As humans we have long puzzled over the behaviour of cats and we are commonly asked the ‘why does my cat eat grass?’ question.
A brief search of the internet reveals several reliable sources, namely Your Cat Magazine and Pet MD, each of which inform is that eating grass is entirely normal behaviour for a cat, whether an indoor or an outdoor cat. Is this due to dietary deficiency or problem behaviour? No.
The nutritional value of grass is very low and is actually indigestible to cats – which is why your cat is likely at some stage to vomit the grass back up as they lack the enzymes necessary to break it down. One plausible explanation, from www.knowyourcat.info is that when a cat eats a mouse it is impossible for the cat to separate fur and bones from the meat. Therefore the cat gulps down the entire mouse. Once the meat has been digested the hair and bones remain in the cat’s stomach. Eating grass makes the cat vomit, and this brings the grass back up, now neatly wrapped around undigested mouse parts.How convenient! Of course this is the part that ends up on your carpet, that you unfortunately tread on first thing in the morning!
When should you worry? If your cat likes eating grass, ensure that you do not apply weedkillers to the lawn which may be inadvertently ingested. If they do not have access to grass they may chew other plants instead so ensure that your houseplants are not toxic to cats. Every now and then a cat will get a blade of grass stuck at the back of their throat. That’s where we come in as veterinary specialists. Many of these grass blades can be removed under anaesthetic with a dental mirror and a surgical instrument known as a spey hook, by your vet. If the blade is lodged far in the nose, a camera known as a rhinoscope is required to see the blade so it can be removed – a painless procedure for the patient but a technically tricky one for the endoscopist.
To conclude our review of cats and grass, probably the funniest reason cats eat grass comes from www.knowyourcat.info;
‘Cats may nibble on grass blades for the same reason as country yokels do it. It is quite palatable, and they may enjoy the taste.’