Can Cats Eat Hay? (3-Minute Read)

Cats can eat hay, but it is not ideal for them to do so. While it is nutritious for other animals, it has little to no nutritional value for felines. More than having no health benefits, it can even be problematic for cats to digest. Thus, feeding such will only cause an upset stomach. If you have some hay to offer, it would be best to give it to grass-eating pets instead of carnivores like cats.

Hay doesn’t have any toxic component that can harm cats. Thus, letting your feline pet eat some won’t put its life at risk.

However, giving more than a few pieces can harm their stomach. Further, it will be a question of whether your pet will eat some or not.

Let’s get into it more!

Is hay toxic to cats?

Hay does not contain anything toxic to cats, but it isn’t nutritious either. Thus, if a cat eats such grass, nothing terrible will happen as long as it’s only a small amount. Still, it won’t also give any benefit either.

If your feline pet eats a lot, it may cause digestive problems like an upset stomach.

It would be best to keep in mind that hay isn’t ideal for obligate carnivores like cats. It is rich in fiber, and while cats need such a nutrient, the amount in it will be difficult to digest.

In general, hay isn’t likely to contain anything good for felines. Since cats are carnivores, they can survive without eating plant-based food.

On the other hand, they can’t go on with their daily activities without eating any meat. Thus, cat food consists mainly of nutrients suitable to sustain a cat’s needs. Its components differ significantly from the ones that hay offers.

Cats and herbivores have opposite dietary needs. What may be healthy for the other can’t be right for the other.

Of course, cats and plant-based animals also share some similarities in nutrition. Still, since they differ in the type of food preference, it would be best not to let your pet eat hay.

Is regular grass OK for cats to eat?

The grass isn’t part of a cat’s diet. Thus, it’s quite unusual for these animals to eat such a thing. Still, grass doesn’t contain anything toxic, so it’s OK for them to eat grass in small amounts.

When allowing your feline pet to eat grass, it would be best to be cautious about it.

For instance, it would be best to allow such if you’re confident that the grass is organic and grown without any pesticide.

Another thing you should be mindful of is the amount of grass you will allow for your pet. Although it’s not a toxic food, it’s also not healthy either, and too much can cause health issues.

It’s ideal for giving grass to your cat if it suffers from diarrhea. The reason is that the fiber in it can help your cat to get solid stools.

On regular days, it would be best if you keep grass out of your cat’s diet.

As a general rule of thumb, always consider that grass and other plant-based food are optional for cats.

Since they are carnivores, you should consider giving more meat than plants such as grass.

How much hay can cats eat?

As I said earlier, hay isn’t a usual and ideal food for cats. Thus, if it’s possible, don’t feed such to your pet. Now, if you can’t help it, you should limit it to small amounts. In particular, don’t give more than 10% of their total food for the day.

Feeding too much hay can cause digestive problems for your pet. Aside from this risk, it offers little to no nutritional benefit either.

For this reason, you shouldn’t even bother to make it a regular part of your pet’s diet.

Moreover, it would be best to consider hay only as a treat. It would be best if you tried to limit it to not any more than once a week. If it’s possible, you should stop encouraging your pet to eat such.

When feeding such, you shouldn’t over more than 10% of its total daily food.

The recommended amount of food for cats range from about 24 to 35 calories per pound. This amount is enough to keep cats at a normal and healthy weight.

An average cat weighs about 6-9 lbs. Thus, they need about 50 to 70 grams of food per day. Or, they can eat 150-250 grams of wet food. Lastly, they can eat 100-200 grams of raw food.

If you allowed your cat to eat hay, it would be best to limit its intake to 5 to 7 grams in a day. Further, don’t give pellets daily.


Risks of feeding your cat hay

If you’re planning to offer some hay for your feline pet, keep in mind that it accompanies some risks with it.

It would be best to consider these risks first and be cautious to avoid unwanted incidents.

Hay isn’t suitable for cats.

Hay may be ideal and nutritious for other animals. However, it can’t be the same for cats.

The reason is that hay contains too much fiber, and it cannot be easy to digest for cats.

Hay is ideal for herbivores like goats and cows because their system can break down fiber. Thus, they eat such all day without upsetting their stomach.

Since cats are carnivores, their body can’t digest hay, especially in large amounts.

Hay can cause digestive problems.

Since hay is only suitable for herbivores, it can’t do any good for obligate carnivores like cats. Moreover, taking in too much can cause an upset stomach.

The reason is that hay is rich in fiber, which isn’t ideal for cats in large amounts.

Although fiber plays a vital role in a cat’s diet, too much can be hard on their digestive system.

It may cause vomiting, an upset stomach, and even constipation.

It’s only ideal for giving such if your pet is suffering from diarrhea. The fiber in hay can help your pet get some solid stools.

However, if your pet is standard, giving it in large amounts may not be a great idea.

Do cats like eating hay?

No, cats don’t like eating hay. In fact, you may find it challenging to offer such to your pet.

The thing about hay is that it’s not appealing to felines since it’s not meat. Since they are carnivores, these animals are more likely to eat if you offer meat or fish.

Some cat owners already find it hard to get their pets to eat vegetables. Thus, it can be a lot more challenging to offer hay.

It always comes down to preference, and it can vary from one cat to the other.

If your cat likes hay, it doesn’t mean you can offer it as much as you want.

As I said earlier, hay isn’t something you can give daily. Doing so can take a toll on your pet’s digestive functions.

It would be best to think of hay only as a treat and not a regular part of their diet.


Cats can eat hay, but it doesn’t mean they should. Although it isn’t toxic for cats, it’s also not good food for them either. This food contains way too many fibers, and it can be challenging to digest for carnivores like cats.

Moreover, since cats are carnivores, it’s less likely that they would eat and enjoy hay, unlike other animals. When finding what to offer to your feline pet, it’s essential to keep in mind their preferences and needs.

It won’t be challenging to do so since what they like most is more likely what they need.

As long as you keep hay as a treat and ensure your pet receives proper nutrition, you can never go wrong with your cat.


Image credits – Photo by Lucas Gallone on Unsplash, Canva

[1] Why do dogs and cats eat grass? – ResearchGate

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