If you have a cat, you may have noticed their strange attraction to wheat grass. Wheat grass is a nutritious plant grown from wheat seeds that is commonly used for juicing or added as a topping to foods. Many cats go crazy for wheat grass and will chew on it whenever given the chance. But why are cats so obsessed with this leafy green plant?
The Nutritional Benefits of Wheatgrass for Cats
One of the main reasons for your cat’s wheat grass obsession is the many nutritional benefits it provides. Wheatgrass contains vitamins, minerals, enzymes and amino acids that are extremely beneficial for your cat’s health.
|Chlorophyll||Powerful antioxidant that protects cells and supports detoxification|
|Vitamin A||Supports eye health and immune function|
|Vitamin C||Boosts immune system and promotes wound healing|
|Vitamin E||Potent antioxidant that protects cells from damage|
|Vitamin K||Important for blood clotting and bone health|
|Magnesium||Supports enzyme function, immune system, and nutrient absorption|
|Iron||Oxygenates blood and transports oxygen throughout the body|
|Amino Acids||Builds proteins and neurotransmitters|
|Enzymes||Aids digestion and nutrient absorption|
As obligate carnivores, cats require certain nutrients like vitamins A and K that are difficult to obtain from an all-meat diet. Wheatgrass helps provide these essential vitamins and minerals.
Wheatgrass May Provide Digestive Benefits
Wheatgrass contains enzymes and fiber that may support your cat’s digestive health. Enzymes help break down food for improved nutrient absorption. The fiber in wheatgrass can also promote regular bowel movements and keep your cat’s GI tract running smoothly.
Some studies have found wheatgrass juice may help reduce digestive issues like constipation, diarrhea, and irritable bowel syndrome in humans. The nutrients in wheatgrass support the cells of the stomach and intestines, allowing for better digestion. Your cat may instinctively chew on wheatgrass when they are having tummy troubles.
Wheatgrass Has Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Inflammation is the root of many chronic diseases. Wheatgrass contains powerful anti-inflammatory compounds that can decrease systemic inflammation. The antioxidants in wheatgrass scavenge free radicals and reduce oxidative stress on the body.
Studies show wheatgrass’s anti-inflammatory effects may help with conditions like arthritis, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. If your cat suffers from inflammatory issues, they may turn to wheatgrass for relief.
It May Help Detoxify Harmful Compounds
Wheatgrass supporters believe it has potent detoxification abilities. The nutrients in wheatgrass may help support liver function and neutralize heavy metals, pollutants, and other toxins.
Some proponents claim wheatgrass can even counteract chemotherapy drugs or environmental radiation due to its high chlorophyll content. More research is needed, but your cat may seek out wheatgrass if they are looking to purify their body.
Wheatgrass Supports Oral Health
Chewing on wheatgrass can be beneficial for your cat’s dental hygiene. Wheatgrass acts as a natural toothbrush, cleaning plaque and bacteria from their teeth. Its fiber also helps scrape away tartar and prevent gum disease.
Along with cleaning their teeth, wheatgrass may freshen your cat’s breath. Bacteria are often the cause of foul feline breath, so wheatgrass can reduce odor issues.
It Contains Powerful Antioxidants
Antioxidants are important nutrients that counteract oxidative damage from free radicals. Wheatgrass contains vitamin C, vitamin E and chlorophyll, all of which are potent antioxidants.
These antioxidants protect cells against instability and mutations. They can help reduce inflammation and prevent certain diseases in both humans and animals.
Your cat likely consumes wheatgrass to take advantage of its antioxidant activity. These nutrients are essential for neutralizing toxins and pollutants they encounter on a daily basis.
Wheatgrass May Help Prevent Cancer
Some research indicates wheatgrass may have anti-cancer abilities. The nutrients in wheatgrass, particularly chlorophyll, may impede cancer cell growth and development.
One study found wheatgrass extract restricted the spread of cancer cells and induced apoptosis (programmed cell death) in several cancer cell lines. The antioxidants in wheatgrass also neutralize carcinogens and protect DNA from damage.
While more research is needed, wheatgrass shows promise for cancer prevention. If your cat has dealt with cancer in the past, wheatgrass may help protect against recurrence.
It Provides a Variety of Trace Minerals
In addition to vitamins and antioxidants, wheatgrass contains an array of trace minerals like zinc, selenium, copper and iron. These minerals serve vital roles in enzyme function, immune support, metabolism and nutrient utilization.
As carnivores, meat-eating cats can sometimes lack optimal levels of key minerals. The diverse mineral content of wheatgrass helps fill potential nutritional gaps.
Wheatgrass May Boost Energy Levels
Thanks to its nutritional content, wheatgrass is thought to increase vitality and energy. Studies show wheatgrass may enhance athletic performance in humans. It provides fuel for exercise while decreasing muscle fatigue.
Your energetic kitty may view wheatgrass as a natural stimulant. The nutrients provide a sustained energy boost to keep them active all day long.
It Has a Pleasant Taste and Texture
Cats enjoy chewing on wheatgrass simply because of its palatable taste and texture. Wheatgrass has a sweet, grassy flavor that intrigues feline taste buds.
The soft, pliable blades make for a satisfying chew experience. Cats love to gnaw and nibble on wheatgrass as a form of oral entertainment.
How to Feed Wheatgrass Safely
While wheatgrass has many benefits, there are some safety precautions to keep in mind when feeding it to your cat:
- Start slowly – Introduce small amounts at first to ensure your cat tolerates it well.
- No mold or wilting – Only feed fresh, organic wheatgrass. Discard any that is moldy or decaying.
- Rinse before use – Rinse wheatgrass to remove dirt, chemicals or mold spores.
- Don’t force it – Offer wheatgrass freely but don’t force your cat to eat it if they seem disinterested.
- Supervise – When first introducing wheatgrass, watch to make sure your cat is eating it properly.
- No fertilizers – Use wheatgrass grown without chemical pesticides or fertilizers.
Talk to your veterinarian before introducing wheatgrass if your cat has any health conditions or takes medications. Some cats are simply not interested in wheatgrass no matter how nutritious it may be. Respect your cat’s preferences and don’t force them to eat it if they refuse.
The Bottom Line
When given the chance, most cats will readily chew on wheatgrass. They instinctively turn to wheatgrass for its digestible source of nutrients and plant compounds that are lacking in their diet. Wheatgrass provides vitamins, minerals, detoxification, cancer-fighting antioxidants, anti-inflammatory effects and more. It also promotes oral health as an edible toothbrush.
While wheatgrass is highly beneficial, introduce it slowly and supervise your cat to ensure they tolerate it well. Offer wheatgrass in moderation as an occasional supplement, not a diet staple. Understand your cat may avoid wheatgrass altogether, even given its stellar nutritional profile. Respect their preferences and focus instead on other ways to provide a balanced, species-appropriate diet.