Vegans and Their Pet Cats

Do your pets have to go vegan too?
@Ruby3881 (2012)
Canada
March 31, 2016 10:08pm CST
Some years ago I heard that certain vegan and vegetarian pet owners were putting their dogs on meat-free diets. At the time I remember people saying it was OK because, like people, dogs are omnivores. And if people could survive without meat, dogs could too. Of course, the fact that much commercial dog food is grain-based supports the theory that a vegetarian or vegan diet could be safe for a dog. But what about cats? Unlike dogs, cats have traditionally been assumed to be obligate carnivores. They lack the ability to synthesize certain important nutrients that both people and dogs can obtain from a plant-based diet. So a cat is a "true" carnivore, and has long been assumed to gain little or no nutritional benefit from plants. They were always thought to need meat. But today I read that there are people who are encouraging others to "veganize" their cats. In fact, at least one purported expert has written a book on the subject! The claim is that synthetic versions of nutrients like taurine can completely replace meat, allowing the vegan cat lover to feed his pet a meat-free diet. But that sort of begs the question, why would you do it? I mean, if you believe humans should forego meat for ethical, ecological, or health reasons I can see that. But why would you want to try to feed your cat the same foods you eat? Would you feed your infant a tofu and veggie stir fry on brown rice? Would you give your pets chocolate? Shouldn't each living thing eat a diet that its body is suited to digest, and that its nature craves? Do vegans really feel guilty if they offer their pets foods containing meat? I don't know, I guess if I felt that strongly about foods that contain meat I might not want to own a pet whose natural diet consisted solely of meat. Perhaps a nice rabbit or guinea pig, instead? Or a bird whose diet consists of fruits and seeds?? Yes, cats can and do sometimes eat foods that contain vegetables and grains. But apparently I was wrong about the reason they do this: the experts say it's not for the nutrients. So my olive-loving cats (see my post on weird foods some cats eat) weren't interested in the nutritional value of the olives. They were really after something else. I'm really curious to hear from any vegans who might be out there: how do you feel about feeding your pets meat? Anybody else want to chime in on the topic? "Are You Really Going to Eat That?" - my look at cats with strange cravings and food fetishes http://www.mylot.com/post/2910277/are-you-really-going-to-eat-that [Image by Vanessa Rehm/Pixabay; CC0]
13 people like this
12 responses
@Tampa_girl7 (24901)
• United States
1 Apr 16
I had a cat that loved asparagus, watermelon, olives , potato chips, spaghetti and lasagna.
3 people like this
@Ruby3881 (2012)
• Canada
1 Apr 16
Wow, I'd love to have supper with that cat! Some of my own favourites are on that list
@DWDavis (10775)
• Pikeville, North Carolina
1 Apr 16
Tiger Cat likes a lot of those things, but they just pass through and come out in the litter box. A cats digestive system gets little or no nutritional value out of such food, except maybe the lasagna, if it has meat. Tiger also loves popcorn and peanut butter.
1 person likes this
@Ruby3881 (2012)
• Canada
2 Apr 16
@DWDavis Does the peanut butter stick to the roof of Tiger's mouth?
1 person likes this
@nanette64 (17095)
• Fairfield, Texas
1 Apr 16
I think the vegan diet for a cat is ridiculous @Ruby3881 . They are predators and as such eat: rabbits, birds, mice, fish, chickens, etc. I agree that the bag foods on the market are crap (loaded with garbage), so if you have an indoor cat that is unable to eat predatory food, at least they can be given substitutes like chicken, tuna, salmon along with shredded carrots. The same should go for dogs too. They are descendants of wolves and coyotes; which eat raw meat.
2 people like this
@Ruby3881 (2012)
• Canada
2 Apr 16
Most domestic cats don't know how to eat their prey, even though many are still good hunters. That's really sad, but they've been relying on us for far too long. I have had cats who would eat raw or cooked meats and fish, but I think even that is sometimes an issue for certain animals. They have gotten so used to eating commercial pet food that they don't desire real meat anymore
1 person likes this
@nanette64 (17095)
• Fairfield, Texas
2 Apr 16
@Ruby3881 I've got 1 outside feral who after I give him a combination of crunchies and canned food; I've watched within 10 minutes grab onto a rabbit and eat it. Go figure.
