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Vegetarian Cat Food - Is It Good Or Bad?

Discussion in 'Cat Nutrition' started by Rachel2525, Aug 14, 2018.

  1. mikameek

    mikameek TCS Member Alpha Cat

    Jun 2, 2018
    Austin, Texas
    Other animals that make great pets but don't eat meat are fish, hamsters and other rodents. Plants, I hear, also are very fulfilling to take care of. I have a vegan friend with allergies to many different pet danders so she surrounds herself with many plants and loves taking care of them. Not the same as the love of an animal but she has advocated that plants are great steps towards pet ownership. She is considering getting a fish soon.
    sdkfjlasdf, rubysmama, lisamarie12 and 3 others purraised this.

  2. lisamarie12

    lisamarie12 TCS Member Super Cat

    Nov 17, 2014
    The biology of a cat is such that their pancreas do not produce sufficient amylase to handle a carb heavy diet, which a vegan diet most certainly would be.

    If a vegan has issues with meat to the point of not being able to respect the diet of an obligate carnivore, then a cat is not an appropriate pet for such a person, as others have mentioned, a rabbit or an animal who has evolved to consume a vegan diet would be the preferred pet.

    Geometric analysis of macronutrient selection in the adult domestic cat, Felis catus

    "As an obligate carnivore, the cat has certain metabolic adaptations that result in nutritional requirements (e.g. for arginine, taurine, vitamin A, vitamin D and arachidonic acid) being met adequately only through a diet based on animal tissue"

    The Carnivore Connection

    "Cats also have low activities of intestinal and pancreatic amylase and reduced activities of intestinal disaccharidases that
    break down CHOs in the small intestines. These
    specific differences do not mean cats cannot use starch.
    In fact, cats are extremely efficient in their use of sim-
    ple sugars. However, it does underscore their develop-
    ment as carnivores
    and the expected low amounts of
    grain in their typical diet."
    sdkfjlasdf, sabrinah, rubysmama and 2 others purraised this.

  3. KarenKat

    KarenKat Kitty on the half shell, tortie power! Top Cat

    Apr 4, 2018
    Burlingame, CA
    @Rachel2525 - I just want to add that you sound like a very conscientious and responsible pet owner. You wanted to make a significant change in diet for your pet, and so you researched the topic, posted on a forum and are planning on speaking with the vet. This makes you a responsible pet owner. I’m sure everyone here mentioning vegan pet options like rabbits or fish as an alternative to a cat is not because they think you shouldn’t have one, but as a different way of avoiding handling meat if that is your preference.

    Just don’t want to scare you away because we are passionate and silly sometimes. Thank you for being a responsible pet owner and looking into what is appropriate for your kitty.
    sdkfjlasdf, lisahe, sabrinah and 3 others purraised this.

  4. Willowy

    Willowy TCS Member Top Cat

    Mar 1, 2009
    South Dakota
    Just to clarify for vegans---most fish do need animal protein (fish food is made with fish meal), and hamsters, rats and mice do much better with occasional animal protein too (bugs, preferably). Guinea pigs, however, are vegan and so are rabbits :D. One must do research to find out the proper diet for any pet.

    And cats are absolutely not vegan. Ferrets are the same. They need animal protein in their diet.
    molly92, sabrinah, rubysmama and 2 others purraised this.

  5. saleri

    saleri TCS Member Super Cat

    Dec 26, 2017
    Well I guess she gets the idea.
    Azazel purraised this.

  6. rubysmama

    rubysmama Forum Helper Staff Member Forum Helper

    Nov 25, 2013
    Hello and welcome to TCS. :wave2:

    I'm vegetarian, and totally understand the dislike of handling (and smell of) meat. That was part of the reason I hesitated a long time before adopting a cat.

    Then finally my life-long love of cats overtook my desire to keep my home meat-free, and I adopted Ruby. :lovecat2:

    I could never do a raw food diet for her. And sometimes it still icks me out when I accidentally touch her canned (duck) food, but I knew having meat cat food in the house was part of the bargain when I decided to adopt Ruby. And, sadly, other animals have to die for her to eat, but by adopting her it opened a space at the shelter, and therefore, may have saved another cat's life.

    If you already have a cat, I hope you can get past the grossness of meat and its smell, or find a food that isn't so stinky. If you haven't gotten a cat yet, do ensure you'll be comfortable with having meat cat food, and the smell, in your home before you bring a cat home.
    sdkfjlasdf, sabrinah, duckpond and 3 others purraised this.

  7. duckpond

    duckpond TCS Member Top Cat

    Dec 13, 2017
    I am vegetarian, not vegan, i do eat some cheese :rolleyes: I also do not enjoy feeding meat to my cats. However i do, and always will. Cats are carnivores, and while you might keep a cat alive on a vegan diet, with the right supplements, it would not be happy or healthy. I have the choice on what to eat, our pets do not, they depend on us to feed them appropriately to keep them healthy.

