ginger cat in grass

Why Do Cats Eat Grass?


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If you’ve noticed your kitty sitting outside chewing on the green stuff and thought “why do cats eat grass?” you’re not alone. It’s a common Google search term, so there must be lots of perplexed cat owners wondering why their fur kid would choose grass over … well … anything else. Hence, we’re here to help you learn all about cats that eat grass.

Oh, and if you’re a dog parent, find out why dogs eat grass here.

cute white cat in orange harness sits on grass with yellow dandelions in spring, looks away. Close up. copy space

Why is my cat eating grass?

Turns out, there’s no single reason why cats eat grass. There are a few things that could be the culprit. And it wouldn’t be the first strange things cats have eaten – from toxic plants to bananas and tomato sauce, cats certainly don’t seem fussy about what they sink their teeth into.

PS: We have the answers if you’re wondering is it okay for cats to eat peanut butter? In fact, we have a whole list of what cats can and can’t eat in our article ‘Can Cats Eat … Cheese, Raw Chicken, Chocolate? What About Avo?!

You might also want to check out some of the top myths and misconceptions about cats and dogs. There are some surprising facts in there, such as whether cats should drink milk or not.

Now, below we discuss some of the reasons why cats eat grass.

Digestive needs

One of the main reasons why cats eat grass is to settle their digestive tracts. In the same way humans sometimes crave salads (maybe not as much as we crave chocolate, but still!), cats sometimes turn to grass for digestive health reasons.

This can be to help settle their stomachs if they’ve eaten something a little off, for example. Or if they’re constipated or have overeaten.

This is a natural urge for cats, who eat grass due to the fibre content. In this way, it can help them to loosen stools, quicken bowel movements, and induce vomiting. This can help them pass non-digestible items too … like the shoelace they chewed, or a mouse they hunted.

If this is a regular problem, you might consider making kitty an indoor cat.

tabby cat (kitten) eating daisies and grass

Cats, grass, and nutritional deficiencies

If your cat’s diet isn’t providing enough nutrients for them, they might seek out grass. Experts believe this is because it has folic acid. Without enough folic acid, cats can develop anaemia and can also suffer from a lack of oxygen in the blood.

If you’re not sure about your cat’s diet, consult your vet. They can help you find a feeding plan that satisfies all of your cat’s nutritional needs.

Anxiety-driven grass eating

Yet again, humans and cats have something in common! Anxiety isn’t just for those with two legs. And like you might bite your nails or polish off a bag of chips when you’re stress eating, cats sometimes chew grass. It isn’t due to hunger or a nutritional deficiency, but an oral distraction that can feel satisfying.

Basically, anxiety and stress often need an outlet. Pets express this in different ways. Dog owners will know separation anxiety can result in destructive behaviours like chewing toys, for instance. But cats that eat grass might be doing so as their outlet instead.

So if you’re wondering why cats eat grass when they seem otherwise healthy and happy, think about whether it happens mostly during or after stressful events. If so, it might be a sign that you need to address their anxiety rather than their grass-eating problem.

adopting an adult cat

Why do cats eat grass and vomit?

In some cases, cats may vomit after eating grass because they’ve eaten too much, or they’ve eaten it too quickly, which can irritate their stomach lining. However, in other cases, vomiting may be a natural response to the grass itself. Grass can be difficult for cats to digest, and in some cases, it may cause them to vomit.

Research shows that 89% of cats eat grass and only 27% throw up afterwards. This shows that eating grass isn’t always linked to throwing up and isn’t the only reason cats do it. Though it is one of them. It’s important to check that this grassy snack isn’t the result on an underlying health concern.

If your cat is eating grass and vomiting frequently or appears to be in distress, it’s important to take them to the veterinarian for a thorough examination. Here are some underlying health issues to look out for.

🌿 Gastro

Although your cat might just be getting rid of a mild tummy upset, if they’re vomiting it could be gastro. Our article on gastro in dogs has relevant information for cats, too. Further, make sure it’s actually grass that your pet’s eating. If they appear to be eating other weeds and plants be sure they’re not plants that are toxic to pets.

🌿 Parasites

Intestinal parasites such as roundworms or tapeworms can cause gastrointestinal upset in cats, leading to vomiting and diarrhea.

🌿 Food allergies

Some cats may be allergic to certain foods or ingredients that make them vomit.

🌿 Liver or kidney disease

Cats with liver or kidney disease may experience gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting, inappetence, and weight loss.

🌿 Diabetes

Diabetes can cause upset in your cat’s stomach, which may also lead to vomiting or diarrhea.

Is it safe for my cat to eat grass?

Cats are obligate carnivores. This means they have to eat meat to survive, unlike humans who can live (and even thrive!) on vegetarian or vegan diets. But that doesn’t mean they can’t eat some greens too. You might even want to offer them a little catnip every now and then, as a treat.

Importantly, if the grass snacks are occasional and not causing any problems, you probably don’t need to worry.

It’s safe for cats to eat it in moderation, but if yours is one of the cats that eat grass in large amounts regularly it’s best to chat to your vet. They can do an evaluation to find out if something is wrong or needs treating. You should also keep an eye out for sneezing fits caused by blades of grass stuck at the back of the nose. If this happens, a vet may need to physically remove the grass.

silver tabby cat lying in grass asleep

How to make grass eating safer

If yours is one of the many cats that eat grass, don’t treat their greens with pesticides and other potentially toxic or harmful things. Ingestion of herbicides or similar could cause serious health problems and even death in cats.

In times of health upsets, having pet insurance can be a huge relief. Something as simple as eating grass could land you with an unexpected vet fees for diagnoses and treatment. If you have one of our cat insurance plans it’ll help you pay the bills.

Given pet cover is affordable and can be easily taken out online (with PD Insurance offering one or more months free at the time of writing!), why wouldn’t you want one of our plans for your grass-loving furkid? Go on, get a quote now.

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