Why do cats eat grass (and is it healthy)?

Some cats can be notoriously picky eaters.

However, there’s plenty out there who enjoy nothing more than chewing on a mouthful of grass.

So, why do cats eat grass?

We take a look at what makes it so appealing, and whether eating too much can prove dangerous.

Is eating grass a normal thing for your cat to do?

As pet parents, we’re forever dealing with the weird and the wonderful.

If you’ve recently brought a cat into your home, you may be wondering ‘Why does my cat eat grass?’

The good news is, it is normal.

Researchers from the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine, surveyed more than 1,000 cat owners in 2019, and found that 71% of cats had been seen eating plants at least six times in their lifetime.

Their research, which was published in this ‘Science’ article, revealed only 11% had never munched on greenery.

Despite their liking for leaves, you shouldn’t be swapping out complete and well-balanced mealtimes for a side of freshly cut grass.

Cats are obligate carnivores, which means meat in their diet is essential for them to survive.

So, why do they enjoy the occasional graze? Here are a few potential reasons:


  • Stomach soother. One theory is that chomping on grass can help cats struggling with upset stomachs. It is common for cats to immediately vomit after snacking on the green stuff, as they lack the enzymes to break down large quantities. It is therefore thought they may ingest grass in order to rid their bodies of indigestible items disagreeing with them, such as fur, feathers or small bones.
  • Digestive aid. Cats require a vitamin called folic acid to aid digestion as well promote growth and development. It’s a nutrient found in a nursing mother cat’s milk, but is also present in grass juice.
  • Stress reliever. Constantly feeding on grass could be our cat’s equivalent of ‘comfort eating’ and may possibly be a symptom of stress.
  • Genetic trait. In the survey mentioned above, scientists went on to say that regular plant eating by cats may just be instinctive. They believe it could be a habit based on the fact their ancestors would regularly eat plants while out in the wild.
  • Of course, it could just simply be that they enjoy the taste and texture. If you do catch your cat regularly tucking into blades of grass, it’s important you monitor their everyday eating habits.

Excessive grass eating – What it could mean

While it’s perfectly safe for your cat to eat grass, excessive grass eating could lead to issues.

As owners, we need to ensure our cats are eating high-quality food as part of a balanced diet, remain active, have normal bowel movements, and are not regularly vomiting,

If this is the case, then their extra curricular eating habits are not likely to be having an adverse affect on them.

However, if they are showing an appetite for eating grass every single day, and you notice a change in their behaviour, it may be time to contact your vet.

Of course, we can’t see every little thing our cats eat. Grass that has been treated with weed killer or pesticides is extremely harmful to animals, and if you think your cat has eaten something toxic, you should ring for medical attention immediately. One way to possibly combat this is to grow your own cat grass at home. A much safer alternative, cat grass is ideal for felines who are common grazers.

Another thing to look out for when your cat is eating a lot of grass is it getting lodged at the back of their nose. Excessive sneezing is sign of this, and if it does happen the grass will need to removed by a vet.

Too much of anything is never a good thing for our cats when we’re talking about food.

If your cat is feeding all day, they may have an obsessive eating problem.

A number of medical conditions could be the reason behind this, including diabetes. It could be down to an overactive thyroid, or possibly worms.

Even boredom has been linked to cats overeating, so always make sure they are stimulated through exercise and playtime.

Overeating can result in weight issues, which just like with us humans, can quickly lead to severe health consequences.

As always, early diagnosis and treatment is best so don’t hesitate to seek

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