So you’ve decided to grow your own cat grass, but don’t know where to start. Or perhaps you’ve heard of cat grass and wondered what exactly is it?
The good news is that it’s not that difficult to grow, it requires little effort and your cat will love you for it.
What Is Cat Grass?
Firstly, let’s not confuse this with catnip, which actually belongs to the mint family of plants. Cat grass is something different altogether. Okay, now that’s out the way what exactly is it?
It’s typically grown from barley, rye, oat, or wheat seeds. Any good local pet store should have a variety to choose from, supplying everything you need such as soil, seeds, and a potting container if you wish to grow your own.
Being pesticide free it’s a safer alternative to natural grass, household plants or flowers which can actually be toxic for your cat. You can find a list of toxic plants over at PetMD. If you’re still unsure, here is an article on pet friendly plants and flowers.
Why Do Cats Eat Grass?
Technically speaking there is no solid evidence of exactly why, but we have our theories.
Many animal behaviorists have noted, in the wild cats will often eat grass after consuming their prey. It is believed that the grass will cause the cat to vomit, nature’s way of getting rid of any indigestible parts.
A bit gross I know, but even if your domestic cat has never caught any prey, they will naturally gravitate to eating grass. The grass is also a healthy source of fiber, allowing digestion and the ability to pass hairballs easier. Gross I know, this could actually be the one time I’m glad I’m not a cat.
Keep this in mind if you live in an apartment or flat, cats are notorious cleaners they’ll turn to plants or grass to help with digesting unwanted hairballs. Having the grass in the home can aid them to pass hairballs more easily.
Science Fact: Grass contains trace minerals and vitamins A and D. Grass also contains chlorophyll, which is basically a remedy for pain, infection, ulcers, skin diseases.
Is Cat Grass Safe
Yes! And it’s good for them.
While it’s not the main part of their diet, cats will naturally turn to household plants if no grass is available. Typically they’ll do this after you have fed them, or they are feeling unwell.
It’s a good idea to check up on the plants you keep at home to make sure none are toxic to your cat. If you rather your feline friend munch on a chew toy instead you can check out a list of cat chew toys here.
Regular outdoor grass is often treated with weed killers or pesticides. Even if you don’t actively use them your neighbors might. Having an alternative to regular grass or plants will give your cat the opportunity to act out its natural behavior in safety.
How To Grow Cat Grass
Green thumbs refer to the grass as annual, meaning it will require some maintenance to keep it healthy during certain periods. It’s nothing too complicated so don’t think you have to be a total green thumb to nail it.
As previously mentioned, your local pet supply store should stock cat grass kits. They come with easy to follow directions but here are the basics.
Step 1. Once planted in any type of container you choose, seeds should always be kept damped but don’t soak them. Once they sprout use less water.
Step 2. Wait between 3 – 8 days for seeds to sprout.
Step 3. Continue to water, the grass will be ready for your cat to eat between 10 – 15 days after sprouting. If it reaches 4 inches in height, it’s good to go.
Step 4. Keep the grass in natural light, watering daily with a spray bottle.
Step 5. Never overwater the grass. If you over water, you will kill the grass.
Step 6. When the grass eventually starts to wilt or change color, it’s time to plant new seeds.
How To Care For Cat Grass
It’s no different from caring for the common household plant. Make sure to water regularly, but never overwater the grass, this will cause mold. Allow the grass to have natural sunlight and check to see no insects have set up shop in your grass.
Each crop will likely last only two weeks. If you are wanting to keep a steady supply of cat grass, you’ll need to reseed on an ongoing fortnightly basis. I’d recommend taking the time to cover the new seeds, you never know if your cat will ingest the seed directly otherwise.
If you are worried about reseeding, you can always grow a fresh batch in a separate pot or container and swap them out as needed.
It’s best to keep outside grass outside, and inside grown grass inside. I’m always cautious about bringing outside plants into the home, they can harbor a number of insects that could contaminate my indoor plants. The same goes for cat grass, if it’s outside leave it there.
What Types Of Cat Grass Are There?
There are several species, all of which are safe for kitty to consume at their leisure.
Below is what’s known as, Hordeum vulgare, or Barley.
Most people are familiar with oats, below is the Avena sativa or Common oat.
Likely to be the most common, the Triticum aestivum or Wheatgrass as seen below.
Conclusion On Cat Grass
By now you should have a good understanding of what exactly cat grass is. Growing you own grass is a relatively easy process, that doesn’t require a lot of effort or time. It can be a great treat for your cat and make for a great decoration throughout the home.
Why not give it a try? Your cat will thank you for it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Humans Eat Cat Grass?
Yes, although it’s not a regular on my plate.
Is Cat Grass The Same As Catnip?
No, it’s not. Often confused, catnip belongs to the mint family, it’s a common mistake and not a serious one.
Do Cats Need Cat Grass?
No, some will enjoy cat grass while others will turn their head at it.