Vegetarian Diets for Cats

Cats are Carnivores. They need a Balanced Diet with Meat.


I’ve been told about a vegetarian diet that is available for cats. I am thinking of putting my cat on this but I’m not sure that a totally vegetarian diet will be healthy for him. Do you think it would be for the good of my cat to do this?


Dr. Nichol:

There are hundreds of diets for pets. They seem to come and go every week. A great number of them are marketing fads. What’s important is the health of your cat.


Our cats are an old species. Over the thousands of years they’ve been kept as pets they have changed very little. Unlike dogs, cats are true carnivores-they eat meat. But that’s not all. When a cat catches and eats prey, she cleans her plate. No hair, bone, skin, nor intestine is left behind because wild cats need every bit of it for balanced healthy nutrition. Cats don’t care about vegetables. They don’t grow gardens. They like their dinner on the hoof and on the run. (A vegetarian cat? Isn’t a vegetarian a plant doctor?)


Wild cats do need those nutrients and they get them by eating the partially digested vegetable matter inside the intestines of the rodents they call lunch. Cats who eat undigested vegetables have substandard diets because they can’t absorb the nutrients.


But that’s not a pile of dead mice inside that bag of store-bought cat food, is it? Better pet food manufacturers know how to provide every nutrient in an easily digestible form. You’ll know it by its price. The good stuff always costs more.