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 offer health benefits.
Digestive Health Benefits of Wheatgrass
The fiber in wheatgrass can help stimulate your kitty’s digestion. As a natural laxative, cats eat wheatgrass to help 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 out of the digestive system, an important step in maintaining your cat’s digestive health.
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 and wheatgrass gluten. Your cat be eating 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 obligate 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.
Wheatgrass is packed with nutritional value and contains a wealth of vitamins and minerals from vitamin A through calcium. It is a wonderful way to manage the wellness of of your cat’s health and digestive tract in addition to cat food. Perhaps the most important vitamins for your cat’s diet 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 and cause weight loss, 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 fresh wheatgrass yourself as a houseplant. Instead of growing it outside, start a small tray of wheatgrass in a warm, indoor spot for your kitty and watch her nibble with delight.
Cat owners can also purchase it on amazon or at most pet stores, however sometimes it will be labeled as “cat grass" or “pet grass.” Check the ingredient list, as sometimes these products contan other supplements or ingredients like flax or oats. Check with your vet first to see what works best.