The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : Cats Who Eat Plants

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Cats Who Eat Plants

If cats are meat eaters, why does yours sometimes prefer salad? Actually, eating small amounts of plants or grass is normal for cats, and as many as one in three housecats regularly munches on veggies. There are a few common reasons for this behavior.

First, your cat might just be looking for some fun. Leaves that dangle or flap in the breeze can look a lot like a fluttering bird or cat toy, so they can be pretty exciting to a cat who’s in a playful mood. Some cats might have learned that biting plants is a sure-fire way to get your attention. Kittens and juveniles might just be looking for something (anything!) to chew, just like human babies, who put everything into their mouths and find comfort chewing on teething rings. Eating large amounts of grass or leaves usually results in vomiting or can act as a laxative. No one knows if cats sometimes purposely eat plants to solve gastrointestinal discomfort or to help bring up hairballs, but those are possibilities. Green plants might also provide some missing nutrients, but there’s currently no scientific evidence that plant eating satisfies any nutritional deficiency.

Most of the time, plant eating is just a nuisance to pet parents, but it can be dangerous if a cat decides to eat a toxic plant or a plant that’s been treated with pesticides. Many common house and garden plants are poisonous to cats. Please see the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center’s website for a list of common poisonous plants.

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