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Vegetarian & Vegan Diet for Cats

Dietas-vegetarianas-y-veganas-para-gatos

Your cat is an obligatory carnivore which means It's biological essential for your cat's survival to eat meat. Your cat's natural instinct to hunt and it's digestive system are specifically adapted to eating raw meat.

It would be one of the worse decisions you could make for your cat to try to enforce it to eat a vegetarian or vegan diet. Both of these diets would need to be heavily supplemented with synthetics for your cat to try to get an optimally balanced diet.

Synthetic supplements are bad for the organs as they're not bio-available for the body to use correctly. Feeding your cat an unsuitable diet when it's entire digestive system and instincts are designed for hunting and eating raw, could mean your vegetarian or vegan cat ends up blind, brain damaged or dies early due to the lack of proper dietary requirements. 

A cat's digestive tract is short and cats have little ability to make amino acids and vitamins in their bodies the way other animals do. They also have a high requirements for taurine, which in its truest form is found in flesh. They need a high amount of protein in their diet to convert to glucose rather than digesting carbohydrates. Everything about a cat's digestive system is adapted for raw eating. Simply put, it's essential cats eat raw meat.

There are a whole host of both macro and micro nutrients your cat gets from eating whole real food that can't be substituted by either a processed, cooked, vegetarian or vegan diet . This is why you'll see raw feed cats so much more healthier and have a longer life expectancy than cats fed on substituted diets.

Simply put, a vegetarian or vegan diet can't meet the protein levels needed by your cat to sustain its health.


Commercial & Homemade Vegetarian/Vegan Diets for Cats

In the last few years there has been a launch of a couple of commercial products on the market for feeding your cat a vegetarian/vegan diet. They are supplement mixes that purportedly supplies all of the nutrients that are deficient in a vegetarian/vegan diet. This mix is then meant to be added to your homemade vegetarian/vegan diet 

There are also now several vegan wet cat foods that are marketed as providing complete and balanced nutrition to cats. Although this is theoretically possible, studies that have analyzed vegetarian/vegan cat foods and compared them with the nutrient content recommended by AAFCO for healthy nutritional profiles for cats, have reported numerous nutrient deficiencies in both the homemade/supplemental mix and the complete ration wet food varieties of vegan/vegetarian diets for cats

These diets with their nutritional deficiencies can cause serious health risks when fed long term and sadly it can take months or years for the damage to show up in your cat's health, at which point the damage often is irreversible.

As Professor Daniel Chan of the Royal Veterinary College added, "Sadly the industry is not regulated enough to ensure that these commercial products are adequate to maintain health".


Health Risks of a Vegetarian/Vegan Diet in Cats 

Cats are obligate carnivores and it's very difficult to get the diet requirements right when feeding them as vegetarian/vegan diet as it can't be done without resorting to feeding synthetics, which are oftentimes worse than feeding drugs. Also a vegetarian and vegan diet long term, can't meet the high protein levels needed by your cat for it's survival. 

A plant based diet contains on average 6 times as much beta carotene, which isn't useful for your cat's body. The processing of beta carotene from a vegetarian/vegan diet put's an enormous amount of stress on your cat's liver to produce bile salts to try to convert the beta carotene into the Preformed Vitamin A your carnivore cat needs for it's health. 

Vitamin A is needed for normal vision, the immune system, and reproduction. Vitamin A also helps the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs work properly. Preformed Vitamin A is directly found in meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products. The second type, Provitamin A, is found in fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based products. 

The high intake of this wrong form of Vitamin A - Provitamin A from a vegetarian/vegan diet can be harmful long term to your cat's health as the liver and the other organs don't have the ability to maintain the level of processing required to try to extract and convert provitamin A into preformed vitamin A, for their body to use.

The same goes for vitamins such as B12 and vitamin D3. Yes they can be given as a supplement but they are not bio-available for your cat's body to use. In it's truest form your cat's body would naturally extract these from the animals it's eating that have the ability to process it from the food they are eating. Feeding vitamins in a supplement form to your cat has a long term health cost and all of this processing of the wrong foods and supplements is hard on a carnivores body.

Currently there lacks a good blood test to test levels of Preformed Vitamin A. So if you want to feed your cat a vegan or vegetarian diet, you'll need to spend money on more frequent veterinary visits and blood testing for the nutrients they can test for, like VItamin B12 or Cobalamin etc. to ensure your cat is maintaining good health.

The reason a pet owner chooses to feed a cat or dog a vegan or vegetarian diet is based on the fact they themselves are a vegetarian or vegan not actual health reasons. 

Vegan and Vegetarian diets have no health benefits for your pet and really it's an unethical choice for them. As the owner you would be imposing your philosophies on your pet as opposed to actually understanding your pet's true nutritional needs. 

Animals tissues need to be a part of your cat's diet with purified forms of Taurine, Arachidonic acid and preformed Vitamin A and a high quality protein.

Given most vegetarians and vegans convert due to their dislike for the cruelty to animals it seems hypocritical then that a pet owner would choose this type of diet for an obligatory carnivore such as their cat, knowing it goes against all the nutritional requirements and is not safe for the long term health of their cat or dog.

You can't realistically feed cats a vegetarian/vegan diet. It's so difficult to deliver your cat's nutritional needs without meat. Although it may be well intended, the risk to your cat's health is too high a price to pay.


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Tuesday, July 05 2022

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Disclaimer: The entire contents of this website and articles are based on the opinions of the people at Authentica. The information contained within is not intended to replace that of your qualified vets or intended as medical advice. We are sharing knowledge and information but in no way should this pertain you from seeking proper professional medical/veterinary advice. We encourage you to do your own research and make your own decisions on your pet's health in conjunction with your vet. Neither we nor any third parties provide any warranty or guarantee as to the accuracy of information. You acknowledge that such information and materials may contain inaccuracies or errors. Your use of any information or materials on this website is entirely at your own risk, for which we shall not be liable. It shall be your own responsibility to ensure that any products, services or information available through this website meet your specific requirements and those of your pet. If you become aware of any material on the website that you believe infringes your or any other person's copyright, please report this by email to info@authenticapets.com so we can immediately rectify the issue.

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