November 28, 2018 Photos by: Patrik Kraus/Shutterstock
While there might be good intentions behind a vegan dietary switch, imposing a meat-free diet on a strict carnivore such as a cat is an act of animal cruelty, the UK charity warns.
Most vegans are striving to lead a cruelty-free life in all aspects. Abstaining from any type of animal products and boycotting cosmetics or drugs tested on animals are just some of the aspects of ethical veganism. But is it fair from vegans to impose their lifestyle on their pets? Does the decision driven by the desire to be cruelty-free become another act of animal cruelty in itself?
The jury is still out on benefits and risks of a vegan diet for dogs, but many experts agree that feeding cats plant-based food is a massive health risk for the felines. Prompted by the increasing number of commercial vegan pet foods, RSPCA came forward to warn pet parents thinking of making the switch.
The largest animal welfare charity in the United Kingdom sent a clear message to pet parents: feeding your cat vegan food exclusively is not only harmful to your pet, but it could also mean you’re breaking the law. A spokesman for the RSPCA said to British media:
“Under the Animal Welfare Act the law requires an owner to ensure all the pet’s needs are met. This includes a healthy diet, as well as suitable living conditions and protection from pain, suffering, injury, and disease.”
As the official stance on a vegan diet for cats is that it’s not suitable for their strict carnivore needs, opting to feed a plant-based diet to a cat is working against their welfare. The consequence, in addition to risking your pet’s health, could be a hefty fine or even jail time.
Of course, not all agree with RSPCA. A number of vegan pet owners claim that their pets have thrived on plant-based diets, even though studies and real-life examples constantly prove the opposite. Veterinary experts all agree that cats need taurine, vitamin A and arachidonic acid found exclusively in meat. Without these nutrients, your carnivore pet can get seriously ill.
Even if you’re feeling guilty for feeding your cat meat when you yourself don’t eat it, it doesn’t mean it’s OK to make the same decision for them. Your obligation to your pet is to keep them healthy and happy- even when it clashes with your views.
A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she’s not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.