Why Do Cats Eat Grass?
Why do cats eat grass? We all know that our dogs sometimes consume a few mouthfuls of grass when they feel the need to empty their stomachs or just because it tastes nice! Cats, on the other hand, have a few reasons of their own for why they like to graze on a green garden. Petplan takes a look at some of the theories as to why cats eat grass.
Theory 1: Digestive Reasons
First off, while cats do eat grass, it’s important to know that they have no requirement to do so. Cats are what’s known as ‘obligate carnivores’ which means that they need a diet of meat in order to keep their body working as it should.
However, even though they have no biological need to eat grass they may do so for the same reasons that we eat our vegetables and leafy greens. One theory speculates that cats may eat grass because the folic acid produced helps to flush out foods and materials that your companion may be unable to digest themselves, such as excess fur and hair.
There’s no scientific consensus that grass is a needed component of a healthy cat’s digestive system, but it could be a natural digestive remedy, to introduce more fibre into their diet.
Another thing to note is that cats do so to acquire the folic acid itself, just as you and I need to keep our vitamin levels in check. Kittens receive their folic acid from their mothers but as they grow, and this is no longer an option, a lack of folic acid can lead to anaemia in cats.
So, while there is no concrete theory on this, it appears that cats diet may benefit from grazing on a patch of grass every now and then.
Theory 2: Mood Reasons
Again, just like humans, cats are also prone to ‘emotional eating’ or what we might call stress eating. During this process humans and animals alike turn to food as an emotional crutch in order to give them some feeling of satisfaction, as opposed to eating because they are hungry.
Anxiety in animals, just like in humans, can come in many different forms. Some cats may become noisy or unable to settle down, some may groom themselves to a point that it becomes detrimental, and some may even turn to food. In this last case, if there’s no food currently available to them then grass could satisfy that desire.
However, if you believe that your cat is eating grass for reasons to do with anxiety, then you should take steps to help your pet deal with this anxiety and contact your vet.
Is there any danger?
If your cat is a big fan of grass, which there is nothing inherently wrong with, there are a few things you need to be aware of. A lot of gardens are maintained with chemicals, either pesticides or fertilisers, and this could prove to be potentially harmful to your pet. If you know your garden has some of these measures in place then you should either change to a natural garden, or observe your cat closely, and speak to your vet if you feel anything is wrong.
Additionally, since cats eat grass primarily for digestive issues, if you notice your cat is eating an excessive amount of grass this may be an indicator of a more severe digestive problem which you should speak to your vet about right away.
If you have any stories of dealing with your cat’s love of grass, let us know in the comments below...