How To Grow Cat Grass

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If you have a cat that tends to nibble on plants, one of the best ways to stop your cat from chewing on plants is by growing cat grass. By growing cat grass, you can give them an acceptable alternative to nibbling on an expensive plant while still getting the urge to chew out. Even if your cat doesn’t harass your plants, it can be a great enrichment activity or way to reduce stress for your cat.

If you don’t have a green thumb, it may not be clear how to grow cat grass. Thankfully, it’s easier than you’d think. I’ll teach you how to grow cat grass successfully so your kitty can begin munching away.

Get The Right Supplies

You can buy cat grass kits that come with everything you need, but make sure you read the reviews first. Some of the premade kits come with old seeds that won’t sprout so the problem may not be you. I’ve found that the Cat Ladies Cat Grass Growing Kit seems to work well when my clients have used it, but there’s no guarantees that event the best cat grass seed will grow.

Instead of getting a kit, you can get high quality cat grass seed that will allow you to do a few plantings online. You can get some inexpensive growing medium to plant the seeds in and you’ll end up with more grass for your kitties than you would with a kit. Once you figure out how to grow cat grass, you’ll want to keep growing it so having a lot of seeds will come in handy.

I find that coconut coir works best for growing cat grass. It retains enough moisture to allow the grass to grow, but not enough that the grass will mold. Whatever type of soil you use, make sure it doesn’t have fertilizer mixed in as some fertilizers are dangerous for cats if they consume it. Plus, it’s completely unnecessary to fertilize cat grass.

Where To Plant Cat Grass

If you’re trying to figure out how to grow cat grass indoors, planting cat grass in a heavier container can prevent your cat from knocking over the pot and creating a mess when they munch on the grass. If you have multiple cats, a wide shallow planter like this cat shaped planter can allow you to grow a lot of cat grass at once. One trick to keep a constant supply of cat grass is to get a heavy cache pot and grow the cat grass in a plastic nursery pot.

Start a few separate pots of grass a few days or a week apart from each other and rotate them out as your cat goes through the grass. The nursery pot makes it easy for you to swap fresh grass out as needed, while the cache pot will prevent your cat from knocking the pot over. Whichever pot you use, you want to make sure it has drainage holes or that the grass can be removed to dump out excess water so the roots don’t rot and you don’t accidentally over water the grass.

If you’re thinking of growing cat grass outdoors, a pot or planter can work. Just be cautious with making sure it is not grown near any plants that could be toxic to your cat or anywhere that may get sprayed with chemicals. Wait to plant the cat grass until after there isn’t a chance of frost or you’ll likely need to replant it. You may want to try your hand at growing a bit of catnip or valerian, too, for some extra planty goodness for your kitty!

A brown tabby cat with green eyes lays on the back in a field of grass.
So much enrichment. Photo by Bella Pisani.

Planting Cat Grass

Plant your cat grass indoors in a location that gets bright light away from any cold, drafty windows or, if you don’t have great lighting, you can use a grow light. I have a few umbrella shaped LED grow lights that I use for my plants that work well and can be set on a timer. Cat grass likes growing in bright light so find a nice sunny spot for it to live, but make sure your cat can’t get to it until it has time to grow.

Cover the soil in enough seeds that the top of the soil is completely covered, but don’t make it too think or you’ll end up with rotting seeds that don’t germinate. Give the seeds a good watering and dump off any excess water so the pot doesn’t stand in water. Seeds will usually germinate within a few days to a week.

Watering Without Worry

During this time, you want to keep the soil and seeds moist but not soaking wet. It can be tempting to overwater them so be careful. Depending on the humidity in your home and the soil you use, watering frequency can vary. While I don’t recommend using spray bottles on your cat as there are much better ways of addressing unwanted behaviors, they are a great tool for watering cat grass seeds.

When you water, get the top layer of the soil and seeds just wet enough that the seeds germinate, but not enough that mold grows. Over watering is one of the biggest reasons people are not successful when growing cat grass.

Once the seeds germinate, I usually water them every other day. You may need to water more or less so experiment a bit until you find what works. Cat grass seeds aren’t super expensive and you can reuse the soil so if the first trial doesn’t work, no big deal. Try again!

How To Grow Cat Grass And Keep It Alive

Cat grass won’t live forever, but if you keep it well maintained, you can usually keep it alive for a few weeks to a month. In other words, don’t feel bad if your cat grass doesn’t stay alive forever. When the grass starts to fade, grab some additional seeds and plant some more. You will want to keep the growing grass away from your cat until it’s a few inches high so your cat doesn’t prematurely eat the grass.

An orange tabby cat sits in grass with their eyes closed and a small daisy by their right ear.
I’m willing to be patient for tasty, tasty cat grass! Photo by Christian Krebel.

Once it’s ready for munching, you can either keep it in the pot and give it to your cat or cut off some of it and put it in a dish. Most cats seem to prefer the grass intact in the pot, but I have had a few clients whose cats want it chopped up a bit.

If you try growing cat grass a few times and find that you just can’t make it work, there’s an easy solution available: pre-grown cat grass. Many pet stores sell cat grass that you don’t have to worry about it germinating. You’ll pay a bit more for the convenience, but who can put a price on your cat’s happiness?

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Joey Lusvardi

Joey Lusvardi CCBC is an IAABC Certified Cat Behavior Consultant and professional cat trainer based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota. He runs a behavior consultation and cat training service, Class Act Cats, where he helps cat parents address a variety of unwanted behaviors. Joey is available for in home sessions locally or virtual sessions wherever you are located!