Why Is My Cat (or Dog) Eating Grass?

cat&dogactual

Your pet is a herbivore!

Just kidding.  Cats are not herbivores, and neither are dogs; both are carnivores, meat-lovers, as you may already know.

However, here’s a little known fact: many carnivores need to eat grass as well as meat, because it supplies them with the roughage they need.  Too much grass can make your pet throw up, but the right amount ensures that his digestion is running smoothly.

If you are a dog owner, then congrats!  You don’t need to do anything about this.  Your dog will eat the appropriate amount of grass whenever he needs it.  Even if your dog only goes outside for bathroom breaks or walks, he still will probably get the correct amount.

If you are an outside cat owner (excuse me—a cat’s slave, who is graciously allowed to dwell with his feline master), then, once again, your cat will eat what he needs and you don’t have to do much.  (However, it is a concern that your cat might eat grass that has pesticides or other chemicals on it, so it might be safer to grow cat grass.)

Indoor cats, on the other hand, need you to provide the greenery.

The safest, easiest way to do this is by growing cat grass.  You can buy it at your favorite pet store.  (Fun Fact: cat grass is actually oat sprouts.)

Once you have the seeds, you should follow the directions to plant.  Here are some general directions, but if the directions on the package say otherwise than these, follow the package.

  1. Find a small, shallow pot. It should be no wider than 8 inches, roughly, and no deeper than about 3 inches.
  2. Fill the pot ½ to 2/3 full of generic potting soil. Please, don’t just dig up a shovelful from your yard.  That dirt could have bugs in it that you don’t want in your house.  There may also be pollutants in it, which could get into the grass that your cat is going to eat.  As for potting soils, just use the standard soil.  Avoid soil that was intended for cactuses, or African violets, or some other specialty soil.
  3. Sprinkle in the seeds. Try to get an even distribution, but don’t coat the soil.  Also, note that it doesn’t matter which side of the seed faces up.
  4. Scoop about an inch of soil on top of the seeds. Leave the soil loose.  Do not compact the soil.
  5. Water.  As any houseplant owner knows, it’s hard to give precise directions about how much to water a plant, but here goes.  Just water until the soil is moist.  Remember: you’re starting seeds, not watering a mature plant with an extensive root system.  Also, remember that the pot is small, and a major cause of death in houseplants in over-watering.

And there you have it.  Your cat grass should pop out of the soil in a few days to a week.  Once you see sprouts, move the grass to a sunny location where your cat can reach it.

Bon appatite! 

Photo Credit

By Anna Langova.  Photo is in the public domain.  http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=24076&picture=cat-and-dog

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