Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning that for them to be healthy, they must consume mostly meat. So, when you see your cat noshing on plants or grass, it can come as a bit of a shock.
Your first instinct is to wonder if your cat is unwell. We’re told that cats and dogs eat grass to induce vomiting when they’re not feeling great. But your cat doesn’t look unwell? In fact, she actually looks to be enjoying the grassy snack.
The truth is that cats enjoy a fresh, sweet treat now and then. But not all plants are suitable for cats. Some plants commonly found in gardens are toxic to cats, not to mention that lawns are often treated with pesticides that can also cause your cat harm.
You may have seen cat grass advertised or seen it on the shelf in your local pet store. What is cat grass? Is it safe for your feline overlord? We’ve got all your cat grass questions answered right here. Read on!
- What makes cat grass so irresistible to cats?
- Is cat grass good for cats?
- Catnip vs. catmint vs. cat grass
- How to grow cat grass
- Final thoughts on cat grass
What makes cat grass so irresistible to cats?
What is cat grass, and why do cats love it so much?
Cat grass isn’t one specific type of grass at all. It is grown from rye, barley, oat, and wheat seeds. Cat grass is not the common lawn that you find in your garden. We’d actually discourage you from letting your cat chomp down on your lawn, as lawns are often treated with pesticides that can harm your cat.
According to research, although cats don’t derive that much nutrition from eating plants, they do enjoy noshing down on the fresh, sweet leaves of plants and grass when they can.
If your cat has a penchant for ‘salad’ and loves to chow down on your pot plants or lawn, consider investing in some cat grass. Not only will it steer your fluffy feline from your plants (which may be harmful to a cat if ingested), but it also has several benefits.
Is cat grass good for cats?
The popular opinion is that cats eat grass when they feel unwell, which is entirely inaccurate. Research shows that cats eat plants because they enjoy them. And we all know that cats do whatever they want because they can.
But is cat grass good for cats? Cat grass is markedly better for your cat than eating lawns or other potentially toxic house plants. In addition, cat grass benefits your cat’s digestive system, helping to move hairballs and the undigestible bits of prey through the gut.
Read more: 10 Plants Poisonous to Cats and Dogs
Catnip vs. catmint vs. cat grass
Is cat grass the same as cat nip? And what about catmint? Are these all the same things?
Short answer? No. Let me explain.
We covered that cat grass is typically grown from rye, barley, oat, or wheat seeds and is beneficial for your cat’s digestion as a safe form of fiber.
Catnip is a medicinal herb that drives cats absolutely wild, while catmint is simply a perennial plant of the mint family. They are similar, and their names are often used interchangeably.
How to grow cat grass
You can purchase cat grass kits from most pet stores and even online. If you’re more of a DIY person, you can grow your own cat grass from oat, barley, rye, and wheatgrass seeds. Follow these steps:
- Sow your seeds in a shallow container. You can plant your seeds directly in the soil about a quarter of an inch deep. Avoid planting seeds too close – give them about an inch of space from the next seed. You can grow your cat grass indoors throughout the year and outdoors in the mid to late spring.
- If you’re growing your plants indoors, ensure your soil is kept moist and warm. Covering your pots in plastic wrap can keep conditions stable, warm, and moist until your seeds germinate.
- When your little cat grass babies have sprouted, ensure they get plenty of sunlight. Water the plants daily but be careful not to overwater.
- When you’ve got good growth, you can let your cat graze directly from the container.
Some further tips:
- You don’t want the leaves of your cat grass drooping over. If your cat isn’t keeping the leaves trimmed short enough, you can trim the plants about an inch a week.
- Keep resowing your cat grass, so you always have fresh and healthy growth.
- Beware of pests that will try to get at your tasty cat grass. Common pests include slugs, white worms, and aphids
- Mulch helps keep your soil from drying out, but most importantly, a good mulch layer will deter and smother weeds that look to compete with your cat grass for water and soil nutrients.
- Don’t overwater your cat grass. Only give water when the top of the soil is dry.
Final thoughts on cat grass
Whether you have an indoor cat or an outdoor cat, keeping cat grass for your feline companion is a great idea. For the outdoor cat, cat grass can help keep your cat from nibbling on other – potentially toxic – plants in the neighborhood. For the exclusively indoor cat, cat grass is a stimulating and refreshing change to your cat’s regular routine.
Is cat grass good for cats?
Cat grass is a healthy and beneficial addition to your cat’s daily life. Cat grass doesn’t contribute all that much to your cat’s nutritional well-being, but it can aid digestion and enrich its environment.
Catnip vs. cat grass? Which is better?
Catnip is a herb that produces a behavioral effect on cats. You only need to open a bag to see how crazy your cat goes even before it even gets a sniff or a nibble. A cat that’s been at the ‘nip may experience a rush of playfulness and excitement, or it may become sleepy and relaxed. Not all cats will react the same; some may not even react at all.
Catnip is a great way to stimulate that bored and sedentary indoor cat and awaken its playful side.
Cat grass, on the other hand, is a tasty snack for cats that can aid digestion and minimize hairballs.
You don’t need to choose one or the other. Include both in your cat’s life.
Where to buy cat grass?
You can purchase cat grass kits in most pet stores and via a variety of online retailers. You can also choose to grow your own cat grass from scratch using oat, barley, rye, and wheatgrass seeds.
Can dogs eat cat grass?
Absolutely! Cat grass can be beneficial to dogs too. Dogs may eat grass to compensate for a nutrient deficiency or when they have an upset stomach. Either way, cat grass is a good option that you can be sure doesn’t contain any harmful pesticides or even parasites as might be present on the grass in public spaces.
Is wheatgrass cat grass?
Cat grass is grown from various seeds, including oat, barley, and rye. Wheatgrass is commonly used as well.
Wheatgrass contains amino acids, vitamins, and minerals that benefit cats and dogs. It’s even good for humans too!
How to plant cat grass?
In a shallow container, add some organic potting soil. Plant your cat grass seeds a quarter of an inch deep and about an inch apart.
Keep your soil moist – not soaked – and place your container in a warm, sunny spot. You should begin to see little shoots after around three days. Be careful not to overwater your cat grass.
When your grass is around 5 inches, you can allow your cat to have a nibble.
What is the best indoor grass for cats?
There’s no one best cat grass for indoors. Each grass offers certain qualities that may or may not be important to you.
Wheatgrass is a good cat grass to grow as a start. It’s what you could call an all-rounder. It’s tasty, grows well, and is good for cats and dogs (and humans!). In addition to being very healthy, wheatgrass also helps to fight inflammation.
If your cat just can’t stop grazing, barley grass is an excellent option as it grows fast and high. Ryegrass, on the other hand, is good for cats that love to roll around on the grass or lie while they munch.
Oat grass is a popular one with cats. It’s sweeter than other grasses and is a great choice, even for picky eaters.
How long does cat grass last?
Cat grass usually lasts for around two or three weeks. These tips can help your cat grass live longer:
- Make sure not to overwater your cat grass. This can cause problems with the roots, and it can lead to mold.
- Trim back your cat grass to keep it from flopping over or drooping.
- Continuously resow your cat grass so there are always new shoots coming up.
- Beware of critters that also want a nibble of your tasty cat grass. Keep an eye out for slugs and aphids and other little pests.
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