The cat is a full-fledged carnivore. In nature, their diet is mainly made up of small prey and insects. However, it is not unusual to see a cat eagerly eat fresh grass. Why does he do this? Do you need it? Should we provide it?
Why does my cat eat grass and / or plants? 🌿🐱🌿
Most animals that eat meat do not eat it exclusively. This is the case of omnivorous and carnivorous diets. Even the cat, which is a strict carnivore , needs plant foods, even in small quantities. Why does my cat eat plants? If your cat eats a little grass, it is to ensure its food needs.
The vegetable part in a cat’s diet does not exceed 5% or 15% of the food ration , and in nature it finds an important part in the intestine of the prey it eats (mainly birds and rodents).
Vegetables provide fibers of vegetable origin, which improve intestinal transit, and many trace elements (minerals, vitamins …).
Does my cat have to eat grass?
It is not as important a food as those that provide energy or basic constituents (proteins, lipids, carbohydrates), but it is essential for the good health of the cat and we should not overlook it.
For example, the fibers help the transit of hairballs and prevent constipation. The strands of grass can also cause, on some occasions, vomiting that allows the regurgitation of those stomach hairballs (or in other words, they allow you to purge).
Grass, a pleasure and an ethological necessity If your cat looks and licks grass avidly, it is perfectly normal and corresponds to its natural behavior.
Do cats like grass?
Providing it is, to begin with, necessary to satisfy its physiological, but also ethological needs, in fact, the cat really enjoys selecting the grass to eat.
There is little information on the criteria that the cat uses to select what it likes, but smell seems to play a determining role, spending long minutes rubbing its whiskers in the grass.
The time dedicated to this activity is also a factor of well-being: contrary to what is usually thought, the cat is a rather active animal, providing activities and distractions in an environment such as an apartment is positive for him, especially if you spend hours away from home or if you are going to leave it alone for a few days.
What Kind of Cat Grass to Choose?
It is important to know that when we say cat grass we can be referring to two different things: on the one hand, the cat grass to eat, and on the other there are also many species of plants that the cat can smell.
Of course, both types can be combined, but aromatic herbs usually have a recreational function. For example, the so-called “catnip” ( Nepeta Cataria ) is edible and also has a smell that is very pleasant for cats.
Quality grass 🍀
We are referring mainly to indoor cats, who do not have access to a natural space with quality grass for them. In fact, it is important to contribute a small vegetable part to the cat’s diet if he cannot have his ration.
For example, a diet that is based exclusively on feed contains little water and fiber , so providing all the grass that the cat wants in addition to its usual feed ration will improve its intestinal transit.
If you want to know more about what type of feed is suitable for your kitten, visit our nutritional comparison on feed written by our veterinarian, Paula Rodríguez here.
What are the benefits of catnip
We usually associate this activity with a purge, because in fact, it is not strange to see the cat vomit some strands of grass after having eaten them (especially if it does not do it regularly).
This has a part of the truth, even if it is not the main function of the herb. In fact, vegetable fibers have a role in the mechanics of digestion, helping the transit. These fibers are not digested, and their interest in a carnivorous diet is not so much nutritional as they help support good intestinal tract health.
Is it dangerous for my cat to eat grass?
Talking about purging is undoubtedly over the top, but vegetables and fibers maintain the balance of the intestinal flora, so there is little risk other than a food intolerance that can lead to reactions like vomiting.
Adding grass to your cat’s diet will better satisfy its natural needs, in no case it subtracts (grass is not included in the list of foods that a cat cannot eat ), but it completes a good diet in a simple way.
Cat grass, a drug for cats?
The cat’s response to certain species may come as a surprise: it is often related to the use of psychotropic drugs.
Unfortunately, there are not enough studies to be able to understand this phenomenon well, but it seems that, in fact, plant molecules, although they do not produce any effect for us, generate a chemical activity comparable to that of certain psychotropics in the cat’s brain.
But calm down, the comparison ends there: the biological consequences of these smells are a more relaxed, calmer and less stressed cat, without sedative or health effects.
You can’t even talk about addiction, as cats show interest in weed no more than two or three times a day, and they maintain that balance.
Cat grass is, therefore, an interesting “tool”, and one that plays an essential role for the cat. Proposing varied scents to a cat stimulates its sense of smell , as when we stimulate our sense of sight with a good movie or a beautiful painting: it is a necessary entertainment for its well-being and its balance!