Types Of Cat Grass & How To Grow It

Types of cat grass

  • Dactylis glomerata – Orchard grass, cock’s foot, cat grass
  • Hordeum vulgare – Barley
  • Triticum aestivum – Wheatgrass, common wheat
  • Avena sativa – Oat

Cat grass is a feline favourite, but unlike catnip, it doesn’t induce a high. Most cats enjoy having fresh grass in the home. The grass family is the fifth-largest plant family on earth with over 700 genera and 9700 species. Cat grass isn’t one type of grass but is made up of several species which are suitable for cats.

Why do cats eat grass?

Grass contains micro-nutrients that are not a part of the meat diet. It is also thought that wild cats eat grass to vomit, which can get rid of intestinal parasites and ingested hair in the process.

Types of cat grass

Four species of grass fall under the umbrella of cat grass. All of these grasses are best when they are young, as older grass is less tender.

Dactylis glomerata

Cocks foot grass
Dactylis glomerata – Cock’s-foot, orchard grass, or cat grass
  • Common name: Barnyard grass, cat’s grass, cat grass, cock’s foot, cock’s-foot, cocksfoot, cocksfoot grass, cockspur, orchard grass, orchardgrass
  • Origin: Europe, West Asia, North Africa

Hordeum vulgare

Hordeum vulgare - Barley
Hordeum vulgare – Barley
  • Common name: Barley
  • Origin: Western Asia

Triticum aestivum

Triticum aestivum - Wheatgrass, common wheat

  • Common name: Common wheat, wheatgrass
  • Origin: Southeastern Turkey

Avena sativa

Avena sativa – Oat
Avena sativa – Oat
  • Common name: Oat, common oat
  • Origin: West Asia

How to grow cat grass

Grass is easy to grow; it likes a sunny position and damp soil. If the soil does dry out, the grass will wilt, but will quickly once it has been watered, unless left for too long.

Most garden centres and pet shops sell cat grass in containers, or you can grow it from seed.

How to grow cat grass from seed:

  1. Fill a pot 3/4 full with premium potting mix
  2. Add seeds (be generous) and add 1 cm of potting mix over the seeds
  3. Water
  4. Keep at room temperature, and out of direct sunlight, seeds should germinate within a few days
  5. Give to the cat when the grass is 5 to 7.5 cm tall


Plant several pots of cat grass and rotate.

A low, heavy pot is safest to prevent the cat from knocking it over when eating the grass.


  • Julia Wilson, 'Cat World' Founder

    Julia Wilson is the founder of Cat-World, and has researched and written over 1,000 articles about cats. She is a cat expert with over 20 years of experience writing about a wide range of cat topics, with a special interest in cat health, welfare and preventative care. Julia lives in Sydney with her family, four cats and two dogs. Full author bio

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