Instead of buying grass in a plastic box, I decided to push my eco-lifestyle even more and planted a beautiful and functional cat garden all by myself. Why cats need grass? What plants are safe for a cat? How to plant and care for cat grass?
I have prepared for you a detailed step-by-step instruction on how to grow and care for your cat garden. It’s super cheap and eco-frienldy!
Why do cats like to eat grass
How grass-nibbling affects cats
Cats are strictly carnivores, and their digestive system is designed only to digest meat. Why are cats so eager to nibble on grass when they vomit after it? A cat instinctively eats grass to clear its digestive tract of undigested food debris, fur balls, and parasites. All those staffs can be excreted along with the grass in the vomit.
While feeding your cat grass is a natural way to remove hairballs and worms, it is not enough. The hairballs are dangerous to the cat’s health and may manifest itself in constipation, lethargy, or vomiting undigested food. In case of the hairball problem, I recommend brushing the cat’s fur regularly to comb out the dead undercoat. I advise against using anti-hairball pastes because they contain many ingredients that may be unhealthy. Also, remember to regularly deworm your cat at your vet.
Nibbling other plants
If you don’t provide your cat with a cat grass, it may start to nibble at other house plants. So giving your cat cat grass can save your plants from damage, but also can save your cat’s health. Unfortunately, many common indoor plants are poisonous to the cat. To create a friendly green space for you and your cat, always check that the plant is not included in the list of plants toxic to cats.
On the ASPCA website you will find the large catalog of plants that are poisonous or irritating to cats and dogs. In addition to the toxicity of the plants themselves, it is also worth remembering that pesticides can also be dangerous to the health of the cat. If you go out with your cat, do not let it nibble on the plants while walking.
If you suspect that your cat is poisoned, see your vet immediately. Try to identify which plant the cat was nibbling as it may help to save your cat’s life.
What plants can be planted in the cat garden
The most popular healthy cat grasses are:
- oats (loved by my cat Apollo).
In addition to the above-mentioned grasses, we can also plant herbs for the cat, for example catnip (Latin Nepeta cataria) and valerian (Latin Valeriana officinalis).
If you are purchasing a ready-made seed mixture, be sure to check it forsigns of mold or rotting
Not all grasses are safe for cats
Avoid buying ready-made “cat grass” in supermarkets, which are often sharp and dangerous to your cat’s health. In grocery stores and DIY stores, I have met a plant sold as “cat grass”, which is actually a decorative plant dangerous for cats, with the Latin name Cyperus alternifolius zumula (also called “papyrus”). Remember to always check the label on the plant and never buy cat grass that does not include the name of the plant species on the label.
Grow your cat’s garden in 5 steps
Step 1 – Materials
To create a cat garden, you will need:
- Flowerpot – preferably wide and not very tall,
- Seeds, e.g. oats, wheat and catnip – you can buy them very cheaply in garden stores.
- Optionally: drainage, e.g. expanded clay or coarse gravel.
Step 2 – Drain layer
Fill the bottom of the pot with expanded clay or coarse gravel. Such drainage will create an air-entraining layer and will prevent root rot.
Step 3 – Soil layer
Pour 5-10 cm of soil onto the drainage.
Step 4 – Seeds
Sprinkle the ground with seeds, cover them with a thin layer of earth (up to 1 cm) and gently water them.
Step 5 – Water and sun
Place the pot in a sunny location and water regularly to keep the soil constantly moist (but not wet).
Cat’s grass starts to sprout after about 2-4 days, and after 1-2 weeks you can give your cat free access to the pot with the cat’s garden. Remember to water your garden regularly and trim the grass if it grows too tall.
Planting grass for a cat yourself is not only extremely simple, but also economical and ecological. You can find more cat tips in the Layette section, and instructions for cat DIY in the DIY section .
Other ECO topics
Check the ECO section for articles on eco-lifestyle and reviews of sustainable products for cats.