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Feature February 2019 Issue

No, Your Cat Cannot Be a Vegan

irina_orlova | Bigstock

A cat cannot live on cucumber alone.

A study of 2,000 cat owners in the U.K. found that one in five were not aware their pets were carnivores and required animal products in their diets to thrive. There are many cat owners in the U.S. who also aren’t aware. Veganism simply cannot be a lifestyle choice you make for your cat, even if you make it for yourself.

While cats do have the ability to get calories and some nutrients from plant sources, there are a number of essential nutrients that cats, unlike dogs and people, cannot get from plants. Some examples include the amino acid taurine, vitamin A, and a special type of fat, arachidonic acid. Without sufficient taurine, for instance, cats can get heart disease and vision problems. Cats also require more protein for their weight than other species, including humans and dogs, and animal sources such as meat, fish, eggs, and dairy have much higher protein levels than plant ingredients while also having a better balance of amino acids. It is not possible to meet cat protein and amino acid needs with only whole plant ingredients.

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