Seeing your pet cat eat grass is something that’s just as shocking for first-time cat owners as it can be for some experienced pet parents.
As carnivorous creatures felines don’t thrive on greenery. However, cats do eat grass on some occasions, regardless of their otherwise carnivorous lifestyle. If you’re allowing your kitty to go in your yard or anywhere outside, you may spot it munching on wheatgrass sooner or later.
Is that normal? It’s definitely not uncommon, especially for longhaired breeds and kitties which are suffering from digestive system disorders. But is it safe? That’s a whole other question. There are advantages and side effects to eating wheatgrass. And in some cases the disadvantages are greater than any bonuses wheatgrass may offer to your pet.
Does wheatgrass have any benefits for cats?
Many people, including renowned veterinarians, swear by the beneficial aspects of wheatgrass consumption. Wheatgrass is a natural source of a number of nutrients, among which are protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. It’s also packed with chlorophyll, which is crucial for the production of hemoglobin.
Furthermore, it’s rich in a variety of antioxidants. Sounds magical, right? It’s no wonder wheatgrass has tons of applications in health and wellness products. Unfortunately, it can’t do the same miracles for your cat as it can for you.
Here’s a quick breakdown of how cats can actually benefit from eating wheatgrass.
Promoting digestive health
Wheatgrass is rich in plant-based natural fibers, but they are indigestible for cats. However, the plant still helps promote digestive health. Due to the fact that it makes cats vomit, it can rid their digestive tract of any foreign bodies, such as hairballs and other things that may otherwise cause blockage.
Kitties aren’t fond of the experience of puking, but their instincts tell them that eating wheatgrass will help them clean their digestive tract. And that’s the most common reason why your pet might feel the urge to munch on some grass streaks.
Offering a vitamin boost
Rich in vitamins from the B-complex, wheatgrass can indeed provide a moderate boost to your cat’s vitamin intake. Sadly, the vitamins the kitty’s organism will absorb are in tiny quantities. Meaning, wheatgrass isn’t efficient in being nutritional and it has no part in a cat’s everyday diet. Leave this task to high quality cat food and if necessary – to additional vitamin supplements.
Does wheatgrass have any side effects for cats?
Even though eating fresh wheatgrass streaks has health benefits for cats, it also has its negative side effects.
Wheatgrass causes gastric disorder in cats of all breeds and ages. This means that if your pet munches on it, it will most definitely either puke it or get diarrhea. Both options will be unpleasant for the kitty. What’s more, they may lead to secondary complications, such as loss of appetite and dehydration.
Yes, eating wheatgrass can indeed cause toxic poisoning to your kitty depending on where it ate the grass streaks from.
Outdoor wheatgrass is usually treated with herbicides and other harmful chemicals used to preserve the streaks. These chemicals can lead to poisoning in cats, dogs and other animals. Unfortunately, there’s no way to guess the severity of the toxic reaction a cat may experience. Worst case scenario, the kitty’s organism may not be able to fight off the toxins. Unless you want an emergency vet visit, I highly recommend you monitor your furball’s grass munching habits at all times.
Homegrown wheatgrass, be in indoors or in your personal yard, is usually the safest option. However, if you’ve already sprayed other nearby plants with herbicides, some chemical particles may have also sunk into the wheatgrass streaks.
The wheat gluten factor
Felines can’t digest and process gluten the way humans can. Many cats are gluten intolerant, but even those that aren’t shouldn’t be fed with gluten. Associating wheatgrass with the wheat gluten is only natural.
Fortunately, contrary to popular belief and basic associations, wheatgrass does not have any gluten in its structure. This means that regardless of how many streaks your pet manages to swallow, it will never experience complications derived from gluten intolerance or gluten-based allergies. Moreover, munching on wheatgrass won’t make your cat develop any food intolerances. In other words, as far as the gluten factor goes, you don’t have anything to worry about.
So, is wheatgrass safe for cats to eat? Yes, it is. Despite the side effects, cats can eat wheatgrass. As long as it’s fresh and no chemicals have been used on it, it will be safe for your fluffy friend. Just don’t expect the plant to work vitaminous wonders or to have any nutritional value for a carnivore.