Cats are known for quirky habits. Eating grass is just one of that. However, many vets and animal behavior scientists say that you don’t have to be worried about it. Meaning, it is common for cats to eat the grass. Probably they have been eating grass for a while now, but you happened to see just now. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about this.
However, the most important question is how often you have seen them eating grass? Or what are their reactions after eating grass? These things may add up when you need to be worried. In this article, we are going to explore the reasons why cats eat grass and what are the possible causes if you had to stop them from eating it.
What do the scientists say?
School of Medicine from the University of California published a survey dedicatedly on the cat grass eating habit. They organized a web-based survey asking the qualified pet parents to report on the cats eating grass. The pet parents were asked to watch their feline closely for more than five hours. In this survey, only the cats were mostly indoor, and those who have access to the grass were considered. The outdoor cats were excluded for a simple reason that they couldn’t be observed closely.
The results were astonishing from the study. More than 1000+ cat owners participated in the survey. It was found that 71% of the cats were seen eating the grass at least six times during the experiment. 61% of the cats were snacking on the lawn at least ten times a day, while only 11% was seen that they never wanted to eat the grass.
The survey results get interesting because 91% of the cats that were eating grass did not seem to have any illness or any other health issues. However, 27% of the cats were seen vomiting after eating the plants. It is a remarkable finding in cat behavior history. Even though the results were not supporting any hypothesis or theory, it did give a clear picture of when the cats start to eat the grass.
It is evident from the reason that 39% of the cats were eating plants every day, but they were under three years. Also, when compared to the cats that are four years and older seems to eat grass lesser. Therefore, the cats pick up the grass-eating behavior from their young age almost when they are just one or two years old. Further, in this article, we have briefly explained the possible reasons why your cat eats grass.
Reasons why cats eat grass
- Grazing the Grass: The juices of the grass contain folic acid and vitamins that are essential for the cat’s wellbeing. Folic acid is present in the mother’s milk, and it aids in the production of oxygen for the kittens. Therefore, a folic acid deficiency in the cats may drive them to consume the grass. In this case, what you need to notice is that the cats are already anemic, and they have stunted growth. It will give you an idea that he/she must not be having enough folic acid that they want. However, the cats instinctively know that they lack folic acids. Hence, they tend to nibble the grass to make the situation right. Isn’t it amazing? Even the expert finds it hard to believe.
- Laxative nature: It is a serious reason to be considered. But the cats may indeed have been eating grass because of the laxative nature. By eating grass, they will be adding fiber to their diet, and thus they can pass on the worms or fur that is in the stomach and intestinal tract. Usually, it is said that the broader-leafed varieties offer a more laxative effect. At the same time, the thinner-leafed can make them puke. Although, the grass is necessary as long as if the reason is just the worm. It can help in clearing out the stomach and process the cleaning of other unwanted elements from the intestine. They can pass that on easily without any trouble. Some people believe that grass-eating can also refresh the stomach completely, and new acids are formed later. It is like the process when humans eat antacid tablets.
- Anxiety: Similar to other mammals, even cats have the habit of stress eating or emotional eating. The cats eat grass in such cases because they want to relieve the hunger created by anxiety or stress. It helps them in the oral fixation or channelizes their energy. When they are afraid or anxious about the place, environment, or new pet fellas, they automatically hit the utmost stress level. The cat starts to eat grass or plants in the first place. It is not common in all cats. Some cats are extra vocalized, and some tend to over-groom. But if you find that your cats are overeating the grass, then there is a probability that this is anxiety. Maybe it is time for you to get your pet cat some help that they want.
- Relief: After munching the grass, you can see that the cats inevitably upchuck the greens consumed. It does not mean that they did not like only the veggie flavor (Of course, they don’t) but also because they don’t possess the right enzymes. The cats are by species carnivores, and hence they don’t have the proper enzyme to break down the plant fibers. By regurgitating the grass, they only consume the juice that is necessary to clear the tracts. Especially when they have fur balls, feathers, and bones from the prey that they have eaten without your notice, you can see that they eat the grass regularly at that time. Also, they only spit the grass out after taking the juice. Since they feel the discomfort, this is their self-remedy to cleanse them with upchucking. Don’t worry because they gag. It is just one of the things that they can address by themselves.
These are four important reasons you cats have strangely been eating the grass. But there are other reasons that you may have to keep a check on. The following table will help you understand why your cat is behaving bizarrely.
