One of the most peculiar experiences of owning a pet like a cat or a dog is keeping them from chewing on and devouring random things. Whether it’s random scraps that find their way onto the floor or, if your pet is really curious, wrappers and trash they find lying around when they’re bored. And grass. To some, the fascination cats have with eating grass is a mystery. They eat it and the next thing you know they’re back in the house throwing up a gooey green mess on the floor. One common belief is that cats only do this when they’re already sick because unsurprisingly, it seems as if anytime they nibble on the stuff they end up vomiting. In fact, the belief has been passed on to many that cats use grass as their very own natural Pepto-Bismol as if they intentionally consume it to soothe their stomachs and relieve themselves when they’re feeling ill.
According to a recent survey of more than 1,000 cat owners and their furry friends’ peculiar grass-eating fetish, this isn’t the case. Cats, researchers learned, eat grass all the time and it’s not just when they’re sick. This just seems to be the only time cat owners take notice because naturally, they’re left cleaning up the mess. Nonetheless, the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine believe their internet-based voluntary survey taught them something about why cats eat vegetation so often even if it makes them sick.
71 percent of cats were witnessed snacking on plants at least six times in their lifetime, 61 percent at least 10 times and only 11 percent of cats were never observed eating vegetation, from a total of 1,021 cat owners who were surveyed for the research. What the researchers found interesting was that cats had no signs of illness before eating grass 91 percent of the time. Less than a third (27 percent) of cats frequently vomited after consuming grass or plants. For cats younger than three-years-old, 39 percent eat it daily while just 27 percent do so older than four years.
So what did researchers take from this?
For one, the researchers now believe that cats don’t intentionally eat grass or plants to make themselves throw up or in relief of a stomach ache; it’s not a kitty digestive aid of sorts. And younger cats simply learn to nibble on the stuff because they watch older cats do it.