Cat Care 101: Why do Cats Eat Grass?

Jerry WalchStarred Page By Jerry Walch, 17th Mar 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Pets>Cats

Over the years, I have asked myself the question why do cats eat grass, now, after 71 years as a cat parent; I still don’t have a clue, neither do any veterinarian that I have asked. What is known is that all cats, domestic, feral, and wild cats graze on grass, grazing on grass seems to be a natural instinct for all cats, what is also known is some of the things we can eliminate as being the reason they eat grass.

Grass has no Nutritional Value for Cats

Grass doesn’t have any nutritional value, even if it did, cats stomachs lack the enzymes necessary to digest the fibrous material, on the other hand it still plays an essential role in the digestive process, especially for feral cats, and wild cats. In the wild, cats live off whatever they can catch—field mice, birds, moles, rabbits, or whatever else they can catch and kill. The problem is that cats have no way of separating the edible from the inedible, they have no way of separating fur, bones, and feathers, from the meat so they gobble down everything, this is where grass plays a role in their digestive process. Instinctively, after they have digested the meat portion of their ingested prey, they start to graze on grass, which causes the cat to begin to vomit, in the process the ingested grass wraps itself around the bones, feathers, and fur and regurgitates it along with the fibrous materials of the ingested grass.

Grass may help in Expelling Hairballs

While domestic cats, especially indoor domestic cats may never have the opportunity to capture, kill, and devour a mouse, a bird, or some other natural prey, grass may still play an essential role in their digestive process. I’ve known some women who could spend hours primping in front of a mirror, getting ready for a night on the town, but any cat could put the best of them to shame. Kitties love to groom themselves and they love to groom each other, grooming seems to be one of their favorite ways to pass time. Our little fur kids have tongues especially designed to assist them in their grooming, tongues equipped with little hooks that act like the teeth on a comb, capturing their loose fur and pulling it free of their coat. The downside of all that grooming is that they swallow a lot of fur in the process, which later reappear as regurgitated hairballs; we are all familiar with those nasty looking globs that our beloved companions leave for us to find. Grazing on grass helps our fur babies regurgitate all that indigestible fur, as unpleasant as the site of hairballs may be, any true pet parent would rather deal with hairballs than have the fur cause an intestinal blockage because it wasn’t vomited up in a timely fashion.

Cats Simply Love the Taste of Grass

Cats aren’t that much different from us humans, well, at least not from us country types of humans, it seemed like we all worked the fields chewing on a blade of grass because it tasted so good. Cats, especially indoor cats, will find a substitute for grass if they can’t reach any grass to graze on, like house your houseplants, the problem with that, looking at it from the perspective of your cat’s wellbeing, some house plants, like African Violets, are deadly poisonous for your fur faced companion. An easy way to satisfy your kitty’s need to graze on grass is to provide them with Cat Grass, I’ll tell you all about growing Cat Grass next time.

All photos free photos from Photo Morgue

Related Articles:
Cat Care 101: Hairballs
Cat Care 101: All About Litter and Litter

Cat Care 101: Feeding Kitten


Cat Care, Cat Care Guide, Cat Grass, Cats, Eating Grass, Grass, Hairballs

Meet the author

author avatar Jerry Walch
Jerry Walch is a 71 year old freelance writer for hire living in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He has been writing since the late 1970s, and writes for both the print and online media. He specializes in

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
17th Mar 2015 (#)

For sure people who let their cats out should avoid using any chemicals on their lawns. In fact we should really try to avoid chemicals anyhow. Good explanation of why cats eat grass.

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author avatar Jerry Walch
17th Mar 2015 (#)

Thanks for your input Mark. I should have spoke on the use of insecticides. My only defense is that I was writing about indoor cats, mostly.

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author avatar Tony Barnes
18th Mar 2015 (#)

Thankfully mine is an indoor cat

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author avatar Jerry Walch
18th Mar 2015 (#)

You should grow him some cat grass, Tony.

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author avatar Carol Roach
18th Mar 2015 (#)

we were thinking about getting some cat grass for our cats

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author avatar Jerry Walch
18th Mar 2015 (#)

My next article will instruct you in how to grow your own cat grass Carol.

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author avatar Ptrikha
15th Jun 2015 (#)

Quite interesting.

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