So after I clean up yet another clump of mangled, half chewed up grass clippings from all over the kitchen floor, the question of why does my cat eat grass pops into my head and like so many of us, I’m sure there are many curious cat owners that would like to solve this question as well so Let’s do a deep dive into the world of cats and some their undesirable habits
So Why Does My Cat Eat Grass ?
Cats are carnivores, with the exception of my cat which happens to eat anything that hits the ground however for most cats, it is quite normal for a cat to eat grass as well. This is considered as normal behavior although if cats ingest too much, then vomiting will most likely occur but generally this will not cause any long term effects. There are several reasons why cats like to eat grass which could include ailments like bowel or digestive irritations, dietary deficiencies or even compulsion or boredom but according to some veterinarians, the most common cause for dining on Grass is…….Drum roll please……. FURBALLS Yep ,it seems that our felines eat grass on purpose to be sick in order to get rid of them.(Someone should have told them that a couple of drops of Caster Oil will do the same trick) Unfortunately because our cats our carnivores, they lack certain enzymes in the stomach that breaks down plant matter so they eject it including other matter like fur balls which provides them with relief.
Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Cats that display compulsive behaviors over non-food items often suffer from OCD because it’s not just grass that they will chew. To feed their compulsive condition, they will chew or suck on other items such as clothing, plastic or even electrical cords Behavior modification is quite often hit-and-miss which means medication may have to be used to curb your cats OCD habits .
Some vets support the theory that cats eat grass because of a nutrient deficiency in their diet
And of course there is also many veterinary scientists who don’t support this at all, however as scientists have not spent a great deal of time on this subject, it is always advisable that if you think that your cat is eating excess amounts of grass then veterinary help may be required where they can run some blood tests.
Keeping Your Cat Occupied
A bored cat will look for ways to keep itself entertained such as eating or sucking on plants (Not recommended as some plants are poisonous) scratching furniture or plucking the carpet with their claws. There is a hundred ways that a cat can get up to mischief in order to keep itself occupied. Kittens especially can be attracted to grass as they are naturally curious about their new surroundings. Then there is the smart cat who deliberately eats grass just to attract the attention of its owner. Stopping your cat from eating grass or plants especially if it’s frequent can be particularly annoying to the owners considering that it is normal behavior for a cat. If your cat continues to display these habits however, you might want to consider buying some toys to keep him occupied or even a cat pole with different activities on it would make a nice distraction from chowing down on grass.
What Plant Is That Anyway?
Whether the cat is feral or domesticated, cats eat grass almost every day and if given the opportunity, will eat most plants in your home. If these plants are non-poisonous then the only thing that you have to worry about is replacing the plant, however many owners are not aware of the potential dangers that some of these plants represent so research should definitely be considered if you are not sure and remove these from the house. A good safe alternative could be to grow a patch of grass or wild oats in a box that the cat could have access to or if this is not possible then occasionally a side dish of vegetables like beans (string) or celery as a replacement to grass.If you are intent on keeping plants around the house then its important to educate yourself in the identification of these plants so you know which ones are safe and which one are not. Here is a list of some of the ones to avoid.
- Castor Bean
- English Ivy
- Lilies ( in general)
- Peace Lily
- Sago Palm
- Spanish Thyme
- Most Tulip Bulbs
- Narcissus Bulbs
- Yew Plants
I will cover this subject off in a later article. There are many others that can also cause health problems to your feline, a quick search on google should give you some info on this. If you think that your cat (or any animal) has ingested something that you suspect could be poisonous, immediately call the ASPCA’s pet poison emergency line on (888) 426-4435 (Or in Australia: 131126)
Some Final Thoughts
If you can limit your cats access to the grass outside, that would go a long way to breaking the cycle. If you have an outdoor cat, try keeping him inside for a few days or even a week or so. This would be especially useful if your cat is extremely obsessive about eating grass. Houseplants should be kept well out of reach or in areas that the cat does not have access.
Another way which can have positive results is to follow the cat outside for a while and observe the cats behaviors. When he starts eating grass, simply clap your hands loudly or get a tin of pennies or stones and rattle them every time he attempts to start on the grass. If you do it often enough, He will soon get the idea that every time he goes to eat grass, he will associate that noise with it and hopefully it will start to break the cycle. You could also try growing wheat grass for indoors. It’s organic and completely safe for cats and dogs,
Remember, your cats habit of eating grass is generally accepted as a natural trait and a difficult one to contain however with some ideas that we have presented here will hopefully help you win the battle .
Have you found other ways to stop your cat from eating grass? I would love to hear from you, just leave your comments below .