My 3-year-old kitty cat is not a fan of people food. He turns his nose up at typical cat cravings such as tuna fish or smoked salmon. We have never found a packaged cat treat that he enjoys. And he's not a fan of any kind of canned or wet food. However, in addition to his regular old dry cat food, there is one delicacy that my boy will gobble up in a heartbeat: grass.
That's right. Grass.
I turned to the internet to try to figure out why one of my favorite felines is so intent on making a buffet out of my lawn and quickly found out he is not alone. Lots of cats like to eat grass. And while no one — not even the veterinarians — really know for sure why they do it, there are a number of solid theories on why cats like to chow down on grass.
To help things go up
An outdoor cat that has the opportunity to snack on birds or mice may wind up with a bellyful of bones and feathers that need to work their way out of her system. By eating grass, she can induce a controlled vomit in which the pokey debris makes its way up and out while safely ensconced in grass.
Indoors or out, all cats ingest quite a bit of their own hair when they groom themselves, as their tongues have small barbs that make it easier to remove loose fur. Sometimes those hairballs come up and out, leaving an unpleasant surprise on the carpet. But sometimes they need to go out the other end. Cat behavior specialist Pam Johnson-Bennett suggests "cats might instinctively know that the added fiber from eating grass may help lubricate things in the south end so hairballs and fecal matter pass more easily."
For the vitamins
While grass is not a nutritional super food, it does contain several vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins A, C and E as well as calcium and folic acid, depending upon the grass type. Think of it like a salad or a green smoothie. Cats who like to eat grass may actually be hipsters just trying to get their veggies.
The bottom line is that if your cat does like to eat grass, go ahead and let him have a nibble. Just make sure the grass has not been chemically treated and he's not eating a household plant that may not be safe for kitties. The easiest way to help satisfy her cravings is to grow a small pot of grass indoors. Keep an eye on her habit and if she seems to be eating too much or tossing her cookies more than usual, contact your vet to make sure she doesn't have an underlying digestive issue.