As their owners will attest, cats are born killers and have enjoyed an almost entirely meat-based diet for most of their evolutionary history. However, the latest research suggests that a vegan diet is not only safe for pet cats, but may have health benefits.
The study found that cat owners who fed vegan diets reported fewer veterinarian visits and less medication use, and veterinarians were more likely to say their cats were healthy. I understand that. The researchers said the findings provide reassurance to the growing number of pet owners who are considering alternative diets for their pets.
Professor Andrew Knight, from the University of Winchester, who led the study, said: “Biologically, cats don’t need meat, they need specific nutrients.” “There is no scientific reason why plant additives cannot provide all the nutrients you need.”
Pet food production has a huge impact on the environment, and more dog and cat owners are becoming interested in alternative diets.
Cats need a high protein diet that contains certain nutrients such as taurine, which is naturally found only in meat. However, these nutrients can be synthetically produced or sourced from certain plants and added to vegan foods as supplements. In some cases, meat-based foods may also have nutrients destroyed during processing and must be supplemented.
“The same supplements are used in vegan foods to ensure they are nutritionally sound,” Knight says.
The study, published in the journal Plos One, surveyed 1,369 cat owners and found that about 9% of them reported feeding their cats a vegan diet. When asked about 22 specific health disorders, 42% of cat owners on meat-based diets reported at least one disorder, compared to 37% of cat owners on vegan diets. . Overall, vegan cats scored better on all health indicators, but these differences were not statistically significant.
The researchers could not rule out the possibility that the cats obtained their meat through other means, but said it was unlikely to affect their findings. “Most of the cats on vegan diets were indoor cats,” Knight says. “They weren’t going out and hunting. For other individuals, there may have been additional hunting going on.”
The British Veterinary Association, which previously warned against giving pets alternative diets, said it was reviewing its advice.
“There is growing interest among pet owners in alternative diets for their pets, and while there is a lot of research underway, particularly on the effects of vegan diets, there is no robust data mapping the health effects of this diet over time. There’s a shortage,” said Justin Shotton, the association’s executive vice president.
“In light of ongoing research, the British Veterinary Association recently convened a Companion Animal Feeding Working Group to inform us of further recommendations. In the meantime, owners should not change their pet’s diet. If you are considering this, you should consult your veterinarian.”