Most vegans make the decision to cut all animal products out of their diet as a result of their love for animals and the environment. This love for animals also compels them to care for pets like dogs and cats.
But what happens when one of your pets is a natural meat eater?
Some vegans decide that it is okay for their cats to eat meat as this is part of their nature. Other vegans decide that their pet’s diets should be in line with the environmental and animal treatment considerations which have influenced their own dietary choices.
Perhaps the most important consideration as to whether or not it is acceptable to put a cat on a vegan diet is whether or not it will hurt the cat.
There is some anecdotal evidence suggesting that cats can survive just fine on an animal product free diet. Numerous vegan websites and testimonials will tell you that a cat can live a long and healthy life as a vegan, provided they are given the proper taurine supplements.
There are even pet food companies dedicated to providing vegan cat food, and they state that they have cats using their products living well beyond their life expectancy.
However, there is a reason anecdotal evidence is not viewed as valid in the scientific community, and the words of a vegan pet food manufacturer should be taken with a grain of salt when speaking about this subject.
Most veterinarians do not recommend vegan diets for cats, stating that they are obligate carnivores which require the nutrients gained from meat to sustain their existence.
Some vets will admit that it is theoretically possible for cats to survive on a vegan diet, however they are quick to point out that this is a very complex exercise which is not easily optimized and very risky for the cat’s health and therefore, not recommended. Possible health risks of a meat free diet for cats include blindness, damage to the brain, and eventual death.
When hearing anecdotes regarding healthy long living vegan cats, critics will also state that it is perfectly likely that these cats who appear to be getting on just fine without meat, are actually going on the hunt unbeknownst to their care givers, and getting the nutrients they need the old fashioned way.
So should you put your cat on a vegan diet? Well as you can see, that answer is complicated and encompasses debates about ethical philosophy. At the very least, it is clear that if you choose to have your cat go vegan, you are taking a major risk with its health and wellbeing, and you should think long and hard about the ethics behind that decision.