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Since cats are strictly carnivorous and have little in common nutritionally with dogs or humans (of whom both are omnivores), based on these claims, I became curious and inspired to explore vegetarian diets for pets,
Exploring Vegetarian Diets for Cats: Why Felines Need Meat
All felines require a hefty amount of taurine, an amino acid that is only found in meat. Without this crucial amino acid, cats who are only fed a vegetarian diet may develop serious visual problems and heart and liver diseases. In fact, Healthy Daily Diet, an online magazine devoted to maintaining a human healthy life style, recently published an article on the site warning about the dangers of feeding cats only vegetable products.
In addition to the importance for taurine, cats also require Vitamin B-12, which is also only found in meat. Felines cannot utilize the Vitamin A from vegetable products, so if animal products are withheld, cats will ultimately develop a Vitamin A deficiency. As a result of this deficiency, cats can develop hearing loss and a decrease in the functioning of their vital organs. Since cats are unable to synthesize critical fatty acids, such as arachidonic acid, that meat provides as the only source, a vegetarian diet creates many dietary problems.
Vegetarian Pet Foods Advertise Benefits, But Are They Safe?
Although Vegepet touts excellent health benefits from their products, in order to maintain radiant health the majority of veterinarians agree vegetarian diets for cats should be avoided.
In response to a question about if feeding pets a vegetarian diet is safe, Dr. Marty Becker of Vetstreet, writes, “If your pets are rabbits or other herbivores, no problem. If you have dogs, it’s possible, but I really can’t advise it. If you have a cat, however, it’s my view that you’ll be putting your pet’s health in jeopardy. Knowing how your cat’s nutritional needs differ from your own may help put her very distinctive dietary requirements in perspective: Cats must have meat.”
In conclusion, while some kitties occasionally enjoy snacking on vegetables or fruit, meat is what they crave. Of course, before making any radical changes to a pet’s diet, it’s important to check with your veterinarian.
What are your thoughts about a vegetarian diet for cats? Share with a comment.