How Cat Grass Helps with Hairballs

Grass helps cats to self-medicate when they are feeling uncomfortable with a hairball in their digestive system.

  • Grass juice acts as a lubricant 
  • Cat grass acts as a roughage broom
  • It sweeps the hairball through and out of your cats’system
  • Provides your feline instant relief

Most cats suffer at some time with hairballs that can get trapped in their intestinal tract. The hairballs are formed from their constant grooming habits, as every time they lick themselves, they ingest a little of their hair.

Over time, the hair strands form into indigestible hairballs that need to be expelled through their poop or coughed up. If neither happens, your cat can suffer from a mass that becomes an impacted blockage within their digestive system that can be deadly.

This is when cat grass can be handy self-medication for your cat. A selective munch on some tasty grass, a retch or two, and out pops a soggy hairball that was causing them discomfort. With a satisfied smirk on its face, your cat will be back to their purring, happy selves.


What Does Your Cat Know About Grass that We Don’t Know?

  • Cat owners know that grass has been used instinctively throughout history by cats to self-medicate when they are feeling a bit blocked up.
  • The juice and fibre from the grass seem to get your cat’s digestive system moving again, therefore helping your cat to poop or cough out the offending hairball.
  • The roughage in cat grass is a natural tool that your cat utilizes to keep them feeling healthy.
  • Cats seem to enjoy the taste of the grass, so maybe it is a rare treat for them.


When is Cat Grass NOT Good for Your Cat?

spraying pesticide on lawn
  • Keep your cat away from any grass that has been sprayed with pesticides and chemicals, as they are harmful to your cat and may poison their system.
  • Excessive retching or vomiting is hard on your cat’s system – chronic vomiting can damage your cat’s esophagus even cause ulceration, or it could be a sign of another health issue that needs veterinary attention.


The Formation of The Hairball – It Begins with Grooming.

  • Felines are notoriously fastidious animals; they like to keep themselves clean.
  • Your cat’s serrated tongue is an ideal tool for cleaning as it can untangle knots, clean the fur, and keep them looking picture perfect.
  • But on each sweep of their tongue, they pick up a little loose fur, some of which they swallow.
  • If the fur doesn’t get expelled regularly, it will stay in your cat’s system and form into a ball, or rather an elongated cigar shape.


When Do These Furry Lumps Become A Problem?

cat digestion system

It becomes a problem when your cat cannot get rid of the loose hair, and it forms into a large mass. Their health can degenerate quickly as they try to move the obstruction on. Without help, the impaction of the ball only worsens.

Did you know hairballs have created ¼ of all impaction cases in cats?

Hair is not digestible as your cat doesn’t have the right enzymes to do this, therefore any lumps that remain inside need to be removed either through vomiting it up or pooping it out.


Symptoms of a Hairball Blockage Includes the Following.

  • Excessive retching or hacking to try and cough the blockage out.
  • Your cat reduces or ceases her grooming
  • Refusal of food and water
  • A hunched posture and licking of the lips
  • An unwillingness to be touched or petted

WARNING – In this situation, your cat needs professional help, and a trip to the vet is advisable.   Experts at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine agree with this warning – source –

Your veterinarian can do a scan to see whether a blockage has formed, and either remove it surgically or use special medical preparations to lubricate your kitty’s internal system, which will help move the hairball along.

Never try to medicate a sick cat yourself, you will get bitten, scratched, and it will only stress your cat further.

If you want to know more about cats and hairballs, please watch this video for a veterinary explanation Watch Here


When Your Cat Eats Grass, This is What Happens.

  • The juices in the grass contain folic acid, which is essential for your cat’s health. It is a cat version of a wheatgrass shake that adds vital nutrients! My research confirms these facts in alignment with
  • While your cat is a confirmed carnivore (meat-eater), they are a bit partial to their greens. The grass stimulates your cats’ urge to purge, hence the retching motion, which results in a soggy lump of fur on your nice clean carpet!
  • Your cat not only gets a bit of roughage in their system by eating the grass, but they also get the vital minerals and vitamins that nature requires.
  • Cats enjoy eating grass, and it seems to both satisfy and relax them.


The Best Solution for Hairballs is to Prevent them from Forming.

  • Daily brushing of your cats’ haircoat removes any loose hairs so that when they do lick themselves, they are picking up fewer hair strands.
  • Long hair cats are especially prone to hairballs and require frequent brushing, especially when they are shedding during summer. There are several good brushes suggestions here.
  • Providing a tray of fresh healthy grass that your cat can access while inside will ensure it is non-toxic. The fibre and juice of the grass will help to entrap the hair and helps to move it along and out in the poop.
  • Add a specialized ‘hairball formula’ cat food that is full of natural oils  to help minimize shedding and contains fibre to help the internal hair cluster move through your cats’ system.


How to Grow Your Own Grass for Your Cat.

Although your cat can eat grass from your lawn, you can never be sure what chemicals or pesticides are present. And if your cat is a strictly indoor pussy cat, then the notion of carrying them outside to chew the grass just isn’t practical.

You can buy trays of grass at your local pet supply store, or even better – grow it yourself!

To Grow your Own, You Will Need the Following.

  • A large shallow tray – most garden centers and pet stores have these
  • Organic soil mix
  • Plastic Wrap
  • Water
  • Grass seeds (Wheatgrass, Oat Grass, Barley Grass, Rye Grass)

Plant Your Cat Grass Tray as Follows.

  • Fill the tray with the soil, allowing a gap of about 2-3 inches from the top. Scatter the seeds on top of the soil, then put another thin layer of soil (about 1/2 an inch) on top of the seeds. Moisten the soil with the water and cover the tray with the plastic wrap. It pays to punch some holes in the wrap to all it to breathe.
  • Put the tray aside in a cool dark place and allow to grow. Once the grass shoots appear in two to three days, remove the plastic wrap and moisten the soil again. Then place it in a spot where it gets sunlight.
  • Wait about ten days, allowing the grass to settle, then trim the grass once it reaches about 6-8 inches tall. Place in a favorite spot for your cat. Don’t overwater. As your grass begins to wilt or turn color, replace it with a new tray and replant the old one.

When living with a cat, hairballs are just a part of life. But if you follow my tips and use cat grass, consistently brushing your cat, pay attention to giving it a good diet and plenty of water, you can minimize their occurrence.

If you keep on top of your kitty care, you will find that those soggy, vomited hairballs will become less frequent.

And a cat without a hairball is one happy cat!

Writer: Jean Brewer

jean brewer

Resources:   YouTube video about cat grass for hairballs.