Do Indoor Cats Need Grass?
Do Indoor Cats Need Grass?
Everyone knows that cats are carnivorous, thats why I love this food for them (click for reviews on Amazon). While most of the felines we stay with may seem domesticated, their claws, teeth and occasional dead mouse are evidence of its hunter's heart.
However, why is it that sometimes you'll catch your indoor cat chomping at the greens in your potted plants or the lawn grass. Some say that they use the grass fibers to eradicate pesky hairballs, others say it's for oral pleasure since they're sensory seekers and the grass just makes their teeth feel good.
The bottom line is that regardless of all that, it just seems like our feline companions basically require leafy greens.
Indoor cats that lack the access to leafy greens they can chomp their way at are most likely going to get them where they can.
This may spell disaster for those precious indoor plants and greens you may have, however, not forgetting that it could also spell the same for your cat as well because a lot of these indoor plants happen to be toxic and can prove deadly when ingested.
So, as a cat lover, what should you generally do? The healthiest way possible you, as an indoor cat owner, can provide for this need is to turn gardener and grow grass patches for your cat so that you can bring the outside inside just a bit.
Why Do Cats Eat Grass?
Whether it's a Main Coon, Siberian, or any indoor or even an outdoor cat (Click here to see if Outdoor cats need cat litter) you have, one thing's for sure, you've probably caught them nibbling on blades of grass once or twice isn't it? Anyway, don't worry, that's a pretty common thing.
However, no one really has a very clear answer for why our felines do this. Herein below are three of the most common theories flying around:-
- Inducing Regurgitation For Digestion Purposes
Some say that grass doesn't add any nutritional value to cats and that it's pretty much indigestible.
Cats do not have the stomach enzymes to effectively digest grass fiber. When they eat grass all it does is induce regurgitation.
However, this induced regurgitation can help in digestion by helping expel undigested matter from the body. Cats sometimes swallow their meals whole, especially when it comes to mice.
They do this because separating the fur from bones and flesh can prove impossible. So the unwanted bones and fur are expelled through this induced regurgitation process.
- The Laxative Appeal
Some believe that grass fibers act as the cats natural laxative. And we all need that sometimes don't we? Well, even your cat does. The grass helps to counteract several cases of indigestion.
Most cat owners are used to seeing little, wet fur balls all around the house.
However, when that furball moves deep into your cat's digestive tract they'll need a little grass to help it pass all the way out through to the other end, Call it an intuition or a sixth sense but your cat knows that grass fibers will help break down undigested matter a little.
- For Vitamins and Minerals
Cats can sometimes ingest grass for purposes of nutritional value. Grass blades contain traces of Vitamin D and A, and niacin as well.
They also contain chlorophyll which when ingested by your indoor cat can help oxygenate its blood. However, the buck doesn't stop there because grass also has a protein known as folic acid that helps in hemoglobin production.
The cat's body, just like the human body, will often crave what it feels it needs. And grass just happens to be one of those things they instinctively look for.
Is Eating Grass Safe For Your Indoor Cat?
A common mistake many cat owners make is preventing your indoor cat from eating grass. Most of them do this because, for starters, it makes their cats vomit and so they think that eating that grass is what is inevitably making their cat sick.
Most cats make a dramatic production out of this regurgitation process which usually leaves the human owner in quite some distress. It's usually hard for the human to understand that that is exactly the desired effect.
Basically, they're doing it intentionally. Most experts will advise you to allow your cat to eat grass once in a while.
Always try to have a healthy source of grass inside your home if you have an indoor cat. Their outdoor counterparts will most likely opt to snack on the lawn grass found outside so you should try to avoid using pesticides in order to avoid accidentally poisoning your cat.
For whatever reason, both these type of cats like eating grass. The indoor cat will attack your potted plans and indoor greens if they don't find healthy grass.
This may be exposing them to the risk of being poisoned by the toxins found in these potted plants. Indoor cat owners are advised to try growing their own indoor grass.
Growing Your Own
If you find that your indoor cat enjoys the texture and taste of grass then you should consider growing your own healthy little patch of grass for your cat and placing it somewhere, easily accessible, around the house. You can also try using those so-called cat greens and herbs (which are usually oat grass and wheat) that come pre-packaged and can be found in your general pet store.
Most cats will often prefer this pre-packaged product to ordinary grass, however, growing your own is not only fulfilling, it's also the best way you can ensure your cat is getting the healthiest product possible. Besides, taking matters into your own hands when it comes to such things shows that you care, no?
Final Words on Cats Eating Grass
All in all, you should never consider it a bad thing when your cat tries to ingest grass. All it might just even want to do is relieve a bothersome sore throat, as some would have you believe. However, with all that said, whether you have an outdoor or indoor cat you should always try to make sure that the potted plants and greens inside your home are non-toxic. The future well being of your cat may depend on that small little factor. And with that, we hope you can now answer the question, why do indoor cats need grass?
