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The grass is greener on the inside

Hunt, play, sleep, eat grass. Why your furry hunter
likes to eat grass and how to bring a taste of the
outdoors inside.

The grass CAN be greener on the inside.

The ultimate guide to growing cat grass

How to grow cat grass for your cat

Last updated March 4th, 2020

For indoor cats, the grass is not greener on the outside. Perhaps your cat would disagree, but we know indoor living is the safest place for your cat. Free-roaming cats have a full daily schedule, they hunt, catch, kill, groom, sleep, and nibble on grass at their leisure. To keep your cat happy it’s important to provide a natural, stimulating and changing environment that most closely resembles what he would normally stumble upon in an outdoor kitty expedition. We know that one of the things cats love, next to catnip, is cat grass. What’s great to know is that cat grass is super easy to grow at any time throughout the year. 

If you have an indoor ‘plant-pruning’ kitty in your midst that cannot resist your houseplants, then growing his very own ‘all-you-can-eat’ cat grass platter is a great distraction. So instead of yelling “No Mr. Tiggs, not the plant!” tell kitty to get ready to…

Hunt. Stalk Prey. Eat Grass.

Why do cats eat grass if they are obligate carnivores?

As obligate carnivores, cats require only meat protein to stay healthy and there is no scientific evidence that they need grass at all. But many theories from cat experts abound.

When hunting prey cats out in the wild eat grass to help regurgitate undigestible parts of the prey such as feathers, bones, parasites and other matter. Grass may act as a source of fibre and helps induce vomiting to remove fur balls which form over time and makes your cat uncomfortable. Cats instinctively eat grass for its nutrient-rich trace elements such as folic acid, vitamins A, D and niacin. It also contains chlorophyll which oxygenates the blood. When eating prey cats inadvertently ingest plant matter such as grass found in the digestive tract of prey, so this would suggest that small amounts of these trace elements from grass would be a natural part of the diet. Cats could be eating grass out of sheer boredom. I’m not so sure I buy this one. Cats left outdoors certainly have more than their fair share of cativities! Umm, no boredom there! Cats may just like the taste and texture of grass, who knows?

What we do know is that cats do not need grass, but that there is no harm is serving up a little grass entree at the kitty salad bar! Cats love it and if it serves as a non-caloric snack, it’s all good! As with everything always check with your vet for your cat’s nutritional needs before offering anything unfamiliar to your kitty.

What are the common types of cat grasses?

Any type of the common cereal grasses which are normally grown for cats includes wheat, barley, oats, and ryegrass. You can either grow them separately or mix them up for variety. Experiment with them all to see which type your kitty prefers. And believe me, there will most certainly be a preference!

I use both oat grass seeds (Avena Sativa) and Hard red wheatgrass seeds (Triticum Aestivum). Oat grass has an elongated rice shape while wheatgrass is oval to round.

It’s not only Mr. Tiggs that gets some benefit from chowing down on grass. Wheatgrass has many health benefits for the humans so make sure you grow an extra pot for juicing or smoothies! There’s something for everyone, I love win-win scenarios, don’t you?

Let’s make it greener on the inside!

So let’s get our hands dirty and grow some cat grass to make it greener on the inside! Growing cat grass for your cat is a fun activity. Involving the kids in this activity is a great way to strengthen the bond between the kids and their fur-sib.

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase when clicking a link I will make a small commission which helps maintain this blog (and maybe the Chirpies’ weekend catnip habit too!) but won’t cost you a cent more! Read my full disclosure.

Growing cat grass is super easy and a great form of cat enrichment.

You would need the following:

  • Any of the grasses mentioned above.
    Hard Red Spring Wheat seeds or for an interesting mix, why not try this blend of wheat, barley, rye, oats and flaxseed. Some of my cats definitely prefer the grass from oat grass seeds. But as we all know, cats are cats and they like what they like! So experiment!
  • A variety of medium-sized planter pots with holes. I used small 7.5″ diameter pots found at Home Depot.
  • Another set of decorative planters without holes. This is entirely optional but functional as well as pretty looking for both inside your home or for your catio. The plastic planters I use to grow the grass in is eventually put into these rustic looking planters made of cement. They’re sturdy, hard to knock over by rambunctious cats and I love the rustic driftwood finish which blends with our catio decor. Besides being hard to knock over, it eliminates the need to use planter saucers!
  • Organic potting soil
  • Spray bottle with water
  • Planter saucers, unbleached paper towels or plastic food wrap to cover your seeds until they sprout.

1. Soak the seeds

For growing three 7.5″ diameter pots, put about half a cup of seeds in a bowl and cover with water for about 4 to 6 hours. The pre-soaking helps speed up germination. Some say this is not necessary but I have always soaked my seeds. Rinse them thoroughly after soaking, they’re now ready to be sewn in pots.

