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Indoor Cat: Facts about Cat Grass

an indoor cat eating cat grass
If you have ever seen a cat enjoying the great outdoors you may have seen them nibble on grass occasionally. This article will help you understand more about this phenomenon and why it’s a good idea to introduce cat grass into your indoor cat’s environment.

Why do cats eat grass?

The reason why cats sometimes eat grass and other plants is not completely understood. There are several plausible theories as to why they do this:
Nutrients: Cats by nature are carnivorous, and just like the wild cats they need to consume meat in order to survive. Dogs and humans can get by without meat. However, when cats hunt, they consume almost all parts of their prey including the stomach and the contents of the stomach. This may include small amounts of plant matter and the nutrients within them.
Domesticated cats very rarely hunt for their food. Outdoor cats may hunt occasionally, but indoor cats will rarely have this opportunity. So most cats that live with humans won’t get to ingest those small amounts of plant material from the stomach of their prey and therefore may try to obtain these vitamins/minerals by eating grass if there is a nutritional imbalance in their diet.
Vomiting: The problem of cats eating grass is they will tend to vomit shortly afterwards. The need for a cat to eat grass isn’t to annoy us and ruin our best rug, it’s purpose is to help their digestion. Grass acts as an irritant to the stomach, and cats don’t actually have the ability to digest grass in the way that herbivores do – and so eating grass results in them vomiting.
From an evolutionary point of view, after hunting, cats will eat their prey, which can include feathers, bones and other indigestible parts. Vomiting helps rid the digestive system of these unwanted products.
Hairballs: Although your indoor cat (or outdoor cat) may not be consuming bones and feathers on a regular basis, they will have a constant issue with hairballs. When cats groom themselves, they inevitably ingest fur which can build up in the stomach. Eating grass can help with the passage of hairballs either from vomiting or as a laxative.

What kind of grass do cats like to eat?

cat grass growing in bowl
You can buy specific cat grass kits that can be grown and available for your cat to munch on. More often or not these kits can include wheatgrass, barley grass, orchard grass or common oat grass. Or it may be a mixture of them all.
Cat grass is pretty easy to grow and can be grown in trays or bowls and then placed around the house.
We have listed some recommended products below.

Is there a difference between cat grass and catnip?

Is there a difference between cat grass and catnip?
Yes, catnip is a member of the mint family. They are completely unrelated. Catnip can also induce a high in some cats, however cat grass doesn’t have this effect on cats.
Both cat grass and catnip are perfectly safe for your cat to eat but do bear in mind there are a large number of plants that are toxic to cats. It is recommended you don’t have indoor house plants that are poisonous as they can in some cases lead to serious health complications or even death.
For more information on catnip, read our article: Indoor Cat: Facts about Catnip.
Also take a look at our article ‘Plants that are poisonous to cats’.
Cat Grass for indoor and outdoor cats