I am a houseplant and gardening enthusiast with an equally enthusiastic cat, so I grow wheatgrass for her to save my plants!
Wheatgrass Is Healthy for Cats and Cheap to Grow
My cat, Lucy, loves fresh greenery, and she has made short work of a good many plants. When Lucy goes after a plant, she tears up the leaves, knocks it over, pulls all the soil out of the pot, and strews it far and wide. For this reason, I've had to set up all my plants in areas where they can be behind a closed door when I'm not there to supervise. Even so, occasionally Lucy gets shut in with the plants and mayhem ensues.
I wanted to give her an alternative, so I looked into grass-growing kits for cats and found that they are outrageously expensive. For $10 or more, you get a small plastic tray and a handful of seed. The cat enjoys it for a few days and then it's gone. Then one day, when I was doing research for an article on growing sprouts, I hit upon the idea of growing wheatgrass for Lucy. You probably already have almost everything you need for this project. Here's what I figured out.
Reuse Veggie Packaging to Make Your Wheatgrass Trays
- Growing wheatgrass is an excellent way to reuse the little tubs that are used as mushroom packaging. You'll need two.
- Styrofoam veggie trays make good drainage trays after watering. Use the kind that veggies come in, not meat. Styrofoam trays that have held meat may harbor dangerous bacteria.
- A single, half-size paper towel, cut in half makes your growing medium. No messy soil.
- A piece of plastic wrap keeps moisture in for the first couple of days.
- You'll also need scissors and some sort of sharp implement to make holes in one of the mushroom tubs.
I use the tip of a heated awl to poke four holes in the corners of the inner tub.
1. Make Drainage Holes in One of the Mushroom Tubs
You'll need one mushroom tub to plant your seed. Begin by poking holes in the bottom of the tub to allow excess water to drain out. I use a heated awl for this purpose because I have found that using a cold implement just tears up the container. They are a little bit fragile.
Be careful using a heated implement. Make sure it has a handle that will protect you against accidental burns. Set it on a hard, non-flammable surface (like the top of your stove or in your kitchen sink) to cool off completely before putting it away.
Once you've made your drainage holes, cut your half-sized paper towel in half and line the bottom of the tub with one half.
Sow a handful of wheat grass seed on the paper towel.
2. Prepare Your Growing Medium and Sow Your Seed
Sprinkle a handful of seed over the piece of paper towel to result in a single layer of seed completely covering the towel. Put the other half towel over the seed and press it down.
Gently run water from the tap over the seed. I usually let it half fill the tub and then just set it in the sink to allow the excess to run out. Don't tip the tub to hurry the drainage because this will displace the seed. You want to keep it in a single layer.
Water generously and gently. Allow water to drain out gradually.
3. Water the Seed, Cover With Plastic Wrap, and Set Aside to Germinate
Once most of the excess water has drained out of the tub, set it on your Styrofoam tray to prevent dripping.
Cover the tub lightly with plastic wrap to hold moisture in.
Put the tub in a warm area with bright, indirect sunlight to germinate. Run water over the seed and allow it to drain every day. You should see sprouts within a day or two.
Days 1 and 2
Day #1: You can barely see the sprouted seeds through the paper towel.
4. Water Daily and Give Your Sprouts Some Head Room
Every day, take the tub to the sink and run fresh water through the seeds/sprouts. This provides them with the water they need and washes away any fungus that may try to grow.
On the first day, you'll be able to see that the seeds have just started to sprout. On the second day, you'll see green. This means you can remove the top towel so the grass can start to grow upward.
Leave the plastic in place for another day or two.
Days 3 and 4
Day #3: Remove the plastic and continue watering daily.
5. When It Looks Like Grass, Remove the Plastic
Once green grass starts to grow, remove the plastic so that it can get tall. You'll want to let it grow for another two or three days before you give it to your cat. If you want, you can move the tub to an area that gets some direct sunlight. This will encourage it to grow a little faster and produce more chlorophyll.
Continue to wash water through the container every day to water the grass and prevent fungal growth.
Day 5 and 6
Day #5: This grass is just about ready, but I want it a little taller.
6. Now It's Ready to Meet Kitty
Your grass should be tall enough to give to your cat on the fifth day, but I like to give it another day to get a little taller. Before I present it to my cat, I set the planting tub into the second tub (the one without drainage holes). This prevents leaks and protects the roots, which grow out through the holes.
Start a Fresh Batch Right Away
I like to keep two batches of wheat grass growing at once. It's a good idea to start the second one three days after starting the first one so that you'll always have fresh grass ready. I alternate the pots of grass every day to give them a break from Lucy and make them last longer.
I let her keep one pot to chew on during my waking hours. Before I go to bed, I take that pot away and water it. The next morning I put out the alternate pot so that the one that's been chewed on can have a rest.
Doing it this way makes each pot last about a week. When one really begins looking ragged, I just let Lucy keep it until it's destroyed. I dump the grass in my compost bin, wash out the pot and start over again.
This Grass Is Ready to Be Retired
This grass is a couple of weeks old altogether.
justmesuzanne (author) from Texas on November 23, 2020:
My pleasure! :) Glad I could help!
JC Scull from Gainesville, Florida on June 23, 2020:
I am a cat person, so I appreciate this tip. Thank you for sharing.
Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on March 26, 2020:
Great tips on how to grow wheat grass. I did grow wheat grass a few years ago for the Christmas tradition and succeeded however your tips are useful
Anya Ali from Rabwah, Pakistan on March 26, 2020:
Thank you for a very useful hub.
