Cats and Plants
Cats are 100% carnivores. However, every now and then you may notice your kitty nibbling at your houseplants, or even gobbling up some grass outside. Many folks are quick to assume this means the cat is sick, though this is not necessarily the case. As a matter of fact, cats often eat a bit of vegetable matter…and it’s good for them, too!
A Cat's Stomach & Digestive System
Because they are carnivores, cats have larger stomachs and very short, small intestine tracts. Meat is digested rather quickly and nutrients are easily absorbed during the short ride through the small intestine. Plant matter, however, takes longer to digest, and is not broken down as much as meat. It is known as “roughage” or fiber at this point. As it passes through the small intestine, not much is absorbed into their system, so the vegetable matter just keeps on moving through, taking with it whatever else happens to be in the intestine. When your cat eats plant matter, it is actually helping to keep its digestive system functioning properly!
Houseplants are not the best sources of roughage for your cat. In fact, some may be poisonous. There are a number of ways to discourage your cat from eating your houseplants.
Of course, don’t expect instant results. Cats are intelligent and may find some ways around your techniques. Be vigilant and keep trying- they’ll get the idea eventually. If all else fails, move the plants out of your cat’s reach.
Are your house plants poisonous to your pet? Here is a list of common plants that are toxic to animals:
This list is far from complete, so be sure to look up your specific plant! If you think your cat has eaten a poisonous plant, try to find which plant your cat ate and be sure to bring it with you to the vet. Most times, a cat will just get sick after nibbling on a toxic plant. However, better to be safe than sorry!