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Feeding cats vegan or vegetarian: Is that cruelty to animals?

More and more people are giving up meat or even living vegan, i.e. without any animal products. They don’t eat sausage, steak, eggs, milk, yoghurt etc. for animal welfare reasons, sometimes for religious reasons or because they want to counteract climate change. Anyone who omits meat and other animal products makes a major contribution to animal and climate protection.

Vegetarians and vegans who own a cat sometimes ask themselves: “Can you feed a cat vegan?” Unfortunately, the answer is no. A vegan diet is not an option for cats. It would also be wrong to feed a cat a vegetarian diet. Food without meat is simply not species-appropriate for cats. Because they are predators, pure carnivores, strict carnivores, as it is called in the technical jargon.

As a rule, they only get plant food from the stomach contents of their prey – because the mice and birds that they caught have eaten berries and seeds beforehand, for example. If cats only get plants in their bowl from their owner, they get sick.

That’s why cats need meat and should not be vegetarian or even vegan:

  • A cat’s teeth do not have molars that are good at crushing plant fibers. It is designed to grab prey, kill it, and break its flesh into swallowable pieces.
  • Compared to herbivores, carnivores like cats have rather short intestines because meat is easy to digest. The intestines are not long enough to digest complex plant foods.
  • Cats lack certain enzymes that are essential for utilizing nutrients from plants. Therefore, they cannot absorb important nutrients from vegetarian food at all.
  • The essential amino acid taurine is found only in meat. Unlike dogs, cats cannot make them themselves.
  • Cats can only get the essential vitamin A from animal products. It is found, for example, in the liver of their prey.

Feeding cats vegan or vegetarian: Is that cruelty to animals?

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