1 person likes this
@softbabe44 (5909)
• Vancouver, Washington
1 Apr 16
Cats need their luxury eats too
2 people like this
@Ruby3881 (2012)
• Canada
1 Apr 16
That's such a lovely way to look at it! Yes, they need their luxuries - they're cats, after all, and "pampered" is their middle name!
@DWDavis (10775)
• Pikeville, North Carolina
1 Apr 16
Dogs can thrive on very carefully constructed vegetarian diets, but the type and amount of vegetable proteins have to be carefully measured and monitored. I've read about cats surviving on a vegetarian diet but in truth the person feeding their cat this diet is forcing their cat to go against everything its physiology is designed to do because of the persons personal bias. If you don't want a carnivorous pet, you should choose a furry companion that already eats the same foods you do.
2 people like this
@allknowing (61550)
• India
1 Apr 16
If those cats are happy with veg food there is no reason why that should be stopped.
1 person likes this
@Ruby3881 (2012)
• Canada
1 Apr 16
Well, yes and no Grace. They might be happy in the way that a child would be thrilled to eat a constant diet of ice cream, cookies, and potato chips. But before long, both child and kitty cat are bound to become ill if their diet doesn't meet their body's basic needs. Then they won't be so happy, after all
1 person likes this
@allknowing (61550)
• India
1 Apr 16
@Ruby3881 That indeed is an issue that needs to be looked into. If you think a veg diet is not good for a cat then the question of keeping them on a vegetarian diet is ruled out.
1 person likes this
@Chellezhere (1393)
• United States
30 Apr 16
I am not 100% vegan, but I do eat a lot of vegan meals throughout each week, but I don't force that on my cats.
1 person likes this
@Ruby3881 (2012)
• Canada
1 May 16
Are you normally omnivorous, or vegetarian Michelle? Glad to hear you let the cat be a carnivore
@AnneEJ (5025)
• Dollard-Des-Ormeaux, Quebec
1 Apr 16
I don't have any pets, but according to all that I have heard, cats and dogs need a meat-based diet.
1 person likes this
@Ruby3881 (2012)
• Canada
2 Apr 16
I believe they do need meat - both cats and dogs. I actually read up a little about this yesterday, and encountered an article in which a vet was saying that some experts are now classifying dogs as true carnivores instead of omnivores.
1 person likes this
@acelawrites (10929)
• Philippines
1 Apr 16
Even if someone is a vegan, he should not stop his pets from eating the needed protein from meat.
1 person likes this
@Ruby3881 (2012)
• Canada
1 Apr 16
It seems odd they would, doesn't it? But those who advocate for "veganizing" their pets say the animals can safely transition to a meatless diet, and claim there's no ill effect on their health. I must say I'm skeptical...
1 person likes this
@Shavkat (56489)
• Philippines
1 Apr 16
I think we need also to respect the proper diet for animals. It wouldn't be nice if cats or dogs will not consume some meat. For personal intention, if we decided to be vegan then we don't need to our pets on diet.
1 person likes this
@Ruby3881 (2012)
• Canada
1 Apr 16
I tend to agree that our diet choice shouldn't involve our pets. And honestly, I've known at least one very devout vegetarian who was also a massive dog lover. She fed her pets a diet that included meat, even though she didn't consume it herself.
• United States
1 Apr 16
People need to be very careful when they start messing with their pet's diet and giving them "people food". There are a good number of foods that are perfectly fine for us to eat that are poisonous to animals, such as cats and dogs. Similarly, there are foods that they can eat that would cause us to become ill. I do agree that the diet of the animal should be tailored to that animal and not to our personal views or choices. Can you imagine trying to force a lion, tiger, wolf or coyote to become a vegetarian?
1 person likes this
@LadyDuck (146883)
• Switzerland
1 Apr 16
I read every day in the Italian newspapers about very young babies rushed to the hospital by vegan parents who want to feed them with almond milk instead of real milk. I think that people should have more common sense. I pity the poor kitties that have vegan owners.
@lady1993 (16388)
• Philippines
1 Apr 16
hmmmm, that is a hard one. I've never had a cat, but i did feed my dogs some veggies once in a while and he liked it, so maybe cats will too