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Why Cats Should not Become Vegetarian

Updated on May 2, 2009

The trend of vegan and vegetarian diets is expanding fairly quickly nowadays, as more and more products for followers of these diets are added each day. Many vegetarians however, one day may become tempted in having their feline friends join in their beliefs by trying to exclude meat as well in their diets. As admirable as it may be to refuse meat from diets because of personal beliefs, the act of excluding meat from a cat's diet may cause serious health problems that cannot be neglected.

Cats are born carnivorous and unfortunately there is no way around this. Their whole physical features were built to hunt prey and ingest meat. Cats have sharp pre molar and first molar teeth that were specifically designed to effectively shear meat, while their rough tongue was purposedly built to help retain the meat they tear.

A cat's  eyes were built to effectively detect the slightest movements of prey in day and night. While their  slim and agile bodies were built to run and pounce in short effective sprees in order to be effective hunters.  In short, cats are strictly carnivores and their body was obviously built to process meat while lacking essential digestive processes to digest plant matter. For this very reason, cats ingest grass when they are feeling sick to their stomach, as grass often induces vomiting in cats.

At a closer look, a cat's digestive tract is particularly short when compared to the digestive tract of omnivores in order to properly digest proteins and fats found in meat. Cats require many essential nutrients in their bodies that can only be found in meat. This is why turning a cat into a vegetarian is an unacceptable practice.

The important nutrients found in meat that cats need in order to stay healthy are as follows:  arachidonic acid, vitamin A, vitamin B12, niacin, thiamine and protein.

Protein in particular needs to be fed to cats on a daily bases, because cats cannot store protein. They need at least 30% of protein a day as this is their main source of energy, whereas humans and dogs use carbohydrates as their main source of energy. 

 A diet lacking instead Taurine would cause eye problems that could ultimately lead to blindness and serious heart related problems. 

If a cat is forced to eat a vegetarian diet, it may likely crave meat and look for sources of it elsewhere. This will translate into hunting mice and birds if the cat is left to roam outdoors. Cats may also eat small bugs that are trapped in the house.

Clearly, a cat's metabolism is not suited to be fed a vegetarian diet. While there are pet food companies such as Wysong manufacturing vegetarian diets for cats, they clearly claim that they are not nutritionally complete and not meant to be used as a replacement for meat based diets rather in addition to them.

. If you are vegetarian and you love your cat, you must accept him/her for who she is without trying to impose personal beliefs as this may cause your cat to become nutritionally imbalanced and ultimately sick.


Cats are Obligate Carnivores


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    • SantaCruz profile image

      SantaCruz 6 years ago from Santa Cruz, CA

      Hello, fellow cat lover! It's good you're warning about cats' nutritional needs. If people want to raise healthy vegetarian/vegan cats, they need to provide taurine and other supplements. One brand to try is Vegecat.