Why do cats eat grass?

We don't know for sure why cats eat grass. The best theory is as follows. Grass contains a vitamin called folic acid. Domestic cats chew on the grass to extract the folic acid. Folic acid plays a role in the production of haemoglobin.

Haemoglobin carries oxygen in the blood. Snow leopards living at altitude eat unusually high amounts of vegetation. This may be because it aids with getting the maximum amount of oxygen into the body where the air is thin. A deficiency in folic acid can cause feline anemia. Sometimes it can cause vomiting.

This has given rise to the idea that the intention is to cause vomiting to remove hair balls. But I presume that the vomiting is an unwanted side effect that is of little concern to the cat. Cats vomit with ease.

Other theories are that grass acts as a laxative to remove hairballs. Or to ease stomach irritation.

Eating grass or vegetation is not a from of Pica (eating non-nutritional material).

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