Why Do Cats Eat Grass? Is It Safe?

Why Do Cats Eat Grass? Is It Safe?

For cat owners, looking at our pets and wondering, “What are you doing?” is a fairly common occurrence. Quirky cat behavior comes with the territory for these silly furballs. 

However, sometimes those quirky behaviors make us wonder if they’re bad for their health or not — eating grass is one of those things.

If you’ve seen your cat eating grass and worried about their health, you’re not alone. In this article, we’ll explore why cats eat grass from time to time, whether or not it’s safe, and if it’s a sign of a bigger issue.

Is It Okay For Cats To Eat Grass?

The short answer is yes; it’s okay for cats to eat blades of grass from time to time as long as there are no pesticides, chemical fertilizers, or herbicides on the grass. Grass treated with any kind of lawn-care chemical can be toxic to cats. So, if your cat gets into treated grass, you may want to call your vet and look out for symptoms of toxicity like vomiting, diarrhea, and general malaise. 

It’s important to note that if your cat eats a lot of grass frequently, it could possibly signal a larger health concern. One specific condition to be aware of is feline pica, which can cause cats to eat non-edible items or things with little nutritional value. If you find your cat eating grass often, consult your veterinarian to rule out anything more serious than a passing craving. 

The Possible Reasons Why Cats Eat Grass

There are many reasons why cats eat grass, ranging from instinctive animal behavior to seeking relief from an upset stomach or lack of certain nutrients. Here are just a few of the most common causes of this behavior.

Instinctual Outdoor Behavior

Snacking on grass is part of cats’ genetic code, stemming from outdoor free-roaming cats like lynx, leopards, and pumas. Eating grass can be a clear display of tapping into their primal instincts — even if your feline friend isn’t an outdoor cat.

Aiding Digestion

Grass can actually help with a cat’s digestive system because it’s high in prebiotic fibers, which can act as a mild natural laxative. Additionally, grass can help cats expel hairballs.

Relieving an Upset Stomach

Cats can also eat grass to induce vomiting to clear indigestible material out of their stomachs. Cats can’t digest grass in large quantities because they don’t have the necessary digestive enzymes, so overeating grass can cause vomiting. 

Seeking Nutritional Benefits

Cats may eat grass for its many nutritional benefits. Grass contains trace minerals, micronutrients, and vitamins A, B, and D. Grass also contains folic acid, an essential vitamin that produces hemoglobin and helps move oxygen through the bloodstream. 

Eliminating Intestinal Parasites

Research finds that cats (much like dogs) may eat grass to help clear their digestive tract of intestinal parasites. Since grass can increase muscle activity in mammals’ digestive tract, it may help expel parasites.

Some Cats Simply Enjoy the Taste 

We all have preferences, and cats are no different! Some simply enjoy the taste of grass. It could be the flavor, texture, or just the novelty of it being different from the food they’re used to eating on a day-to-day basis. 

Nurturing Healthy Grass-Eating Habits for Your Cat

If you’ve spoken to your vet to rule out any underlying health conditions, infrequent grass eating is fairly harmless. However, if you have a periodic grass eater, here are some things you can do to keep your cat as safe as possible.

Provide Safe and Suitable Grass

One way to nurture your cat's grass-eating habit is to provide safe and suitable grass for your cat. As noted earlier, be sure the grass isn’t treated with chemicals. If you are unsure if grass has been treated with chemicals, it’s best to just avoid allowing your cat to eat it all together.

Additionally, it’s key to monitor your cats as they chew on grass to make sure they aren’t chewing off more than they can handle. As noted earlier, eating too much grass can cause vomiting but it also can cause other gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea or constipation. 

Explore Grass Alternatives

When you think of grass, you probably think of grass that grows in a backyard or park — like Kentucky bluegrass, Bermuda grass, or ryegrass. These grasses can be safe for cats, but in public spaces, it may be hard to determine whether or not they’ve been treated with chemicals. 

Luckily, there are alternative indoor grasses you can grow just for your indoor cat. If you grow a specific grass just for your cat, you can have complete control over what gets sprayed on it. Some alternative grasses to explore could be wheat grass, oat grass, and barley grass. You can also look into cat grass, a cultivated mix of all of the above specifically for indoor cats. Some pet stores sell it pre-grown in small pots, but you can order cat grass seeds and grow your own at home!

Ensure a Healthy Cat Diet 

If you can ensure your cat has a healthy diet — regardless of their stage of life — it can make the occasional grass-eating experience less risky and more enjoyable for your cat. A well-rounded diet that includes all vital nutrients may even lessen the chances of your cat being interested in grass in the first place! 

Looking for healthy, delicious cat food made with high-quality ingredients? Try The Honest Kitchen’s line of human grade cat food, packed with nutrient-rich ingredients to help support a healthy diet.

Support Enrichment and Play 

A final way to support your cat’s overall health and manage their grass-eating habits is to support enrichment and play. A life that involves play and bonding activities between you and your cat can help support cats’ physical and mental health. As an added bonus, if your cat isn’t bored, they’ll be less likely to develop destructive habits (your carpets will thank you)!

Transform Your Cat's Health With The Honest Kitchen

While it's generally safe for cats to eat grass (as long as it's free from pesticides or herbicides), excessive grass consumption or a persistent craving may indicate an underlying health concern and warrant a trip to the vet.

When you reinforce safer grass-eating habits, you can ensure your feline friend can enjoy the occasional grassy snack while prioritizing their overall health and safety.

To support a balanced diet for your cat, turn to The Honest Kitchen’s wide variety of cat foods. From wet food and tasty toppers to dehydrated grain free food and whole grain clusters, there’s something for even the pickiest eaters. But don’t take our word for it — check out these stories from real cat parents!

Shop The Honest Kitchen’s complete line of delicious cat foods today!

*Health Disclaimer: This post is educational in nature and doesn’t constitute health advice. Please consult your pet's veterinarian or other healthcare professional for specific guidance on this topic.

Back to Blog