Catnip, Cat Grass, and Greens For Your Cat

Catherine Forman

Cats are carnivores. That means the bulk of their dietary needs are satisfied by eating meat.

Felines in the wild get carbohydrates and plant matter from eating their prey's fur or feathers and stomach contents. Domestic cats usually get all the fiber, vitamins, and minerals they need from commercial cat food. If your cat grazes on grass in the yard or nibbles on your houseplants, they may be seeking vitamins and minerals or they may be looking for an aid for an unsettled stomach. Dogs too will eat grass to help balance an upset tummy, either to firm up loose stool or as an aid in easing constipation.

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Catnip is notorious for producing a particular response in cats. Although this member of the mint family is chemically similar to some hallucinogens, catnip is not toxic to pets. Rubbing catnip on a favorite toy or scratching post will lead to several minutes of playful abandon in your cats. The scent of catnip can help stimulate exercise in a usually sedentary cat.

Cat grass aids digestion and even helps remove hairballs! If you grow cat grass indoors, you can avoid the potential dangers of pesticides and other contaminants on outdoor grass. Offering sweet tasting cat grass will help keep your kitties from nibbling on your other houseplants. It can also help sweeten your cat's breath.

Catnip and cat grass are relatively easy to grow. Cat grass will thrive in just about any sunny window. You can purchase plants or seed online or at your local pet store. Catnip does well in gardens and needs little care. Most members of the mint family need more water than catnip does. Pretty much all you need to do once the seeds are planted is thin the rows and keep the weeds at bay. A bed of catnip can last several years! You can dry the leaves in your oven.

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