You may be using hay to make a comfortable and cozy for your cat and your cat be nibbling on the hay, even eating it. So you may be thinking can cats eat hay? Is it safe for them? Read on to find out exactly that and much more.
Yes, cats can eat hay but they provide no nutritional benefits to them. Hay may be ideal for herbivorous animals because they can digest it but cats’ digestive systems cannot digest hay. Hay consists of cellulose that is not digestible by cats and has zero-calorie value for cats.
Is hay toxic to cats?
No, hay is not toxic to cats. Hay is the grass that has been cut and dried which is used as fodder for large grazing animals.
Hay does not contain any naturally occurring toxins. But they may be contaminated with toxic compounds like ammonia or pesticides. Sometimes, toxic weeds can also be part of the harvested hay. Eating contaminated hay may harm your cat.
Hay can induce vomiting in cats, but other than that it is quite harmless.
Why do cats eat hay?
Although the exact reason why cats eat hay is not known, some assumptions are listed below.
Cats eat grass because they like to throw up
Cats do not actually enjoy vomiting, but they do it to make them feel better.
Often, cats in the wild eat their prey whole. This may include fur, feathers, or bones. Vomiting allows the cat to eliminate these things which are not readily digested and can make them uncomfortable.
Cats eat grass for the folic acid
Cat’s milk contains folic acid which is important for the kittens’ health. Folic acid helps the body produce hemoglobin, a protein that moves oxygen in the blood.
A diet lacking in folic acid may prompt the cat to nibble on grass which contains folic acid as well.
This sounds quite plausible but it doesn’t explain why cats on a healthy and nutritious diet having folic acid also eat grass.
Hay helps keep the cat’s digestive system in working order
Hay contains a large amount of cellulose, which is a form of indigestible fiber. Cats eat hay to keep their digestive system in good working order and also helps in constipation.
Cats eat grass when stressed
Sometimes stressed cats may find that eating hay or grass can help them calm down.
Can I give my cat hay to eat?
IMPORTANTYes, cats can consume hay but they get no nutritional benefits from it. Hay is not part of a cat’s natural diet. Cat’s are obligatory carnivores, which means they should eat meat. A plant-based diet is not ideal for cats because their digestive systems are not meant to digest plants.
Most cats throw up after eating hay or grass. Sometimes they don’t and this doesn’t mean something is wrong with your cat.
Based on the amount of hay eaten, a cat may throw up or not.
If your cat is constipated, hasn’t passed stool for more than a day or two, is crying or straining in a litter box, or is showing general discomfort, you should consult a veterinarian immediately.
When to be concerned about your cat eating hay?
- If your cat is eating grass or hay every night, then it may be a matter of concern. It may indicate a digestive problem and you should consult a veterinarian as soon as possible.
- If your cat is vomiting blood, it may be possible that it has ingested toxins in the form of pesticides or some toxic weed. If this is the case, take them to a veterinarian immediately.
How to stop cats from eating hay?
If you are really worried about your cat eating hay as part of its diet, you can try giving it some fresh grass to see if that stops it from eating hay.
Because grass has more water than hay, it may be easier on their digestive systems.
Grow the grass at home to be sure that it is free of toxins or anything harmful.
Keep the grass somewhere near your cat’s food source so it is readily available to them when needed.
If you have other herbivorous pets like rabbits at home, make sure you do not keep hay meant for the rabbits within your cat’s reach.
In conclusion, can cats eat hay?
CONCLUSIONCats can eat hay but it is not an ideal diet for cats. A cat’s digestive systems cannot digest hay because it contains cellulose that is not digestible by cats and has zero-calorie value for them.