Cats are obligate carnivores, which means that they require meat not just to survive, but to thrive. Cats don’t need vegetables in their diet – in fact, they lack the enzyme required to properly digest carbohydrates and process them metabolitically. The only grass cats eat in nature is the stomach content of their prey. And yet, you will find numerous websites touting the benefits of grass, especially wheat grass, for cats, and some cats seem to really enjoy the taste of grass. So what’s the story: should your cat eat grass?
Potential benefits of grass
Grass can act as a laxative and help to increase intestinal motility, which may help hairballs pass through the system. However, hairballs are not normal for cats and are almost always an indicator of a more serious condition. Using cat grass as a hairball preventative is not a good strategy, as it may be masking an underlying issue. Grass can also induce vomiting, which may help the cat bring up hairballs, but again – hairballs are not normal.
Grass does contain nutrients that may not be a regular part of a cat’s diet, such as chlorophyll, which helps oxygenate the blood. Wheat grass also reportedly detoxifies the liver and has anti-inflammatory properties.
I’m not so sure about these benefits. As far as I know, there’s no research that backs up any of the claims of the benefits of wheat grass for cats, and given that cats aren’t even designed to eat plant matter, it doesn’t make much sense to me that there are nutrients they need that they can only get from eating grass.
Is grass safe for cats?
Cat grass does not harm cats, so if your cat enjoys eating it, there’s no reason to prevent him from doing it. What is not safe for cats is to eat grass from lawns that have been treated with chemicals.
If your cat likes grass, get one of the man kits available that let you grow your own cat grass. The SmartCat Organic Kitty Garden* (shown at the top of this post) let’s you grow 100% organic oat, wheat, barley and rye grasses in four to six days.
I haven’t tried cat grass for Allegra and Ruby, but I’d love to hear from you. Do your cats like to eat grass?
*FTC Disclosure: The Conscious Cat is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to products on Amazon.