Vegetarian and vegan diets are popular with humans these days. Also gaining in popularity is the belief that our pets are a part of our family. They have become valued members of our household instead of “just a pet”. So, it makes sense that families that have decided to be vegetarians or vegans would want their pets to live the same way.
Pet professionals and pet lovers have been debating this issue for some time now. Some say that this diet is perfectly healthy, while the rest say it is unnatural and unhealthy.
Cats vs humans
It is much easier for a dog to make the switch to a vegetarian or vegan diet than it is for a cat, but it is still very difficult. Their bodies are designed very differently than humans.
While humans are omnivores and are able to eat and digest plants and animals, cats are not.
In fact, cats are not only carnivorous, they are classified as obligate carnivores, meaning that their bodies are designed to eat mostly meat. A cat’s digestive system is not designed to be able to breakdown plants.
One significant difference is found in our intestinal tract. Cats and dogs have much shorter intestinal tracts compared to humans. Basically, plant cell membranes are very difficult to breakdown and extract nutrients from. In order to benefit from eating plants, a longer intestinal tract is needed. Cats are simply not built to live without meat.
Cats are known to eat grass from time to time, but it is generally agreed that they do this to settle their stomach and do not get any nutritional benefit from the grass.
Can a cat survive on a vegetarian diet?
There is no simple answer to this question. A cat can survive on a well balanced and well planned vegetarian diet, but there are still questions about how well the cat will live and for how long. Some cats have been known to live long and generally healthy lives, but they are the exception, not the rule.
Cats put on a vegetarian diet still need to get all of the vitamins and minerals their bodies need. A diet has to be well planned and balanced since these essential nutrients cannot be found in plants alone. Supplements and vitamins need to be included in your cat’s diet, which can be expensive and confusing.
What are the health issues related to meatless diets?
When meatless diets fall short, it can lead to a variety of health issues for your cat.
Cats on a meatless diet can suffer from liver and heart problems, skin irritation, and hearing loss, along with a wide assortment of deficiencies.
Of course, anytime you make a major change in your pet’s diet, you should consult a veterinarian who can help ensure your pet will be healthy and receive the care they deserve.
Are Vegetarian Diets OK for Your Pets?
Is a Vegan Diet Healthy For Dogs?
How Do You Feel about Vegan Dog Food?
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About the author:
Kayleigh has always loved animals and has spent time volunteering at the local dog shelter. The love of her life is her four year old Rottweiler, Lizzie. She enjoys writing for YeePet.com since it combines her love of animals with one of her favor...