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Ask A Vet: I Am A Vegetarian. Can I Make My Cat One Too?

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There have been studies suggesting that a vegetarian life style may contribute to better health for humans. Vegetarianism does seem to promote a healthier body mass index and lower cholesterol values, both indices linked to cardiovascular disease in humans. 1

People love their cats and want to help them to live longer and better lives also. They want to apply what works for them to their cats. This is why it is so important to realize that the answer “Can my cat be a vegetarian?” is a resounding “NO”.

Cats are obligate carnivores which means their bodies are unable to synthesize certain substances. These substances must be provided by their diet (whereas for omnivores like humans and canines, the substances can be created from their precursors found in plant based foods). In a meat diet, the substances have been synthesized by the animal source of the meat and the cat can utilize the end product of the prey’s metabolism.

People wonder if they could still make their cat vegetarian and merely supplement these substances, but the list of essential nutrients is long and varied.  If you missed something, your cat could become blind, develop heart disease or die from other nutritional issues. A cat’s diet must contain high protein, vitamin A, arachidonic acid, arginine, niacin and taurine (to name a few) and there are likely components of meat that cats need that we do not even know about. 2

Do right by your cat and feed her what she needs and what she needs is a good source of meat. With cats it is always better to modify what you are doing than to expect them to mold to what we are. Cats are who they are, tiny hunters. We have loved them for their unique traits for 9000 years. Let your cat be himself and feed him what he needs.

  1. Proceedings of the Nutritional Society/Volume 58/Issue 02/May 1999, pp 271-275
  2. Vet Res Commun.2005 Aug;29 Suppl 2:39-44.Nutritional peculiarities and diet palatability in the cat. Zaghini G, Biagi G

 

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About The Author: Dr. Kathryn Primm is a practicing small animal veterinarian and practice owner at Applebrook Animal Hospital in Ooltewah, TN.  She has consulted on articles for national magazines, done numerous radio interviews and appeared on local television. She has contributed to articles for Prevention magazine (April 2015) and Woman’s Day (Feb 2014 and June 2015). Her radio segment Chattanooga Pet Talk airs each week on all the local iHeart Media affiliates. She has a social media presence on TwitterFacebook and Google+ and enjoys interaction with others about her passions, animals and communication.  She has written a book, Tennessee Tails:Pets and Their People. The book received recognition as Runner Up in the Memoirs category at a national book festival. You can read more about Dr. Primm and how to get the best value for your pet care dollar at her website, www.drprimm.com.

 

 

Please look me up on TwitterFacebook and Google+ . I love hearing about your pets!

Please look me up on TwitterFacebook and Google+ . I love hearing about your pets!vet thumbnail

About The Author: Dr. Kathryn Primm is a practicing small animal veterinarian and practice owner at Applebrook Animal Hospital in Ooltewah, TN.  She has consulted on articles for national magazines, done numerous radio interviews and appeared on local television. She has contributed to articles for Prevention magazine (April 2015) and Woman’s Day (Feb 2014 and June 2015). Her radio segment Chattanooga Pet Talk airs each week on all the local iHeart Media affiliates. She has a social media presence on TwitterFacebook and Google+ and enjoys interaction with others about her passions, animals and communication.  She has written a book, Tennessee Tails:Pets and Their People. The book received recognition as Runner Up in the Memoirs category at a national book festival. You can read more about Dr. Primm and how to get the best value for your pet care dollar at her website, www.drprimm.com.

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