Cat owners understand that cats are obligate carnivores, so the common question is what the cat’s diet should look like; what food can they eat and not eat. It is normal to get worried about your cat when you find it nibbling on some grass. Hence, we will help clear the air by discussing a cat’s health benefits or hazards feeding on grass.
Yes, cats can eat grass; nearly all kinds of cats feed on grass. Grass is very healthy and beneficial to cats as they have several health benefits like aiding digestion and calming nerves. Grass also contains several vitamins and minerals that help a cat grow stronger and healthier.
There are several types of grasses; however, not all of them are healthy for a cat. It might scare you if you see your cat throwing up a few minutes after feeding on grass, and you might think the cat is sick due to consuming grass. However, this is not the case; throwing up after eating grass is healthy for the cat.
Should Indoor Cats Eat Grass?
Yes, it is normal for an indoor cat to eat grass. Grass is not harmful to cats in any manner unless consumed in large quantities every day. There are several health benefits that a cat gains by eating grass. First, grass contains folic acid, which is very nutritious for cats.
Folic acid contains Vitamin B9, which helps treat folic acid deficiency in cats. It also improves the metabolic functions of a cat and increases red blood cell production. When a cat has pancreatic insufficiency or small intestinal disease, folic acid is required to help cure such disease.
Grass also helps aid digestion in cats and also relieves constipation. Cats do not have the stomach enzyme required to break down and digest grass, so when they consume grass, it comes together with other things that they could not digest. This process is very good for the cat and keeps it healthy.
Fiber is one of the nutrients that cats need, and grass contains fiber. Fibers help improve the digestive function of a cat and relieve the cat of any form of constipation. It also helps curb diarrhea, obesity, and diabetes. Grass also acts as a laxative for cats; when a cat constantly has an upset stomach, it can eat grass to relieve its system and get rid of unwanted substances in the body either by vomiting or stooling.
Grass is high in potassium, an essential nutrient a cat requires to stay healthy. Potassium is a vital nutrient, and it helps improve the normal function of a cat’s nerves and muscles. When a cat has a low blood concentration of potassium, it has a disease called hypokalemia.
Hypokalemia can lead to muscle weakness; this refers to the cat being unable to move and having difficulty getting up and walking. It can also lead to a lack of appetite or depression; these symptoms can be deadly if care is not taken. Hence, feeding your cat with grass helps keep such diseases at bay.
Chlorophyll is one of the main substances found in grass; it is one of the highly beneficial nutrients for cats. This nutrient helps boost a cat’s immune system, which keeps it healthy. It also helps fight infection in cats and heal wounds at a fast pace. So instead of giving a cat medicine to aid recovery, you can feed it with grass and get a better result.
Why Does My Cat Eat Grass?
If you have a cat, you will notice that sometimes your cat goes outside and feeds on grass; at first sight, it is okay to be worried, especially if your cat vomits a few minutes later. You will probably think the grass is affecting your cat and might want to stop your cat from feeding on grass. However, that is not the case.
Scientific research has proven that 89 percent of cats ate grass about six or more times throughout their lifetime, and about 27 percent of cats frequently vomit after eating grass. Despite the belief that cats eat grass when sick or poisoned to help them vomit, this study has proven that most cats don’t throw up when they eat grass.
So, the question you probably have is if cats do not eat grass to vomit, then why do they eat grass? One of the main reasons a cat will eat grass is to calm its nerves. When a cat is stressed or anxious, it will want to chew on something to help calm its nerves. Hence, they might turn to grass and eat them; grass is like chewing gum for cats.
Another reason a cat will eat grass is to relieve itself of an upset stomach. A cat might often swallow hairballs, small objects, and even some foods that can cause an upset stomach. When this happens, the cat will be in pain and decide to eat some grass to get rid of the upset stomach.
When a cat eats grass, it cannot digest it because it does not have the required enzymes to break down grass. So, the grass it eats will come back up along with other indigestibles in the cat’s stomach, hence relieving it of the discomfort. Cats also eat grass to get rid of constipation.
There are other speculations about why cats eat grass; however, no theories have confirmed those speculations by any research or study. Some people believe cats eat grass to relieve their sore throat, while others say cats eat grass simply because they like the taste and texture.
However, it is possible that grass can cure sore throat in cats because one of the causes of sore throat in cats is when there are foreign objects or bodies in a cat’s throat. When a cat eats grass, it regurgitates it along with other unwanted substances in the body. So, the foreign object might also be gotten rid of, and the cat is relieved of its sore throat.
Can Cats Live Off Grass?
No, cats cannot live off grass; this is because a cat is a carnivore which means it cannot survive on herbivorous foods. Grass is an herbivorous food and does not have all the nutrients a cat requires for survival. Cats require nutrients like vitamins, protein, amino acids, fatty acids, and minerals, among many other nutrients.
Because cats are carnivorous animals, their diet should mainly contain animal products like meat and poultry by-products. When a cat consumes too much grass, it can result in some health problems with its digestive system. Although grass has some beneficial effects on cats, it should not become part of their daily diet.
When a cat eats grass too much, it can get stuck in its nasal chamber, resulting in excessive sneezing. Also, cats cannot distinguish between grasses, so there is a possibility that they can feed on grass that has been sprayed with herbicides or pesticides.
These chemicals are hazardous to cats and result in severe conditions like anorexia, tremors, diarrhea, vomiting, drowsiness, and lethargy. These health conditions can result in the death of the cat if healthcare is not given immediately. Hence, before you let your cat eat any grass, make sure such grass does not contain any chemicals.
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You should not find it strange if you see a cat eating grass because they contain beneficial nutrients for cats. However, as a cat owner, you should monitor the grass your cat feeds on and make sure it does not contain any chemicals. You should also not allow grass to become a regular meal for your cat.
Shawn Manaher is a serial entrepreneur but when he isn’t working, he loves dogs. He’s owned different pets over the years, and always gives a part of his heart to each pet.