Thursday, January 16, 2014

Growing Wheat Grass for the Cats (and dogs)

With winter's grip firmly upon us, my cats are safely tucked inside until Spring.  Which means my house plants are at risk!  When the cats go outside they spend some time eating grass or nibbling on the catnip patch.  Dogs do exactly the same thing although they seem to spend more time peeing on things (but that is a topic for another day).

But when the cats are locked in the house for 6 months (or more), they go crazy and attack the house plants. And that is a big problem.  Not for the plants; the plants can withstand some nibbling (and major breakage). It is a problem for the cats since MOST houseplants are toxic.
First a note on houseplants.  Most houseplants are under-story tropical (and sub-tropical) plants.  That means they can thrive in the shadows under trees in the tropics.  Which is why they thrive in your home. Your home provides filtered light at a fairly even temperature year round.  The problem is most of these types of plants are poisonous to keep the critters living in those climates from eating them down to nubs. My cats don't know this.  So occasionally they have a taste.  Most of these plants taste so bad that the cats leave them alone after that.  But not my spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum).  

Spider plants are generally considered to be safe.  Which means the cats cannot get enough of my poor spider plants when they are locked inside for winter.

Most other plants that are not toxic will not grow well indoors or have other quirks that make the plant undesirable to grow in my dinning room. I have occasionally put out bowls of chopped spinach and other dark leafy greens which the cats will eat. But the best solution to this problem is to grow wheat grass for the cats to eat.
Grow wheat grass for cats and dogs

As you might suspect, wheat grass is just WHEAT.  Shockingly simple I know.  Since we maintain a large supply of whole grains in our pantry (well the big closet downstairs turned into pantry #2), we can grow a variety of wheat types for the cats to enjoy.

I prefer to grow hard white wheat but my husband always grabs the hard red wheat.  Whatever your choice, here is what you do.
wheat seeds, whole grain wheat

Step 1:

Get a small garden pot.  Any pot will do but make sure it has drainage holes.

Step 2:

Fill the pot with potting mix about 3/4 the way.  Do not fill it with dirt.  Dirt is dead.  Soil is not dead, but it is too heavy for use in a pot (top soil, garden soil, etc.)  You want potting mix.
How much potting mix is needed

Step 3: 

Put wheat berries (which are wheat seeds or whole grain wheat) on top of the potting mix.  Do not cover the wheat with the potting mix.  Just let the wheat berries sit on top.  This also allows you to watch the germination process which I personally think is super cool!  You want one layer of the wheat berries but they can be pack in there pretty tight.
How many wheat berries to use

Step 4:

Moisten the wheat berries.  You do not need to "water" the pot.  You want the wheat berries to stay damp but not wet.  I mist mine with water a couple of times a day.

Step 5:

Wait and watch. The wheat will sprout after just a day or two depending upon how warm your house is.  Keep the wheat berries moist.  Watch the wheat berries swell up with water then watch a little root pop out. The root will grown down into the potting mix.  Next the wheat grass blade will start to grow.  After 3 or 4 days from sprouting the wheat grass will be a couple of inches tall, and big enough to let the cats graze.
Pots of growing wheat grass

Close up of wheat grass in pot

The wheat grass will only stay perky and happy looking for about 2 weeks.
wheat grass growing in pot
Wheat needs full sun to grow and there is just not enough light inside your house, especially in winter. So plan on starting a new pot of wheat grass each week to have a constant supply for your pets.

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  1. Awesome! Your cats must be so happy! Thank you for sharing on Whatever Wednesday @ Thank You Honey!

  2. neat! Great idea, great tutorial :)

  3. this works really well for rabbits to, except you need to cover the grains so they don't pull or dig them out. :)

  4. Very cool. I can pick up wheat berries on my next trip to Lowes. Ann Marie @ Iris Abbey

  5. My homestead kitties need some too! Thanks for the reminder. And thanks for sharing on MMM link up. I'm now following on FB.

