The Benefits of Wheatgrass for Cats

by Christina Stephens, Demand Media
    "I need a shot...of wheatgrass!"

    "I need a shot...of wheatgrass!"

    Cats are natural carnivores, making their affinity for grass all the more perplexing; not to mention Kitty throws it up on the rug every single time. Perhaps it’s not as backwards as it seems. Maybe Kitty is on to something. Munching wheatgrass can actually be beneficial for her health.

    Digestive Health

    The fiber in wheatgrass can help stimulate your kitty’s digestion. As a natural laxative, wheatgrass helps break down a number of constipation culprits, which commonly include any fur your kitty hasn’t already expelled in the form of a hairball. It’s also a known detoxifier. When eaten and digested, this detoxifier helps to flush toxins, an important step in maintaining your cat’s digestive health.

    Regurgitation

    Kitties seem to love vomiting; they do it so often and at will. While it’s not so much the sensation they love, cats know regurgitation will rid their stomachs of inedible matter and make them feel much better. Cats lack the enzymes needed to break down vegetable matter such as wheatgrass. Your cat may seek out wheatgrass or other grasses when she needs help regurgitating a hairball or has eaten something indigestible. Wheatgrass can help rid her body of potentially poisonous or inedible matter.

    Stimulate Blood Flow

    Wheatgrass contains chlorophyll and folic acid, which assist in the production of hemoglobin, the protein that moves oxygen through her blood. This should give her more energy to chase birds and bat around her new catnip toy. However, some veterinarians believe cats are true carnivores and don’t require plant-based chlorophyll in their diets, according to a 2011 article in "The New York Times." Nevertheless, they agree there’s nothing wrong with munching on wheatgrass, and just because it’s not a requirement in the feline diet doesn’t mean it can’t have potential benefits.

    Vitamins

    Wheatgrass contains a wealth of vitamins and minerals from vitamin A through calcium. Perhaps the most important vitamins for your kitty are vitamins E and B. Vitamin E contains antioxidants that may prevent heart disease and cancer and increase her immune system. B vitamins, notably B3 and B12, can speed up her metabolism, maintain a healthy skin and coat, strengthen her immune system, prevent anemia, reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer and stimulate her nervous system.

    Chemical Free, Please

    The chemicals, pesticides and herbicides found on many outdoor grasses can be toxic to your cat. One of the safest ways to offer her wheatgrass is to grow it yourself. Instead of growing it outside, start a small tray of wheatgrass in a warm, indoor spot for your kitty and watch her chow down with delight.

    About the Author

    Christina Stephens is a writer from Portland, Ore. whose main areas of focus are pets and animals, travel and literature. A veterinary assistant, she taught English in South Korea and holds a BA in English with cum laude honors from Portland State University.

    Photo Credits

    • Martin Poole/Digital Vision/Getty Images