5 low light indoor plants safe for cats
Many of us love having plants in the house because of their decorative purpose.
Others who are conscious of their health have realized that plants have purifying effects on air quality, and so make it a habit of always having plants in the home.
Insomuch that these plants have these health benefits and add to the beauty of the house, there are some that may not be as harmless as they seem.
People may not necessarily be at risk since no one will willingly nibble at plants in the home but if you have pets such as a cat, it could be endangered by such poisonous plants. This is why I am listing some of the plants that you could have in your home and be rest assured that your furry family member is not harmed. See the video here for some of the safe plants for your cat:
Some of the low light indoor plants you should consider as home plants knowing your cat will be safe around them are:
1. Swedish Ivy
Swedish Ivy is plant that adapts well to indoor cultivation. It doesn’t require too much effort on your part to thrive. It has a thick stalk that branches out into pliable and tender shoot that gives it the appearance of a crawling plant. This feature makes it suitable to be used in hanging baskets. Swedish Ivy is a beautiful garden plant and when left to grow unhindered, it forms a carpet on the floor and if you have a playful cat, it could be interested in playing on it.
The plant has some species that have variegated leaves. It blooms in late spring or early summer turning out white or pale lavender flowers. This plant thrives very well under room temperatures. The plant pot can be moved outside in summer. It survives pruning. In fact, pruning makes it produce new, delicate shoots that even add to its beauty. It demands average humidity so watering is essential when the soil is dry. The Swedish Ivy has the botanical name of P. Australis and can up to five years. Be sure that low, indirect sunlight gets to the plant, get it watered and fertilized and your plant will thrive.
2. Phalaenopsis orchids
Phalaenopsis orchids is another low light plant that you can have in your home and not worry about the safety of your cat. This beautiful plant can rightly be described as striking and you may have seen it used as a decorative plant in a restaurant or other public places or in a magazine cover.
Although, there are many hybrids of this plant, they mostly would grow under similar conditions and bloom to produce long lasting flowers. This happens in late winter or early spring. Growing on a single stem, this plant does not have the high water retention capacity of some others and would need regular watering to thrive.
Daily watering is essential although when in bloom, it doesn’t need too much water. Then it could be watered once a week. Always watch out for its exposed roots. Never let them get pale or whitish. This is an indication that it is lacking water.
To prevent your Phalaenopsis orchids from dying, do not let water settle on its shoots, this growing point is sensitive and would decay if covered continually with water. Furthermore, this plant must not be placed directly in sunlight, the leaves will quickly get burnt and turn yellowish.
3. Christmas Cactus
Christmas cactus is a member of the Cactus family that is given the name of Christmas because that is the period of its bloom. It has the botanical name of Schlumbergera and makes an excellent house plant. It is another home plant that is very safe for cats.
The propagation of the Christmas Cacti is simple enough using stem cultivation. By this, I mean you just cut and plant a Y-shaped stem area of the plant and plant in a sandy soil, moisten with water and do not keep directly in sunlight.
This adaptive indoor plant will grow if regularly watered. Never let the plant sit in water. Getting it waterlogged I a quick way of making it decay. This plant though must not be waterlogged needs high humidity.
You can accomplish this by having a tray of pebbles filled with water, placed under the Christmas Cacti. This will ensure that the room has high humidity.
4. Bamboo Palm
This tropical plant is one of the few species that can thrive indoors. They add special color to your home and are absolutely safe for your cat.
Ordinary, bamboos like direct sunlight, but the Bamboo Palm will thrive indoors with indirect sunlight though it grows taller outdoors. Since your target is a safe plant that decorates your home, you wouldn’t need it growing too tall anyway. The scientific name is Chamaedorea seifrizii .
The secret to having good healthy Bamboo palm in the home is buying health plants in the first instance, then transplant into your pot as soon as you can.
Be sure you use high quality soil for your planting. Water your plant and ensure that it doesn’t get too dry. Never let it sit in water but drain when necessary. Adding fertilizer ensures you have a healthy plant. Also beware of mites that like using the underside of the Bamboo Palm leaf. If sign of infestation occurs, use soapy water to wash the leaf.
5. Spider Plants
These are among the most common house plants. The good news about them is that they are among the plants that can be easily grown at home. What more, they are safe to have around your cat. The spider plant suffers from very few problems, prominent among which is yellowing tips.
The plant got its common name due to its appearance like a hanging spider when planted in a pot. The botanical name is Chlorophytum comosum. Keep them out of direct sunlight but ensure they receive indirect light from the sun. Water regularly but don’t waterlog.
These are the plants I recommend having in the home for the safety of your cat. Do you know of any other that have worked safely for your cat?
You can let us know through the comment box. Also, if you found this article interesting, do share.