Cats love to eat grass and that’s not a bad thing. Aside from being a tasty treat, grass contains folic acid and a variety of nutrients that help in a cat’s growth, adds oxygen to their bloodstream, and can be soothing to an upset digestive track.
Some cats may eat grass because they are trying to balance a nutrient deficiency while others may over consume grass to induce vomiting. Not to worry, vomiting from grass consumption can help purge a cat’s digestive track of things like fur balls, feathers, fur, and bones from wildlife they may have consumed.
But eating regular grass from your lawn may not be the healthiest practice for your cats. Lawn grasses many times contain things like fertilizers and pesticides, neither of which is good for consumption.
Cats that do not venture outdoors may resort to eating house plants trying to get their fill of greens and this can be dangerous as a wide variety of houseplants can be toxic.
So what can you do to provide a tasty and nutrient snack for your feline friends?
Many pet supply stores sell live potted plants for feline consumption but these live plants can be costly, ranging in price from $6.00 to $15.00 for a four inch pot. While these pre-potted plants are convenient they are certainly not cost effective as most cats will eat such a small serving in just a few days.
An alternate method for providing your feline friend with a plentiful supply of grass is to grow it yourself, indoors or out. And grasses are so easy to grow that you don’t have to have a green thumb to pull it off.
While you may also find grass growing kits in stores, these too can be costly and you would be better off buying the seeds and collecting other needed supplies around the house or in the garden section of your local stores.
All you need to start your grass garden is seeds, shallow planters (containers) with drainage holes, organic growing medium, and water.
The best grasses to grow for cats are cereal grasses like barley, wheat, rye, oat, and flax. Plants will germinate, grow, and be ready to eat in about a week, and provide an abundance of nutrients for your pet.
Seeds are readily available at your local lawn and garden center, feed store, organic food store, and of course, online. Always make sure to buy organic seeds and avoid anything that may have been treated with fertilizers or pesticides.
Planters can be something as simple as a plastic container like recycled butter bowls, used carry out containers, or regular house plant pots.
Growing medium can range from vermiculite, regular household potting mix (make sure to buy a brand that does not contain fertilizers), sand, etc. If using a commercial potting medium, make sure to buy a sterile mix to avoid rotting of you tenders seeds.
To grow your grasses fill your shallow container with potting medium, sprinkle seeds on top, water, drain well, and cover for a couple of days to promote germination. Once the seeds have sprouted, uncover and move the container to a sunny window or an outdoor location. In just a matter of a few days you’ll have tender young grass, several inches tall, and ready to eat.
Pre-sprouting seeds before planting in a medium can be helpful but is unnecessary if you are looking for the faster, hassle free method of growing.
To find seeds and instructions for growing, online, check out www.sproutpeople.org. They carry any kind of seed you can imagine and step by step instructions on the best methods of growing. Their website contains a wealth of information on sprouting and growing from seed as well as a market place to purchase everything you need to get started.
Keep in mind that pets other than cats enjoy eating grasses so you may want to plant larger containers or even several at once. Keeping several containers growing at once can accommodate cats, dogs, birds, reptile, etc.