Why do cats eat grass?

Kitten eats grass in yard
If your cat is an outdoor cat, you've likely seen him or her munching on grass. (Kuba Bożanowski/Flickr)

If your cat has spent any amount of time outdoors, chances are, you’ve seen him or her sniffing around the grass — and maybe even taking a nibble.

But why do cats eat grass? And is it harmful to them?

Like dogs, cats often vomit after eating grass, but while many pet owners see this as a sign of sickness, it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s anything wrong with your cat.

According to PetMD, cats sometimes chomp on grass for the nutrients. Even though they regurgitate the part they can’t digest, the juices from the grass still contain beneficial folic acid.

MORE: How to spot wild catnip

However, if your cat needs a little help with indigestion, he or she may eat grass to aid in that.

“Grass nibbling may be of particular importance to outdoor cats who eat prey in order to get rid of any inedible parts that get swallowed (feathers, bones, etc.),” Cat Behavior Associates writes. “It can also be a way for a cat to get rid of some hair that gets swallowed during grooming, which may cut down on hairballs.”

Cat Behavior Associates recommends curating a potted plant of grass for your cat so you don’t have to worry about pesticides or any other chemicals that may be present in your lawn.

So it seems that grass is perfectly fine as an occasional snack for your furry friend, but should you ever be concerned?

If your cat starts eating much more grass than usual, it could be a sign of intestinal distress, says veterinarian Dr. Benjamin Hart of the University of California-Davis. In that case, pay extra attention to your cat and take him or her to the vet if necessary.

MORE: Don’t let your cat eat these toxic plants


  • Atlanta Girl says:

    When #HikingKitteh and I are on the trail, he will sample just about every clump of grass we encounter – even though we have a variety of organic cat grasses at home for him to gnaw on whenever. He will even try out the dead clumps sometimes.

  • Fish The SeaWing says:

    My cat always eats grass and doesnt throw up. Is that something bad?

    • Atlanta Girl says:

      I have 3 cats – one almost always throws up when he eats grass. Another rarely does. The 3rd doesn’t touch it.

  • Cupcake_Girl2678 says:

    My cat eats grass, but doesn’t throw up after, because I used a drone with a GoPro on it, my one theory is they eat it to help them poop if they can’t digest it.

  • My cat eats grass about twice a week and shortly after throws up a mess. If I see her munching on grass now I lock the doors and windows and wait inside until it’s safe! She’s had the ok from the vet, it just her way of getting some of those nutrients as you said in the post and removing the rest.

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