What Is Cat Grass – Growing Grass For Cats To Enjoy

By: Becca Badgett, Co-author of How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden

Growing cat grass is a great way tokeep your kitties occupied and indoors during the cold and snowy days ofwinter. Planting cat grassis simple and rewarding when the felines in the household pounce and devour it.

Grass for Cats

You may wonder why your cats insiston going outside, no matter the weather. When you look, you’ll often find themmunching and chewing on blades of grass in the yard. Cats often do this whenthere is a deficiency in their diet or possibly just to fulfill somelong-established instinct. (Dogs may do this as well.)

You can easily fulfil their needsby a few containers of freshly grown grass placed throughout the household. Thismay also stop undesirable behaviors, like your animals chewing on or eatingyour indoor plants.

If you find damaged houseplantsregularly, this is an incentive to growing cat grass as an alternative to the felineseating your houseplants.

What is Cat Grass?

Cat grass is normally a mix ofseeds of grasses like wheat,oat,barleyor rye.These can be planted and grown indoors in a bright, sunny window. It is adifferent plant than catnip.If your outdoor temperatures don’t get to freezing in winter, you might be ableto grow it outside.

Ideally, this grass grows intemperatures around 70 degrees F. (21 C.), but it will grow in lowertemperatures too. Experiment with growing temps for this plant to learn what isbest in your location.

How to Grow Cat Grass

Purchase seeds at your local petstore or home improvement center. You may also find kits that includeeverything you need. If you purchase seeds only, you’ll need soil andcontainers in which to plant. Plastic containers are safest if they’ll begetting knocked or pulled about by the animal.

Adda few drain holes in the bottom. Fill halfway with soil and plant seeds aninch or two (2.5 to 5 cm.) deep. Keep the soil moist, but not soggy until seedssprout (within three days). Reduce watering at this point.

Move to a bright spot with morningsun. Allow the grass to grow for about a week and position it for the feline.As you know, it may take a day or so for interest to develop in a new plant.Immediately start a new container growing.

Growing cat grass indoors is agreat way to help keep your animals safe from the elements. It may also preventthem from eating outdoor grass that contains fertilizers or pesticides. Hopefully,it will stop them from damaging other indoor plants.

It is easy to grow, so if they likeit, it is a win-win for all concerned.

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How To Grow Cat Grass: Planting Cat Grass In Containers - garden

How to Successfully Grow Cat Grass – Your Cat Will Thank You!
by Dawn Lesley Stewart

My two super-active male cats love their greens. Since they are indoor kitties, it’s up to me to provide a “lawn” for them to chow down. Without my providing them Cat Grass, the boys try sampling from the houseplant buffet, which for me, is not an option.

Cat Grass is not the same as the grass one grows for the lawn. Cat Grass is usually comprised of several types of grasses and oats. The seeds are large and easy to see, which makes for easy planting. Cat Grass does not spread like the grass in a lawn. Cat Grass grows for between two to three months and then dies. The cats can keep nibbling the grass to within a few inches of the soil, and the grass will grow back. However, because of the type of plants they are, the grass/oat seed combination will not reproduce. It will die, and the container will need to be replanted.

Cat Grass seed can be purchased in seed packets or in kits. The kits usually consist of a container, dirt, and the seed. Often the containers provided are cheap plastic tubs, though sometimes a nice ceramic container can be found such as the Chia Cat Grass Planter.

These are instructions for growing cat grass. After experimenting with several methods, this is what works best for me.

1. Find a small to medium size planter. It is best if the planter has some weight to it so that when the cats are eating from it, the planter won’t tip over or move too much around the floor. The planter also has to have low enough sides so that the cats can easily eat from it. Holes in the bottom of the pot are not necessary since the grass is minimally watered.

2. Even if a kit comes with dirt, that soil is probably not the best quality. If you have planting soil at home, mix some of the nutrient rich planting soil with the dirt provided. This will give the seed a good growing medium.

3. Fill the planter most of the way full with the planting soil.

4. Sprinkle the cat grass seed liberally across the top of the earth. Make sure the seed you use is pesticide free. Since the seed is large, you will easily be able to see how much seed has landed on the soil.

