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Have you ever wondered why do cats eat grass? As carnivores, cats are not evolved to feed on plants. They even lack the necessary digestive structures to effectively break down plants. Still, if you own a cat, I could bet that you have seen her chew on grass more than just once.

This can be weird if you haven’t seen it happen before. Fortunately, your cat isn’t going crazy or turning into some herb eating animal. Eating grass is completely normal with felines, and even dogs. So why exactly does your cat eat grass?

Many explanations have been put forward, some even based on traditional street knowledge. Here are the scientifically accepted explanations of this phenomenon:

Cat Searching for Extra Nutrients

As some experts have observed, the grass chewing habit in cats is probably instinctive. The cat tries to obtain nutrients in the grass that she does not get in her normal diet. Of course, this is instinctive because cats don’t have the capacity to think this through.

More specifically, cats seek folic acid in grass. This is a vitamin that aids the cat in the production of hemoglobin. If you don’t remember from your biology classes, hemoglobin is the part of your blood that combines with oxygen, and basically facilitates the movement of oxygen in blood. This also means that you shouldn’t worry about your cat nibbling on grass whenever it does so.

Although cats do not always eat grass because of nutritional deficiency, you can and should try to balance your cat’s diet. This will not just stop your cat from eating plants, but will also lead to a general improvement in her health. Your pet should have a regular diet consisting of meat, vegetables, fruits and grains. You should also consider adding in a source of fatty acids. Serving your cat vegetables rich in vitamins will particularly go a long way in getting your cat to avoid eating grass.

Cat Wants to Throw Up

Not many people enjoy throwing up. It is also unlikely that your cat just likes to throw up. However, it is sometimes necessary, especially since its digestive system is not meant to digest many types of foods. Even if your cat only eats normal cat food, it could easily ingest some parts that are not easy for it to break down.

A good example is when a cat eats a mouse or a bird. It doesn’t bother to get rid of the fur, feathers or anything that is not meat. And even more, it will have to take in whatever it is that the mouse ate. All these will end up straining the cat’s digestive system, and probably will not be broken down.

That is why your cat may need to clear up its systems once in a while by throwing up. And she has enough intelligence to know that eating some grass will do the trick.

Although you don’t always need to bother with the fact that your cat eats grass, you can try to make sure she doesn’t eat any foods that her systems cannot comfortably break down. This will also probably save you some trips to the vet.

Get Rid of Furballs

Cats are very clean animals, and spend time grooming themselves, by licking their fur. Consequently, cats build up fur balls in their systems, and these are neither digested nor passed out easily.

Eating grass can, of course, do the trick of letting it throw up. In fact, almost all the times that a cat throws up, it ejects some fur. This is, however, only possible in cases where the fur balls have not gone far into the cat’s digestive system. When the fur balls can no longer be thrown up, grass can still help the cat pass it out as stool. Grass acts as a natural laxative, enabling the cat to pass fur balls as stool.

Otherwise, your cat may need to be taken to the vet.

Eating Grass is Okay

Cats are carnivores that like to eat grass once in a while. Whatever the reason for this, eating grass is not harmful to your cat. In fact, it can provide some benefits to your little pet.

The grass could contain some chemicals that might be harmful to your cat. But this has a very simple solution. You can plant your own grass, specifically for your cat to eat whenever she gets her cravings. Most pet stores have cat grass that you can grow for your pet. Another alternative is to make sure the grass growing naturally on your lawn is safe for her to nibble.

Other Plants

While grass has been identified to be completely safe for cats, many other plants are highly toxic to cats. Other plants can even lead to kidney diseases in your cat, and can be harmful to your furry little friend. Cats that eat grass typically resort to other plants in the house if they are unable to access grass.

The bright side of the story is that most plants are completely safe for cats. Normally, the cat will experience diarrhea or vomiting after consuming these plants, but will not experience any serious health effects. Some of the dangerous plants include tiger lilies, day lilies and red lilies. Lilies are easily the most dangerous plants to cats, and you should always take steps to make sure your feline friend does not ever resort to eating these types of plants

A simple and logical way to ensure this is by making sure your cat always has access to grass. If possible, you could also rid your place of house plants. That way, your cat will not be able to eat the plants even when she wants to.

Why do Cats Eat Grass Summary

Cats eat grass for different reasons. It could be because it lacks certain nutrients in its daily diet, wants to throw up or just wants to facilitate the emptying of its bowels. In general, grass is pretty safe for cats to eat, even though it might make your cat vomit or experience diarrhea. Just be sure to keep your cat away from other plants or chemically treated grass. Hopefully this article answered your question as to why do cats eat grass.


1. Pet MD

2. Cat Behaviour Associates

3. Animal Planet

Why Do Cats Eat Grass Infographic