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March 01, 2017 | Donna Balzer

Grass for Roscoe

Even our feline friends enjoy the taste of freshly grown greens

"Hey guess what Anne? I grew some cat grass for Roscoe!"

I was calling my friend ahead of my flight to Calgary and was just so excited. In just five days the cat grass seeds I'd planted had sprouted in their little four-inch pot and were now ready to eat. It was a special treat I was hoping my friend's cat would enjoy.

"Oh, really?" Anne's reply was less than enthusiastic. "We've tried that before and he just doesn't like it."

I had received the grass seed as a gift from one of my favourite seed suppliers – Renee's Garden ( – so I was sure it was the caviar of cat grass, not just some old wheat grass grown from less-than-organic sources. This was prime stuff, no pennies-a-pound ordinary food.

But Anne reminded me Roscoe isn't just any cat. He's Burmese, and at less than seven pounds fully grown he's small for his breed. Anne is always tempting him with special food to get him to eat more. Most of it is smelly, soft canned food or tinned fish. Occasionally, Roscoe gets a few special treats in the mix.

Like my own family of vegetarians, celiacs and paleos, Roscoe is playful, but picky with his food. And he simply doesn't need much to sustain his pot-roast size.

I might have been deterred by Anne's less-than-enthusiastic response, and as a dog person, I don't really understand fussy felines. But I'm a gardener and I know you can't put the grass back in the seed once it sprouts.

Less than 20 minutes later, my phone pings. I have a message. It's a video of Roscoe devouring his grass!

I would never think of growing grass for a dog because I know dogs eat whatever they want, whenever they want. A dog will drag an entire turkey carcass off the counter if he's left alone in the kitchen for five minutes. A dog will lick crumbs off the floor or the sticky stuff off a baby's face. You don't have to convince a dog to eat – not so with cats.

So, I get on the flight with my six-day old grass in its little plastic pot. I send it through the scanner and stuff it under the seat with my feet and purse. When I arrive, I produce the pot of grass like the fine, homegrown vintage it is. If homegrown pea sprouts can dazzle friends and family, might my fresh greens entice Roscoe?

Anne accepts the cat grass with thanks and sets it on a shelf above the rug-wrapped cat climber. We share a glass of wine and I go off to my apartment in the next building.

Less than 20 minutes later, my phone pings. I have a message. It's a video of Roscoe devouring his grass!

Roscoe's a special cat. He spotted that lovingly grown grass and pounced on it immediately, because even a picky cat can smell the freshness of home-grown food. Like fine wine it was gone in a single sitting.

Anne has offered Roscoe store-bought wheat grass, but, like any fresh food, once you've had homegrown,
nothing else tastes as good.

Growing cat grass is the same as growing micro-greens: fill a small container with potting soil, sprinkle it with a teaspoon of seed, cover the seed with a bit more soil, water it and place it over a heat mat until it sprouts in a day or so. Within a week it will be tall enough to serve, but remember not to cut and serve. Cats like to eat their grass fresh out of the pot.

Donna Balzer is starting a new program for aspiring new gardeners. Check out for more information.


Tagged: Gardening | Gardening | Home and garden | House & Home

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