Pets eating plants. Why do cats and dogs eat grass?
Does your cat eat grass? Do you know why?
Cats and dogs. When its not raining them down from the cloudy sky, they share our homes and our lives. They like gardens too. What's more, they love certain plants. But do they know what they can and cant eat? Nature is a very clever thing, but if animals are deprived of what they need the most, they tend to find the next best thing.
, for example. Both cats and dogs tend to snack on grass. Why? This is an interesting question and experts dont really have a definitive answer. Everyone agrees that it is completely natural and it doesnt signify a problem. Quite the opposite, it seems to aid digestion
and prevent common occurrences such as fur balls
or hairballs from becoming too large.
Both dogs and cats clean their fur and end up with hairballs in their gut.
Is grass nutritious? Not really. In fact it is quite indigestible for many animals. Some even say that horses would be better not eating so much of it.
But grass does contain useful trace minerals and vitamins
including A, B and D. It also contains chlorophyll which is a fairly basic remedy for pain and for problems such as anaemia and infection.
Fresh green grass. Why do pets like to eat it? Is it good for them?
Cats snack on grass as an accompaniment to their main meal. Bearing in mind that their natural feast would be a rat, rabbit or mouse. The odd snake or slow worm, perhaps. Grass is fairly indigestible but it does help a cat to get what it needs, then it can regurgitate undigested matter in the gut. Let's think mouse for a moment. There's some juicy goodness in the carcass but the hair and bones aren't very digestible and tend to sit around in a cat's stomach. Eating grass makes a cat vomit and it brings up the grass, neatly wrapped around a parcel of unwanted bones and hair.
Hairballs can be dangerous things!
The same thing happens with furballs. Cats groom themselves with their rough tongues and ingest lots of hair during the process. At some point they need to get rid of this unpalatable and indigestible substance and the grass helps to make a neat package of the unwanted debris. Its the sort of wrapped parcel that you wouldnt want to receive for Christmas.
Christmas! This Santa cactus wouldn't make very good eating!
What happens when a cat or dog doesn't have access to grass? Generally they will find something else, provided theres something similar. Otherwise they can become unwell. Grass seems to be the herb of choice, but ideally it needs to be the right sort.
Young, stems with a flat-snack appearance are the best. Such as the juvenile form of oat, wheat or barley grass. They are all perfect. Bearing in mind that cereal crops originated from common grass, many of these forms are related and some can be found in the garden lawn. The length is an issue though. Cats and dogs like to chew on a nice lengthy stem, a bit like the old farmer leaning on the field gate.
Cat grass is the perfect snack for your pet. Dogs love it too!
What to provide?
If theres nothing readily available, your pet might turn to house plants.
This can be a bit more of a problem because not only will they alter the appearance of your plant quite radically, many of them are mildly toxic. Some are actually poisonous. A list of potentially problem plants for pets that like to snack follows:
Philodendron Xanadu. A lovely house plant, but you might need to keep your pets away.
Brugmansia is an amazing house plant. But you need to keep pets away.
There are others, of course, but its good to remember that nature is a clever beast and your pet generally knows whats good to eat and whats best left alone. However, dont drive him or her to seek out an alternative. You can easily avoid this by making sure theres something more suitable readily available.
Cat grass is great! Your pet will love it. Not only cats but dogs too
For that reason, cat grass or kitty grass
is very popular! Provide a pot of cat grass and it will be the equivalent of a sweet shop. Stick it on your windowsill so your feline friend can help him or herself and offer it to your dog on a daily basis. It doesn't take up much space and your pet will be as happy as a lamb in clover.
available from Perfectplants.co.uk