Why Does My Cat Eat Dead Leaves?

Being a cat owner is such an interesting experience. You will witness your cat doing ten unique things every day. They are naturally so curious about everything around them. Sometimes they would be jumping on the table to take a peek at the dish you are eating. Or they would be eating dry leaves in the garden while playing outside.

Sure, cats eat plants sometimes because they need greens in their diet too. But why dead leaves? This makes you curious and worried at the same. If you have been looking for the answer to “why does my cat eat dead leaves?” you will find it here! We will provide you with all the information you need to know about your cats eating dead leaves and whether they are bad for them.

Reasons Why a Cat Eats Dead Leaves

Cats, in general, require fibers in their diet because it keeps their feces and bowel movements smooth, so keep fibers in their diet properly. But there are multiple reasons why a cat eats dead leaves.

Lack of Fibers

If you witness your cat having a hard time pooping in the litter box and having diarrhea or bloody stool, it’s most likely because of the lack of fibers. Lack of fibers will make them search for things to eat like plants, greens, and, of course, dead leaves. So don’t be surprised if your cat is eating or bringing home a pile of dead leaves for itself. It is probably because they need it so, find a solution for their problem and add a fiber supplement to their diet to keep them healthy.


During spring, cats often shed their winter coat and clean their furs; consequently, they end up ingesting lots of hair. Even when they are going through some problems like skin irritation or stress, they might also clean their body hair more frequently, which means more hair ingestion.

If your cat has a good digestive system and is completely healthy, then it will not have any problem in passing out the ingested hair. But in some cases, a build-up of those ingested hair is formed in the cat’s stomach, known as a hairball. If the hairball gets too big, the cat might throw it up, or it can cause constipation, intestinal blockages, or megacolon

Sometimes cats eat dry leaves or plants to increase fiber in their body so they can have a smooth bowel movement and they can pass that hairball out. You can also treat this issue by giving specialized hairball treats to your cat so the production of hairballs can be limited or reduced.

Other Issues

There are some specific diseases that make cats eat plants or dry/ dead leaves. If your cat is suffering from hyperthyroidism, chronic kidney disease, or extreme stomach problems, then they might start eating plants or dead leaves. The reason for this is that they might want to induce vomiting or increase the dietary deficiency of fiber in their body.

You would not understand the issue unless you take them to a vet and get a proper diagnosis when they suddenly start eating dead leaves. It’s obviously not normal behavior, and it might be because of the reasons mentioned above. But it’s also possible that your cat just got curious about the dead leaves or liked the crunchy texture; who knows? Just make sure to get a full diagnosis and check the plant and leaves it is eating so you can know if the plant is toxic for them or not.

Consequences of Eating Dead Leaves

Some plants are toxic for cats, and the same goes for dead leaves. When they are green, some leaves might not be toxic for the cats, but they can be one when they are dried, dead, or wilted. The leaves or plants have also been sprayed with poisonous pesticides cause there might be a time when you don’t know where and how your cat is bringing all those dead leaves in its mouth. You can witness some of the following symptoms in your cat if it has eaten a toxic plant or dead leaves, immediately contact the vet.

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Frothing at the mouth
  • Increased heart rate
  • Panting
  • Excessive drinking

Things You Can Do To Stop Your Cat From Eating Dead Leaves

  • Cats usually find dead leaves outside in the garden or somewhere in the street. You can adjust their playtime and restrict them from going outside frequently so they can access such toxic things. If you have houseplants that might be toxic for the cats, keep them somewhere the cat can’t access them or remove them completely. If you don’t want to keep the cat from going outside, train your cat to walk with a leash, so you can control it.
  • Provide fully nourished with a good fiber amount diet to your cat. It will prevent them from searching for fiber anywhere else in plants or dead leaves. Give them full access to fresh water and consult your vet for a healthy diet according to the age and breed of the cat.
  • Keep your cat busy with various hobbies like good playtime, different toys, and games so your cat can be stimulated and doesn’t get bored. This way, the cat will get used to the schedule, and it will not look forward to going outside or doing something strange like eating dead leaves, obviously.
  • You can also grow cats grass. This will help your cat’s curiosity to eat greens like plants and leaves. The cat grass is not toxic and is actually nice for them to munch around.

Cats eating dead leaves are definitely strange, and it’s more questionable if they get used to eating it. There are different reasons why a cat starts eating dead leaves and how you can stop them from eating them. Just make sure your cat has a healthy and proper diet and seek the vet immediately if you witness something suspicious.

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