Looking for a simple and fun way to grow cat grass? Why not make a cat grass bed for your catio? Your indoor cats will love it!
Our cats are indoor cats. We live really close to downtown, on a fairly busy neighborhood road. And our community isn’t into cats digging around in vegetable gardens or doing their business in the playground.
But fresh air and sunshine is fun and necessary! Even for cats! So we fenced in our patio turning it into a catio.
While it seemed like an easy thing to do, it’s taken us a few years to get it right.
- Escape artists: The first summer the cats kept escaping, so we added more and more fencing. They’re no longer interested in escaping. Now we have fencing to keep out a pesky Tomcat.
- Plant killers: We had these huge planter boxes on our patio with herbs and blueberries. But it didn’t matter how much we protected the dirt, the cats kept killing the plants. They ate the blueberry leaves, dug around in the soil, and used them as a toilet.
- Fresh air toilet: In the end, we had to put a litterbox on our catio. We took a basic flat litter pan, then put it in a water-tight plastic tote box. And now they pretty much only use the outdoor toilet in the summer.
–> The cat grass bed was our final project.
Do Cats Need Cat Grass?
Cat grass is not one particular type of grass. It’s really any grass that is grown for cats!
Even though cats are carnivores, they also like to eat grass. Even wild cats will eat a bit of grass after catching their prey. Here are a few reasons why cats may eat cat grass (from an article in Veterinarian Medicine).
- Sometimes cats eat grass to help them vomit. (My cats do this about twice a year, so it’s definitely not their main reason for eating grass).
- It provides roughage and fiber to aid digestion. It may also provide some vitamins and minerals.
- It’s in their nature to eat cat grass. So why not add a bit of variety to their diet?
DIY Cat Grass Options
There are lots of different options for feeding your cat grass.
- Pet Store: Some pet stores sell cat grass. These small boxes are meant to be eaten and then thrown away. We did this the first time we gave grass to our cat. But I’m not really keen on disposable packaging… and that applies to cat grass too.
- Grow a small pot: Our first attempt at growing grass was in a small pot. It would take about 2 weeks to grow long enough to give it to the cats. Then they would eat and it would be gone in about 2 weeks. We spent a year growing pots of grass. It was a LOT of work.
- Grow a large pot: It is MUCH easier to grow a large pot of cat grass. There’s no need to replant. No need to head to the pet store. About the only care our cat grass bed requires is watering twice a week and cutting the grass about every two weeks. How simple is that!?
- Choose a pot that is large enough for your cat to lie in. I recommend a non-porous pot since it won't dry out as quickly. Grass doesn't need a deep pot. We chose a 20-inch (50 cm) diameter bowl made out of cement. If this is going to be in an outdoor location, choose a pot with a drainage hole.
- Put rocks, gravel, or bits of broken clay pots in the bottom of the pot for drainage. Then fill the pot with soil. Any decent-quality garden soil should work. Grass seed is wonderfully not-picky.
- Select a grass seed that is appropriate for your region. Consider the amount of sunshine and how much watering you'll be doing. Spread a layer of grass seed over the soil. It's better to over-seed than under-seed. Your cats are quite likely going to make it hard for the grass to grow.
- Protect the sprouting grass from your cats. They're going to want to use the dirt as litter and start eating the grass before it's fully sprouted. We used a tomato cage to keep them out of the pot. You can also use wooden BBQ skewers stuck upright in the dirt, knitting needles, small garden gnomes... pretty much anything that will stop them from digging around in the dirt.
- Water daily until the grass sprouts. Then continue to water frequently while it grows. When the grass is about 3 inches (7 cm) tall give the grass a trim. If you think the grass looks hearty enough to withstand your cats, you can remove the anti-cat protection.
- Take care of your micro-lawn. Continue to water regularly, and add liquid fertilizer to your watering can about 4 times a year. Keep the grass trimmed, as the cats are more likely to throw up if they've eaten long grass.
- I "mow" my micro-lawn with a pair of scissors and leave the grass trimmings behind to act as mulch and future fertilizer. I don't mind doing it, it's a pretty relaxing mid-morning work break.