Ever since you gave your pet a taste of cat grass, he seems to never stop begging you for more. Now you are worried that you might be giving him too much.
How much cat grass is too much?
When it comes to giving your pet cat grass, there are no strict guidelines that you can follow.
Generally, cat grass is safe for felines, especially if you are the one who grew it. And as long as your cat is healthy, eats well, defecates regularly, and active, there is not much that you have to worry about. Well, except for his incessant whining for more cat grass.
In fact, it is better to give your pet cat grass than risk him consuming regular grass and other plants when he goes out or gets hold of your indoor plants.
With regular grass found on lawns as well as other garden plants, you are unsure whether these are safe for your cat to munch on. It is possible that the leaves and stems may still contain residue of chemical insecticides and fertilizers. Or these may have been watered with contaminated water.
As for indoor plants, some of these might be poisonous to your beloved feline. And instead of eating these, you can use cat grass as a buffer between your plants and your pet.
A greater concern for cat owners is pica. If your pet seems to have the propensity of eating non-food items, aside from grass, it may mean that your cat is suffering pica which is a psychological issue. If you suspect that your pet is suffering from pica, bring him to the vet for evaluation.
What exactly is cat grass?
Contrary to what some people may believe, cat grass is not a species of grass. Rather, it is an umbrella term that refers to a variety of plants, including rye, barley, oats, and wheat. Cat grass is different from the grass used in lawns. Instead, cat grass is typically grown indoors for the consumption of pets.
Cat grass is available in pet stores and veterinary clinics. You can also purchase seeds and grow an indoor cat grass garden for you and your pet.
Why do cats eat grass?
Cats are obligate carnivores. This simply means that their meals should consist primarily of protein. Unlike omnivores like dogs and humans, your cat does not need carbohydrates and sugar.
But what about grass? Contrary to what some cat owners believe, cats do not just eat grass when they feel unwell. However, that is not true in most cases. Given ready access to grass, a cat will consume it regularly.
Until now, experts do not completely know the underlying reason why cats eat grass. However, they have posited a few possible reasons why cats like eating grass.
One theory suggests that cats eat grass because they need fiber in their bodies. The fiber in the grass can either induce vomiting or have a mild laxative effect.
By consuming grass, cats can get rid of the body parts of their prey that they cannot digest. Grass can also facilitate the removal of hairballs and worms from a cat’s body.
Additionally, it is believed that the chlorophyll found in the leaves of grass may have a mild analgesic or pain-relieving effect on felines.
Another theory suggests that the behavior of eating grass has been handed down to domestic cats by their wild ancestors. These wild cats ate grass to remove worms from their bodies.
What are the benefits of giving cat grass to your pet?
Although cat grass is not an essential part of a feline’s diet, there are a few reasons why you should give your pet cat grass.
1. Cat grass can fill in dietary gaps
Cat grass contains a few essential nutrients that may be lacking from your pet’s diet. These include B vitamins which are known to improve a cat’s overall health.
2. Cat grass can help in digestion
Cat grass is an excellent source of fiber for cats. Fiber, in turn, can help your cat move his bowels regularly and prevent constipation.
3. Cat grass can help your pet eliminate hairballs
As your pet grooms himself, it becomes inevitable for him to swallow some of his hairs, leading to the formation of hairballs.
When you give your pet cat grass, eliminating hairballs from his system becomes faster. Even better, if your cat consumes cat grass regularly, the chances of hairballs forming inside his body become minimal.
4. Cat grass can facilitate vomiting
Vomiting is not inherently a symptom of something bad. When a cat has an upset stomach, he instinctively eats grass to remove the toxins that can potentially cause him harm.
What is crucial to know is the difference between beneficial vomiting and the one that is a symptom of a larger health problem. If your pet vomits occasionally, you do not have much to worry about. But when your cat vomits frequently within a day, it may be a sign that he needs the help of your veterinarian.
How to grow your own cat grass
Another great thing about cat grass is that it is easy to grow in your home. As an added benefit, you can use it to enrich your cat’s life, especially if he lives indoors exclusively.
There are a few options you can choose from, each with its advantages. For example, wheatgrass can be consumed both by cats and humans. Oat grass, on the other hand, is an excellent source of fiber and protein for cats. Consider growing barley grass if you have two or more cats in your home. Among all the types of cat grass, barley grows the fastest. Finally, ryegrass is an excellent option if your pet likes to constantly nibble on cat grass.
Here are a few tips you can use if you wish to plant cat grass.
1. Use a shallow container
Planting cat grass does not require too much soil. As such, you can use a shallow container. However, this container should be heavy and sturdy. Once you have found a suitable container, fill it with soil up to about three quarters.
2. Planting the seeds
Before planting your cat grass seeds, be sure to dampen the soil. After sprinkling the seeds over the soil, cover these with one-fourth of an inch of soil.
3. Keep the seeds away from your cat
Once you have covered the seeds with soil, you will need to cover the opening of the container with a plastic wrap. Do not cover the container too tightly.
The seeds can sprout anywhere between three to seven days. Once the seeds sprout, you can remove the plastic cover and move the container to a sunny spot in your home.
4. Do not water the seeds excessively
Water the sprouts only when the soil begins to dry. Otherwise, you risk mold growing inside the container.
5. Serve the cat grass to your pet
In about 10 to 14 days, the sprouts will reach a length of three to four inches. This means that the sprouts are now ready for consumption.
6. Prep more than one pot
If you want your pet to have a steady supply of cat grass, it is a good idea to have a few containers of sprouts planted roughly a week apart. This will ensure that your pet has a fresh batch of cat grass ready when the initial batch is about to run out.
Cat grass is a welcome treat for your pet
Cat grass is a safe alternative to plants and outdoor grass. As such, there is not much you have to worry about giving this to your pet. And as long as your cat is healthy, there is no need for you to worry about giving too much. If you are concerned about your cat’s overconsumption, err on the side of caution and taper his intake.