Cỏ mèo – The “Miracle Herb” that Boosts Immunity and Slows Aging in Cats

Why Do Cats Eat Grass?

a. Providing Folic Acid (Vitamin B9)

Folic acid, a water-soluble vitamin B, is vital for a cat’s health. It plays several roles in their body:

  • Producing hemoglobin, an important molecule that carries oxygen in red blood cells
  • Generating DNA for cell repair and growth
  • Assisting in fat metabolism

Interestingly, folic acid can dissolve in water, allowing cats to excrete it through urine. So, when cats drink plenty of water (especially those with kidney or diabetes issues), they tend to urinate more, resulting in a loss of folic acid. This deficiency can lead to dangerous conditions commonly found in domestic cats, such as kidney disease and diabetes. It’s crucial to be aware of these conditions and their symptoms for timely prevention and treatment.

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b. Natural Laxative

While grooming, cats unintentionally ingest a significant amount of fur. Excessive grooming can cause hairballs. Grass acts as an excellent source of fiber, promoting intestinal contraction and helping to eliminate indigestible fur. Additionally, grass can help cats expel parts of their prey, such as fur, that they cannot digest.

Hence, when cats have an upset stomach, they instinctively know that eating grass can alleviate their discomfort. Moreover, the fiber content in grass aids digestion and can help alleviate constipation.

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c. Detoxification

Cats have an interesting quirk—they induce vomiting! It may seem strange, but it’s true. In the wild, cats survive by hunting. They don’t just nibble on their prey; they also gnaw on the fur, bones, and intestines. They digest what they can and then regurgitate what they cannot. This is how cats prevent their predators from tampering with their food.

Though modern cat food is easily digestible, eliminating the need for vomiting, cats’ bodies are wired to have an effective detoxification mechanism over time. Therefore, they revert to their natural behavior and eat grass to induce vomiting.

d. Eliminating Parasites

Have you ever wondered why cats make themselves vomit or not? The answer lies in their desire to expel unwanted fur bundles and parasites from their stomachs.

Eating grass helps cats eliminate intestinal parasites (or perhaps it’s an ancient instinct inherited from their ancestors). Chewing grass allows cats to expel intestinal parasites by increasing the activity of their digestive muscles.

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e. Entertainment

Cats, especially kittens, are curious creatures. They enjoy exploring their surroundings and, to some extent, chewing. Chewing is a repetitive behavior that can alleviate boredom without the need for other forms of play. Anxious or stressed cats find solace in chewing grass, which helps soothe their nerves.

This behavior is similar to how babies suck their thumbs. Some cats eat grass as a way to comfort themselves and alleviate boredom or monotony throughout the day.

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f. Habitual

Sometimes, cats eat grass out of habit. In a scientific survey on grass-eating behavior, 80% of the 2,500 surveyed cats ate grass in this or another form. This is not surprising, as this behavior is also observed in lions and tigers.

Among cats and plant-eating animals, 95% are healthy and in good shape. They show no signs of gastrointestinal diseases, leading to the argument that cats use grass as a type of medicine. After eating grass, only one-third of cats vomit, and this percentage is even lower (around 2%) in cats under 12 months old.

Scientists conclude that eating grass is normal and may have some beneficial effects, such as worm removal. In other words, it’s just something that cats do naturally, like drinking water or playing.

What are the Benefits of Cat Grass?

a. Boosting the Immune System

As mentioned earlier, cat grass (or wheatgrass) contains various beneficial nutrients that enhance a cat’s immune system. These minerals and vitamins contribute to improving a cat’s overall health.

  • Vitamin C is essential for supporting a robust immune system. When combined with vitamin E, it acts as a powerful antioxidant. It also aids in the proper absorption of essential minerals.
  • Vitamin K plays a crucial role in regulating blood clotting and activating certain clotting factors. It is also necessary for proper kidney function and bone metabolism.
  • The B-complex vitamins are essential for the cat’s nervous system health.

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b. Weight Management

This might sound funny and unnecessary, but overweight cats are prone to various diseases and have shorter lives. It is highly recommended to understand the hidden dangers of obesity in cats to realize the potential risks.

Feeding cats small amounts of cat grass (wheatgrass) can reduce their appetite by shutting down the absorption process in their brains.

c. Oral Care

Why feed cats snacks when they can be both obese and damage their teeth? Instead, opt for cat grass (wheatgrass), which is a more cost-effective and healthier option. By doing so, you can rest assured about your cat’s oral health.

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Besides replacing unhealthy snacks with cat grass, you can also prevent oral diseases by brushing your cat’s teeth. Refer to our dental care tips for cats to learn more.

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d. Slowing the Aging Process

  • Chlorophyll, also known as liquid sunshine, is a green pigment that acts as the life force in plants and is produced when exposed to sunlight. As a natural blood builder, chlorophyll supports a cat’s health by enabling their bodies to produce stronger blood and removing odor-causing toxins.

