Why do Cats Eat Plants? November 28, 2016 – Posted in: Cats

Cats are naturally carnivorous animals, but you may have noticed, especially if your cat goes outside, that they also nibble on greenery from time to time. Some cats even go as far as munching on bouquets of flowers. While eating grass is pretty safe and normal cat behaviour, cat owners need to be careful about what kind of plants they bring inside their homes, as some plants can be toxic to cats. Below we will explore why cats like to eat plants, and what plants to absolutely avoid in your home to keep your cat safe.

Cats often throw up after eating grass, so why do they do it? One explanation is that cats are looking for some variety of texture; they enjoy the fibrous nature of grass and other plants. Another explanation is that cats instinctively know that eating grass will help them clear out their digestive tract. Cat’s digestive systems can’t break down grass so it can make them vomit, which in turn helps them to get rid of indigestible matter that is in their system. For example, your cat might be eating grass or other plants to help him throw up a hairball.

While eating grass is generally considered to be normal and pretty harmless (aside from the vomit that you as the cat owner may sometimes have to clean up), but when it comes to indoor plants and flowers, there are some pretty serious dangers. Some plants are extremely toxic to cats and if your cat eats them, it can be fatal. A lot of varieties of lilies are very harmful to cats and ingestion can cause kidney failure. If your cat eats a plant that contains cardiac glycosides (which are mostly found in outdoor plants like foxglove) it can induce heart arrhythmias that can be fatal. You should also be extremely careful with all bouquets of flowers that are brought into your home, as identifying plants species can be very difficult if you are not an expert, and you don’t want to inadvertently bring in flowers that could be dangerous to your cat.

All this is not to say that you can’t have plants in your house, but we recommend that you always do your research before bringing a plant home to make sure that it is safe for your cat (especially if your cat has a history of eating plants). Some people get plants that are safe for cats to deter them from eating the other plants in their home. Pet Pros tip: if your cat is eating plants that you don’t want them to, try getting them some cat grass at your local pet store.