By Julia Williams
Ok, first things first —“Why do cats eat grass” is the million dollar question. Several theories have been bandied about, but the reality is that no one knows for sure. It’s not like we can ask our cats why grass is so appealing to them even though 95% of the time it comes right back up. Oh, we can ask them alright, but I’m not even sure they know the answer.
So…do cats eat grass because they have a dietary deficiency? Do they munch on the green stuff to induce yakking because they’re not feeling well? Do they just like the way grass tastes? Is the predisposition to eat grass something cats inherited from their wild feline ancestors? Is grass beneficial for cats? Could it be harmful?
Those are all great questions, but so far, only the last one has a definitive answer (more on that later). Let’s explore some of the theories on why cats eat grass.
The Juices in Grass Contain Folic Acid
Folic acid is an essential vitamin for a cat’s bodily functions. Folic acid also aids the production of hemoglobin, the protein that moves oxygen in the blood. A folic acid deficiency could lead to anemia and stunted growth. So the theory is that cats might instinctively know they’re deficient in folic acid and they eat grass to correct the situation.
By Julia Williams
Does your cat like to eat grass? Mine sure do. The minute I let them out for a romp in the morning sunshine, they make a beeline for the lawn. Of course, immediately after this grass gorging, they come back inside to redeposit it on the carpet. When I hear that telltale sound I race over to scoot my cat into the kitchen. The life of my carpet depends on it!
This daily act of carpet preservation was the first thing I thought about when my friend gave me a “cat grass kit” last Christmas. “Are you nuts?” was the second thing I thought about. Like I don’t have enough trouble – now I’m going to grow grass so they can ruin my carpet in the middle of winter, when there isn’t a blade of grass to be found outdoors?
Well, in a moment of weakness (insanity?) I decided to try growing cat grass. The little planter was so cute, and the kit said cat grass was a nutritious snack that provided several health benefits, so it sucked me in. Thankfully, the grass I grew for my cats did not have the same undesirable after-effect. I’m not sure why, but I think it might have something to do with the type of seed; it was a welcome surprise nonetheless. My cats also took to it immediately. The first time I put the cat grass down, they nearly mowed it into oblivion. I had to put it on top of the fridge so they couldn’t eat every last blade on the first day.
Cat grass is very easy to grow. It sprouts in just a few days and grows quickly – as much as one inch a day! It’s recommended to let the grass get at least four inches high before letting your cat snack on it. The grass will continue to grow for a few weeks. If your cat is like mine and tries to eat too much grass at once, you may want to put it down for just a few minutes and then put it someplace out of reach.