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What Is Cat Grass?
Cat grass is a mixture of grasses typically grown from barley, oat, wheat, or rye seeds. The most common types of cat grass are wheatgrass, barley grass, oat grass, and ryegrass. Cat grass is a popular digestive aid among cats and other animals. While cats enjoy both cat grass and catnip, the two are not interchangeable: catnip is a perennial plant from the mint (Lamiaceae) family that produces a behavioral reaction when consumed.
Why Grow Cat Grass?
Cat grass is particularly beneficial for pet owners. It provides a safe and fibrous snack for animals, serving as a laxative to aid their digestive systems, and as a vomit-inducer that makes it easier to cough up indigestible materials. Aside from being a healthy salad mix for your pet, this type of grass can also deter animals away from houseplants and crops in your garden.
Humans also consume cat grass for its vitamin content—cat grass contains folic acid, niacin, vitamins A and D, as well as chlorophyll. Wheatgrass, a type of cat grass, is often added to smoothies or taken in shot-form for people who want to boost their vitamin intake.
How to Plant Cat Grass
You can buy cat grass kits from a local pet store or try to grow your own. For DIY cat grass you can grow from oat, barley, rye, and wheatgrass seeds, check out the following steps below:
- Sow your seeds. Sow cat grass seeds directly into your soil (for growing indoors or outdoors), about a quarter-inch deep. If you are planting in rows, ensure they are one inch apart. Cat grass can grow indoors all year round, but should only be planted outside during spring, after the threat of frost has passed.
- Germinate. For indoor growing, keep your soil moist. Partially cover your planting pot in plastic wrap and place in a warm and dark place. After two to three days, your cat grass seedlings should start sprouting.
- Provide direct sunlight. Cat grass will need plenty of sunlight while it’s growing. Make sure your cat grass receives direct sun outdoors, and if growing indoors, place near a windowsill that can also provide full sun.
- Firm the soil. Firm the soil lightly and keep it evenly moist. Be careful not to overwater, as it can ruin the roots.
How to Care for Cat Grass
There are several steps you can take to ensure your cat grass will continue to grow even after your pets or animals chew on it:
- Trim it back. Even though animals will nibble on cat grass, it’s best to trim back at least one inch every other week to prevent the leaves from flopping over.
- Resow often. Resow your cat grass seeds to promote healthy and fresh growth.
- Check for pests. Make sure your grass is free from disease and pests, such as aphids, slugs, and white worms.
- Mulch. Mulching your cat grass can keep weeds smothered, which will compete with your grass’s natural resources and inhibit its growth.
- Water sparingly. Only water your cat grass once the top of the soil dries to prevent soaking your plants. Overwatering can lead to mold.
Think Like a Pro
Community activist and self-taught gardener Ron Finley shows you how to garden in any space, nurture your plants, and grow your own food.View Class
Grow your own food with Ron Finley, the self-described "Gangster Gardener." Get the MasterClass All-Access Pass and learn how to cultivate fresh herbs and vegetables, keep your house plants alive, and use compost to make your community - and the world - a better place.