Growing wheat grass for your cat: an illustrated tutorial

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My cat Lilo has a bad habit of eating fabric. One of the things I’ve done to help dissuade her from this habit – besides making sure that every bit of fabric not upholstered to something or currently being worn by a human is out of her reach – is to grow wheat grass for her. She enjoys eating it when she gets the urge to maul something, and I enjoy not having socks with cat-eaten holes in them!

This is how the process goes.

I soak a scant cup of wheat berries (wheat seeds) in a jar overnight (8-12 hours), then drain and rinse them in the morning. I leave it in the sieve and rinse it every few hours with cold water for the next day or so until the seeds start growing tiny white tails. Then I spread the seed over soil in a 10 inch x 10 inch tray:
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I cover the tray with 2-3 layers of wet newspaper and set an inverted terrarium over the whole thing to keep Lilo from getting into the tray before it’s ready. (U.S. law requires newspaper ink to be nontoxic.)

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Here’s what they look like after the tails have grown a little longer:

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2-3 days later, the seed has rooted in the soil and started to send shoots of grass up. Once the shoots have lifted the paper up to the lip of the tray, I remove the newspaper. The grass is pale like white asparagus, because the newspaper blocked the sunlight and prevented chlorophyll from developing. (The fogginess in the photo is condensation on the side of the terrarium.)

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After exposure to indirect sunlight for a day or two, the grass greens up nicely. And since the terrarium helps to hold the moisture in, I don’t have to water much at this stage.

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Soon it’s plenty long enough for Lilo to eat.

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That predator is moving so fast she blurs!

In winter, I move it into direct sunlight. In summer, I keep it in indirect sunlight so it doesn’t grow too fast. It gets several inches tall.

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Look at her go!

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“Nom, nom. This tastes almost as good as a wool sock!”

A tray that’s watered regularly can keep Lilo happy for a month or so. After that, the grass starts to get tough and she’s liable to regurgitate it – which she doesn’t seem to mind, but I’d rather not deal with the mess. So then I grow her a new batch.

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