Veganism, while not a new dietary choice, has become a increasingly trendy avenue since the early 1980s, when the first book promoting a vegan lifestyle hit American bookshelves. The digestive tracts of herbivores and omnivores are vastly different from that of the carnivore and able to adapt to a host of dietary options, but for the true carnivore, this simply isn’t the case.
Obligate carnivores, also known as “true carnivores,” are literally just that. Animals that, because of their genetic conditioning, must eat a flesh-based diet to thrive. To deprive a cat of meat is irresponsible, unethical, and ultimately detrimental to the health of the cat. The true carnivore will occasionally eat other foods, but the primary nutritive source must be meat, and it’s the responsibility to locate and acquire the most ethically sound meat they can afford. There are different classifications of carnivorous animals that promoters of the vegan lifestyle will use to defend forcing a cat into a vegan diet, but the science just isn’t there.
The feline digestive tract is short, and unable to process the nutrients contained in plant matter. In addition to this, cats require taurine as a fundamental building block of good health. Taurine is a nutrient that can be found in animal flesh, though the best quantities are located in the organ meat; specifically the liver and heart, which brings me to my personal dietary recommendations for healthy adult cats: Meat. Meat, meat, meat. To deprive the obligate carnivore of the required nutrients needed for basic health is tantamount to abuse.
The pet food business is a vile industry that generates billions of dollars each year. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is responsible for oversight, but it must be stated that the FDA does not require any pre-approval for new pet foods, which may be a sinister reason you will notice frequent changes to the labeling and naming of dry cat foods. Even the “meats” in the ingredients cannot be trusted, as unscrupulous vendors quite frequently, and legally, take advantage of the rules permitting the diseased livestock unfit for human consumption to be used by the pet food industry.
Despite common thinking, corn is not a vegetable. It’s a grain that is primarily used as a filler. The quantities of corn being fed to not just cats, but everyone, should alarm you. Corn is virtually bereft of nutritional value, and dense with simple carbohydrates. Corn is very possibly a primary factor in the current crisis of obesity being experienced by us and our companion animals. As pet owners become more knowledgeable about corn, the producers of cat food develop new and clever techniques to conceal the volume of corn they are adding to cat foods, playing with the aggregate total weight percentages to try and reduce the position of corn in the ingredients list, and using several types of corn product so that the names are deceptive. While there are a few dry food options that are serviceable, it’s still not something I can recommend as a staple diet.
Cats are not always reliable when it comes to drinking water, and it can be difficult for the average cat owner to monitor the amount of water being ingested. It is safe to assume that a cat who is subsisting solely on dry food is experiencing some level of dehydration, even with constant access to fresh, clean water. “Wet” cat foods will provide the moisture a cat needs to dilute the solid materials that can form cysts and stones in the body, though nutrient dense wet foods are expensive, and subject to the same problems of under regulation and dishonest marketing associated with the ingredients used in the dry foods.
The safest, simplest options are readily available in your local grocery store or butcher shop. The short digestive tract that makes plant matter so difficult for cats is of great use for consuming meats in a natural state, keeping cats safe from the harmful bacteria that would lay a human low. Some great items to offer your cat are chicken organs, defrosted mice, ground turkey, and whole fish, though if you are squeamish there are several great options online where you can purchase sample packs to offer your cat.
Veganism is a drastic choice that should be made with great consideration of your moralistic and ethical motives. It is not an appropriate disguise for disordered eating, and it is not for true carnivores. Cats are above moral considerations, and, as feline guardians, it is our duty to provide the best we can.
Here are some links to places that provide premium cat food: Grass Fed Traditions, Luke’s All Natural, and BARF! Homemade Cat Food.
What do you think of people forcing their cats to be vegan? Let us know in the comments.
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