A couple of months ago Zeva wrote a blog (Moo, I Mean Woof) pointing out some of the reason dogs eat grass. Most people think that dogs eat grass to make their tummies want to vomit but as Zeva so eloquently explained, vomiting is not the only reason and not even necessarily the primary reason.
The story is a little different for cats. We eat grass specifically to vomit.
You see, before cats found nice homes to live in where we get nice food served in pretty dishes, we had to go out and kill our dinner. We didn’t have the luxury of savoring every bite in a nice safe house. We needed to gulp down our dinner and get to safety before we became dinner for some other animal.
Instead of fancy feasts of pate liver or chicken or turkey, filet of beef or tuna, we ate birds or mice or other small animals that we were able to catch. Because we had to eat quickly, we ate fur, feathers and bones and, if our dinner contained any parasites, we ate them too. I know, that is really gross but, hey, some humans could brush up on their table manners. Just sayin’.
Grass doesn’t have much nutritional value but it does contain lots of fiber. Unlike dogs, cats don’t have the special enzymes that allow us to digest large amounts of grass. Without the special enzymes, when we eat lots of grass, the grass irritates our tummies and we throw up. I know, I know, throwing up is disgusting but it’s better than getting really sick from some of the stuff we ate.
I know, like me, most of you reading this blog live in nice homes where your humans feed you yummy food from a can or a bag. Personally I like canned food but I do occasionally have to settle for dry and (don’t tell my humans this) some of it is really delicious. Anyway, even though we don’t eat dinners filled with yucky stuff like fur and feathers, we do groom ourselves frequently. In the process of grooming, we ingest our own fur and like the fur we talked about earlier, it needs to get out of our systems.
So even cats who spend all of their lives inside, they need to eat grass some times. Since we live inside and don’t have access to real grass, we tend to munch on the plants we find around the house. Unfortunately, those pretty green things that sit in the window can be super dangerous to cats.
Because they are easy to grow, lots of houses have philodendron, pathos and jade plants. Aloe Vera plants are a staple in many kitchens because they are good for healing burns. The problem is that these plants are harmful to cats.
If you want your cat to be able to eat grasses to help their tummies that are actually good for them, there are lots to choose from. Personally, I LOVE catnip. It’s easy to grow and well, it’s cat nip. Then there are Bee Balm, Lavender, Thyme and Valerian. These plants that are pretty, smell really nice and are good for cats.
Now that you know why we eat grass and vomit on your carpet, keep the tuna and salmon pate coming and plant a little cat nip in the front window and I guarantee we will get along just fine.
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