5. Cover the grass seed with a sparse amount of dirt. The seed prefers to be close to the surface, so don’t cover it too deep.

6. Water the seeds in the planter. You don’t need a lot of water. I take my cupped hands and fill them with water from the faucet, and then I sprinkle the water over the soil. This method does not disturb the seed too much.

7. After planting and watering the seed, take a piece of clear plastic wrap and loosely drape it over the container. This helps trap the moisture and warmth, encouraging germination. I place the planter atop the refrigerator in my sunny kitchen. That way the cats stay out of the germinating grass.

8. In about three days, you will notice the grass is beginning to grow. Remove the plastic wrap. Keep the grass sparsely watered. It does not need a lot of moisture. Keeping the earth damp is fine, but don’t let the container fill with water.

9. Cat Grass is quick to grow. I let it achieve a height of about three to four inches before setting the container on the floor for the cats to graze. Pull the container of grass away from the felines when the grass is mowed to about an inch or two from the ground. Since the grass rapidly grows, it will be ready for munching again the next day.

10. For me, the cat grass lasts anywhere from two to three months before it begins to die. Then I replant the grass, starting another container.

Cat Grass is very easy to grow. The cats love the treat, and it fills a nutritional need. When I don’t provide the grass, the boys go searching for something “green,” and my houseplants take a severe beating. Cat Grass seed and kits are available at many pet stores or online.

Happy Gardening !

Dawn Lesley Stewart has enjoyed organic gardening for over forty years, learning at a young age from her father. First love is vegetable gardening followed by her interest in butterfly and bee habitats. She considers her yard a sanctuary for birds and wildlife. Her writing has appeared online and in print and has won writing awards. Dawn is the author of Harriet’s Horrible Hair Day (picture book), Mist-Seer (paranormal novel), and her newest book 300-Plus Quilting Tips, Tricks & Techniques features over 35 years of quilting knowledge.

Copyright 2010 Dawn Lesley Stewart

If you are looking for something to read, or to give as a gift,
I hope you will consider purchasing one of my books. Check out my books about quilting!

Avoid Growing Plants That Are Toxic To Cats

Grow cat safe plants, make a list of plants that are toxic to cats– When doing this, leave the plants that contain calcium oxalate as they don’t possess a real threat and are mildly toxic. We also published a list of Plants that are toxic to dogs a while ago, take help of it. Again, you can exclude plants from your not growing list that contain ONLY calcium oxalate crystals like pothos, peace lily, philodendron or Chinese evergreen!

Many of our readers suggested through emails and comments that we should not label plants that contain calcium oxalate as toxic and we are in agreement.

Research to find out what are the most poisonous plants for cats! Some plants that can be toxic to cats are the flame lily, tiger lily, azalea, sago palm, oleander, cyclamen, daffodils, etc.

Which Grasses Are Best for Cats?

While you can’t really go wrong with any of the different types of cat grass you’ll find available in pet stores, Waldrop says he prefers to see his clients grow alfalfa grass, as it’s been shown to help with preventing and treating kidney disease in cats.

Oat is also a great choice, he said, because it acts as a digestive aid to calm the intestinal tract, is high in protein and soluble fiber, and contains levels of iron, manganese, zinc, and B vitamins. (Learn more about the power of oats here.)

For specific questions about your pet’s diet, always consult with your veterinarian.

I went to Tractor Supply, a farm store, I'm sure there are others, and bought a 50 Lb bag of oat seed (hull on) for about $14.00. Horses like it. I put a 3/4 cup of seeds in wet dirt in a 12" clay or plastic pot drip tray catcher with some holes drilled in it for drainage. Cover the holes w windowscreen to minimize dirt leakage. Dirt's about 1.5 inches deep. The cat loves it. Once sprouted, after about a week, it'll last 2-3 weeks before becoming rootbound and drying back. There is no stopping that, you're growing a big grass in a small space. Well watered, but not too soggy, keeps the stuff going the longest. Full sun at least part of the day helps grow thicker, juicier stems that my cat at least likes better. I keep two going at all times.

