Cats are known to be carnivores, but you can still see them eating blades of grass or similar things in the wild every now and then. Have you ever asked yourself why cats do this? Is it necessary to offer cat grass to a pure indoor cat? These and other exciting questions about cat grass are answered in this article.
What do cats need Cat grass for?
Cats are very clean animals. They spend a lot of time caring for their fur, especially in times of fur change. There is licked, pulled and nibbled at the fur all the time. However, in the heat of the moment a lot of hair is swallowed by the cat during this action. These can cause various physical problems, such as constipation of the digestive tract.
This is where cat grass comes into play. Instinctively, cats eat grass to get the hairs back out of their insides, causing the gag reflex. Grass also binds the indigestible hairs in the stomach. With the help of cat grass, the cat can easily choke up the hair balls and thus counteract an imminent intestinal obstruction.
Bo help our beloved house cats, it is recommended to place a container with cat grass. So also the other, partly for cats poisonous houseplants, remain protected from a “nibbling attack”.
Other theories, why cats eat grass:
- Purely because of the taste, joy in nibbling, occupation
- Some grasses, such as catnip and valerian, lead to an intoxicating, calming state
- As a dietary supplement: The folic acid it contains can protect against anaemia.
Disadvantages of cat grass
For the very clean cat owners among you, a big disadvantage is obvious. If you unintentionally step into a mixture of grass, hair, saliva and other stomach contents, this is a horror not only for the floor. But let’s be honest, whoever gives an animal a home, must probably expect such small gifts.
- Most grasses are harmless, but cyprus grass, for example, is quite sharp-edged, so that cuts can occur in the throat or stomach. So if your pet behaves conspicuously after eating cat grass (refusal to eat, etc.), the way to the animal hospital is essential.
- Individual grasses can also get stuck in the nasopharynx and become inflamed. This can also be recognized by loss of appetite, but also by permanent coughing or sneezing.
- When buying cat grass, make sure that it is of organic quality, fertilizers or similar can cause health problems.
- Also pollutants from the air, which plants and grasses often store, can get into the small cat body.
Different varieties and alternatives
Like us humans, cats also have an individual taste when it comes to snacks. For this reason cat grass usually consists of a potpourri:
- Cyprus grass: Gladly preferred because of the “crunch effect” when nibbling cats, but as mentioned above it has rather sharp edges and can lead to gastritis if consumed in excess. Therefore this variety is the least recommended.
- Green Lily: The consumption of the green lily leads to nausea and vomiting. However, the plant stores more toxins (nicotine, etc.) from the air. The inflorescences should be removed as the capsules can cause diarrhoea, so this plant is not suitable as cat grass either.
- Cereals: Mostly barley, oats or wheat. Especially young shoots are well tolerated, soft and tender and above all cheap to buy or to sow yourself.
- Seychelles grass: The dwarf bamboo with its broader leaves is a good compromise.
Tip: Home-grown brand from various untreated cereals!
If your house-tiger cat grass refuses or does not tolerate, there are several alternatives you can offer your darling:
- Malt paste: This paste contains certain oils and malt, which stimulate the digestion equally well. Hairballs are thus excreted with the feces.
- Grass bits: Contain a high proportion of cat grass in pressed form, as tablets.
- Substitute plants: Such as the so-called “creeping beauty pillow”. Originally intended as a rodent snack plant, cats also enjoy these crunchy leaves.
Good to know
Are not all questions about cat grass answered yet? Then maybe you will find what you are looking for in this paragraph:
Correct fur care: This is where you come in. Regular brushing and combing removes a large part of the loose hair. Especially when changing fur you can do your sweetheart a big favor. The more you brush, the less hair is swallowed.
Attention: Older, overweight and lazy cats form more hairballs. Here the fur care on the part of the owner should be more frequent and more intensive.
Right place: There is actually no right place, just make sure that it is not too cold and that the grass does not get too much sun. Too much sun can lead to dehydration and fading. Right next to the litter box is also rather unsuitable, because cats never eat and relieve themselves in the same place.
Proper care: Cat grass should always be kept moist, especially when the humidity in the room is quite low (especially in winter). It is best to spray the grass regularly with water, but be careful to avoid waterlogging. You should not use fertilizer.
Pure indoor cats: Basically, cat grass is also sufficient if the cat is only in their own four walls. Outdoor cats usually help themselves in their environment. One pot per cat is recommended.
Law: Yes, also in the law this topic is treated. In the austrian animal husbandry ordinance it is noted that residential cats must be provided with cat grass or an equivalent substitute.
The digestive effect of cat grass is very popular with our beloved cats. This makes it easier for them to choke up swallowed, indigestible hairballs. In case of intolerance or disinterest, there are fortunately some alternatives that you can offer your darling.