People adopt a vegan lifestyle for a variety of reasons, some of them health related, others as a conscious choice to help the planet. One of the most frequently cited reasons why people become vegan is because of a genuine concern about animal rights. There is no doubt that factory farmed animals live in abysmal conditions both prior to and during slaughter.
I admire people who can completely embrace this way of eating. It’s too restrictive for me, but the evidence I’ve seen, both scientific and anectdotal, makes me think that it is, indeed, a better way to eat. I’m mostly vegetarian, but I occasionally eat fish and seafood, and I do eat dairy. However, more and more, I try to incorporate vegan principles into my diet.
Unfortunately, the increased popularity of the vegan lifestyle presents an ethical dilemma for devoted cat guardians who believe that their cats should reflect their human beliefs about the treatment of animals and an environmentally sustainable lifestyle.Continue Reading
There’s been a recent media buzz about vegan food for pets. ABC News reported that it might be a bit easier for dogs than cats to live the vegan lifestyle. A recent op-ed piece in the New York Times suggested a vegan diet for cats as a viable option to reduce the over-depletion of fish stocks. This was followed a few days later by an article in The Huffington Post titled “Vegan Pet Food – Is It Okay To Raise a Cat Vegan?”, which generated hundreds of comments.
Dogs are omnivores and are able to suvive on plant materials alone, but keep in mind that they are meat eaters by nature and do best with at least some meat in their diet, so a vegan diet is not in the best interest of your canine companion.
Cats are carnivores, and as such, cannot sustain life unless they consume meat in some form. They are extremely sensitive to even a single meal deficient in arginine, an amino-acid that is a building block for protein. A cat’s natural diet in the wild consists of mice and birds, both of which are almost all protein. This is why diets high in protein and low in carbohydrates are best for cats.
People adopt the vegan lifestyle for a variety of reasons, some of them health related, others as a conscious choice to help the planet. While I applaud people who choose this lifestyle, it’s too restrictive for me. I’m mostly vegetarian, but I do eat fish and seafood. I even occasionally allow myself to give in to a craving for some meat or poultry – cravings that probably have very little to do with any physical need and are more emotionally motivated dating back to growing up on the heavily meat-based diet of my native Germany.
However, no matter what your reasons for being vegetarian or vegan, please don’t subject your cat or dog to the same choice. They’ll be healthier and happier if they’re allowed to be the meat eaters nature designed them to be. As for cats depleting the planet’s fish stock, I’ll worry about Amber’s carbon footprint when she starts driving an SUV.