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When The Cat Grass Is Greener

Have you ever seen cat grass in the store and wonder if your cat needs it?  Or has your cat dashed out the door, when your hands are too full to stop them, just to nibble on the yard?  Does it make you think there is something essential missing from their diet?  Aren’t they obligate carnivores?

Although it’s not known exactly why cats eat grass, there are a lot of theories ranging from digestive aid (the most commonly accepted), hairball relief, they like the texture, to it adds nutrients to their diet.  We can speculate on why cats eat grass, however, the bottom line is that no one knows for sure.  It is typically safe to assume it is not due to deficiencies or health concerns.  If your cat is binging on grass, rather than nibbling, or having a lot of upsets afterward, then that may be a matter for your vet.  However, it is generally considered safe to munch on some greens now and then.

If you decide to grow it or you want to help your feline beat the winter blues by planting some cat grass, here are some things to consider:

Planting Cat Grass

There are a few varieties of grass that are recommended for cats.  Planting fresh catnip is another option.  The key is to be sure that the grass remains fungus and mildew free and that the grass is young and tender, free of rough edges and awns or seeds, which could upset your kitty’s digestive track, and possibly cause damage in the case of seeds.  This means keeping grass trimmed and appropriately watered.

Why Grow Cat Grass

Planting a pot of grass specifically for your cat can have a couple benefits.  First, your kitty may just enjoying munching on greens once in a while.  This may also help keep them from other indoor plants that are either not suitable for their delicate stomachs or teeth marks!  As well as having a midday snack, my girls enjoy a mid-day nap in their box of grass!  This is also safer than chomping on your lawn as that may have been chemically treated or is contaminated from a neighbor’s chemically treated yard.

How To Grow Cat Grass

I pretty much indulge any kitty ‘want’ I can possibly think of.  As a result, I have endured several rounds of cat vs. cat grass.  My initial attempt was a small plastic dish purchased from the pet store that included dirt and seeds.  I spent the first week with the container covered so the seeds would sprout, another week or two letting it grow and fill out.  After the incubation period, I set my proud creation on the floor for my sweet little Tinkerbell to enjoy and left her to her own devices.  About ten minutes later I walk into the kitchen to find the plastic container tipped over and dirt all over the floor.  FAIL!

For my next attempt, I smartened up.  Clearly, I am wiser than my cat, despite her opposing opinion.  I used a heavier terra cotta pot and went through the same steps.  Again, I set down the pot of grass, this time with humbled satisfaction, for my little one to enjoy.  Sure enough, she not only snacks on the grass but decidedly uproots the grass, blade by blade, leaving a sprinkling of dirt all around the pot!

Around this time, the weather started to warm up so I bought a shallow plastic storage bin and planted a box of grass on my second floor porch.  This way, I could let her outside and she’d still have a little greenery to snack on and has permission to undiscerningly make a mess!  This was by far the most popular of my attempts; however, it is as long lived as the permitting temperatures.

The Conclusion

As I’m trolling the internet, I stumble upon the Catit Design Sense Grass Garden Kit.  This looks great! It has an “accu-pressure” matt around the dish and a grate that the grass grows through. This helps to contain any uprooting efforts.  This time I WILL win!  After reading the reviews, it seems that some are great and some are bad.  It’s inexpensive; I’ll give it a shot.  I receive the kit and read the directions.  I planted the grass seeds in the “substrate” (dirt substitute), put it outside, and waited…. and waited… and waited.  After examining the situation and realizing that, like some of the complaints in the reviews, it had become smelly and did not produce a single sprout.  This is NOT over!  I replaced the substrate with regular potting soil and fresh seeds.  After the planting- sprouting-growing process, I set it down my final attempt and watched.  Success!  The girls snack and are unable to make a mess despite their best endeavors!

After the temperatures cooled down, I was able to bring the Catit Grass Garden indoors with minimal intrusion, unlike the grass box.  The grass is a lighter shade of green without the summer sun but Tinkerbell (and her new sister) still enjoys the occassional chomp on it.  Allowing the grass to grow outside from time to time, gives it a fuller, healthier look.  Since this is a great solution for the kitty winter blues, having a container that can be moved indoors and out and in an area with easy cleanup is essential.