People make plenty of mistakes feeding themselves, and sometimes, they just can’t help it. So when it comes to pets, we make sure we spend time and money on feeding them correctly. People go with canned food, dry food, salmon, and not the cheap ones! After all that money spent, how would you feel if you saw them eat grass? Is that all they wanted after all?
Cats eat grass for a few reasons; they could be eating it because they lack folic acid vitamin, use it as a laxative, or to relieve an upset stomach. If it is the latter, they’ll probably end up vomiting but feeling so much better afterwards. If they want to eat grass, let them!
People need nutrients, those they receive from food, and vitamins they receive from the environment. Sometimes, they can’t access those nutrients or vitamins for whatever reason, and they need to get them from another source. Children find themselves eating dirt sometimes, and it is most likely because they crave it as they could be low in iron, zinc, or calcium.
Cats eating grass could be related to three reasons:
- They are supplementing their diet. If you see your cat eating grass, it could be because it is low on folic acid. This vitamin aids your cat’s growth and increases the production of hemoglobin, which helps move oxygen in the blood. Folic acid is an excellent vitamin for both cats and dogs.
- They need a laxative—most cats poop on a regular basis. Every day or every other day, if no stomach issues arise, they will have a bowel movement. Diarrhea is not uncommon but is something that will come more frequently from changes in their diet. When it’s the opposite, constipation, grass can help relieve it and help them poop. Constipation can come from an excessive amount of hair in their stomachs from over-grooming, kidney problems, too little fiber in their diet, among others.
- They have a tummy ache. Cats throw up a lot. At least it may seem like it’s because you’ll be the one cleaning it up. There could be many reasons why your cat is eating grass right now, but the fact is that they need it to ease their discomfort. Some of those reasons why they are looking to vomit are as follows:
- They eat too fast and too much; it is not suitable for anybody.
- They have some food allergies that you may not be aware of.
- They have been poisoned. Whether intentionally or by picking up something in their environment, foods or toxins not meant for cats can cause a lot of pain that can only be corrected by vomiting.
- Other reasons could be medical ones such as Hepatic Lipidosis, Hyperthyroidism, Feline Diabetes, Chronic Kidney Disease, Feline Inflammatory Diseases, or Pancreatitis.
Is Eating Grass Bad For Cats?
When done in moderation and considering that the grass is not covered with any harmful toxins, eating grass is not entirely bad for cats. Remember that the same way children crave soil to cover an iron deficiency, cats crave grass to cover a folic acid deficiency or help their overall health.
Keep in mind domesticated and home cats don’t follow the same diet as stray cats. If you get a cat right after birth, follow the veterinarians’ advice on diet and exercise. This will ensure good health and avoid situations like a cat looking to eat grass. If you adopt a stray cat, they would probably be used to grass-eating as a mechanism to stay healthy.
How Can You Keep Your Cats From Eating Grass?
If you don’t want your cat to resort to grass-eating, here are some of the things you can do as a cat-owner to tackle the possible reasons:
- When a cat has low levels of folic acid, some of the signs are slow growth rate and feline small intestine disease. Once you can spot these symptoms, you can talk to the veterinarian, and they should be able to recommend any folic acid supplements to include in their diet.
- When a cat is constipated, some of the things you should be paying attention to are its bowel movements. The frequency, more than two or three days of no poop, dry or hard stool, crying when in the litter box, or avoiding it altogether. Some ways to help your cat are to make sure that their food has enough fiber, mix wet and dry foods to help with hydration, and include more exercise in their routine. Sometimes cats don’t drink a lot of water because they don’t like still water, so if you can get a water dispenser, like a water fountain, it will provide fresh water and boost their drinking habits.
- When a cat has a feline disease, a visit to the vet is necessary. The veterinarian will decide on the right course of treatment.
- On the other hand, if your cat’s reasons for vomiting are related to eating too fast, you can try feeding them using paper plates instead of bowls, giving them smaller amounts of food, or getting a puzzle feeder to slow their eating habits.
- For food allergies, make sure that the veterinarian approved the cat food and avoid giving them people’s food, especially processed food.
- For hairballs, try to do the grooming yourself, so the cat doesn’t overdo it. Get a good brush and get to it.
- To prevent poisoning. Remember, cats are curious, and they like to jump on things, so anything you have around your home that could be harmful to your cat should be locked away.
What’s Important To Include In A Cat’s Diet?
Cats are meat eaters, but knowing the type of food they can eat and how it should be presented is very important.
- Dry food is cheaper than the other options, but it might not be as appealing as the others. If you go with this one, make sure you keep them hydrated with a good water source.
- Semi-dry food is more appealing, but it can dry out very quickly once you open the package. Make sure it is worth the money in case it goes bad.
- Canned food is a specialty for cats, and it’s also good to provide enough water for your cat.
Whatever you choose or if you decide to mix it up, do it based on your cat’s needs, not your pockets.
Are Cats The Only Ones Who Eat Grass?
Animals eating grass is not a crazy modern thing, and it’s most definitely not a cat thing. Lots of animals eat grass, some for food and others for medicinal purposes. There have been many studies since the early 60s to discuss self-medication in animals.
For example, it is pretty common for dog owners to talk about their dogs eating grass when they feel sick and throwing up right after. In Brazil, female spider monkeys are known for eating some plants to improve or reduce their fertility. The Bonobos’ apes from the Congo would suck on leaves from a specific plant and then swallow them without chewing to avoid the parasites that would come from the weather.
The thing with self-medicating is consistency. At some point in history, a dog, a cat, or a monkey felt sick and ate some leaves and felt relief. Then they remembered to go back to the same plant when they felt ill again.
Cat vs Grass
Your cat eating grass is a way of telling you that their health needs checking or their eating habits monitored. They won’t tell you how they feel or what they need, so it’s your job to keep an eye on their health. If you see them eating grass, it’s okay at that moment, but for you, it is the first warning to check on them.
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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.