What Is Cat Grass? How to Grow It and More

July 17, 2022

Behavior

July 17, 2022

Despite cats being carnivores, and less capable of safely digesting many plants, offering them a little grass—cat grass, that is—for nibbling purposes is perfectly acceptable. Cat grass provides excellent environmental enrichment, and additional benefits, for your cat. Learn more about the advantages of offering home-grown cat grass to your four-legged friend.

What is cat grass?

First, what exactly is cat grass, and what makes the grass different from the grass in your yard? Your lawn likely has chemicals from fertilizers, pesticides, and outdoor contaminants, while cat grass is grown indoors and is chemical-free.

Made from a blend of seeds, cat grass typically encompasses several grass varieties that may appeal to your feline friend. Also, cat grass differs from catnip, which is a member of the mint family and serves a different purpose for pets.

Cat grass types

When choosing the best cat grass type to serve as a garden buffet, several popular options are available. Experiment with different varieties, or plant a mixed seed pack, to see which grass species your cat prefers.

Common cat grass species include oats, barley, rye, wheat, and wheat berry. You can choose separate seed packs to grow your own, or you can purchase all-in-one seed kits that contain grass seeds, soil, and a potting container. Simply plant the seeds, nurture them for a week, and your cat will enjoy gnawing on organic greens.

Is cat grass safe?

Naturally, you want only the best for your feline friend, and to ensure all their treats are safe, so you may wonder about the safety of cat grass. In a word, yes, cat grass is perfectly safe. However, if your pet has a medical condition and is on a strict diet, speak with your veterinarian before adding cat grass to their menu.

To use cat grass safely in your home, buy the appropriate seeds, and keep your cat away from other houseplants. Not all plants can be digested as easily as cat grass. Additionally, monitor your cat for changes in appetite and defecation habits to ensure they are handling their treat properly.

What are the benefits of cat grass?

Cat grass is not only a safe snack for your pet, but also provides several mental and physical health benefits, including:

  • Fiber — Fiber is a vital nutrient that aids in proper digestion and can prevent your cat from becoming constipated or developing diarrhea. Fiber also aids in expelling hairballs.
  • Trace minerals and vitamins A and D — Although a well-balanced diet contains all the vitamins and minerals your cat needs, cat grass provides an extra boost. Vitamin A is essential for healthy skin, hair coat, muscles, and nerves, and your cat can suffer from night blindness and weakness without the correct amount. Vitamin D helps maintain strong bones and muscles.
  • Chlorophyll — Before antibiotics were discovered, chlorophyll was used as a remedy for pain, infection, ulcers, skin diseases, and anemia. Chlorophyll also helps freshen breath and keeps gums healthy.
  • Folic acid — This vitamin helps with the production of hemoglobin.

Another cat grass perk is its usefulness as a deterrent. A readily available tasty snack will help keep your cat away from delicate houseplants, while providing them with mental stimulation and keeping them occupied with a fun activity.

How to grow cat grass

Growing cat grass at home is a fairly easy task, provided you have plenty of sunlight, and you avoid overwatering the seeds. Follow these eight steps to create a tasty garden for your feline friend.

Step 1: Buy seeds

Buy the right seed types to grow cat grass, or purchase an all-in-one seed kit. Keep in mind that you don’t have to buy seeds that are labeled specifically for cat grass. Any oat, barley, or wheat seeds will do.

Step 2: Choose the right container

Many small pots don’t have drainage holes, so be careful when watering the grass to prevent mold. Any small pot is perfect for planting a tiny garden for your cat, and planting small amounts avoids waste.

Step 3: Buy appropriate soil

Choose a potting soil that does not contain chemicals, such as fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides.

Step 4: Dampen the seeds

Avoid soaking the seeds before planting, but you can encourage earlier sprouting by wrapping them in a damp paper towel a day or two before planting.

Step 5: Plant the seeds

Plant the seeds following the instructions on the seed packet.

Step 6: Water the grass

Once sprouts appear—usually after three to seven days—mist the grass daily with a spray bottle, rather than soaking the plants. Mold is a common issue with cat grass because of overwatering.

Step 7: Trim the grass as needed

The grass will be ready for your cat to eat 10 to 14 days after sprouting, or after reaching a height of four inches. Occasionally, the tops may turn yellow, which you can trim as needed.

Step 8: Replace the grass regularly

Cat grass typically lasts one to three weeks, and then you need to plant fresh stock. If you notice the grass wilting, plant a new container.

How to introduce cat grass to your cat

At first, your cat may be puzzled by the sudden addition of a feline-friendly plant. Use positive reinforcement to encourage your pet to explore their new fresh snack by offering praise, petting, and rewards when they investigate the grass.

Ideally, place the grass in your cat’s favorite lounging windowsill, or a place with ample sun that your cat enjoys. Putting the grass in your cat’s favorite spot will quickly make them realize the grass is meant for them. However, don’t be disappointed if your cat refuses their special treat. Not all cats will nibble on this snack, and may turn up their nose.

Offering freshly grown cat grass to your feline friend is a great way to not only add enrichment to their daily life, but also boost their health with the various nutrients. Purchase a packet of seeds, and in a couple of weeks, you’ll have a delicious indoor garden for your cat to enjoy.

Sources:

https://www.petmd.com/cat/care/evr_ct_how-to-grow-cat-grass. PetMD. 2016.

https://allaboutcats.com/cat-grass. All About Cats. 2021.

https://www.hillspet.com/cat-care/nutrition-feeding/cat-grass-safety-and-informationhttps://allaboutcats.com/cat-grass. Hill’s. 2019.

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Disclaimer: Our content is for informational purposes only — it’s not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.