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Grass Roots: Why Your Cat Nibbles Grass

By: Virginia Wells

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If your cat is so finicky when it comes to cat food, why does he graze on grass or nibble on your plants whenever he is in the back yard or patio?

Cats are primarily carnivores, which means they prefer to eat only meat. However, many cats are fond of vegetables and other plant material, and will occasionally sample a plot of grass outdoors. Cats that don't get outdoors might nibble on your houseplants. This, of course, is not a good thing; in fact, it can be dangerous if the plants are toxic.

One explanation for your cat's craving for salad is that in their wild hunting days (cats evolved from the wild cat, a long line of hunters) they normally ate the entire animal when they caught it. Many of their "kills" were herbivores (plant eaters), and cats ended up eating a lot of grass and plants that were in the stomachs and intestines of these animals.

Uses

Some people believe that cats eat grass for the raw nutrition their diets lack. They instinctively chew and eat grass to obtain the vitamins, minerals and live enzymes provided by fresh, raw whole foods. The ideal diet of fresh meat, grains and vegetables they once enjoyed in the wild has been replaced by one that often lacks these nutrients.

Others believe that eating grass plays a medicinal role in that it helps to relieve digestive problems. When cats are vomiting or have diarrhea, it is not uncommon to see them grazing away on the lawn. However, while eating some grass may help your cat's digestion, too much can make matters worse. Blades of grass often have edges that are irritating to the stomach and your cat will vomit a few minutes after eating.

How To Grow It

If your cat enjoys his greens, try growing some yourself. You should be able to find "cat grass" seeds, a combination of wheat, oats and rye, at your pet store. Plant the seeds according to directions and wait until the grass has grown about 2 inches. Then place the container where your cat will find it and praise him if he takes a nibble. Your cat should soon learn which is the acceptable salad bar.

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