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Is eating grass good for cats and should you be worried about your cat eating grass and throwing up afterwards?

If you’ve ever seen your cat nibbling on some grass on the lawn outside or from a pot indoors, you maybe have wondered, should cats eat grass?

Many cats like to chew on grass, and the good news is, it’s usually nothing to be concerned about – it may actually have benefits for your cat!

brown tabby cat sat amongst long grass and green plants

Why does my cat eat grass?

The reason cats like to eat grass is not fully understood, but there are a few theories:

  1. Eating grass helps with digestion
    When cats catch and eat prey, they tend to eat most of the animal, including the bones and fur/feathers which can be difficult to digest and cause constipation. Licking and swallowing their own fur can lead to this too. If they can’t vomit these things up naturally, eating grass can help them to vomit them up or act as a natural laxative, helping to break them down and allowing your cat to pass them more easily.
  2. Grass contains vital nutrients
    Grass contains nutrients that your cat may otherwise be missing from their diet, such as fibre or folic acid, which is why they may be attracted to eating it. Make sure you’re feeding them a ‘complete’ cat food which should have all the nutrients they need. Find out what to feed your cat.

Is grass poisonous to cats?

Grass is safe for cats to eat unless it is contaminated with herbicides or pesticides. If your cat likes to eat grass, keep them away from any grass that has been treated with these substances.

The main danger that can result from cats eating grass is if a blade of grass is accidentally inhaled and becomes stuck in their nasal passage. This will likely cause your cat to sneeze excessively, so if you notice this then take them to the vet so the grass can be safely removed.

Grass can sometimes also get stuck in a cat’s digestive system, so if you notice that your cat is unwell, take them to a vet so they can investigate if this is the cause.
Another thing to watch out for is grass seeds, which grasses produce during the summer months. Grass seeds can get stuck in your cat’s ears, nose, eyes and paws and cause serious problems, so if you notice any signs of your cat being unwell, speak to your vet.

There is one type of grass, called arrow grass, that is poisonous to many animals if eaten in large quantities, but it is mainly found in marshes and near the sea, so your cat is unlikely to come across it.

Find more advice about plants that are dangerous for cats.

long-haired ginger-and-white cat sat on a grass lawn

Why does my cat eat grass and throw up?

When cats eat grass and then vomit afterwards, they are usually doing it on purpose. Cats are not able to digest large amounts of grass, so eating it may make them throw up. This helps to clear their stomach of things like fur, feathers, bones or parasites that can irritate their digestive system, helping them to feel better. However, if your cat is vomiting frequently, or if they vomit and also seem to be off their food, take them to the vet to check they are not unwell.

How to encourage your cat to eat grass

Most cats won’t need any encouragement to chew on grass if it’s readily available. Try providing your cat with a pot of grass either outdoors or indoors, depending on where they spend most of their time, and keep it free of herbicides or pesticides. If your cat wants to nibble on it, they will. If your cat doesn’t eat the grass, then there’s no need to worry. Some cats may just not feel the need. It’s important to give your cat the choice and not force them to eat the grass if they don’t want to.

How to stop cats eating grass

Eating grass is a natural behaviour for cats so it’s best not to discourage them from doing it, unless the grass is contaminated with herbicides or pesticides. Providing safe grass for your cat to eat can have the added benefit of distracting them from nibbling on other plants you don’t want them to, such as your prized blooms or plants that are poisonous to them.

Find more advice about keeping your cat safe outside.

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