Edited upon further experience: Regular fertilization with a weak fertilizer, I use Schulz African violet fertilizer because I have it handy, keeps the stuff green longer, as does 'mowing' with a pair of scissors when it gets over 6-8 inches (20cm) tall.

The grasses chance of long-term survival were nixed at the moment when the seed were planted in the pot.

Compare your pot of wheat, oat or other grains 1 to a grain field: The individual plants need a lot more space to grow to their full height. The grains for cat grass are planted very close to each other (intentional overcrowding), allowing them to grow only for a short while befor the natural process of elimination leads to their death. This is intentional because a) that's the only way to get a nice "full" pot instead of a few meager stalks and b) because the customer has to come back and buy a new pot occasionally. Without assuming "unethical" motives, the growers know that most cats prefer soft (=young) leaves over old, tough ones and usually just nibble off the ends.

If you want to grow your own grass, you can plant the grains somewhat sparser than in commercial pots (but not too sparsely) in well-draining potting soil. A rather shallow container (2-4 in / 5-10 cm) will do as the roots won't go too deep. Let grow in a light place, possibly even outdoors until the desired lenght is reached. Do not make the pot available to your cat before the plants have grown to 2 inces at least because the roots should intertwine or your cat may pull the plants out of the pot, making a major mess. Ask me, how I know.

When the blades have been nibbeled on and the pot starts to look well-chewed, you can put it back outside and "mow the lawn", meaning you can cut back the grass to about 1-1/2 inch and let it grow back. If you are really lucky, you may repeat this a second time.

By rotating two or three pots in various stages of growth and re-gowth it should be easy to have some available for your cat at all times.

I personally choose not to fertilize my cat grass because I don't want my cat to eat any residue, even if it's organic and because I know that I will be "using" the pot only for a limited time.

1 I'm explicitly talking about grain-based "cat grass" only because I have read reports of some kinds of Cyperus (also sold as cat grass) causing cuts and other injuries. Better safe than sorry, IMHO.

Leaves are green. There are very few exceptions in healthy living plants, and most of the exceptions are partially green with red, yellow, orange, or white patterns or they look white, but upon closer inspection they are actually whitish, bluish-green, and not pure white. The pigments that give all leaves their color are essential for the plant’s ability to harness energy from the sun and make sugars in the process we know as photosynthesis.

But every once in a while, a completely white seedling sprouts from a seed. This happened with some basil I grew a few years ago.

The green and albino seedlings came up at the same time, but the albino seedling never grew true leaves, and eventually withered and died.

My albino basil survived only a few days. Without any chlorophyll—the green pigment necessary for photosynthesis—this seedling was doomed. That is the case with all albino plants. The gene mutation that gives rise to albino plants is fatal to the plant, because without the ability to make sugars, the plant runs out of energy to live.

So when I was perusing the online Burpee seed catalog and came across “variegated cat grass” I was curious. VERY curious, and perhaps you are, too.

How can this albino plant survive? (Photo permission from W. Atlee Burpee Company)

  • The term “variegated” implies that the leaves would be striped or multicolored, but in the picture it appears that there are all white leaves. What will this grass actually look like?
  • How long will it take to sprout?
  • How easy it to grow?
  • Is there enough green on those leaves for the grass to survive or will it die off like my basil?
  • If it does survive, how long can I keep it growing?

  • Would this make an awesome science activity for students in the classroom and at home to investigate the importance of chlorophyll in plants?

There was only one way to find the answers. I ordered the seeds and grew some variegated cat grass in our nature lab at the new Learning Center. You can do this in your classroom to find answers to my questions and your own.

Before I give you directions for growing cat grass, you may be wondering:

The cat grass you may have seen sold in pet stores is usually a type of wheat, or Triticum. Our “variegated cat grass” is a type of barley (Hordeum vulgare variegata). Both are cereal grains that have been cultivated as food for hundreds of years. Both are sold commercially as cat grass because some cats like to chew on the leaves. Not being a cat owner, I don’t know if cats actually like this stuff, but apparently it sells.

Variegated barley was the result of science experiments on genetic mutations in barley seeds in the 1920s. The hybrid barley seeds have been packaged and sold by different seed companies because…well, they’re attractive and intriguing—they caught my attention.

