Since most of us are in the midst of winter and our lawns are yellow, brown or bare, our outdoor and indoor/outdoor cats may not have much greenery to partake of. While the jury is out regarding the benefits of supplying our cats with “cat grass”, there is a general consensus that doing so will not harm them. Actually, if your cat tends to routinely munch on houseplants, providing him with a pot of organic cat grass is a much safer alternative. Same goes in the summertime if you subscribe to a lawn service – providing your greenery-seeking cat a container of cat grass that hasn’t been sprayed with pesticides or doused with fertilizer is definitely a better choice for your pet.
If you go online and look for “cat grass” you will find many different types of seed (mostly grains) are offered under this title, including catnip. While none of the grains are thought to be harmful in their seedling state, you should take caution to ensure you do not allow any of them to mature to the point your cat is eating awns or seed pods. Some seed pods can be sharp and may cause injury to your pet’s internal organs.
The common oat, or Avena satira, is the primary grain considered “cat grass” in the pet world. Interestingly enough, this grain is also touted as a medicinal herb for humans; aiding in digestion and other minor ailments.
I personally grow cat grass in the wintertime for my cat, Biscuit. She doesn’t typically eat a lot of greenery around the house, but during the winter months I find her chewing on the fern-like house plants now and then so I bring out my cat grass seed and prepare a small planting for her. Cat grass (or common oats) is extremely easy to grow and among the fastest germinating seeds I have encountered.
Simply prepare a small container with potting soil almost to the rim; spread the large, oblong seeds in a single, non-overlapping layer; cover them lightly with additional soil; and water thoroughly. Place the container in a sunny window and keep moderately moist – adding water every other day. I have a southeasterly window in my bathroom that I use which provides ample morning sunshine. In this case, I find the oats begin to sprout within three days.
In six to seven days, you should have a nice, thick patch of bright green grass about 4 inches in height. Place the container where your cat can easily find it, either near water and food bowls, or, as in my case – the bathtub! Allow your cat time to partake of the greens and then return the container to the window for more sunshine and added water.
After your cat chews down the first patch of grass, you should start completely over. Again, you do not want any of the leftover grass to mature and produce awns, so beginning anew is best. After all, it takes only a week to grow a new batch of greens.
If you have a cat that tends to munch on greenery that you aren’t sure is healthy for him, you may wish to invest in planting organic cat grass seed. While it may not correct his potential nutrient deficiencies, chances are it is quite a bit healthier than the other options around the house!
Until next time,