As a cat owner, you must have come across your cat eating grass. Cats are carnivorous so seeing your cat eat grass is quite surprising.
Grass isn’t bad for cats if eaten in a small amount. Instead, experts believe eating a small amount of grass can have beneficial effects on the digestive system and overall health of a cat. But, the amount of grass eaten by cat should be small. If you notice that your cat has eaten a considerable amount of grass, you should contact your veterinarian.
Why Do Cats Eat Grass?
The answer to the question that why cats eat grass isn’t a one-liner and researchers have come up with multiple reasons. Most of these answers are based on the outcome of eating grass. Let’s take a look at some of the possible reasons your cat can be tempted to eating grass.
Grass Can Induce Vomiting
Your cat may be eating grass to induce vomiting. Vomiting can be helpful in bringing gastrointestinal function to normal if it is upset. Vomiting helps in the expulsion of unwanted objects that have been eaten by your cat. For example, a cat may eat bones with meat. These bones can be expelled out by your cat through vomiting. This is a popular myth and many experts don’t believe this to be true. Actually, frequent vomiting is also dangerous for the health of your feline friend. Vomiting not only causes the expulsion of partially digested food from the stomach but also leads to the loss of electrolytes from the body. This can result in serious problems if too many electrolytes are lost.
If your cat vomits every time she eats grass, this is a thing to worry and you should contact your veterinarian. Keep an eye on your cat and if she vomits even once a week or more, you should take her to a veterinarian for a check-up. However, if your cat does not vomit after eating grass, there is no need to visit your veterinarian, and eating a small amount of grass is completely fine.
Grass Contains Folic Acid
Grass contains folic acid. This is an essential vitamin that plays an important role in the production and smooth functioning of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a protein that is present in red blood cells. It is responsible for carrying oxygen in the blood. So, cats require a healthy amount of folic acid to transport oxygen in their body.
Cats need to take folic acid through their diet. When they are young, they get folic acid from the milk of their mother. Grown-up cats may face folic acid deficiency if they don’t get the required amount through diet. This can lead to the temptation of eating grass. Moreover, cats have a sharp sense of smell and the smell of folic acid in grass may entice your cat just like mother’s milk.
Grass is a Natural Laxative
Grass is a natural laxative for your cat. Laxatives are those substances that increase the movement of the bowel and cause expulsion of ingested materials through feces smoothly. Cats love to groom themselves. During grooming, cats ingest coat hair which can lead to the formation of furballs over time. If the size of the hairball is small, the cat may vomit it out. But if the size of the hairball has increased to a considerable amount and it cannot be expelled out through vomiting, your cat may try to remove it through feces. Grass acts as a lubricant and helps passing hairball. So eating grass can potentially save you a visit to your veterinarian.
Grass Eating is an Innate Behavior
Cats may be eating grass to satisfy their natural instinct. Research has shown that animals eat grass and other herbs to remove their intestinal parasites. Eating grass increases the muscle contraction of the digestive system. This can lead to the expulsion of endoparasites from the body. Indoor cats generally don’t have intestinal worms but grass eating might just be another way of satisfying their natural instinct.
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When Is It Bad For Cats To Eat Grass?
So far, we have discussed that eating a small amount of grass is completely fine in cats. However, this can result in some negative effects on the health of your lovely pet if eaten in large quantity. Let’s take a look at some scenarios that can turn a harmless act of eating grass into a harmful one.
Obstruction of The Digestive Tract
If your cat eats a large amount of grass, this can result in obstruction of the digestive tract. Cats lack the enzymes necessary for the digestion of grass. So, ingestion of a large amount of indigestible substance can always put your cat’s life in danger. In severe cases, the obstruction may need surgery to be removed. Grass can get stuck in your cat’s nasal chamber. This can result in irritation and excessive sneezing.
Toxicity From Grass
If the grass eaten by your cat has been sprayed with pesticides and insecticides, it can result in toxicity. Toxicity is a serious problem and may result in abortion in pregnant cats. If the amount of ingested grass is large enough, death may occur.
If your cat has eaten grass and is showing signs of esophageal or intestinal obstruction and toxicity, you should contact your veterinarian immediately.
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Make it Safe For Your Cat
If you want your cat to obtain health benefits from grass without risk of any hazard, you should get indoor grass that is safe for cats. A small patch of grass is good for your cat. Do not spray pesticides or insecticides on grass.
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