Why Is My Cat Eating Grass?

If you let your cat outside or you take care of an outdoor cat colony, you might notice them gnawing on some greens. The good news is that this is normal and many cats definitely like to eat grass.

But why does an obligate carnivore that doesn’t have the correct enzymes to properly digest plants want to treat itself to grass? The reasoning behind it is still a bit of a mystery, but we’ll review some of the most popular hypotheses, and wrap it up with safe grasses for your cat.

Hypothesis 1: Natural Laxative – Most Likely

Green contains fiber, which could act as a natural laxative. This could help pass items that are having a difficult time in the GI tract, like furballs, worms, or even bones and feathers from prey that made it past the stomach and are in the intestines.

Based on research done in 2019, scientists feel the ability to get parasites out of the intestines is the main reason why cats eat grass.

Hypothesis 2: Induce Vomiting

Ever notice how a cat may eat grass and then throw up? One hypothesis is that grass can be consumed based on instinct to induce vomiting and expelling any indigestible parts from a recent catch, like bone and feathers.

It could also be a way to get out a furball that’s hanging out in a cat’s stomach, or even parasites like roundworms, which can hang out in the stomach in bad infestations.

Hypothesis 3: Folic Acid

Kidney and liver contain folic acid, but so do veggies and grass. Folic acid is also in a queen’s milk, so kittens start getting plenty of it immediately. It helps with growth, digestion, DNA synthesis, and even helps produce hemoglobin (transports oxygen in the cat’s bloodstream). A kitten without enough folic acid may have a stunted development.

Most cats get enough folic acid in their food, but some do not, and run the risk of becoming anemic. It’s possible cats instinctively eat grass to increase their folic acid levels when needed. Indoor cats with a folic acid deficiency may need a prescription diet or folic acid supplement.



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