My Cat Eats Plants!
What Makes Cats Eat Plants?
Does Your Cat Like to Eat Grass and Plants?
Many cat owners groan in frustration to find a treasured houseplant chomped to bits because Fluffy took a liking to it.
And owners of indoor/outdoor cats have often seen Kitty cough up the remains of grasses or other plants they've eaten while roaming around the yard.
The problem with cats eating houseplants is almost universal (show me a cat that doesn't eat your potted plant, and I'll show you a suspect feline!).
But what should you do, if anything, if your beloved kitty eats your indoor plants? And how can you protect the plants from being chewed and frayed by those sharp little teeth?
Here's the dirt on why fluffy's preferred snack has leaves and resides in a clay pot. Oh yes, don't forget to take the quiz below to see how your kitty's diet plan stacks up with the late-night snacking other cat owners observe!
Cat Video | Cute Cat Eats a Plant!
Is It Normal For Cats to Eat Plants?
According to the ASPCA, it's quite common and normal for cats to chew on the greenery, at least to some degree.
Perhaps the cat is being playful, and those leaves bobbing about in the breeze from the air conditioning vent are oh-so-tempting to bat around and chomp.
Some cats figure out which of their behaviors annoy you and try to get your attention by doing exactly what you don't want them to do. Sound familiar?
Kittens are playful by nature, and the fronds and vines hanging from the pot on the floor or the planter on the shelf are natural attractions for them to explore. Since plants are not stationary (their leaves and blossoms can move), their attraction is different from hard objects and can entertain them for hours. Or at least until they've finally gnawed off all the leaves.
But cats that are persistent in eating plants could be suffering from various types of disorders that should be investigated. If your cat won't stop eating your plants, she might need a trip to the vet to see if she has other problems.
Health Guide for Cat Owners
Feline Diseases | Health Problems That Cause Cats to Eat Plants
There are a few conditions that could be causing your pet to eat the wrong things:
Compulsive Cat Behaviors:
Do you know people who tap their fingers, crack knuckles or can't resist fidgeting around? Cats are no different.
A cat with a compulsive disorder might exhibit it through movement, or through other behaviors, such as eating the wrong things.
Eating Disorder - Pica:
If your cat regularly eats inanimate things such as pieces of toys, string, rubber bands or other non-food objects, the kitty might have 'pica.'
Sufferers of pica (whether human or feline) eat unusual things that are generally not food-related. Some humans chew on pencils (and swallow the bits), or pick at their skin flakes and consume them (not pleasant to watch, by the way).
Since cats can't determine what is harmful to eat compared to harmless nibbling (not that any of it is harmless), this can cause problems if your kitty ingests something that creates a blockage in their digestive tract.
What Does Your Cat Do?
Does Your Cat Eat Plants?
How to Stop Bad Behaviors in Cats
How to Stop a Cat From Eating Plants
If your cat habitually chows down on plants in your yard or house, let your vet know. The first thing they may want to do is run a few tests to see if there are nutritional deficiencies that can be adjusted through diet.
The vet might also suggest that you contact a pet behavior specialist. This sounds a bit extreme, but a person trained in animal behavior can give you strategies for retraining the cat.
If possible, move plants out of the cat's reach (or at least to a less-appealing place).
Put the plants in an area the cat is not permitted to enter, or on a shelf beyond leaping range.
If you see your cat headed for a plant, and you haven't yet dealt with their behavior effectively, distract them with another activity to help them stay away from harm.
Watch for Poisonous Plants:
Check to make certain your house or yard does not contain poisonous plants. The list of plants that can be toxic is pretty extensive, and many common plants or flowers are on the list. in come cases, the harmful effects might be more slow-acting than an outright toxic reaction, such as through causing organ damage that takes time to develop.
Schefflera, for example, can cause oral irritation, inflammation in the mouth, vomiting and other reactions.
Chrysanthemums, while very common in floral arrangement and almost universally popular, also cause gastric irritation.
If you have English Ivy (or one of its many variations) growing around your yard or on your walls and fences, your kitty can get diarrhea and severe intestinal pain.
Lilies are particularly toxic, so check carefully for those plants in your environment. Your cat can get kidney damage from eating these beautiful plants.