Is it Safe to Feed Your Cat a Vegetarian Diet?

In today’s society, more and more people are striving to live a more green lifestyle.  For many, this includes cutting meat out of their diets in an attempt to live a vegetarian lifestyle and reduce demand for meat.  There are plenty of meat-replacement foods out there that make this a good choice for humans, but what about feeding your cat a vegetarian diet?  Is this good for your pet’s health or will it make them sick?


The first thing to understand about cats is that they are natural carnivores.  No cat in the wild is going to eat vegetables and fruits unless it is literally starving, and no cat goes on the hunt for wild grain, or digs up vegetables to eat.  Many cat owners see their cat eating grass when their pet goes outside, and may mistakenly think that cats eat plants for nutrients. This is not so – in fact, your cat eats grass because the texture of grass is a natural stomach irritant, and helps them ‘cough up’ fur balls which may otherwise remain undigested in the stomach.  The grass binds to the hair, making it easier to expel.


Cats are considered strict carnivores, and as such, their bodies are designed to digest meat and nothing else.  Feeding your cat a vegetarian diet is simply not healthy and will thwart its digestive system, making it extremely ill and anemic.  Cats are not equipped to digest plants, and although you cat may enthusiastically eat vegetarian foods designed to look like meat such as veggie meatloaf or sausage, they will absorb little if any nutrition from the meal.  The same goes for grain-based foods such as pasta and bread, which provide bulk to your pet’s diet but no nutrients. 


Feeding your cat a vegan or vegetarian diet is not recommended by any vet or animal specialist, as it can stunt growth and lead to illness or death by malnutrition.


From a strictly nutritional point of view, there are a number of nutrients found in animal proteins and meat that are simply not found in plant based foods, and they are essential to your cat’s health.  Even adding plant based sources of these vitamins, such as Vitamin A is not the same, as cats lack the necessary enzymes to convert them.  This means that you should be feeding your cat a meat based diet at all times, in the form of meat, table scraps, and canned or dry food bought from your local pet store.


Feeding your cat the proper foods is essential to health and proper care.  As a pet owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that your pet is both healthy and happy.  By feeding your cat the right foods, you can easily accomplish this.

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