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Grazing: Why Do Cats Eat Grass?

By: Makeasa Rosemond

Although indigestible to cats, grass is a beneficial source of fiber and it contains folic acid, a B vitamin essential to metabolic health and other body functions. In cats, grass acts as an emetic— a nicer way of saying a substance that causes vomiting.

So don’t be alarmed if you see your cat regurgitate grass shortly after eating it. Here’s the biology behind it: As a carnivore, your cat lacks the enzymes essential to breaking down plant matter. Although unpleasant from a cat parent’s perspective, regurgitation is their body’s natural response to indigestible matter.

Cats regularly eat different types of indigestible matter, from their own fur (due to grooming) to the bones and feathers of their prey. Without some sort of purging impetus, the matter stays in your kitty’s intestine ultimately creating blockage. The upchuck reflex caused by grass helps remove indigestible matter. So just think of grass as kitty’s version of a "juice cleanse."

Grow Your Own

Without access to grass, cats may attempt to snack on houseplants, many of which are toxic to cats. For their safety, provide cat grass as a safe alternative to satisfy their natural urge to graze. Simply plant the seeds according to the package directions and safe, pesticide-free grass will be ready in as little as 8 days.

When to Contact the Vet

Pet experts agree that grass nibbling offers some benefits to your cat, however you should consult your veterinarian if your cat shows signs of excessive grass intake followed by frequent vomiting.

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