Have you caught your cat in the act of chewing on your favorite plant? It’s time for you to understand why they do this! Read on to find out why cats feel the need to eat plants.
It’s no secret cats love to munch on plants. Whether it’s grass, a houseplant, or an outdoor shrub, cats seem to have an instinctive drive to nibble on greenery!
But why do they eat plants? This is a question that puzzles many cat owners and animal behaviorists alike.
Cats eat plants for various reasons, including nutritional value, sensory stimulation, boredom, interesting smells, instinctive urges instilled by nature, illness, or comfort. If you notice your cat eating plants and then vomiting, it is best to take them for a checkup with the vet.
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Why Does A Cat Eat Plants?
If you own a pet cat, chances are you’ve encountered the dilemma of your feline friend munching away at some houseplants. You’re not alone in your curiosity about why cats are drawn to eating plants – it’s a mystery that many cat owners worldwide struggle with!
The answer lies in their instincts and behavior, most of which can be traced back to wild cats and their habits.
Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning that they evolved to hunt and consume mainly meat-based proteins as their primary source of nutrition. Yet, despite their predilection for meat, they are also known to snack on plant matter from time to time.
This behavior is thought to be a remnant of their distant evolutionary ancestors, which were omnivorous animals that ate both meat and plants as part of their diet. Domestic cats still have the same urges and instincts as their wild ancestors but usually have no opportunity to explore or satisfy them as one in the wild would.
Therefore, if you see your cat eating plants occasionally, don’t be alarmed. It’s just a remnant of their evolutionary past, and as long as they’re only eating safe plants, it’s perfectly natural behavior!
Exploring the Reasons Behind It
There are several reasons cats turn to plant matter for sustenance, some of which might surprise you. Here’s an overview:
Nutritional Value: Though it might seem counterintuitive, cats can benefit from plants. Eating grass and other plant matter gives them access to vitamins and minerals they wouldn’t otherwise get in their regular diet.
Stimulation: Cat owners often notice their pets enjoy the taste and texture of grass and other plants. Cats like to explore and eat things that provide interesting textures or tastes; thus snacking on plants is a way to get that stimulation. The crunchy texture helps keep their teeth clean as well.
Boredom: Like humans, cats can become bored with their routine and food. Eating fresh plants can help relieve their boredom by providing an alternative stimulation. Lack of stimulation can cause many indoor cats to become bored.
Interesting Smells: They have a keen sense of smell and are drawn to interesting scents they encounter, including those of plants. Eating grass or other plants can allow cats to explore their surroundings through scent and taste.
Urges Instilled By Nature: They have an instinctive desire to hunt, which is why many of them enjoy chasing after a toy mouse or other small objects. Most pet cats don’t have the opportunity to hunt as their wild ancestors did; eating plants can be a way for them to satisfy these urges.
Illness: Some cats eat grass to soothe an upset stomach or try to rid themselves of intestinal parasites. If you suspect your cat might be ill, it’s essential to take it for a checkup with the vet immediately.
Comfort: They can sometimes turn to plants out of comfort or security, especially if they are anxious or stressed in their environment. Eating plants is a way for them to cope with their feelings and have something to do when feeling overwhelmed.
Why Your Cat Is Throwing Up After Eating Plants
Cats typically throw up to eliminate any indigestible material in their system, such as grass or plant matter that doesn’t suit them.
They can also vomit plants to eliminate parasites, toxins, or bacteria from their digestive tracts.
Cats eating plants is normal behavior and not necessarily something to be concerned about. If your pet is constantly eating plants or vomiting after doing so, it could be a sign of an underlying health issue and should be addressed as soon as possible.
What Types of Plants Are Safe for Them To Eat?
It’s essential to understand that not all plants are safe for cats – some are toxic or can cause an allergic reaction. Common houseplants such as azaleas, lilies, rhododendrons, ivy, and poinsettias should be kept away from cats as they can cause allergic reactions or gastrointestinal issues.
If you want to give your cat a safe way to eat plants, try introducing some cat grass. It is specially designed for cats and provides a nutritious snack without any risks associated with toxic plants. You can buy pre-grown cat grass at most pet stores or grow it from seed at home.
Other safe plants for cats to eat include catnip, peperomia, aster plant, spider plants, Christmas cactus, prayer plants, crepe myrtle, zebra plant, and African violets. Doing some research beforehand is always advised, as it’s essential they only eat safe plants.
With the proper knowledge, your cat will be healthy and happy while exploring its instinct to snack on some greens!
Train Them To Steer Clear of Houseplants
If your cat is eating plants, it is vital to take measures to discourage the behavior. Cats are intelligent and can easily be trained with proper guidance and consistency.
The first step in training your cat to avoid plants is to make them less appealing by providing distractions or deterrents. You can do this by providing a variety of toys, scratching posts, and furniture for it to explore and play with.
You can also set up barriers around the plants using double-sided sticky tape or bubble wrap (make sure not to use anything it can eat). Spraying the plants with a citrus-scented deterrent or commercial repellent designed for cats can deter them.
Create a safe place for your pet to relax, such as a cozy bed or blanket. This way, it will have somewhere comfortable and secure to retreat when feeling anxious or overwhelmed.
Cats are creatures of habit and need training. Ensure you are consistent with your deterrents and provide praise and rewards when your cat avoids the plants.
Cats are natural plant lovers, and it is usual for them to be drawn to houseplants. However, you need to know which plants are safe and which can cause serious health issues if ingested.
Providing your cat with safe plants, such as cat grass, will help satisfy its curiosity while keeping it safe. With the right training and patience, you can steer it away from potentially harmful plants and keep it happy and healthy. We hope you found this article helpful.