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Home > Cats > 5 Types of Cat Grass & How to Grow It (With Care Tips)

5 Types of Cat Grass & How to Grow It (With Care Tips)

cat sniffing at a vase of cat grass

Cats are carnivores: they prefer meat over everything else and don’t like carbs, fruits, or vegetables that much. However, they do have a soft side for a specific type of grass. You’ve probably already caught your feline once or twice snacking on some greens. Or maybe you already know about its benefits and include cat grass in your pet’s diet.

In any case, there are quite a few cat grass varieties out there, and they all have perks for our furballs. So, which grass type will be best for your cat? How do you grow it manually? Today, we’ll cover all five grass types and their pros, learn how to cultivate them and share essential care tips. Here goes!


What Is Cat Grass?

Often mistaken for catnip or mint, cat grass (sometimes called “pet grass”) is NOT the same thing. Instead, it’s a collective term that’s used to describe a short range of grass types that are (relatively) easy to grow for the average pet owner. They are beneficial for cats and help their digestive systems work better. Low-maintenance, cheap, and highly accessible, cat grass is any feline parent’s best friend.

You won’t need to have a backyard or a garden to cultivate it: cat grass is well-suited for indoor environments and is quick to grow. All you have to do is get the seeds (barley, rye, oat, orchard, or wheat), create the right conditions, and take proper care of the grass while it sprouts. Also, don’t forget to water, trim, and resow the grass. Let’s talk about that in more detail next.

The 5 Types of Cat Grass

1. Oat Grass

Oat Grass
Image Credit: Pixabay

Looking for pet grass with the best flavor? Opt for oat grass. It’s rich in soluble fiber, meaning the cat’s digestive system will thank it for chewing on this grass. Add a healthy dose of protein and other nutritional elements, and you’ll get an all-around solid, beneficial snack for the feline.

2. Barley Grass

Image Credit: Madeleine Steinbach, Shutterstock

Cats might not have a sweet tooth, but they’ll still enjoy the sweet flavor of barley grass. Plus, just like oat grass, it doesn’t just taste good: thanks to the high concentration of fibers, this grass has a strong laxative effect. Barley is rich in nutrients, too, and will serve as an extra source of protein for your fluffy family member. It grows 14 inches tall.

3. Ryegrass

Image Credit: JumpStory

Cat grass has a very short lifespan: depending on the temperature, humidity levels, and sun exposure, it will only last for 1–3 weeks. Ryegrass is the longest-lasting and most durable of all the cat grasses, though. Thus, if you’re looking for a variety that will stay fresh and healthy for a bit longer, this grass will be a better pick.

4. Wheatgrass

A Bengal Cat Sitting Beside Wheatgrass on a White Surface_
Image Credit: Helena Jankovičová Kováčová, Pexels

Feline parents in the market for the most beneficial pet grass should go with wheatgrass. It packs more vitamins and minerals than any of the other types and contains 70% chlorophyll. Most cats enjoy it, too, as it’s not too sweet or sour and helps fight inflammation. Humans like wheatgrass as well: some folks add it to their smoothies for that extra “kick”.

5. Orchard Grass

Orchard Grass
Image Credit: JumpStory

This one’s not as popular as the other four, but it’s still worth your furry friend’s attention. Orchard grass is a cool-season perennial plant (not annual) that’s often used as hay grass. Plus, domestic cats find it delicious (it’s very sweet), and the grass doesn’t have any diseases or bug problems. Do keep in mind that it’s also quite tall: the leaves reach 12 inches in height.


How to Grow Cat Grass: Essential Tips

Start by investing in a large container and filling it 2/3 of the way with organic potting soil. Next, sow the seeds (1/4 inch deep), top them up with soil, and add some water (50 ml). When planting in rows, there should be a one-inch gap between the seeds. Now, cat grass does, indeed, thrive indoors. Still, for the best results, plant it outdoors in mid-spring (right after frost; don’t plant while the ground is still frozen).

To stimulate growth, cover the container with plastic wrap (not too tightly); remove it in 3–7 days. Put the pot in a dark, warm place, and make sure the soil is moist (but don’t overwater it). Give the seeds 2–3 days, and you should see them sprouting. As for the sun, 2–3 hours of sunlight should be enough; direct exposure might burn the seeds, though. When growing indoors, place the pot close to a south-facing window.

Caring for Cat Grass

Alright, now that the grass is planted and growing, here’s what you need to do:
  • Keep it trimmed. We recommend cutting off at least an inch of the grass per week. If you don’t do it, the leaves will get too big and start to droop, which is not what we want. You should do this even if there’s more than one cat in the house and they all enjoy chewing on pet grass.
  • Implement pest control. Just like most plants, cat grass is a big magnet for destructive bugs. The list includes slugs, aphids, and white worms. Don’t use any insecticides: they might hurt the felines. Instead, get rid of the pests using a strong water stream and shaking the container.
  • Consider mulching the grass. If you’re growing it outside, mulching will keep the weeds suppressed. Naturally, most weeds are stronger and more resilient than cat grass. So, if you don’t fight the weeds off, they will steal most of the nutrients in the soil, making pet grass wither and die.
  • Don’t forget about resowing. To keep cat grass fresh and healthy, resow it regularly. The seeds cost next to nothing, and you should resow the grass twice a month (or more often, depending on how many cats you have). This way, the four-legged buds will always have access to fresh grass.
  • Soak the seeds before planting. Fill a glass full of water and let the seeds soak in as much water as they can for 6–8 hours. After that, rinse the seeds thoroughly and put them into the container/planter. Again, cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil. This is an optional, yet highly effective
  • Water adequately. Water the seeds generously upon planting to aid in growth. After that, only add water when the soil is completely dry. Overwatering is bad news for cat grass: it will stimulate mold growth and weaken the grass. Check the soil with your fingers and water/mist sparingly.

