Can Cats and Dogs go Vegan/Vegetarian?
While choosing your own food and deciding what diet to follow is one’s own free choice, deciding the same for your naturally carnivorous/omnivorous pet can be hard and something of a guilt-trip.
Most vegans take up the diet that they choose because they are dedicated animal lovers, ecologically aware of their environmental footprint or really health conscious.
Veterinarians have always pronounced dogs to be more adaptable to vegan and vegetarian diets than cats can be. The reason for this lies with a very important amino acid called ‘taurine’ (found in meat/fish) that is essential for cats and as someone who had had lots of cats as pets, I know how important that is.Cats can go blind without taurine in their diet.
Now, taurine can be synthetically manufactured and infused with a vegan or vegetarian processed pet food but you really want to make your pet live on food out of a can for his/her whole life. Being both a vegetarian and an animal I would have to disagree. There are also the floating rumors of the 4 D’s of processed pet food (dead, decaying, degraded, diseased) that keeps me from feeding them to my pet, unless I’m sure of its quality.
Though there are a wide range of vegan pet foods commercially available and stories of many cats and dogs who have lived/living a healthy life on such a diet, the ultimate question is that were they naturally vegan? The answer is NO.
There is an endless debate that has been going on and will probably go on for a long time, about what is the ideal way to meet such a pet’s nutritional needs.
I have noticed that cats on a vegetarian diet freely make up for their animal protein craving by hunting. Cats are more on the wilder side than dogs and that is what I love about them. Whether with insects or unsuspecting garden birds, they may be secretly meeting their natural needs without your knowledge anyway.
I would suggest at least a vegetarian diet for your pet and not a strictly vegan one. Allow them a slice of cottage cheese, bowl of yogurt in their diet.
Being an animal lover, I could never buy fish for my cats but you what I did? I went to the fish market and bought the fish scraps instead.
I felt good by not having to buy a fish and my cats were always happy and healthy. So, do what you truly and honestly and guiltlessly feel your pet would benefit from the most, without having to compromise on your belief and values.