Being a vegan is an alternative lifestyle for some people. But, how about in carnivorous animals? As the trend of vegan is growing, some people, or in this case: pet owners, tend to put their carnivorous pets, like dogs or cats on a vegan diet. Is it possible, though? In this article, we will talk deeper about the vegan diet in pet, especially cats.
Do The Cat Can Be Feeding by Vegan Diet
Putting animals that are naturally born as a meat eater on a vegan diet can cause a lot of debate and controversy. Many argue that cats should never be given a vegan diet or plant-based food because cats cannot fulfill their needs from it. Besides, unlike humans who choose to be a vegan voluntary, animals cannot decide for themselves, so why would we force them to do so?
On the contrary, some experts say that actually, cats can be feeding by vegan diet or plant-based cat foods, not the plant-based human foods, as long as they are provided with additional nutrients to balance their needs. However, it has to be done properly with a lot of research to find out the essential nutrients that our cats need to keep the cats healthy. Adapting with a new diet plan, especially shifting from meat-eater into plant-eater can be hard for them. We also have to keep an eye for any changes or any possible symptoms that might present during the transition.
Cat’s dietary needs
One of the important needs of our car is an essential amino acid called taurine. Lack of taurine in cats might lead to severe health problems, such as can cause digestive issues, weakened heart, and even blindness! Taurine, however, can only be found in animal-based food. So if you want to feed your cats with a vegan diet, make sure you add the diet plan with cat foods and treats that contain synthetic taurine in it. You may also want to consult the vet to make sure your cats will not suffer from taurine deficiency.
2. Arachidonic Acid
Besides taurine, arachidonic acid is essential needs that can only be fulfilled through meat because cats cannot produce it by themselves. Arachidonic acid is important for inflammatory response and bodily protection mechanism, skin growth, and help the gastrointestinal and reproductive system to function properly as well.
3. Vitamin A
Cats also need a proper amount of Vitamin A if you are feeding them with vegan diet. If your cats do not have enough amounts of Vitamin A, they might suffer from several health issues such as unhealthy coat, bone and intestinal problem, or even loss of hearing and blindness. Your cats, however, can also get overdose on Vitamin A, present with some symptoms such as constipation, abnormal posture, skin allergy, and weight loss.
Protein is obviously needed for cats in order to keep them healthy. Cat’s diet includes protein in the heavy portion. Thus, you have to make sure that your cats’ protein intake is still fulfilled and balanced even when they are fed with a vegan diet.
Possibility of feeding cats by a vegan diet
Many people believe that cats are obligate carnivores and they should not be fed with plant-based foods. However, it’s possible to feed your cats by vegan diet as long as the ingredients are still fulfilled their needs, especially on some essential vitamins or minerals that only be found in meat-based foods. But still, this does not mean you have to do it to your cats.
Each cat might response differently with this new diet plan. So you better consult your vet first to make sure about your cat’s condition to decide whether your cat would be better suited to meat-based foods as usual or to plant-based foods as a part to be vegan.
How to tell if vegan diet suits your cats well or not
As it’s mentioned earlier, the transition between meat-eater into plant-eater can be put your cats into suffers. Not every cat goes well with vegan diet, so we better keep an eye on their health during the transition. To tell whether your cats do well with vegan diet or not, you can check by its condition. Cats that don’t go well with it will present several symptoms, such as unhealthy fur and unhealthy skin, signs of weakness, blindness, or even heart issues, and last but not least, trouble urinating.
Checking your cat’s urine can be helpful for the vet to know is there any abnormal rate of alkaline in your cats. High alkaline may lead your cat into serious problems like bladder stones and urinary tract infections. You can bring the sample of your cat’s urine to the vet for a check-up at least two weeks after the first day of vegan diet and a couple of months later regularly. By this, it will be easier to notice if there is any problem with the diet plan and to get it treated immediately. Better be prepared than sorry, isn’t it?
As for the conclusion: yes, it is possible to feed your cats with vegan diet or plant-based foods as long as they are provided with additional supplements and it has to be done carefully. We have to make sure that our cat’s needs are fulfilled because some of the essential minerals and vitamins such as taurine, arachidonic acid, and vitamin A cannot be found in plant-based food. Lack of those things can lead your cats into a serious health problem. That is why some people refuse the idea since it is not necessary to ‘force’ them to be fed with vegan diet plan, even though there are some cases about cats that live happily with their vegan diet.
After all, it is you who knows better about your cats. Things that we all agree for sure is we just want our cats to be healthy and happy!