Can your cats eat vegan or vegetarian cat food and is vegan cat food healthy? We ask veterinarians’ opinions.
Is becoming a vegetarian a sensible decision when you consider that cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they need to eat animal products to stay healthy and happy. How about cat food that’s vegan?
Is vegan cat food healthy? Vet’s opinion.
Cailin Heinze, VMD, a board-certified veterinary nutritionist and assistant professor of nutrition at Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, warns that it is “very improper” for cats.
The risks of vegan cat food
Cats fed a vegetarian or vegan diet run the danger of not consuming enough total protein, essential fatty acids like arachidonic acid or amino acids like taurine, or vitamins and minerals that are best or only obtained through meat or other animal products.
Health risks associated with vegan cat food and vegetarian cat food
These dietary problems can lead to serious and occasionally irreversible medical disorders, according to Jennifer Larsen, DVM, PhD, a board-certified veterinary nutritionist and professor of clinical nutrition at the University of California, Davis veterinary school. She adds that low taurine might impair vision, hinder development, and affect reproduction. The one issue that vets raise the most frequently is dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition linked to insufficient taurine.
“We did notice an incident of a cat that almost died as a result of taurine shortage,” claims Dr. Larsen. “The owners were feeding a vegan cat kibble, or a commercial vegan meal, and they were mixing that diet with cooked chicken breast, for whatever reason, but it was obviously inadequate in taurine for the cat, resulting in a near-death experience for this animal,” the statement continued.
Read more: The Most Effective Cat Toothpaste for Clean Cat Breath