When you don’t have to be worried
How is it identified?
|Predator Instincts||Cats, as you know, are predators, and they loved attacking and chomping. As kittens, they feel like jumping on the grass and fighting with it looks like hunting to them. By defeating swaying blades of grass, they think it’s a victory and show them by started eating it. Eventually, they get bad hunter results.|
|Cats think it’s fun||Like any other pets in the world, even cats are curious and playful while they are at a younger age. Especially when you bring them home for the first time and introduce them to lawn, of course, they are not going to know what is edible or not. They tend to start chewing the blades of grass. Because of their texture, they have the curiosity to taste them.|
|Seeking attention||You may not agree with us, but certainly, they have the habit of seeking attention by eating grass. While playing in the garden or when you are playing with other pets, they only want you to notice them. Hence to make you see, they will chew grass. You may either think that’s cute, but you need to be cautious when they repetitively eat grass.|
When you need to take them to doctors
How is it identified?
|Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders||Some cats may have OCD by nature, and hence when they get annoyed or irritated, they tend to eat or chew grass. It does not only include grass, but they also tend to bite plastics, woods, and fabric. Many cats also tend to eat their hair. If you are cat is used to eating grass, then you may have to check this on.|
|Gastrointestinal Troubles||It is one of the controversial facts that you may have come across. The cats tend to have upset in the stomach or feel constipated; they start eating the grass. Eventually, when they eat grass during this time, they vomit. However, doctors say that it is more like a punishment to the cats as the grass will irritate their stomach and cause queasiness.|
The above reasons may come as fascinating to you. However, you have to consider them on a serious note. For instance, seeking attention or doing it for fun may end after a point. But OCD or any other stomach problem needs to be addressed immediately. Consult them with the respective specialists and get treated as soon as possible. There are also cases where the cats lack certain nutrients in their body and may want to be treated as quickly as possible.
Is it bad that my cats eat grass?
Eating grass is not harmful to cats. For instance, they do hunt, and they are predators as species. Hence anyway they will be hunting for prey that would eventually be sometimes eating grass. So, if that’s the perspective, then no vets would agree that the cats cannot grass either it’s harmful. But eventually, if you are using the pesticides and fertilizers in the lawn or garden, then it is obvious that your cat is consuming them indirectly. It may cause serious trouble for their health. Especially continuous eating may cause some serious and fatal issues with the cats.
What about vegetarian cats?
On the other hand, some homes serve cats only with vegetarian food. Although, the vets suggest that they provide the cats with the non-veg food as a treat at least. So that they get enough nutrients and vitamins that they need, first of all, the cats are carnivores, and it’s too demanding to help them grow as a pure vegetarian. They don’t possess enough enzymes that can only convert green proteins. Thus, it’s good that you feed them with all sorts of vegetables and not just greens.
Even then, the cats don’t eat even in such scenarios. They may prefer salads and other houseplants. But they are not fond of the grass. Therefore, if you are raising vegetarian cats, and they tend to eat grass, you may want to address it immediately.
How to help the cats stop eating grass?
- Restrict the access: When you first notice that your cats are eating the grass, you should immediately restrict their access to the garden area or where you found them eating grass. Keep plants out of their site even inside the home, so they don’t get the urge to chew them. In this way, you can help the cat to be distracted. MiracleCop’s Catgrass are edible, healthy, and gradually distract them. There are also chewing sticks and kitten greens as products separately sold in the market.
- Using deterrents on the plants: For adult cats, this may work. Because restricting them will not have any use. They will hide it from you if they are eating grass. Therefore, keeping healthier plants inside the home will help them feel satisfied. Always spray them with something non-toxic so that they don’t feel appealing or tempting to them anymore. Bitter apple spray does a great job when it comes to deterrents. Many cat owners have been successfully performing this activity, and their cats have literally hated it and gradually decrease frequency in eating grass.
Undoubtedly, you will be surprised, especially when you notice a cat eating grass for the first time. But what you need to realize is that it is still common among the cats, and there is nothing weird about it. You can try your home methods to help them to stop eating cats. Even nibbles are a good way to keep them distracted. Similarly, there are other methods you can follow and help them avoid grass slowly. But when you think your cat needs professional help or it’s going out of control, then seek for one. Go to the behavior scientists or vets to find out the issue.