Is this really a good idea? What’s next: Yoga for kitteh? And how do you get a cat to do “downward dog,” er, downward cat ?
At first, Kecha gave up canned meat. Soon after, she stopped eating the fresh stuff too. Kecha is now strictly vegan. She is also a cat.
Concerned about animal cruelty, and the carbon pawprints of their feline friends, some humans are putting their kitties on vegan diets. And the cats—despite their carnivorous nature—seem to like it, owners say.
“They call it kitty crack,” says Kecha’s owner Gráinne O’Carroll, of an Italian vegan cat-food brand called Ami. “They like it so much they eat it really quickly and vomit straight up.”….
Humans who are vegan—meaning they abstain from meat and animal products like dairy and eggs—have been extolling the benefits of veganism to other humans for decades. Now, they’re pushing them on their pets….
Veterinarians and animal-nutrition specialists agree it is possible to cut out meat for dogs, which are naturally omnivorous, but the question of vegan cat food stirs controversy. Cats, they say, are “obligate carnivores,” meaning they need certain nutrients that are only found in meat. In the wild, they get virtually all their nutrition from hunting. Some argue that, because of this, veganism isn’t a healthy option for cats.
“Meat absolutely needs to be on the table when you are feeding a cat,” says Tina Wismer, a medical director at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Others counter that all cat food—meaty or vegan—fails to match the natural diet of hunted rodents, birds and insects. “The domesticated house cat today is fed an assortment of body parts from animals it would never naturally eat: cows, fish, pigs,” says Andrew Knight, professor of animal welfare and ethics at the University of Winchester in southern England. “It is logically inconsistent.”….
Cheryl Devine, of Redding, Calif., feeds her cat, Jackson, a vegan diet due to concerns over animal cruelty and the environment. But she says she’s noticed a surprising side benefit: It seems to make him less appealing to parasites. “He doesn’t really need flea or tick medicine very often,” she says.
Not everyone is impressed. “The vast majority of vets would advise against it,” says Daniella Dos Santos, president of the British Veterinary Association. She says that studies are yet to prove that synthetic nutrients are properly absorbed by cats’ guts and that a deficiency can cause eye and heart problems….
People who are unhappy feeding their pets meat are “best to reconsider the decision to get a cat, and get a herbivorous pet,” says the British Veterinary Association’s Dr. Dos Santos….