Why Do Cats Eat Grass?


Cats are full of contradictions. They’re aloof yet goofy, cuddly yet standoffish, and all kitty parents know that figuring out cat behavior means a lifetime of learning. Even if you already know the answer to why cats wag their tails and why cats purr, and you’re clear on why cats knead (because they’re making biscuits, of course), there are other things cats do that are pretty much a mystery. Why do cats sleep so much? Why do they decide three a.m. is a good time to run an obstacle course in your home? And why do cats eat grass? Here, cat experts help us get to the root of that last one.

Why do cats eat grass?

Although there isn’t a lot of specific research on why cats eat grass, there are a few reasons why you might notice this behavior in your cat, according to Dr. Pete Lands, DVM, chief medical officer and managing partner at Washington Ave Animal Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Turns out, cats commonly have a number of underlying gastrointestinal diseases, such as irritable bowel syndrome. So chewing grass may be a way for them to calm down their GI tract, either to help move things along a little bit faster or help them vomit up hairballs, explains Dr. Lands. That’s why you might see your cat vomiting after eating grass!

Grass has plenty of fiber, which can help with constipation. “Cats are notoriously poor water drinkers, and sometimes adding fiber to the diet just helps them poop a little bit easier,” says Dr. Angie Krause, DVM, CVA, CCRT, a holistic veterinarian based in Boulder, Colorado.

It might also be worth looking into what you’re feeding that feline. Some cats eat grass to make up for nutritional deficiencies in their diet, such as folic acid, which helps form hemoglobin.

“If the diet they have at home is devoid of certain vitamins, minerals, or nutrients, they may be trying to find those elsewhere,” says Dr. Lands. “So one place they may be able to find folic acid would be by eating grass, if that was something that their diet might be missing.”

Better start reading those labels! You wouldn’t want to make these dangerous mistakes as a cat owner.

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