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Feline Friday: Why Does My Cat Eat Grass?

Does your kitty--or dog--graze on grass? (Image Copr Elise Feinstein)

Not long ago a fun and interesting discussion on my Facebook page generated an Ask Amy video about why dogs eat dirt so it’s not that much of a stretch to ask why does my cat eat grass? Yep, Seren does it too. I suspect many kitties relish the taste of fresh greens. You’ve already seen this Ask Amy about why cats love catnip. The veggie munchies is something different, but what? And why?

I mean, dogs are considered omnivores like humans–able and even eager to eat a variety of foods and derive nourishment. Heck, the Magical-Dawg would munch used Kleenex and socks if we let him (no, those are NOT in the doggy foods list!). So it makes a weird kind of sense that dogs sometimes crave grass since they eat green stuff as a matter of course.

But kitties are obligate carnivores. They MUST eat meat to derive the correct nutrients to live and thrive. So what’s the deal with grazing? Most times after munching, the kitty hurls–oh goody, more stains on the white carpet. That’s because since they are carnivores, kitty digestion isn’t suited to breaking down grass so it gets purged. The tickle-going-down probably adds to that effect.

Does the cat know eating grass will make him hurl? Actually there have been some studies that indicate cats DO very quickly associate eating (X-FOOD) with feeling (good-bad-sick-whatever). In other words, a cat that eats a favorite meal and then gets diarrhea or painful constipation (even though it’s from parasites) may blame the food and thereafter snub a previous favorite treat. Huh. So maybe cats DO know grass will make them hurl–and they use it to purge?

Grass also contains some nutrients the cat’s body CAN use–like folic acid. Oh, and grass or other veggies can help push nondigestibles on through the body, sort of a kitty colonic. Hey, better the cat goes with a DIY, don’t you think? As a former vet tech I’ve been on that (ahem) other end of cleaning out a plugged up kitty and it ain’t fun for anyone!

Do your cats eat grass? Do you provide gazing ops? Here’s a bit more in this latest Ask Amy.

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

Woof Wednesday: Eat Dirt! & Other Schtuff

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Pups commonly eat sticks--not a good thing!

Owners fill bowls with nutritious food to keep dogs healthy. So why do dogs eat weird, disgusting and even dangerous stuff?

Dogs use their mouths the way we use our hands. They pick up objects and explore their world by mouthing, tasting, and chewing. That sometimes gets them into trouble if they swallow something they shouldn’t.

Does your dog eat grass? What about poop–urk. Actually puppies tend to do more potty snacking than adult dogs and you can find tips to curb the nasty habit here. Adult dogs may continue treating the cat’s litter box like a snack bar–unless you’ve got a Kitty Comando like my Seren-kitty that keeps all *sniff* DAWGS at bay.

What about eating toys or rocks or other non-edibles? The latest Paw Nation article “Weird Stuff Dogs Eat” offers some explanations. And courtesy of one of my Facebook friends, the Ask Amy video addresses the issue of dogs eating dirt.

So how do you manage your dog’s odd snacking tastes? What’s the weirdest thing your pooch has ever swallowed? I remember one of my Grandma’s puppies gobbling up a favorite necklace pendant of mine when I was a kid. Yep, I recovered it later when the puppy passed it back to me–ahem–but never felt the same about wearing it again.

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!