  • In older cats, chlorophyll has been shown to slow down the aging process. Cat grass (wheatgrass), containing up to 70% chlorophyll, is an excellent product for cats.

  • Antioxidants neutralize free radicals before they can harm a cat’s health. Free radicals cause oxidative stress damage, directly linked to aging and disease.

  • Vitamin E is the most potent fat-soluble antioxidant, especially abundant in polyunsaturated fats.

e. Night Vision Enhancement

Another reason why cats enjoy cat grass (wheatgrass) is that it helps improve their night vision due to the presence of Vitamin A. Vitamin A is necessary for a cat’s night vision, maintaining soft tissues, and normal development.

f. Digestive Support

Cat grass (wheatgrass) acts as a natural laxative by increasing intestinal motility and providing valuable plant fiber. It supports healthy digestion and helps control or eliminate hairballs.

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How Much Cat Grass is Enough?

As mentioned earlier, cats are carnivorous animals, and their bodies are not designed to eat starch or vegetables. This means you should limit their intake. When eaten in moderation, without pesticides or chemicals, cat grass is entirely fine for cats.

Although cats lack certain enzymes necessary to digest plants well, they can consume cat grass in small portions. Provide your cat with a small amount of cat grass (wheatgrass) each day if possible.

  • Contrary to common belief, wheatgrass doesn’t contain gluten in its core structure. Remember, this is young wheatgrass, harvested in the early stages before gluten develops. So, there is no reason to be alarmed when feeding cats wheatgrass regularly.

  • Some cats may experience vomiting, diarrhea, or more frequent bowel movements if they eat too much grass. Dehydration can occur rapidly afterward, and the cat may become ill.

  • If your cat has a habit of eating grass and other plants, ensure that your indoor plants are not harmful. Some common houseplants are toxic to cats and can cause mild to severe reactions. Familiarize yourself with plants that can be toxic to cats, following our guidelines. If your cat ingests poisonous plants, take them to a veterinarian for treatment immediately.

Safe Methods for Feeding Cats Fresh Cat Grass

  • Be cautious of pesticides.
    If you have a garden, make sure it is a cat-friendly one:

    • Avoid using insecticides or weed killers.
    • Check for any potentially toxic plants growing there.
  • Provide grass for your cat to eat at home.
    If your cat is used to wandering around the neighborhood, avoiding pesticides and other hazards becomes more challenging. Don’t let them eat anything and everything they come across. Instead, provide safe and clean cat grass at home.

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Where can you buy cat grass? You can purchase pre-grown cat grass or buy cat grass seeds at most pet stores or online marketplaces. However, buying cat grass seeds and planting them yourself is more cost-effective and efficient. Additionally, growing cat grass is relatively straightforward. You can opt for a cat grass seed planting kit for easier cultivation.

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How to Grow Cat Grass

  • Soak the seeds in clean water:
    • Warm water: 5 – 8 hours
    • Cold water: 8 – 12 hours

Remember not to soak the seeds for more than 12 hours. When soaking, the amount of water should be twice the amount of seeds, as they will expand.

  • Seed-soaking: To provide enough moisture to the seeds

    • Pour the soaked seeds into a sieve to drain the water.
    • Leave the seeds in a dark place for quick germination.
    • Spray water every 4 hours (to prevent mold growth) or cover the sieve with a wet cloth.

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  • Seed planting

    • Use a pot or tray to sow the seeds.
    • Spread the seeds, cover them with soil, and evenly spray them with water (if there is no soil, you can place a damp cloth at the bottom).
    • Place the pot/tray in a shady spot.
    • Remember to water the plants to help the seeds germinate quickly.
    • Once the seedlings have grown to 1-2 cm in height, bring the pot/tray to a well-lit area.
  • Taking care of the grass

    • Water the grass 2-3 times a day.
    • Keep the cat grass in a cool, well-lit place, avoiding direct sunlight.
    • Avoid planting it in a closed room. It’s best to grow cat grass outdoors with a sheltered roof.

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Cats eat grass for various reasons. It’s in their primitive instincts to supplement themselves with folic acid. They also eat grass to aid digestion, eliminate parasites, help with detoxification, and provide entertainment.

There are many types of grass that cats can eat, with wheatgrass being a favorite. Wheatgrass is rich in nutrients and can boost the immune system, aid digestion, maintain oral health, support weight loss, slow down aging, enhance night vision, and assist in overall digestive health. However, it is necessary to limit excessive grass consumption. Always choose safe, pesticide-free, and chemical-free grass for your cat’s well-being.

Remember, when it comes to your cat’s health, it’s essential to pay attention to their dietary habits and provide appropriate care. Cat grass (wheatgrass) can be a valuable addition to their diet, helping to meet their nutritional needs and provide various health benefits.

So, the next time you see your furry friend munching on some grass, you’ll know that they are instinctively taking care of themselves in their own little way.

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