Common Cat Behavior Stumps Vets

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Hello. I’m Dr. Jane Matheys, from the Cat Doctor Veterinary Hospital and Hotel in Boise, Idaho. I’m here today to answer a question that was posted on the Facebook page of Pets Best Insurance. Rema asks, “Why does my cat eat grass and anything that he thinks is grass when he’s outside? He won’t eat cat grass though.” I get this question a lot and honestly nobody, including us veterinarians, has a clear answer as to why cats like to eat grass.

There’s a couple of different theories and explanations and thoughts as to why kitties do it, so I’ll go through those with you. First of all, it’s important to know that they don’t eat grass for nutritional value. But cats eating grass can help their digestive process by inducing regurgitation to get rid of undigested matters. For instance, if your kitty goes outside and is a hunter, they’ll eat a little mouse or a little bird. Things like the bones and the hairs will sit there in the stomach. So by eating grass, which causes them to vomit, usually they’ll vomit right back up the grass along with those undigested animal parts.

For cats that don’t go outside and hunt, we still get them doing a lot of grooming and having problems with hair balls and so sometimes that grass can be a way of bringing up those hair balls. It’s not a bad idea to allow your cats to eat some grass occasionally. Now unfortunately Rema’s cat doesn’t like the the oat grass, so for cat’s like hers I recommend trying to grow some fresh catnip for them and see if the kitties will gnaw on that. Send in any of your questions about cat health to the Pets Best Insurance Facebook page and I’ll answer them in future episodes.

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