How to plant cat grass, barley, wheat, or any grass seeds

  • A container that will hold soil at a depth of at least 2 inches drainage holes are best, but not necessary
  • Variegated cat grass seeds (sold as “cat grass, variegated” and available at Burpee and other seed suppliers)
  • Potting soil
  • Water
  • A warm, sunny location for your plants

In less than a week, a few more than half of the twenty variegated cat grass seeds planted in this 4-inch pot grew to 4 – 6 inches tall. The taller plants are ready for a trim.

Fill the container with moist potting soil. Spread seeds on the surface of the soil. Cover seeds with a thin layer of moist soil and tamp the soil down so that most of the seeds are covered. It’s all right if you can see some of the seeds through the thin layer of soil. Place in a warm, bright location. The seeds will sprout in a few days, but may take a week depending on the room temperature.

If students plant their own individual pots, have them place 20 – 30 seeds in each 3-inch container. The seeds I bought came 300 to a pack, so that means you need at least two (maybe three) packs to have enough for everyone in the class.

Half of the 100 seeds planted in this 8-inch pot have sprouted, and more should be coming up soon.

You can also use the whole pack in a 8- to 10-inch container, or even spread more seeds in a foil baking pan filled with soil to grow a carpet of grass. The more densely you plant the seeds, the closer the plants will grow together and it will look and feel more like a healthy lawn. A sparser planting makes it easier to observe individual plants. It’s up to you how you want to do it, really.

Keep the grass in a warm, sunny location. Water when dry, but do not allow it to dry out. When the grass leaves are more than 3 inches tall, use a sharp pair of scissors to trim them to a uniform height just as you would mow a lawn. This will prevent the grass from going to seed and keep it alive longer. You can plant new seeds in the same planter to revitalize in two to three weeks when it starts looking a little tired.

Now the REAL science part:

Whether you make a single classroom planter or have each student plant her own pot, observe your variegated cat grass for the next four to six weeks, or even longer. Keep it watered and trimmed. Measure its growth. Take photos or sketch it to record how it grows and changes. Ask your own questions and try to find answers, and ultimately reach a conclusion about what happens to white plants. If you and your class are really interested, plant some more cat grass and change the procedure to test your own ideas. It’s that easy to do plant science in your classroom.

Want more albino plant science? Read on.

More activities for inquiring minds

You can experiment with other genetically modified albino seeds available through science supply companies.

Seed kits enable you to investigate different genetic traits, including the albino mutation.

Carolina Biological Supply Company sells hybrid corn that will grow white leaves and stems. I have planted these seeds and they work pretty well, but require a bright window or light and a warm environment to sprout successfully. A classroom kit contains soil, planting trays, and 500 seeds for a classroom investigation, and costs about $100. You can order just the seeds in packs of 100 genetic corn seeds that are all albino (90 percent of the seedlings will grow to be albino) for $18.50, or a green/albino mix—which means about 75 percent of seedlings will be green and 25 percent white, for $10.50. The latter enables you to compare the mutation to the normal strain.

Five days after planting, albino corn seedlings are beautiful, but ill-fated.

Nasco sells seeds and kits to investigate albino plants. Their “Observing the Growth of Mutant Corn Seeds” kit serves up to 40 students and costs $62.50. Nasco also has albino tobacco seeds with 3:1 green to white ratio, 1,200 seeds for $12.05. Tobacco seeds are smaller, and therefore more difficult for little fingers to handle than corn or barley. I have never tried growing them, but that might be my next science project this fall.

After a two months, my densely planted variegated cat grass is thriving at the nature lab, even though it no longer resembles the catalog photo.

The answer to my question? Yes! This is an awesome science activity for students because it’s easy and demonstrates something really important—in fact, something essential to our existence!

You don’t need to purchase the fancy kits to investigate why plants are green. You can get a lot of good science learning out of a pack of variegated cat grass. All you really need to do is look around you and notice the colors in nature. Do you see white leaves anywhere? If you do, then there is probably a science investigation waiting for you.

Watch the video: Was bringt Katzengras? Wofür ist Katzengras gut? Katzengras Alternative. Missverständnisse klären

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