a maine coon looking at grass stalk

Can A Maine Coon Eat Grass? (And How It Affects Them)

For any cat lover, they will have seen a cat eat grass.

If you are new to owning a Maine Coon then you will have loads of questions about their behavior.

Why do they make such interesting noises for example?

While most Maine Coon traits are cute quirks it’s good to know if eating grass is safe for your cat.

Can a Maine Coon eat grass?

Maine Coons can eat grass without any long term detrimental effects. Your cat does not need grass but may eat it for constipation or to expunge stomach contents. Many cats chew grass, over 90%, for no other reason than habit and are perfectly healthy while doing so.

If you’ve ever owned or known someone who has owned any breed of cat, you’ll most likely know they eat grass.

You might even have seen your own cat do this, even if they aren’t a Maine Coon.

a maine coon kitten chewing grass

A study was done in 2008 by Benjamin L Hart from the California Davis Veterinary School of Medicine, titled “Why Do Dogs and Cats Eat Grass?

So now we have a more definitive answer, instead of just guessing.

Here some interesting facts that came out of the study;

  • 11% of cats will never eat grass
  • 91% of the time, a cat appears in good health while eating grass
  • around 1/4 cats vomit after eating grass
  • 89% of cats can be assumed to eat grass throughout their life

What that all boils down to is that cats of all breeds seem to be perfectly fine when doing so, and it’s not all about feeling ill.

The fact that around 75% of all cats don’t vomit when eating grass proves there must be another mechanism at play rather than them purposefully trying to fall ill.

So if you’re Maine Coon is eating grass and you’re thinking there must be something wrong, then that’s isn’t necessarily the case.

They are probably just fine, even though they’re eating grass.

So the study is still a bit perplexing – why would a Maine Coon eat grass for no apparent reason.

Alita - Maine Coon

Why Do Maine Coons Eat Grass?

Cats, including Maine Coons seem to eat grass because it’s the natural thing to do.

This instinct to chew grass is probably because there are benefits to doing so from a health point of view.

Maine Coons are obligate carnivores, meaning their diet consists of eating meats to which they find all their minerals, vitamins, and proteins.

Their body function is not equipped to digest plant-based material as readily. This may be the main reason why they do it.

Stomach clearance – Maine Coons lack the appropriate enzymes to break down plant-based materials.

Eating too much of it causes the cat to vomit, and will eject things in the stomach that they cannot digest.

Chewing grass may be instinctive to clear the stomach.

Fiber – Grass does contain some fiber, as well as other nutrients like calcium and iron. The fiber contained in the grass will be beneficial for digestion and relieves a constipated cat.

Vitamins – Grass contains Vitamins C and E, magnesium, iron and phosphorus, in case your Maine Coon is missing those particular essentials.

Stress relief – Instinctively your Maine Coon may chew on grass because it’s edible and a completely different texture than the normal things it eats.

A sort of comfort eating.

On the other hand, pulping down grass fibers may be a really good way of cleaning their teeth.

a maine coon kitten in grass

Is It Safe For Maine Coons To Eat Grass?

As long as your Maine Coon isn’t poisoned by pesticides or herbicides sprayed around, Maine Coon owners should let their cats eat grass.

However, eating grass can cause them to develop an upper airway obstruction if they eat a lot.

A Maine Coon that has a habit of grass eating might need their household ridding of all potential toxic houseplants.

For obvious reasons.

It’s not widely known, but certain plants found in the household, such as Aloe Vera, English Lilies, and Ivy, are poisonous to cats.

So while grass is fine, assuming it’s not been sprayed with pesticides or weedkillers is fine, your houseplants might be more of a danger.

a maine coon in grass

Do Indoor Maine Coons Need To Eat Grass?

If a Maine Coon would eat grass in the wild, then it’s a fair question to ask.

Would you be harming your Maine Coon in this way, actually preventing them from eating grass.

Does an indoor Maine Coon actually need grass?

As a Maine Coon owner you don’t need to immediately make sure your cat has grass as part of its diet. Maine Coons are obligate carnivores and get all their requirements from the meats they eat.

Eating grass is something that they seem to enjoy, however.

Alita does.

Every time I take her out somewhere in nature we have to stop while she chews a bit of green leaves.

Eating grass could provide some additional nutritional value, especially if they have poor quality food, and aid in digestion.

The most likely explanation is that the eating grass trait is a hangover from wild cat days.

Cats would hunt down prey and eat the whole animal.

Eating grass was the reflex action to induce vomiting so the cat could expunge the undigested remnants of the prey animal.

With modern day cat foods, this isn’t quite as necessary.

a maine coon on a lawn

3 Tips To Keep Your Maine Coon Safe While Eating Grass

As alluded to earlier, if you have a Maine Coon with access to the outdoors, 89% of them will eat grass.

Thus it’s likely your Maine Coon will, even if you don’t see it.

Generally speaking, it’s not something that should overly concern you maybe, unless some heavy spraying is happening in your area, but there are a few things to keep in mind if your Maine Coon has a penchant for grass chewing.

Pesticides and Weedkillers – At certain times of the year, and more in certain locations, gardeners and farmers will spray crops or gardens.

These Glyphosate liquids are not healthy if ingested and will settle on grass as well as other plants and be carried by the wind.

Be extra vigilant during such times.

Get Some Home Grown Grass – Maine Coons used to the outdoors will wander far and wide.

They may wander several kilometers but never be more than 200m from your home.

That could be a lot of poisoned grass to chew.

You can get some simple grass seeds for your cat at a local pet store, grow them specifically for your cat to chew.

It’s likely to be called ‘cat grass‘.

Organic grass for Maine Coon consumption. How about that?

a maine coon looking at grass

Toxic Plants – It’s worth going through the house and doing some research on the plants you have.

A quick google search might bring up whether they are toxic.

Local neighbors might have these growing which your Maine Coon may be chewing.

Some plants are more deadly than others, but when out just be mindful of what is growing locally.

Ingesting a toxic plant is more than likely just going to give your Maine Coon a stomach upset.

Plants are removed from sale nowadays if they’re known to be toxic, but you know Maine Coons and curiosity.

Is There A Good Alternative To A Maine Coon Eating Grass

Are there any alternatives to giving cats grass that are safe?

Your Maine Coon is more than likely eating grass to try and remain healthy.

To clear digestion, or to try and expunge unwanted stomach contents.

Thus, if you are after trying to keep your Maine Coon in a safe and healthy condition then you should look into the concept of cat grass.

This could be a really good idea for those with an indoor Maine Coon.

If your Maine Coon can snack on grass at home then it might not need to do so while wandering around.

For indoor Maine Coons like Alita, it may be a fantastic idea.

Maine Coon in grass close up

Conclusion

When it comes to a Maine Coon eating grass then remember it’s completely safe for them, absent pesticides, and other poisons.

Your Maine Coon, even an indoor one doesn’t need grass as a source for nutrients, but they may like chewing on it for health benefits.

Modern day cat food might make the grass eating redundant, as stomach contents don’t need to be expunged.

It can be good for their health to munch on some fresh green blades of grass from time-to-time, as it will provide them with fiber they might need to clear constipation.

For those with indoor Maine Coons, consider getting some ‘cat grass’ to grow at home.

About the Author

MaineCoon

My name is Ann and I have been looking after and breeding cats since 2013. I am currently the proud ownder of Alita, a female Maine Coon to whom I've dedicated this site. She has had 2 litters and is around 3 years old. We share adventures and stories together.

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