To date in the US, production of renewable fuels, particularly ethanol, is primarily from food crops that are high in sugar and starch. The use of arable land for fuel rather than food production and the use of a food source for fuel rather than food have created issues in pricing and availability of traditional foods and feed. The use of cattails to produce biofuel will add value to land and also reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by replacing petroleum products. In order to investigate the feasibility of converting cattails into cellulosic ethanol, a hot-water pretreatment process was studied using a Dionex accelerated solvent extractor (ASE) varying treatment temperature and time. The pretreatment at 190°C for more than 10 min could effectively dissolve the xylan fraction of cattails as soluble oligomers. Both the glucose yield and xylose yield obtained from the pretreated cattails increased with the escalation of the final pretreatment temperature, treatment time or enzyme loading. When cattails were pretreated at 190°C for 15 min, the highest glucose yield of 77.6% from the cellulose was achieved in 48 h using a cellulase loading of 60 FPU/g glucan. The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae (ATCC 24858) was able to ferment glucose released by cattail cellulose, resulting in approximately 88.7 ± 2.8% of the theoretical ethanol yield. The higher enzyme loading of 60 FPU/g glucan will significantly increase costs. It is recommended that further studies be carried out using cattails as a feedstock for bio-fuels, especially to optimize the economics of biological conversion processes for cattails with regard to reducing enzyme usage, energy input, glucose yield and xylose yield.