    Jennifer @ Homestead Mania

  6. This is so fantastic! My cat loves to nibble too, so I'll have to try this! Thanks!

  7. We don't have a problem with everything going dormant in winter here, but I've never thought of planting wheat for my cat. He does like to nibble on grass, so I might plant some for him. Thanks for the idea.

  8. When I saw that adorable cat in the photo at Love At First Book's link party, I had to click on your post... What a great idea. It's true plants are such a concern because so many are toxic... What a great idea to grow the wheat grass! Thanks for sharing!

  9. What a great EASY fix! Pinned to my "home" board on Pinterest for others to read. And I endorsed you on Sverve!

  10. I wish my cats-one in particular!-would leave my plants alone! it isn't that she necessarily eating them, as just slowly killing them by plucking leaf by leaf and me finding them on the floor. sad.

  11. This is a fantastic idea! Thanks for coming to the pinning party!


  12. What a great idea! You must have some super happy kitties! Thanks for linking up to Snickerdoodle Sunday.

  13. This is great! Thanks so much for the tip! My cat will love this!

  14. I pinned this to my pinterest board. Is this wheat grass just for animals? I heard wheat grass is great for cancer patients.

    Kim This Ole Mom

  15. Interesting and cool! I don't think my dog would like it, though! But good to know!

    Thank you for linking up to the Spread the Love Linky Party! I also pinned this!

  16. This is such a great idea! Sometimes I feed my cat lettuce... mostly so he will stay away from my spider plant... but I am sure he would rather have his very own plant to eat! :)
    ~ Christine @ Once Upon a Time in a Bed of Wildflowers

  17. I have been wondering whether or not to grow some of this for our cat...he likes to eat all kinds of stuff he shouldn't and then ends up throwing up all over the house:( Thanks for linking up to the Bloggers Brags Pinterest Party. I have pinned your post to the Bloggers Brags Pinterest Board.

  18. Love your Blog! I am a new follower (via GFC) from Mice In The Kitchen Blog Hop
    Please Follow back at:
    Have a blessed day

  19. Our cats LOVE wheatgrass!! You would think it was candy for them because they purr like they were eating a Hershey Chocolate bar!! :) Newest follower and just endorsed you on Sverve!

    Thanks so much for linking up with Wake Up Wednesday!

    Laura @ Mice In The Kitchen

  20. Thanks for sharing! I will have to try this with our kittens!

  21. I think my cat would love this post! Thanks for sharing on the blog hop!

  22. What a great idea - our little guy would probably enjoy this a lot. Thanks for linking up at Wake Up Wednesday – hope you are enjoying the party! ~Marie@The Interior Frugalista

    Reply ↓

  23. Great idea and tutorial, plus a happy cat. Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop! I hope you’ll join us again next week!

    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick

  24. Thanks for sharing a how to for kitties. I have a cat that LOVES grass, but living in Ohio can be a huge problem when the grass is covered with a foot of snow. He will love this. My kitty thanks you!

  25. Great idea! I usually grow Oat Grass for our cats :)
    Visiting from WTDW at Crafts a la Mode

  26. This is such a wonderful idea!

  27. I'm going to have to give this a try. My kitty has been looking longingly out the window, but there wont be green out there for at least 3 more months. If you're interested in sharing some more tips and tricks, I run a Blog Hop on Fridays. You can enter this hop up until next Thursday at noon.

  28. kitty bliss! Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things Blog hop. Big Hugs ♥

  29. We love our pets and wish to protect them from harm. What a smart idea to grow healthy, nutritious wheatgrass for them! Thank you so much for sharing this really useful idea with us at the Healthy, Happy, Green & Natural Blog Hop!
    I sincerely appreciate it! All the best, Deb

  30. Love my cats but hate it when they eat my houseplants. Thanks for the info, I will send my cat and dog loving, houseplant care readers to you. Thanks

  31. Was searching for tutorial on this topic & was glad to find yours, since all the others I saw were so much more complicated. Thank you & thank you from "Gracie", my little dog.

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