When Will It Be Ready for the Cat?

On average, it takes a couple of weeks for cat grass to grow. Yes, it’s really fast! Once the grass reaches 4–6 inches in height, that means the kitty can feast on it. So, keep an eye on it. This is important: while the grass is still developing, keep the cats away from it. Otherwise, they will devour it quickly and you’ll have to start over.

Cat eating grass
Image Credit: Alexas Fotos, Pixabay

Should You Mix Different Cat Grass Types?

Cats like diversity in their food. So, to turn the grass into a more delicious snack, it would be best to plant different varieties in the same container. You can even sow the seeds of all five pet grass types in one pot! Or plant the seeds in different planters but put them in the same room or even in the same corner. This way, the cat will have more than one grass on the menu.

But wait: will the feline see the difference? Yes, it certainly will! After a while, you might start noticing that it’s favoring one of the grass types over the rest (this doesn’t always happen, though). If that’s the case with your cat, you can get rid of the rest. But only do this after consulting with a veterinarian.

Why Do Cats Like This Grass?

Cat grass is an annual edible plant (for both felines and humans). If you’re looking for new ways to enrich your cat’s diet with extra vitamins, cat grass will be a great choice. But still—why are kitties fond of it? What’s so special about this grass that makes it stand out?

Here’s a quick look at the pros:
  • It has a high nutritional value. While cat grass won’t be able to replace traditional wet or dry food, it will add some much-needed nutrients to your cat’s daily ration. The list includes vitamins (both A and D), folic acid, chlorophyll, and niacin. That’s why many cat parents like to use it as an ingredient for salads.
  • The grass tastes good for cats. To a human, it’s an acquired taste, but for most cats, this grass is quite a delicious snack. It has a fresh flavor and helps “counter” extreme temps during the summer heat. Chlorophyll, in turn, enriches the blood with oxygen, which is very important for energetic, active cats.
  • It can “jump-start” the digestive system. Just like us, kitties rely heavily on fibers (among other compounds) for bowel movement. Cat grass serves as a strong, natural laxative for your pet. Instead of buying expensive meds and worrying whether they’ll be good for your cat or not, just let it devour this grass.
  • Cats eat it to clean their stomachs. This might not sound pretty, but sometimes, cats swallow tiny bits of their own coat (like when licking themselves), and all that hair ends up in their stomachs. That’s why they’re often spotted eating this grass: it makes cats throw up and cough out the “alien elements” they can’t digest.
  • The grass helps them relax. Cats get stressed or anxious at times, and, for some reason, pet grass helps them calm down. We’re also happy to say that once cats get used to being around the grass and chewing on it, they become less aggressive. That means less furniture clawing!
adult cat with white-tabby fur lying in the garden on grass
Image Credit: Tomas Florian, Shutterstock

Is It Safe for Felines to Eat Cat Grass?

Yes, cat grass is safe for kitties to nibble on. In contrast to catnip, which might cause addiction, this grass doesn’t affect the pet’s “happiness” receptors or make them aggressive. Therefore, your cat won’t eat too much of it and make its own tummy hurt. Our furry buds usually know exactly how much cat grass they need to eat. But, as a general rule, it shouldn’t make up more than 10% of their daily diet.

That said, before introducing your fluffy friend to cat grass, talk to a vet. True, wheat, oat, and all the other pet grass types are safe. But the nutritional needs of every pet animal are different. And one more thing: you can, of course, mix the grass with wet or dry food. However, it might be better to just place the container in an accessible area and let the cat decide when to eat it. Just make sure the feline can’t push it down!

My Cat Is Spitting Up the Grass: Is It Okay?

One of the biggest benefits of cat grass is that it helps felines get rid of swallowed hairballs. So, if the cat is spitting out some grass followed by hairballs, there’s nothing to worry about, as it’s completely natural. In contrast, if you see blood coming out of the pet’s mouth, take it to a vet (or, at the very least, get in contact with them).

Sometimes, when the cat eats the grass too quickly, some of it gets stuck inside its throat. That’s when the cat will start to drool and vomit excessively. Other signs include constant swallowing and a bad smell from the feline’s mouth/nose. Don’t try to remove the grass blade manually! Let a veterinarian handle that instead. They’ll sedate the cat and only then get the job done.

Brazilian Shorthair cat lying on grass
Image Credti: Caio Carvalho Studio, Shutterstock

What Will Happen to Other Plants in the House?

After you introduce pet grass, the feline will, most likely, leave the rest of your plants alone. Now, while kitties deserve all the best in the world, they still need supervision. Otherwise, they might ruin a beautiful flower that you’ve been growing for years by chewing on it! Thankfully, when there’s enough pet grass in the house, the chances of your cat shifting its focus to other plants will be low.

You should still remove any flowers/plants that are toxic for cats from the house. We’re talking about lilies, figs, jade plants, and eucalyptus, to name a few. Sometimes, cat grass has the opposite effect: instead of avoiding other plants, cats decide to taste them all as well. So, be careful!



To keep your cat happy, you have to take care of its digestive system. And no, feeding it premium-quality food and fresh water won’t always cut it. Sometimes, cats swallow something they weren’t supposed to, and pet grass is the only way for a feline to get rid of it. In other cases, they need fibers for that laxative effect. Cat grass has nutritional value, too.

It’s a low-calorie, yet nutrient-rich snack that tastes and feels good for a kitty to chew on. The best thing about it—there’s nothing hard about cultivating oat, barley, wheat, orchard, or ryegrass. You can grow it indoors so that the furball has access to it 24/7. Just make sure to follow our tips!

Featured Image Credit: Okssi, Shutterstock

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