2.  Prepare your pots

If you wish, before you fill the pots with the soil you can line the bottom of the pot with a piece of paper towel or coffee filters. Fill your pots with some organic potting soil to about 1” from the top. Be sure to moisten the soil thoroughly.

3. Sprinkle the seeds evenly over the soil.

You may cover the seeds with a thin layer of extra soil, about 1/4″ but I find this is not necessary. In fact, I have done both to experiment to see which would grow faster, covered or uncovered, and this does not make a difference.

How to grow cat grass for your kitty
How to grow cat grass

4. Water the seeds lightly with a spray bottle or watering can

How to grow cat grass

5. Cover the seeds

I use plastic plant saucers with holes punched in them to cover the pots. This prevents the seeds from drying out; moisture is essential for seeds to germinate. You also want to ensure there are enough holes for adequate air circulation to prevent mold. If you are using plastic food wrap, ensure to cover loosely over the pot as it should not be airtight.

How to grow cat grass
This pot contains oat grass seed which is covered with a thin layer of soil. The plastic cover has holes punched on top to ensure adequate air circulation.

6. Place your pots in a dark area away from direct sunlight

The ideal conditions for germination of seeds are warmth, adequate moisture, and indirect light. I place my covered pots in the garage or high up on the fridge away from sunlight and curious paws! Moisten the seeds/soil day and night or three times per day if you can with a water sprayer and keep the pots covered. In a day or two, you should notice some roots emerging. By the third day, you can remove the lid and move the pots to a sunny location to green up the emerging grass sprouts.

NOTE:  If it is Summer with high humidity mold is more likely to develop if kept in a room that is too humid and dark. If, during this time, you find traces of mold, uncover the pot and place the pot outside but still keep it in a shaded area. By the third day move the pots to a sunny location once you see small pale grass sprouts.

In 5 days you should have something resembling the promise of a scrumptious cat snack or smoothie filler for you.

Sprouting cat grass ready in 5 days for your cat to enjoy
By the second day after sewing cat grass seeds, you will notice tiny roots and sprouts emerging.
How to grow cat grass for your cat
By day 3 the upright pale green shoots are ready to be uncovered and receive the bounties sunlight has to offer.
Growing cat grass for your cat
Day 4: The grass is turning green and will grow very quickly to reach the ideal snacking height. NOTE: In the pot on the right the seeds were covered by a 1/4″ layer of soil and it looks taller than the other pot.
How to cat cat grass at any time of the year for your indoor cat
See the growth spurt in just one day! Juicy blades of green goodness almost ready to share with kitties!
Serve up a kitty grass buffet for your cats
Day 6: Reward your cats with a scrumptious green snack. Insert these pots into your decorative pots and serve the pre-suppertime cat grass entree.
how to grow cat grass your kitty will love
Day 7: Cat grass pots inserted inside the decorative driftwood pots. We’re all set. George, what do you think? It sure looks like Mr. Green Rabbit is impressed!
How to grow cat grass for your cat
The cats approve of their cat grass combo of oat grass in the purple pots and wheat grass in the driftwood pots

How long does cat grass last?

Cat grass that is grown exclusively indoors may only last for one week due to weak sunlight. Our pots last up to three weeks in the catio with regular watering. But I always plant a new crop of cat grass every two weeks so that there is always a fresh supply of on hand for the cats to nibble. If the cats have not ‘mowed the lawn’ down you can do this yourself by giving it a little ‘haircut’ with a pair of scissors to encourage it to keep growing. But eventually, it will die off so it’s best to just start afresh!

How to grow cat grass
When your cat grass is looking a little ratty just give it a haircut. Bottom left is the same pot with regrowth ten days after being trimmed. Bottom right: Scout enjoying a fresh crop of cat grass for indoors.

Enriched cat and healthy you!

If your cats allow, harvest some sprigs of their cat grass for smoothies or juicing, cut at the base just above the root. Blend with water in a blender and strain the juice or use the grass directly in your juicer.

Growing cat grass for your kitties. But the humans can use it in smoothies and juicing

Next to catnip, cat grass is a staple in our house and I grow it for the catio in the Summer and indoors during winter. It’s gratifying to know that something as simple as cat grass can contribute to your cat’s environment enrichment needs to keep him happy and engaged. After all, your indoor cat has a full schedule too:

Hunt. Stalk prey. Eat grass.

Be warned, when you allow your cat to munch on grass, be prepared for the inevitable. The Haiku below says it all:

I shall nibble grass
Recycled for you later
On the kitchen floor

Check out our other post on creative ways we use cat grass for the cats’ enjoyment.

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How to grow cat grass for your indoor cat

Do you grow cat grass for your kitties? Is your grass greener on the inside? Chirp us a line below, we’d love to hear your stories!

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The ultimate guide to growing cat grass

About the author

The Lady Cat
The Lady Cat

Whiskers make me smile.
Coffee is good for you.
And cats are for life.
Helping cats live enriched lives with their people.
(Yasaar Nakchbendi)

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