meat to survive, so it should make up the bulk of their diet. At the same time, you’ll probably have noticed your cat eating grass on the lawn outside - strange, huh?

Turns out, it’s not as strange as it seems. Most of the time, there’s nothing to worry about. Plain grass is unlikely to harm your cat - and some even believe it comes with a host of benefits! So, let’s find out why cats eat grass and whether grass could actually benefit your kitty.

Why do cats eat grass?

Tummy troubles

If your cat has suddenly started indulging in some grass-snacking, they may have a spot of tummy pain or upset. It’s all down to feline instincts - cats just know they need some fibre when they’re a little blocked up. They’re clever little things!

An occasional bout of upset stomach is probably nothing to worry about. However, if you noticed your cat eating grass all the time and their stools seem irregular, runny or simply nowhere to be seen, you should head to the vet for a check-up.

Nutritional deficiencies

If your cat is regularly seeking out the green stuff, they might be suffering from a nutritional deficiency.

Grass is chockablock with folic acid, a nutrient found in a feline mother’s milk. On top of this, vitamins A and D, as well as chlorophyll, is prominent in grass. All these vitamins may actually give your kitty’s immune system a little bit of a boost, despite their carnivorous nature.

Some believe that cats can instinctively seek vitamins they’re lacking, hence any new-found grass-eating habits. Always make sure you’re feeding your kitty a complete, balanced, high-quality cat food and double-check with your vet before implementing a home-cooked cat diet.

Anxiety, stress or fear

Are you prone to eating one too many biscuits or overindulging on the crisps when you’re stressed or anxious? Just like us humans, cats are prone to stress and emotional eating. 

Chewing on anything - whether that’s furniture, toys or grass - can actually help to relax them. It’s not good for your kitty to be stressed out all the time though - if you notice behavioural changes or signs of stress, make sure to discuss it with your vet.

Natural laxative

Another common believe about cats eating grass is that it acts as a natural laxative. Yes, really! Again, this is all down to feline instinct - if your kitty has a hairball or worms, they might try to irritate their digestive tract by eating grass in order to vomit it up.

What to do if you notice your cat eating grass

Don’t worry too much!

People often stare at their lawn-mowing cats and wonder “why is my cat eating grass?”, worrying that something is seriously wrong with their so-called carnivore buddy. But don’t worry too much if your kitty eats grass occasionally - it’s actually pretty normal.

Head to the vet if it’s regular

When is it time to worry about your cat eating grass? Well, simply when you notice it becoming a consistent, regular occurrence. This could indicate a tummy problem, high-stress levels or another medical problem. In this case, it’s best to head to the vet and voice your concerns. They may need to do some investigating to check for any underlying problems.

Ensure your grass isn’t toxic

If your grass is chemically treated, it could be toxic to your cat. It’s impossible to stop them eating your grass if they’re let outdoors, so it’s best to be on the safe side and refrain from applying any sorts of chemicals to your lawn. If this isn’t an option, you’ll need to find a way of keeping your kitty away from the grass - it’s better to be safe than sorry.

If you notice signs of poisoning such as sudden vomiting, weakness, drooling, unsteadiness, collapse or difficulty breathing, it’s essential to get to your vet immediately.

Grow some cat-friendly plants

Growing some cat-safe plants may distract your kitty from the grass and avoid accidental pesticide or chemical ingestion. Nibbling is a natural cat behaviour, so growing plants specifically for your kitty brings them enjoyment and provides you with peace of mind.

Cat grass, catnip, catmint and valerian are great options - and some might even give your cat a little bit of a buzz and ease anxiety!

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