There’s no doubt your cat is full of his or her unique quirks- chittering at flies, hiding in boxes 10x too small or hiding in the bathtub. But is eating grass just another wonky cat-thing or are our cats smarter than we give them credit?
It turns out be the latter- our cats have a few purfectly good reasons why they enjoy nibbling grass.
Cats intentionally gobble grass and usually do a great job self-regulating the amount they ingest. Researchers at the University of California
surveyed over 1,000 people with indoor cats. Results found 71% of cats were caught mid-plant-devouring at least six times in their lives and 61% over 10 times. Of cats that were caught eating plants over 10 times, 61% were estimated to eat plants daily or weekly.
- Keep me regular– Turns out grass can help our cats go. Grass contains folic acid, a vitamin present in their mother’s milk. Folic acid is a natural laxative. Think of how much time our cats spend grooming themselves (up to 50 percent of their waking hours), now imagine how much fur they could be ingesting. Without a regular flow, your cat’s intestinal tract could be clogged up.
- Keep the bad stuff out- About a quarter of grass eaters were seen vomiting afterwards. The researchers at the University of California believe there is an evolutionary explanation. Grass latches onto intestinal parasites. When cats throw up after consuming grass, they may be purging parasites. Researchers don’t think these parasites are bugging our cats today, but the habit may be inherited from an ancestor. Cats don’t have the proper enzymes to break down a large amount of grass, so they throw up. This may be especially important for outdoor cats that consume other animals. Vomiting helps purge the stomach of fur, feathers and bones, all of which cats can’t digest.
- Keep the good stuff coming- Folic acid also aids growth and increases oxygen levels in blood. Eating grass may be a vitamin boost your cat knows it needs.
“Cat’s natural diet includes small rodents that eat grasses, grains and other plants. When felines eat the intestines of a mouse for example, it ingests this green matter and thus has a salad with its main dish.” –Dr. Hazel Carney
If your cat starts eating large amounts of grass or eats grass daily, that may indicated intestinal distress and you should speak with your veterinarian.
Keep your cat away from any grass or plants sprayed with pesticides or fertilizers.
Growing Your Own
Grass gobbling is an instinctive habit and may even aid your cat’s health, so why not provide your cat with more of the good stuff? You can find supplies to grow your own cat nip and cat grass at your local Petland store.
Suggested further reading: 5 Cat-Safe Plants you can Grow at Home
Photo credit: KDDESIGNPHOTO/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM