Cats are obligate carnivores which means that they are dominantly meat-eaters. They need a high protein diet from meat sources in order to thrive and be healthy.
For cat owners who keep indoor or outdoor plants, chances are you might have seen your cat taking a nibble or two at your plants.
One known favorite plant for cats is the wheatgrass and they can munch on this quite frequently.
But can cats eat wheatgrass?
Has your cat suddenly decided to go vegan and disregard years of her natural diet?
More importantly, how safe is it when cats eat wheatgrass?
Let’s get to the bottom of these questions and more.
What Is Wheatgrass?
Wheatgrass is actually the grass of the wheat plant.
It grows rather commonly in Europe and US and can be planted both indoors and outdoors. It is a very easy plant to look after with just the occasional watering and access to sunlight.
To get wheatgrass, you just have to plant the wheat seeds.
Benefits Of Wheatgrass For Humans
Wheatgrass has been reported to contain a good amount of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants like:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B
- Vitamin C
There used to be a wheatgrass health craze a couple of years back. Many health shops were selling wheatgrass juice.
Tried it before and I can’t say I’m a fan of the taste.
Is It Safe For Cats To Eat Wheatgrass?
Yes, it is totally safe for cats to consume wheatgrass. Wheatgrass has been classified as a safe plant for cats by the ASPCA and you shouldn’t worry if you see your cat grazing on wheatgrass or if you plan to give your cat wheatgrass as a supplement.
If you are growing your own wheatgrass, make sure to not use any pesticide on it as it can be poisonous to your cat when ingested.
On a separate note, if you grow indoor and outdoor plants at home, it is important to know what plants are toxic to cats.
You don’t want to be in a situation where your dear kitty falls seriously ill from chewing on poisonous plants at home.
Do Cats Like To Eat Wheatgrass?
There is no proof that cats like to eat wheatgrass. It largely depends on your cat and how keen it is on adding a side of salad to its daily diet.
Cats are generally curious and investigative creatures hence the tongue in cheek saying ‘curiosity killed the cat’.
They might find wheatgrass interesting based on the smell and taste.
For cats that like eating wheatgrass, they might actually find it mentally and physically stimulating.
It is interesting to see a cat owner’s expression when you ask them if their cat likes eating wheatgrass. It’s the same look I give when someone was to ask me “what do cats like to eat for breakfast?”
Health Benefits Of Cats Eating Wheatgrass
There are a few known wheatgrass benefits for cats that can help improve their health and wellness. In fact, cats in the wild are known to eat certain plants to help with sickness and ailments.
Wheatgrass can be used as an appetite suppressant in cats. There is a region in our brain called the ‘appestat’ that controls our appetite.
Wheatgrass is known to suppress this part of the cat’s brain thus making them eat less. It can be a useful tool to have if you have an overweight cat and needs to lose weight.
Better Blood Flow
Wheatgrass is rich in chlorophyll and folic acid. These two nutrients help in the production of hemoglobin. The more hemoglobin you have in your blood, the higher the oxygen level in your bloodstream.
This is important for high energy level cats like the Bengal that enjoys playing for a long period of time. The better flow of well-oxygenated blood can provide more energy for them.
Hairballs And Inedible Matter
Cats and hairball pretty much go hand in hand. As cat owners, finding or stepping on a freshly regurgitated hairball is part and parcel of cat ownership.
Even though it is normal for cats to have hairballs, it can be dangerous if the hairball gets too big and gets stuck in the cat’s digestive tract.
Therefore it is important to vomit or pass out any hairballs in a cat’s stomach.
As cat’s don’t have the enzyme in their stomach to digest plant matter, they will pass out or vomit out the wheatgrass after eating it.
This process can aid in the removal of hairballs, inedible objects and toxins in the cat’s tummy.
Pain Relief For Joints And Muscles
As cats get older, they tend to get joint and muscle aches more frequently just like humans. By giving your cat wheatgrass, it can help reduce such inflammation in your cat’s body and provide some pain relief.
Support Better Eye Health
A cat’s vision is very important for them. It allows them to move around in the dark like it’s daytime. Wheatgrass contains many important vitamins and minerals that can help to support their eye health.
Wheatgrass For Cats With Kidney Disease
There are some claims that wheatgrass can be beneficial for cats that have chronic kidney disease (CKD). Wheatgrass contains high levels of Thiamine (vitamin b1) which cats that have CKD can have a deficiency of.
Vitamin B1 is important for cats as it helps regulate the cat’s metabolism and energy levels.
Wheatgrass also contains high levels of chlorophyll which can help increase the blood flow in CKD cats that have anaemia.
Side Effects Of Cats Eating Wheatgrass
There have not been known adverse effects when it comes to eating wheatgrass for cats. However, one thing cat owners noticed is an increase in the frequency of vomiting and pooping.
This is a natural biological reaction from your cat as it can’t digest the wheatgrass and has to expel it from the body.
If you notice that wheatgrass is making your cat poo or vomit too often that it would be best to reduce or control the amount that it consumes.
Wheatgrass can also reduce your cat’s appetite hence you don’t want your cat eating grass as its main diet and neglecting its usual food.
When in doubt, please consult your vet.
Can Cats Eat Wheatgrass Every Day?
Yes, it is fine if your cat wants to get its daily dose of cat grass or wheatgrass. However, one thing to note is the amount of wheatgrass that your cat is eating.
A tiny amount daily is fine but if your cat is spending hours a day just chewing and eating grass then something is not right.
Your cat might be having an addiction to wheatgrass and needs supervision.
Is Wheatgrass Same As Cat Grass
There has always been some confusion between wheatgrass and cat grass but there is no difference between these two
Wheat grass is basically a certain type of grass that is grown from wheat seeds. Cat grass is used to describe a number of plants or grasses that cats can safely eat. For example, oats grass, flax grass and barley grass.
Can Cats Eat Barley Grass?
Yes, cats can eat barley grass or barley sprouts and it is totally safe for them.
Barley grass is part of the cat grass family and provides a good spectrum of vitamins and minerals for your cat.
The grass is tender and sweet and is palatable for your cat.
Cats get the same kind of benefits as they do from eating wheat grass.
Where To Buy Wheatgrass For Cats?
There are many pet stores that sell wheatgrass home kits. Everything is provided in the cat and all you have to do is to add water and sunlight.
There are also some online stores that specialize in selling cat grass. So if you are looking for a harder to get type of cat grass then these online pet stores are your best bet.
Wheatgrass for cats has been shown to have many health benefits and it is fine for your cat to consume wheatgrass on a daily basis.
As nutritious as it can be for cats, don’t forget that your cat is first and foremost an obligate carnivore and should be getting its nutrients from meat.
Use wheatgrass as a supplement for your cat but not as a substitute for its meals.