Technically speaking, cats need a specific assemblage of nutrients which meet all of their dietary needs. Chief among these are taurine, arachidonic acid, pyroxidine, methionine, and vitamin A. It just so happens that these nutrients are conveniently packaged in the proper proportions in form of fresh meat. It is also important that the cat’s diet allows them to maintain a healthy pH balance between 6.2-6.4
Now, if modern science could provide a way to deliver these nutrients without the need for killing animals in horrific slaughterhouse conditions, would this be such a terrible thing? The commercial meat-based pet food industry creates a ‘food’ that is so far removed from the natural diet of the ancestor of the common housecat, and one that is so lacking in the essential nutrients that a cat needs, that they must supplement their product with the very same nutrients that vegan cat food manufacturers add to their products (taurine, vitamins, minerals, etc…). Go read the label on your meat based cat food. Again, if this is the perfect food for them, then why the need for all of the supplementation?
Furthermore, as a vegan, why would you choose to doom hundreds of animals to die in a slaughterhouse to feed a single animal that only exists due to human irresponsibility and hubris? Why love one animal (your pet cat) and kill others (cows, chickens, turkeys, sheep, etc)? Isn’t this the same question that we ask carnists? Domestic cats should not really exist, at all. Their existence is not ‘natural’, so to talk about the ‘natural’ diet of such animals is complete nonsense. The pet issue is a man made problem, and a man made solution has been created to deal with it. Feeding dogs a plant based diet is a no-brainer and several companies have spent the last few decades working hard to develop plant based formulations that cater to the nutritional needs of cats. Any person who is serious about veganism and saving the lives of animals would jump at this chance! While we are dealing with this situation, why exacerbate the problem by bringing even more animals into the circle of suffering?
People often claim that feeding their cat a plant-based diet is cruel because it harms the health of the cat. Given that all of the required nutrients are present in such diets, I’m not sure from where these claims arise. What percentage of housecats finish their lives with a tearful goodbye at a vet clinic because of cancer or some other malady which forces their owners to “put them to sleep”? Is the particular diet that was fed to the cat for all her life ever questioned? The fact is that if you are not feeding your cat live mice and insects, you have no place to judge a person who is trying to find a way to feed their cat in a more compassionate manner.
If anything, forcing a cat to eat meat is 100% detrimental to the health of the cows, chickens, ducks, sheep and fish that are killed in the factory farming industry. It’s really a matter of who’s life you care more about–the cat you do see or the faceless animals you never have to see. The good news that plant based cat and dogs foods do exist. Dogs are easy. 99% of dogs will do just fine without animal products. In some cases, cats won’t take to it, but the protocol or transitioning a cat to a plant based diet is well established.
The meat-based diet that you have chosen is not markedly more “natural” than a properly supplemented plant-based offering. Many cats have thrived on such a diet with the added precaution of careful monitoring of pH, a problem which can usually be addressed with a supplement that brings the pH level back into the proper range.
I’ve been asking the question for years, and thus far, not one person has been able to explain how forcing countless animals to suffer and die in a slaughterhouse is a more humane solution than trying a healthy, properly supplemented plant-based diet for your cat.
At the very least, I would encourage those with cats in their lives to study the options carefully. Many vendors have been selling plant-based diets for cats for decades with great success. Here is a good link to get you started : http://www.vegancats.com/veganfaq.php
A few more links that you may find highly interesting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDpksTlEAyI&feature=youtu.be