Vegetarian Cat Food – It Is Time To Pounce On The Carrot, Not The Chicken
Are you a vegan or vegetarian and would like to change your cat from eating meats to eating a vegetarian diet? Vegetarian cat food is readily available to help you make the transition, but before you buy you need to understand the potential consequences.
Your cat is a predator. A cat’s body and digestive system has developed through centuries to process the proteins and flesh of other animals. While this sounds cruel, it is a simple fact of nature. Cats have developed certain dietary needs which are met by eating high levels of protein including important components like taurine.
Here is where the big dilemma begins. Vegetarian cat food producers have developed formulations which offer high amounts of vegetable protein and have added the important amino acids, taurine, and other essential nutritional items. They swear by their formulations and can point to hundreds of satisfied customers.
Animal researchers and veterinarians are much more skeptical about these claims. They question the ability of the cat’s digestive system to properly digest this high level of vegetable protein, vegetable fillers, and additives. Their fear is the cat may easily become undernourished.
Cooking your own vegetarian cat food would just amplify the issues even further. While your foods may be delicious, they will not contain high enough amounts of protein, and certainly will not contain the taurine and other elements your cat requires.
Why are these other trace nutritional items so important? A cat not receiving enough taurine can become blind or deaf. This is a scary proposition for any pet owner.
Does this mean you must allow your cat to continue eating meat? There is not definitive answer on this question today. If you wish to try a vegetarian cat food then buy one which is supplemented with the proper nutrition. Make sure to observe your cat closely watching for changes in their coat, their eyes, their energy levels, and even their bowel movements. If you detect any negative changes it is advisable to switch them back to their previous animal protein based food and then consult with your veterinarian.
The vet may be able to recommend other formulations they have seen successfully used. They may give you a strong lecture on the difference in human and cat anatomy and dietary needs, too.
While it is possible to use vegetarian cat food for many pets do not become dead set in your decision to change your cat. It is not a streak of cruelty in cats, or a sign of weakness on their will power. Eating meat is their natural food and has been since the existence of cats. If you are really wanting to preserve nature in the most natural sense, then why would you try to change how nature has designed your cat?
By all means, go ahead and try a vegetarian cat food, but make sure you are ready to reverse course. Your cat is precious to you, and you want to make sure it stays healthy and happy. They are likely to thrive on the vegetarian food, but you are the one who needs to make sure they do.