Do cats eat grass?

The cat is eating grass! What is happening to this pet? Surely it is not because of hunger as it is provided with enough foods to eat. Cats are obligate carnivores. These animals have to have animal-based protein in their diet. Cats do not need to eat plant matter…and certainly not grass! Cat owners though would see the pet munching grass. Does the glistening dew on the blades of grass prove too much to resist. Cats have ultrasensitive scenting abilities. It is possible that the cat can smell an enticing scent in the grass that we humans do not notice? Or is it possible that cats have other reasons for eating grass?

It is not uncommon for cat owners to stop the pet from eating grass especially if it would throw up several minutes after it has cropped a portion of the lawn. Owner would not want to keep on cleaning the mess created by the pet. Cats are cherished pets. Owners would surely be anxious if the pet is seen vomiting as the condition would usually be associated with a health concern. If only the pet could talk it would tell its owner not to worry as it has a valid reason for eating grass.

Grass has no nutritional value for our feline friends. However, the owner must not confine the pet indoors to prevent it from eating grass. Allowing the pet to eat grass may save the owner from taking the pet to the vet’s. Cats cannot digest grass and other plant matter because they do not have the salivary enzyme amylase. It is believed that cats purposely eat grass to make themselves sick but not because they like throwing up. The purpose is to clean out their digestive system.

We know cats to be fastidious groomers. Cats spend long hours licking the fur and because these animals have backward facing spines (pappilae) a lot of loose hairs are ingested and form into hairballs. Hairballs are normally excreted when the cat defecates but some stubborn mass of hair would remain and would increase in size. Big hairballs would become a health concern as they can create an intestinal obstruction. Cats have the amazing ability to know what is wrong in their system. Apparently, the cat knows that the growing hairball must be expulsed. The cat would then eat grass to induce vomiting.

Hairballs are not the only reason why cats would eat grass. Cats are natural hunters. When these animals hunt rodents, birds and other small animals, the hunted prey will be eaten. The fur and feathers, the beaks and claws as well as the bones will be ingested. Cats do not have the ability to separate the meat from the indigestible parts of the prey. Cats are not inclined to carefully pick the meat from the prey. Anyway, they only need to eat grass and the undigested matter inside the stomach will be thrown out.

Grass is the cats’ natural laxative that will prevent indigestion. Cat parents should not prevent the pet from eating grass. Moreover, they should make sure that the grass the cat would eat is not poisonous. How can this be done? Cats seem to know what grass to eat but if these animals are confined indoors, they would have no other option but to munch house plants. It is therefore necessary for pet owner to ensure that the plants inside the house are not harmful to the pets. Another option is to allow the pet to eat grass outdoors. If this is not possible, cat owners can buy commercial cat grass from pet supply stores. Aside from preventing the cat from mutilating the houseplants, the owner would be sure that the grass the cat eats is not poisonous.