Can Cats Be Vegetarians?

Cats are carnivores, and they simply cannot live without meat and the highly bioavailable protein and amino acids (taurine, arginine, methionine, and cysteine and more), they contain, as well as certain fatty acids and vitamins found only in animal tissue.

Cats can develop serious health problems if they eat only a plant and grain-based diet, even when supplements are added to that diet. There are products out there for vegan and vegetarian cats, but if you look at the list of ingredients you will notice they contain non meat protein sources, nonanimal omega-3 sources, and a lot of vegetables and grains. This kind of food has very little nutritional value for cats. So sadly, those kind of diets can lead to major health problems, including dangerous deficiencies of key amino acids, fatty acids and vitamins.

Of course, it’s never a bad idea to add vegetables to a (raw meat) diet.

18 Responses to “Can Cats Be Vegetarians?”

  1. Animalcouriers

    100% correct! However, there are times when certain veg can help resolve intestinal problems e.g. if your cat is suffering from a bad hairball in its stomach, you can feed it cooked leek – the leek winds round and hairball and then eases it through the intestinal tract. Mind you, getting your cat to eat the leek is the hard bit!

    • Dianda

      I agree! Some vegetables are really helpful. Just like pumpkin can help with constipation.

      I was planning to post a post about vegetables cats can eat, and which cats need to avoid, as an extra post to this one. :)

  2. niasunset

    This is great post again… I would like to learn which vegetables are good for cats… I loved this photograph… she is amazing… :) Thank you dear Dianda, with my love, nia

  3. littlemiao

    Great info. Cats are obligate carnivores so they have to eat meat. I am vegan but I would never dream of imposing that on my Miaolings.

  4. angelswhisper2011

    I know cats also need some vegetables, for example when they eat a mouse they (mostly) eat also the stomach with their vegetable ingredients, because cats seem to know instinctive that this is good for them.
    Very informative post and the picture is so cute :)

  5. Maada

    Cats are carnivores – true. They can’t live without meat – false.
    They can easily survive eating cat’s veg food like AmiCat for example, that are fortified with taurine and other things cats need to survive. How do I know? I know many such cats. They are healthy and don’t seem unhappy at all. Is this the best choice? For me it is. I’m vegan for ethical reasons and I love all animals, not cats only so I don’t feed other animals to my cats. For the cats – probably not. They’d surely prefer to eat mice and birds, but how many cats have such a chance in today’s world and how many of them do it without ending up crashed by a car? Feeding cats with raw meat from meat industry is probably healthier for them but still it isn’t as natural as you’d like it to see. There are no ideal choices when it comes to keeping cats in my opinion. Just the lesser of two evils.
    But definitely: “They can’t live without meat” isn’t true.

    • Cats & Co

      I think this can end up in a big discussion, haha. I still think cats do need meat in their system. But to each their own, I guess.


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