    For your cats sake, do not push your preferences on them. They will suffer for it.:oops:

  8. Lari

    Lari TCS Member Top Cat

    Nov 18, 2017
    Usually we recommend wet food here because it's better for urinary health, but if feeding a high quality kibble smells less or doesn't have the meaty texture of wet food/helps you get over the psychological "ew meat", your cat can likely still live a long and healthy life. You'll just have to make sure kitty has lots of access to water.

  9. lisahe

    lisahe TCS Member Top Cat

    Mar 23, 2014
    You beat me to it, KarenKat, I'm so glad you posted this! @Rachel2525's real questions are about health -- the most important thing, which she clearly cares about -- and the smell of food, something that can be minimized.

    I'm glad she asked and hope some of the suggestions here can help her find some foods that her cat will recognize as very meaty but that won't smell too much for Rachel2525 herself! Those freeze-dried foods are amazing that way: the cats sniff and sniff but I can barely smell a thing. I asked my husband about this, too, and he looked at me as if I were crazy because he doesn't notice any real smell, either.

  10. Katie M

    Katie M TCS Member Top Cat

    Jun 1, 2017
    Kingwood, WV
    I have to agree with everyone else. I think part of being an animal lover is respecting their dietary needs.
    rubysmama, Azazel, 1 bruce 1 and 2 others purraised this.

  11. 1 bruce 1

    1 bruce 1 TCS Member Top Cat

    Apr 8, 2016
    You're a vegan. That's a choice you make yourself and I wish you the best of health (sincerely.)
    Your cat is NOT vegan. Your cat never will be vegan. Look at their teeth. Throw a mouse or a chunk of meat vs. a handful of spinach their way and see what they go for.
    Meat may be "stinky" to you, but to your cat it's what they require to live and survive on.
    I hate to be blunt but it's a rare thing when I see an owner putting their cat on a vegan diet that isn't vegan themselves.
    Would you feed your pet horses, cattle, goats, and sheep ribs and chicken wings if you were a meat eater? Of course not.
    Respect their necessary diets and put your own fears or beliefs aside. Please don't kill your cat to save some random chicken or cow.
    I understand you're not crazy about meat based on your own beliefs, but vegan diets for cats are nothing short of animal cruelty if fed based on your own personal food preferences.

  12. ailish

    ailish TCS Member Adult Cat

    Nov 7, 2016
    Some fish do eat meat, so you have to be careful here. There are strictly plant eaters, meat eaters, and omnivores.
    maggiedemi, sdkfjlasdf and 1CatOverTheLine purraised this.

  13. ailish

    ailish TCS Member Adult Cat

    Nov 7, 2016
    This may have been mentioned before, but freeze dried raw seems like about the furtherest thing from meat you can get but is meat. It seems more something they'd give to astronauts to eat and actually reminds me of chopped alfalfa. Plus, cats, at least my cat, LOVE it. It's very unmessy. Just add plenty of water. Check the calories though, you feed much less by weight than regular food.
    sdkfjlasdf and 1CatOverTheLine purraised this.

  14. lisahe

    lisahe TCS Member Top Cat

    Mar 23, 2014
    This is very close to my suggestion, ailish, so I'm glad to see you think of freeze-dried the same way! Our cats love it, too. And I love it because the cats love it, do well on it, and I don't have to put it in the freezer.
    sdkfjlasdf purraised this.

  15. sdkfjlasdf

    sdkfjlasdf TCS Member Adult Cat

    Jul 25, 2018
    @Rachel2525 hope you
    I will work hard and earn money and afford this for my cat... One cat lady feeds her favorite stray freeze dried. He's 15 and looks 5. Coat gleams and reflects the sunlight lol
    RajaNMizu purraised this.

  16. lisahe

    lisahe TCS Member Top Cat

    Mar 23, 2014
    I hate the prices for freeze-dried but (other than the price, though shopping around can make a huge difference) it's incredibly practical. I'm glad to hear your cat likes it, too. And how good of the cat lady to feed freeze-dried to the stray! That is one lucky cat.
    sdkfjlasdf purraised this.

  17. ailish

    ailish TCS Member Adult Cat

    Nov 7, 2016
    It is pricey, but I never actually did an apples to apples comparison. You do feed a lot less by weight, due, I guess, to the lack of moisture. I should weigh it sometime AFTER I add the water.
    sdkfjlasdf purraised this.

  18. ShannonValdovinos

    ShannonValdovinos TCS Member Kitten

    Aug 26, 2018
    A cat? Vegan? Absolutely not.
    Cats need meat proteins, not plant proteins. Unless you want possibly thousands of dollars in vet bills and the possible death of your fur baby, don't feed your cat vegan. Forcing your beliefs on an animal that's a carnivore is just a ridiculous idea. If you want an animal that is vegan, get a rodent of some type.
    sdkfjlasdf purraised this.

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