Cat’s Are Vegetarians! Just Kidding.
Cats may not be vegetarians, but everyone knows they love catnip, along with many other herb plants as well. Expert opinions are mixed when it comes to deciding the benefit of plants for cats. Some say there are no benefits whatsoever and that they chew on it because they are bored or like the way it feels. While others say it is a great source of fiber, can help improve digestion and remove any indigestible materials such as fur from grooming or feathers. Whatever your cats desire, there may be many benefits to having an indoor garden for your feline companion.
The most common type of grass you will see that is sold for cats is wheat grass or oat grass. These grasses are high in fiber and can act as a natural laxative. They also have many benefits such as folic acid and a wealth of vitamins and minerals. While these grasses could eventually grow to be 5 feet tall, if grown outdoors and left to seed, it’s important to know that the seeds from both of these plants are toxic to cats, so they must be kept short (about 1 foot) through regular clipping or mowing.
One particular favorite of mine is the mint plant. It is of the same family as catnip and contains a chemical compound that appeals to cats and can trigger a little different reaction from them. There are various types of mint plants out there, all fragrant with a fruity, aromatic taste, including the peppermint and spearmint. I do not recommend these two because EXCESSIVE intake can cause digestive upset in cats.
Parsley is more than just a garnish on you dinner plate; its bright green feather-like leaves have been used in human medicine because of the vitamins and minerals it supplies, including calcium and iron and vitamins A, C and E among others. It can be effective for supporting urinary tract health and is a known ingredient in many natural supplements for cats.
Cats also enjoy attractive edible flowers such as Marigolds and Johnny-Jump Ups and adding them to your cat garden can make for a colorful display. Marigolds give a wonderful fresh scent and as an added bonus help deter unwanted pests such as fleas. Johnny-Jump-Ups are small flowers from the violet family and come in an assortment of colors adding more variety to a feline garden. These two flowers are also commonly used in the culinary world as edible flowers and garnishes.
Catnip is a member of the mint family, its scent gives many of our adult feline friends a frisky burst of energy, although not all adult cats react to it and kittens usually never do. Dried catnip is thought to mimic the feline “happy” pheromones, giving them that burst of energy, however, eating fresh catnip has the opposite affect. Cats mellow and become calmer.
Just because it’s not a requirement in the feline diet doesn’t mean it can’t have potential benefits. A beautiful cat garden is valuable part of good cat care. Cats love to play and watch the world go by. A garden can relieve boredom especially if you are at work all day and give cats a touch of the outdoors. The best way to start is to grow your garden from the seeds as it guarantees that they are organic and that no chemicals are used, plus it gives you the ability to customize to your kitty’s liking.