Pet Grass (Wheatgrass) Benefits for Dogs & Cats
Does your dog like to forage and munch on the grass out in yard? Or do you have a cat that likes to graze on your houseplants? If so, “Pet Grass” might be a healthful addition their diet.
Pet Grass is essentially wheatgrass, though it can sometimes include other healthful grasses. It’s long been known that wheatgrass contains a wealth of nutrients, which is why you’ll find wheatgrass supplements in health food stores, as well as people adding wheatgrass to smoothies and drinking wheatgrass juice shots.
Wheatgrass is known to contain a wide range of amino acids, vitamins, chlorophyll, enzymes, and fiber. The potential health benefits to consuming wheatgrass include antioxidants, organ cleansing, breath freshening, digestion support, help with constipation, odor control, energy boosting, and antiseptic properties.
What Exactly is Wheatgrass?
Wheatgrass is gluten-free when harvested from a growing wheat plant without any seeds.
Wheatgrass is the fresh sprouted leaves of the wheat plant. When people hear wheat, they automatically think gluten. However, the actual grass itself does not contain gluten, which is only found in the seed kernels of the wheat plant, not in its grasses.Beyond Celiac, Is Wheatgrass Gluten-Free?
Why Offer Wheatgrass to Your Dog or Cat
There are many reasons why your dog might eat grass out in the yard. Sometimes dogs will eat grass to help induce vomiting when they know there’s something inside that needs to come out. Sometimes they do it simply out of boredom. And often they will eat grass if there are nutrients or enzymes lacking in their diet, which can often be the result of exclusively eating processed food (kibble and canned) that lacks the enzymes found in fresh foods.
Now of course, there’s nothing inherently wrong with eating grass in and of itself. However, many yards are treated with chemical fertilizers, weed killer, and pesticides. If it’s been rainy and wet your yard could also have toxic mushrooms that are easy to miss with a quick glance.
Offering organic wheatgrass that’s grown inside is a great way to give your dog what they’re looking, and to allow for the exercising of their natural instincts safely. Many cats also enjoy munching on wheatgrass for some of nutrients, fiber, and because it’s a mentally and physically stimulating activity.
How to Feed Wheatgrass to Your Dog or Cat
If you want to engage their natural foraging instincts, you can leave the wheatgrass potted and place it next to where their water and food bowl goes. You may need to encourage them by pulling a blade of grass off and hand feeding it to them, considering they may have been corrected when trying to eat your houseplants in the past.
Allowing them to forage is my personal favorite because one of my pugs, Murphie, loves to forage on grass and clover out in the yard.
If they aren’t interested in munching on the grass straight from the pot you can can also clip a little off fresh, chop it up, and add it their food. A little will go a long way, so much won’t be needed.
To care for your wheatgrass, whether you grow it yourself or purchase it fully grown, all you need to is give it a a little bit of water everyday.
If you’re interested in trying out organic Pet Grass for your dog or cat, and are local to us in Evansville, IN, you can pick some up from us the next time you’re in. We’re now offering fully grown organic Pet Grass from a local farm, Seventh Wave Aquagrow.
Cat grass, regardless of variety, thrives in full sunlight and soil that stays moist but drains easily. To keep roots evenly moist and to reduce nutrient loss from excess water, use a container with drainage holes in the bottom and place a tray under the container. This way extra water can drain out, preventing overly moist soil, which can lead to rotted roots.
If cat grass stops growing as quickly or turns yellow, transplant it to fresh soil with added compost. Fish-based fertilizers can be off-putting for cats, and nonorganic fertilizers may make the grass unsafe for direct pet consumption. Because of this, do not use fertilizers rely on compost and nutrient-rich soil instead.
To ensure a regular supply of cat grass, grow it in two containers at the same time. Start individual pots a couple of weeks apart so the cat always has a steady supply. Leave one indoors for your cat to enjoy while the other spends time outside or in another inaccessible place reinvigorating itself with no disturbance.
Use & Care
Pet Grass live cat grass typically lasts about 2 - 3 weeks. Follow the instructions below to maintain healthy growth and keep your cat grass fresh and delicious for its full life - span. Cat grass cannot be re - potted and should be replaced on a regular basis.
Watering: Water your Cat Grass about twice a week. The best way to water your Cat Grass is to place the container in a saucer and water it from the bottom. Make sure the soil stays moist but do not let your Cat Grass stand in water for more than an hour.
Light and Ventilation: Place your Cat Grass in a bright, well ventilated location. Avoid direct sunlight and/or hot locations. A bright kitchen window is ideal! Cat Grass is considered a leafy green. The best way to extend the life of your Cat Grass is to put the container in the refrigerator at night.
Feeding: Feed to your pet as a healthy reward or snack. Cat Grass can be fed to cats, dogs, birds, reptiles, and small animals. Adjust the serving size according to the size of your pet. Reptiles and small animals should only be fed small amounts of cat grass. Cat grass can be eaten directly out of the pot or clipped and added to food. Consult your veterinarian for more information about the proper serving size for your pet.
What is the shelf life of the product?
Self - Grow Pet Grass kits are best used within 18 months of the manufacturer’s date, which can be found on a sticker on the back of the bag. They don’t have an expiration date, but after 18 months some of the seeds may not germinate.
- a small pot to grow in
- organic potting soil
- cat grass seeds
- plastic wrap
Cat grass can be many different types of seed, but it's typically oats or wheat. You should be able to find it in your local pet store pretty easily! And the good news is the seed lasts forever. The seed I'm using for this is some that was given to me 5-6 years ago by a friend for babysitting her cat. :D