We welcomed three new cats into our house over the past few months. I thought I would grow some “cat grass” for them as a treat. If you have cats you’ve likely seen pots of “cat grass” for sale at pet stores. I don’t know why cats like grass, but many of them do, and it’s said to be good for their digestive system somehow. This grass is actually wheatgrass (Triticum aestivum), the same stuff juiced and put into “healthy” drinks for people.
I wasn’t sure if my cats would like cat grass (our previous cats weren’t very interested in it), but wanted to try it out, so I bought a small packet of seeds and got to work.
The door to my potting shed, where all of my pots are stored, is still frozen shut from the winter, so I decided to use an empty grocery store clamshell package from some salad greens as my pot.
These containers are actually almost perfect for seed starting, you just have to punch some drainage holes in the bottom first:
I filled the clamshell with moist potting soil (“seed starting mix” would’ve been ideal, but potting soil will do). Potting soil and seed starting mix are both very hard to get wet once they dry out, so it’s a good idea to get them damp before you put seeds in them. My best trick is to open the bag of soil and pour in some water (enough to make it wet but not make mud), seal the bag up, turn it upside down (so that the top is on the bottom) and leave it to sit, ideally overnight. Sometimes you’ll find it’s still pretty dry or the moisture is just spotty, so you’ll need to add more water and do it again.
Once the clamshell was full of moist soil, I took out my package of seeds:
I sprinkled them quite thickly over the top of the soil, using up the entire seed packet:
This may look like a lot of seed, but when it grows, you’ll see it’s actually about the right amount for a good clump of grass.
The next step was to cover the seed with soil:
…and then pat it down. It’s important that the seeds are in contact with the soil, not sitting in an air pocket. For this reason I went over the entire surface with my hand, patting it down:
Since the soil was quite moist, I didn’t water it, but if the soil wasn’t moist enough, I would have watered it (using a spray bottle is a good way to water newly planted seeds–it doesn’t dislodge the seeds the way a stream of water from a watering can would.) Then I loosely placed the lid on top in order to create a bit of a moist microclimate.
And then I placed it somewhere warm for a few days. The seeds don’t need light at this point, but they do need heat. If they’re cold and wet they’ll just rot.
Four days later, I had grass sprouting!
At this point I needed to give the plants light. I have some grow lights set up in the basement so that’s where I kept them. But a sunny window sill would work for cat grass too.
Seven days after I planted the seeds, I had cat-ready cat grass!
The real test, though, would be whether the resident felines would like it.
Two out of three cats approved! Which means this won’t be the last time I grow cat grass.
It will, however, be the last time I grow cat grass from a little seed packet. Seed packets of that size–the kind you find on the rack at your local nursery or big box centre–are good when they contain small seeds (e.g. carrots) or seeds of something that you’ll only grow a dozen or so of (e.g. tomatoes.) But cat grass seeds are pretty big, and you need a lot of them, so you’re better off to buy them in bulk. In future, I’ll be buying them by the 1 lb bag (here’s a link* to a supply I found online.) In doing a comparison, it seems like the seeds are cheaper if you search for wheat grass seeds as opposed to cat grass seeds.
But if you don’t know if your cat likes cat grass, or you just want to grow them occasionaly (seeds do lose their vibrancy after a while), then picking up a packet at the store might be the right choice for you. It’s still half the price of buying a pot of cat grass at any of the pet stores in my area. Considering how easy and quick it is to grow, why wouldn’t you grow it yourself?
To keep the grass healthy and growing, water it as necessary, and give it light. I keep mine under my grow lights most days, and then bring it out for the cats in the evening, so they can enjoy it then and overnight, when they seem to be most active.
*Disclosure: some of the links on this page are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.