More and more people, especially pet lovers are turning to a vegetarian or vegan diet. For the most part this is fantastic, vegan diets are easier on the environment and generally healthier…for people. However for your pet it isn’t healthier, herbivores and omnivores have drastically different digestive systems. Omnivores like humans can adapt to a vegan diet and omnivore cannot.
Cats are obligate carnivores or true carnivores, and in simple terms they need meat to survive. Trying to force a vegan diet on your cat is unethical, irresponsible and cruel, and it is extremely unhealthy for your cat. Yes, your cat will eat other foods but their primary source of nutrition comes from meat. You can however feed them the most ethically sound cat food you can find. As much as promoters of a vegan lifestyle will claim that your animals can live on a vegan diet, the science doesn’t support this.
The way the feline digestive tract is structured it is unable to process the nutrients that are in plant matter. Cats also need a nutrient called “taurine” for good health. Taurine is found in meat, the best source of taurine is in organ meat, in the liver and heart. To deprive your cat of a source of taurine and required nutrients is animal abuse. Cats must have meat to survive.
Cat Food Labels
The USFDA is responsible for the oversight of pet foods, but in reality they don’t have much authority. The pet food industry is huge, generating billions of dollars in revenue and the industry can be dubious at best. The FDA doesn’t require a food maker to get any pre-approval for a new food it wants to put on the market. This is one of the reasons there is so much relabeling and renaming of cat food. Even if the label says there is meat in the ingredients list, dishonest manufacturers will often use diseased animals deemed unfit for human consumption in your cat food.
You can easily find the right food for your cat that contains all the nutrients they need including taurine, speak to your vet for some recommendations on your next visit. Veganism is a lifestyle choice that humans can afford to make. While ethical considerations of factory farming are valid, your cat is still a carnivore. It is your obligation as a pet owner to provide the best for your cat. If you’re still not convinced that your cat must have meat, here is an explanation from a wellness vet explaining the how’s and why’s of your pet’s diet.