I try my best to find humane food for my cats. Cats cannot be vegetarian as it can cause serious health problems for them. However, you don’t have to give them commerical cat food that gets its meat from cruel sources, especially since commerical food can be unsafe for them! You can get safe, healthy food for cats and dogs from companies such as Orijen.
I don’t have a problem with dogs being vegan, but for cats I do. Taurine deficiencies can lead to blindness and other problems. Withdrawing the nutrients and denying an animal the diet they need to survive and be healthy is animal cruelty to me. I don’t like animals dying, but not every animal is a herbivore.
I’m going to be a plagiarizer here and just post this from the physiology section about cats on Wikipedia.
“Cats are obligate carnivores: their physiology has evolved to efficiently process meat, and they have difficulty digesting plant matter. In contrast to omnivores such as rats, which only require about 4% protein in their diet, about 20% of a cat’s diet must be protein. Cats are unusually dependent on a constant supply of the amino acid arginine, and a diet lacking arginine causes marked weight loss and can be rapidly fatal. Another unusual feature is that the cat also cannot produce the amino acid taurine, with taurine deficiency causing macular degeneration, where the cat’s retina slowly degenerates, causing irreversible blindness. Since cats tend to eat all of their prey, they obtain minerals by digesting animal bones, and a diet composed only of meat may cause calcium deficiency.
A cat’s digestive tract is also adapted to meat eating, being much shorter than that of omnivores and having low levels of several of the digestive enzymes that are needed to digest carbohydrates. These traits severely limit the cat’s ability to digest and use plant-derived nutrients, as well as certain fatty acids. Despite the cat’s meat-oriented physiology, several vegetarian or vegan cat foods have been marketed that are supplemented with chemically synthesized taurine and other nutrients, in attempts to produce a complete diet. However, some of these products still fail to provide all the nutrients that cats require, and diets containing no animal products pose the risk of causing severe nutritional deficiencies.
Cats also eat grass occasionally. Proposed explanations include that grass is a source of folic acid or dietary fiber.”
So basically if you do make the choice to buy vegetarian cat food, research it first to make sure your cat is getting all the nutrients they require. Dogs can eat a vegetarian diet, although I would suggest still looking it over.
Although animals like cats are designed to eat other animals, they are meant to do so in the wild where the other animals have a fair chance of escaping.
Humans aren’t supposed to be involved in the process.
Humans aren’t supposed to be killing one species of animal to sustain another.
In the case of companion cats & dogs in particular, much of their food comes from meat industry by-products.
Some people will argue that this makes it okay because the meat industry would exist regardless of whether or not we feed these animals these by-products, and those by-products would just go to waste otherwise.
But the fact is that the meat industry makes millions of dollars off of selling those by-products to pet food manufacturers and this provides greater incentive for the meat industry to fight to keep their heartless, monstrous industry alive.
The more profitable it is for them to breed, torture and murder animals, the harder they’ll fight to keep doing so.
This whole pet food conundrum exists because of breeders, trappers, pet stores, irresponsible caretakers who don’t get their companion animals spayed or neutered, and cultural programming that has produced people who view the purchasing and owning of animals as a completely normal and acceptable thing.
The long-term solution is to spay & neuter companion animals, stop stray animal breeding, eliminate trappers breeders & pet stores, and undo the cultural programming that causes people to say things like “I want a kitten”, “I want a puppy”, “I want a snake”, etc. … as though they’re just products to be purchased.
The short-term solution is vegetarian and vegan pet food for the companion animals that we already have.
Vegetarian dog & cat food is already available and vegan dog & cat food is on the way.
You can already make your own vegan dog food, and — if you’re resourceful enough — can make your own vegan cat food as well (you need to do serious research first).
If you think it’s unnatural to feed dogs or cats a vegan diet, have a look at what most pet food is already made from.
It’s made from all sorts of filth that can’t be used in human food. Pieces of diseased animals, hair, bones, teeth, euthanized animals, road kill and who knows what else. The pet food industry is heartless, greedy and virtually unregulated so there’s really no telling what’s actually in the food. They also usually add spoiled plant filler to both cat and dog food. The concoction that is produced from all this filth actually won’t sustain the cats & dogs it’s meant for … they have to add nutrient powders to the concoction in order to turn it into something that will keep your pet alive (not healthy, but alive).
So, if you’re concerned about vegetarian & vegan cat & dog food being unnatural, just keep in mind that most (if not all) of the cat & dog food currently on grocery store shelves is far from natural.
Also, keep in mind that natural isn’t everything. As long as it provides the nutrition the cat or dog needs to be healthy, it doesn’t have to be natural.
FoxieFox, Maybe a cow wasn’t the best farm animal to use in this comparison. Let me switch out the cows with chickens (as the majority of cat food is made from chickens). A chicken produces only about 4-5 pounds of meat each, and one can of cat food equals about half a pound of meat…. My own personal cat consumes 2 cans of food a day so he is eating at least one chicken every week. That’s over 50 chickens a year and over 700 chickens in his lifetime so far! Should I be putting my cat before 700 other animals? Is that ‘right’?