Do you ever watch your cats eat grass with vigor? Our cat Precious, though an indoor kitty, loves to dart outside and munch on grass. She even throws a fit if we bring her back inside. We were worried for a while debating whether or not this behavior was normal.
It is perplexing, especially considering their love for all things fish and meat. What's even worse is the aftermath- being left to clean up their vomit. Since grass is high in fiber, it typically does not get absorbed by the body- rather it causes vomiting and allows for a smoother number two. So why eat grass when you know it causes such issues? Is eating grass an issue?
Fret not! Although cats are considered carnivores by nature, they do not eat grass for its amazing flavor. Rather, it serves a medicinal purpose in their diet.
Despite the mess their humans are left to clean, eating grass is actually a good thing for cats. One reason for this grass-eating behavior is an upset stomach. Since cats lack the enzymes to break down certain veggie-based material, the grass typically goes through their system. So, cats will eat grass to rid their digestive system of anything unpleasant they may have eaten. This includes breaking down excessive hairballs that are swallowed during grooming and cannot be thrown up. Furthermore, this grass eating behavior is especially true if you have an outdoor cat as they must rid of any inedible portions of their prey such as feathers, furs, and bones.
Another reason for cats eating grass may be due to nutrition. Cats may consume grass for the fiber and other nutrients it provides. For example, Folic Acid, an essential nutrient for cats can be found in grass, which is required for hemoglobin production in blood.
If your kitty is like ours and loves to run outside, there are several ways to grow a small bowl of cat grass in your home. Providing them the grassy goodness indoors will prevent them from running outside at every instance the door opens. But, BEWARE! Most house plants are toxic to cats so be sure to keep them out of your kitty's reach! However, you can provide easy access to grass and they will love you for it! We do advise keeping the grass away from carpeted areas- for cleaning purposes.
So, long story short: no, cats are not channeling their inner cows nor are they vegetarian. This observed behavior of eating grass has been developed over time to aide the kitty in moments of digestive distress.