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Do Tell: Would You Try to Raise a Vegetarian (or Vegan) Pet?

I certainly don't know many kitties that would turn down some fresh fish as a treat . . . and I can't be the only one with the iconic cartoon image of a cat lapping milk in my head. However, a recent post on Dolittler (my go-to site for a behind-the-scenes vet perspective) got me thinking: Are there really vegan pets out there?Seems that converting pets – especially cats – to a vegetarian or even the veggies only diet (with no milk or egg proteins for vegans) is a risky choice but one that some still consider. Dr. Patty Khuly writes:

Cats' bodies (specifically, their gastrointestinal tracts) are not ideally suited to digesting non-meat foods. Though they may seem to do well on these diets once they’ve acclimated to them, the long-term effects of feeding feline diets that lack animal proteins have not been established.

Now it's one thing if you have a pet that would choose the vegetarian option in the wild (goats, rabbits, chickens, etc.) but it doesn't seem fair to impose personal beliefs that could endanger your animals' health in the process? What's your take?


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Chase24 Chase24 8 years
I hate it when people force THEIR lifestyle choices on animals,who can't choose for themselves. If you can't handle the fact that a cat or a dog need meat in their diets then please get a rock or a planet for a pet. That being said I know a couple of vegetartians/vegans who feed the raw diet to their dogs and I have nothing but complete and udder respect for them because they have done the research into what is best for their animals.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
I always roll my eyes if I hear people talking about how their pets are "vegetarians/vegans too" , I think its ridiculous.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
You can look at an animals teeth to see what that animal is supposed to eat. I agree 100% with everyone saying it is a-ok for someone to make that decision for themselves, but not for other people. I feel the same way about kids.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
Dogs and Cats NEED Meat!!
sentineltree sentineltree 8 years
all mammals, humans included, require a certain amount of protein from meat in their diets to live a healthy life. our bodies are made to consume meat. i've been a vegetarian since i was 13 (20 now), and while i wouldnt change my decision, i now have to live with a poor heart rate and anaemia. i know that my body was made to function with meat, not without it. and while its possible to live as a vegan or vegetarian, its not the healthiest choice for a human. that said, humans can choose whether or not they want to eat meat. our domestic pets depend on humans to feed them what they need to be healthy, and if a person were to deprive a dependant creature of one of the main food groups, i'd go as far as to say that they were abusing the animal. poor thing dosnt really get a choice, so do right by him or her! i may think its nasty opening a can of mushed-meat cat food, but because of it my kitty will live a long and healthy life.
wackdoodle wackdoodle 8 years
No way! I have studied enough about my cats health to know that if I forced them to eat a vegetarian/vegan diet I would be dooming them to blindness and a quick and painful death. Cats are primarily carnivores. They must have taurine and other essential amino acids that are only supplied in the right doses by meat products in order to survive and be healthy. A cats digestive system is akin to wild felines digestive systems - they must have meat to survive and thrive. Heck I don't feed my cats anything with onions or garlic in it because I don't want them to develop red blood cell disorders. I don't have lilies or any plants in my home that are toxic to them. I don't even feed them tuna fish because it doesn't have enough nutrient value for them. I thoroughly research the foods and products that I use on or feed my girls. The food that I fee my cats is 100% organic is low sodium, has no onion or garlic in it and is primarily chicken meats not chicken-by-products and barley with an assortment of pieces of dried fruits and veggies like blueberries, papaya and bananas. I am always surprised when they eat this food and pick out the banana chips and munch on them. I love this food so much that I convinced my sister to try feeding to her cats and they love it too. Her cats either gained weight or lost weight to now healthy levels. Plus their dental health has improved and there are fewer or no hairballs, less shedding and more shiny coats. As far as our dog, no I would never force our dog go to vegetarian or vegan - dogs are omnivores like us humans. Interestingly because of my older nephew's experiments in corp manipulation in my sister's backyard we don't have to offer Nike any veggies. Whenever she wants veggies she goes into my nephews crops and she eats what she wants (except thankful for us she never eats the grapes or grapevines-it's like she knows that grapes are toxic to dogs so she doesn't touch them). The dog loves to raid the vegetable garden but she also like meat and well sadly bread products. We're about to switch the dog to the same brand of food that the cats eat. Just waiting for the manufacturer to make 50 pound bags instead of 15 pounds bags. Giant German Sheppard mixes eat a lot.
runningesq runningesq 8 years
I've heard from my vet (and read) that cats NEED MEAT in their diet. I wouldn't risk it and agree with fuzzles ;)
fuzzles fuzzles 8 years
I have absolutely no problem with people choosing, for themselves, how they eat, but I have a huge problem when people make harmful choices for their pets based on their personal dietary belief subscriptions. Cats are obligate carnivores and require a meat based diet to sustain health. Yes, there is room for vegetables in a feline's diet, but to deprive them of what they are intended to eat is, I believe, abuse.
writerjenna writerjenna 8 years
Dogs aren't vegetarian in the wild. They shouldn't be vegetarian in the home.
marciana marciana 8 years
I wouldn't do that to my kitties. One thing is me making a choice to be vegetarian, and knowing why I'm not eating meat, another is depriving my cats from meat and fish and them not understanding why. They may grow accustomed to a vegetarian diet, but it's not what they were made to eat. In fact I believe that forcing a cat (or dog) to keep a strict vegetarian diet, could constitute animal abuse, and since I believe that one becomes a vegetarian or vegan out of ethical reasons and compassion for animals, it just doesn't make sense to go through with it. But that's my choice, and my opinion.
ranksubjugation ranksubjugation 8 years
Wah? I have vegan friends who sometimes get light-headed and almost faint in the shower when they don't get the everything their bodies need. If it's that hard to coordinate a vegan lifestyle with someone who can vocalize their problems, it'd be SO hard to do with an animals.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
No. My cats get the kind of nutritional balance that's optimal for their health, not that I want to impose on them out of my beliefs. Anyway, I think it would be a bit incompatible to be a vegetarian or vegan due to animal ethics, but then turn around and potentially risk your pet's health because of that belief system. Yes, I'm sure it can be done, but I'd rather my cats eat in the way that their bodies are made to eat.
foxie foxie 8 years
JessNess- It's totally possible to raise a cat or a dog on a vegetarian diet. To say they can't survive on one is totally false and unresearched on YOUR part. That being said, I'm vegan but I wouldn't put my pets on a strictly vegetarian diet. Their treats are veggie, but their food is normal. Even if it's possible for my cats to be healthy on a veggie diet, it's not their nature. I'm a vegan because it's right for me as a human, but I wouldn't feel comfortable making the same choice for my animals.
JessNess JessNess 8 years
I wish people would do more research on dietary needs of their pets. They would realize that their pets need a well balanced diet that includes meats and vegetables. Cats and dogs are not true carnivores and cannot survive on a vegetarian diet.
14roxie 14roxie 8 years
heyy if you think you can handle taking care of your cat/pet diet alot more and spending more time on them then sure go ahead but to me lets just let them eat meat/egg/milk its faster and (in my opinion) better for them
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