Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

Is Blue Fescue Grass Poisonous to Cats?

Kitten grooming
Martin Poole/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Cat owners know that their frisky felines can and will get into trouble from time to time, including eating plants that they shouldn't. Blue fescue (Festuca glauca), which thrives in U.S. Department of Agriculture zones 4 through 8, is an ornamental grass prized for its delicate blue-green foliage. The fine texture of the leaves and its tendency to form thick clumps makes this decorative plant attractive to gardeners and cats alike.

Is It Poisonous?

Although fescue poisoning is well known to livestock caregivers, blue fescue does not pose the same risk to cats. The fescue poisoning known in horses, sheep and cattle is caused by a fungal infection of a different type of fescue grass (tall fescue, or Festuca arundinacea). Seeds infected with the Acremonium coenophialum fungus produce grass infected with the same and can cause weight loss, fever, rough coat, tissue death and difficulty during labor in pregnant animals. Blue fescue does not harbor the same toxins, nor does it contain any substances toxic to felines when ingested.

  • Cat owners know that their frisky felines can and will get into trouble from time to time, including eating plants that they shouldn't.
  • Although fescue poisoning is well known to livestock caregivers, blue fescue does not pose the same risk to cats.

Contact Dermatitis

According to the University of California Cooperative Extension, contact dermatitis is a risk to cats who romp in blue fescue. Contact with the sap of blue fescue puts cats at a higher risk for this ailment. Contact dermatitis, or an irritation of the skin, presents as red bumps and inflamed skin, accompanied by moderate to severe itching. Because cats have a thick coat of hair and fastidious grooming habits, dermatitis from contact with fescue grass is unusual.

Considerations

No one knows exactly why cats ingest grass, with theories ranging from folic acid supplementation to cats using it instinctively as a laxative or fiber supplement. Although blue fescue is nontoxic for cats, stomach upset can occur after ingestion. Cats lack the necessary enzymes to digest grass. Because they are unable to process it, it’s usually regurgitated. While seeing your cat vomit is alarming, it’s perfectly normal after eating grass.

  • According to the University of California Cooperative Extension, contact dermatitis is a risk to cats who romp in blue fescue.
  • Although blue fescue is nontoxic for cats, stomach upset can occur after ingestion.

Warning

If your cat develops a rash or skin irritation after contact with blue fescue grass, wash the area with soap and water. If the rash is severe or your cat exhibits signs of pain, consult a licensed veterinary medical professional. In some cases, contact dermatitis leads to traumatic self-injury. The cat licks the area because it itches, which causes more itching that leads to more licking, and eventually open sores develop. Open sores can become infected and necessitate the use of antibiotics to stop the infection and antihistamines to reduce the itching and self-injury.

Related Articles

Is Purple Fountain Grass Poisonous to Cats?
Is Purple Fountain Grass Poisonous to Cats?
Purple Fountain Grass & Dogs
Purple Fountain Grass & Dogs
Is Variegated Ribbon Grass Poisonous to Dogs?
Is Variegated Ribbon Grass Poisonous to Dogs?
How to Get Rid of Clover Without Hurting the Grass
How to Get Rid of Clover Without Hurting the Grass
The Correct pH for Grass
The Correct pH for Grass
Grasses That Are Healthy for Cats to Eat
Grasses That Are Healthy for Cats to Eat
The Effects of Antifreeze on Grass
The Effects of Antifreeze on Grass
Grass Seed and Dogs
Grass Seed and Dogs
Is Crabgrass Preventer Harmful to Dogs?
Is Crabgrass Preventer Harmful to Dogs?
Lupine Toxicity
Lupine Toxicity
Jade Plants & Cats
Jade Plants & Cats
Will Laundry Detergent Kill Grass?
Will Laundry Detergent Kill Grass?
Vantage Grass & Weed Killer
Vantage Grass & Weed Killer
Are Raspberry Plants Poisonous to Dogs?
Are Raspberry Plants Poisonous to Dogs?
How to Take Care of Carpet Grass
How to Take Care of Carpet Grass
When to Put Gypsum on Your Lawn for Dog Spots?
When to Put Gypsum on Your Lawn for Dog Spots?
Garden Guides
×