If you’re vegan, you probably want to put your cat on a similar diet. Don’t. A vegan cat diet doesn’t exist as cats need taurine from meat to survive.
Anybody switching to a vegan diet wants the support of their family and pets to help them transition. Although a plant-based diet might be good for you, the same cannot be said for cats. Cats are carnivores that need proteins from meat to survive. The idea of supplementing a vegan cat diet through milk or supplements is not a good option either.
Vegan Cat Diet Lacks Taurine
Veterinarians do not advise putting cats on a vegetarian diet because of their specific nutritional needs. One protein in particular that they need is an amino acid called Taurine, which is only found in meat. The best source of Taurine is found in dark meats like poultry, chicken and lamb.
Taurine may help prevent heart disease in cats and is thus an important part of their diet. According to the Feline Nutrition Foundation, it may take months or years before clinical signs of taurine deficiency are obvious. By the time a cat is showing symptoms, in many cases, significant damage may have already been done.
The Milk Myth
Contrary to cartoons which show people leaving a bowl of milk out for their pet, most cats and dogs are lactose intolerant. Although milk does have some protein, it does not have all the nutrients and vitamins that they need.
Not all lactose intolerant pets show the same signs. They range from no symptoms at all, mild GI distress, and flatulence, to severe symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea.
Protein supplements for Vegan Cat Diets
Pet owners who insist their cat stay on a vegan diet can look to compounded taurine supplements to fill their pet’s nutritional needs. But not all vets advise doing that. Remember, cats are strict carnivores and they will crave meat. Also, it is much cheaper to give them meat rather than supplements that come from meat.