Have you ever caught your cat chewing on one of your favorite plants? Have you ever seen your cat enjoying a few blades of grass in the garden? It’s hard to understand why these carnivores spend lots of time nibbling on all these plants. So, why are cats interested in grass in particular? In this article, Letsgetpet will explain what cats find so interesting about grass.
Cat grass: the benefits
It is often said that cats consume grass because it helps purify their stomach. Eating a few strands of grass or catnip allows them to regurgitate. While this is correct, it is not the only reason why cats consume grass regularly.
Cats take the cleanliness of their coat very seriously. This means that they spend a lot of time grooming themselves throughout the day. They take their time to wash themselves several times a day if necessary. Because of this, the amount of hair thay they swallow is significant. All this hair must then be digested by the stomach. However, often, hairballs form and can cause pain to our felines.
To relieve their discomfort, cats try to regurgitate these hairballs. With that being said, sometimes, they can encounter some difficulties getting rid of them. This is when they turn to catnip or grass from the garden to help them get rid of the hairball. Regurgitation also allows them to get rid of intestinal parasites and worms that may be present in their system.
Consider alternatives if your cat eats too much grass
If you notice that your cat is regurgitating more and more hairballs or is trying to eat his catnip or grass more frequently, it may be necessary to brush your cat’s hair more thoroughly. It may also be worthwhile to consider other solutions with a veterinarian. It’s a good opportunity for you to check with your cat’s veterinarian as well to ensure that there are no problems with their digestive system.
It provides vitamins and minerals
It’s natural for cats to search for grass and it isn’t always a sign of stomachaches or digestive problems. As grass contains folic acid, the ingested grass is a very good source of fiber for our cats and provides cats with vitamin B.
What type of cat grass should I give my pet?
The grass in your garden may be enough for your cat, but it is also possible to find catnip or grass to plant in pots and to place them in certain corners of the house when your cat does not have access to the outside. Catnip seeds are commercially available and grow very quickly. In less than a week, the sprigs already start to grow to an average size of about 15 to 20 cm (5.9 to 7.8 in). This is a very practical if you live in an apartment. In addition, it allows you to provide your cat with a well-stocked pot of grass all year round. You cat grass quite easily at supermarkets, in mixtures generally composed of barley, wheat, oats and rye.
Cat grass versus catnip: what is the difference?
Catnip is very different from the cat grass that we were talking about earlier. Catnip plants have euphoric and exciting effects on your cat and allow them a short moment of well-being when they sniff it. Their behavior can change dramatically during this short period. Some catsl roll around on the floor in a way similar to how females behave when in heat, others become completely euphoric and very playful just from the smell of these plants.
Catnip is very useful if you want to make your cat feel comfortable in a new environment. There are many cat toys and cushions with this to attract and stimulate cats. Catnip can also help promote mating when sprayed near or on the female.
Valerian as an anti-stress
This plant is one of the most known plants for cats. It is found in many objects made for felines. It has anti-stress and soothing virtues. Valerian can be put on collars, toys, and cushions. Everything that has this scent will help your cat to find peace and serenity.
Catnip for the euphoric effect
Like valerian, this plant gives your cat an instant, even euphoric feeling of well-being. Catnip is known as Nepetaria cataria and looks like mint. It is not ingested by cats, nor does it have that digestive aid role, but it can be pleasant to have in your garden to make your cats feel good. The smell of catnip is very powerful for our feline friends. In fact, it can even cause hallucinations. There is nothing dangerous about this and the plant does not cause any undesirable side effects. This plant makes cat release pheromones.
Matatabi, known as the “Japanese catnip” or “silvervine”
Native to Asia, matatabi is a Japanese plant that has the same effects as catnip but in a more intense way. The effect caused by the leaves of matatabi on our felines is similar to what a human being would feel when consuming drugs like LSD. However, this plant does not have negative or addictive effects on cats. Moreover, there are many products that cats can chew on that have matatabi to maintain their dental hygiene. Cats are attracted by the smell of this Asian plant, so matatabi scented dental sticks are perfect for cats who are reluctant to brush their teeth!
Each of these plants described above has a temporary effect that only last a few minutes. None of them are addictive for cats. These herbs are in no way dangerous to cats and do not alter their behavior in the long term. The purpose of these herbs is to give cats an immediate and very short-lived feeling of well-being. This is ideal for cats in stressful situations or when they arrive in a new environment. These plants can also be used to get them to take an interest in and appreciate a new object, for example. Some cats are not affected by these plants at all. This is not abnormal.
Whether your cat is eating grass for digestive reasons or due to stress, cat grass is good for cats. Catnip is good for cats to have from time to time.