Indoor cats should be provided with boxes of fresh grass to chew

There are two good reasons for shopping at Amazon for some boxes of grow-your-own grass for cats, (1) they enjoy chewing on it and it provides fibre (roughage), folic acid and other nutrients, plus (2) it encourages them to leave the houseplants alone 💔. Commercially prepared cat food does contain fibre, often according to cynics (and I am a cynic) too much because it’s cheaper than meat which might tell us that full-time indoor cats don’t need to eat grass but I would disagree. It’s not just about fibre in any case.

Grass for indoor cats to add fibre to their diet and some folic acid plus fun in eating it
Grass for indoor cats to add fibre to their diet and some folic acid plus fun in eating it. Image: MikeB
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

I’ve written about this before but Dr. Desmond Morris, a zoologist and author who I respect tremendously, states that grass contains folic acid which is useful to a cat in the transportation of oxygen around the body in haemoglobin. It helps in this process. It is not just about roughage.

And also, cats instinctively like to eat grass. Everybody knows this. Everybody who lives with an indoor/outdoor cat will report that their beloved companion eats grass when they are in the garden. And they always choose the largest most luscious grasses because they taste the best. Cats must like the taste of grass which sounds odd because the general public are consistently fed (excuse the pun) the idea that domestic cats are obligate carnivores and only eat meat and nothing else.

It is not completely true. Occasionally domestic cats like salads! Plants are a part of a cat’s diet. They are a satisfying foodstuff. In addition to fibre and folic acid it might also be used to induce vomiting to get rid of those pesky hairballs. That’s what some experts say and I tend to agree with them.

The value of fibre

There is insoluble and soluble fibre. The latter keeps food in the stomach for longer while the former helps to stimulate the bowel. Fibre is a natural part of the domestic cat’s diet and would normally be ingested when hunting rodents and birds. Prey animals’ stomach contents contain plant matter plus there is fur, feathers (if they eat the feathers) and viscera.

  • Nowadays, veterinarians and animal nutritionists believe that fibre is valuable in treating conditions such as obesity which can lead to sugar diabetes, IBD, constipation and excess fat in the bloodstream.
  • The amount that a domestic cat needs varies with age and with their lifestyle.
  • Soluble fibre can be found in beet pulp, chicory, rice bran and breakfast bran.
  • I understand grass to be insoluble fibre or largely insoluble because cats don’t have the enzymes to digest it. But it benefits well fed cats in aiding digestion and elimination. Cats that eat grass have more regular gastrointestinal tracts. They tend to have less hairballs and constipation.
  • VCA Animal Hospitals say that the chlorophyll in grass helps to keep a cat’s breath fresh. That is the icing on the cake or the cherry on the bun. Domestic cats tend to develop smelly breath often because of poor oral health but it is certainly advantageous to freshen up their breath from time to time.
  • VCA Animal Hospitals also state that grass contains trace minerals and micronutrients and vitamins A, B, and D.
  • And finally, nutritionists now agree that fibre from vegetable sources promotes the growth of benign bacteria while suppressing the growth of unpleasant bacteria in the cat’s cat. The latter can give rise to gas and flatulence!

What’s the right amount of grass to eat?

I think we should leave it entirely to the cat! They know best. They will eat what they require and when they require it.

What kind of grass is the best?

As mentioned, the juiciest and most luscious is the best. The Amazon product, I would suggest, is perfectly adequate. But be careful. I wouldn’t just grab some grass for a road side or something like that in case it is contaminated.

Caveat?

One danger I can think of concerning cats eating grass outside in the backyard is the hazard of lawn treatments and pesticides. A lot of families like to treat their lawns to improve the appearance. It is wise to be careful with your domestic cat under these circumstances.

I can only see benefits in adding some pots of grass as suggested in the home for a full-time indoor cat.

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