Can Vegans Have Cats?

Do you find yourself torn between your love for cats and your commitment to veganism? Are you curious about whether it’s ethical to own a cat while upholding a vegan lifestyle? The debate surrounding whether or not vegans can have cats has been ongoing in the community for years.

Some argue that owning a carnivorous animal goes against vegan beliefs, as cats require meat to survive. However, others believe that adopting and providing a loving home for a cat can be an act of compassion. After all, most domestic cats cannot thrive on a plant-based diet.

But what about the food? Is it ethical to feed cats animal-based products? This is a legitimate concern that requires careful consideration. Luckily, there are now vegan cat food options available that are specifically formulated to meet feline nutritional needs.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the ethical concerns surrounding vegans owning cats, discuss the dietary needs of our feline friends, and examine if cats can truly be considered vegan. We’ll also take a closer look at the different feeding options available for your furry companion and provide advice for vegans who want to give their pets the best possible care.

So let’s dive into this fascinating topic together and discover if it’s possible for vegans to have their cake (or in this case, their cat) and eat it too.

What is Veganism?

Veganism is a philosophy that aims to minimize harm to animals, the environment, and human health by abstaining from using animal products in one’s diet, clothing, and other activities. It is an ethical lifestyle choice that is gaining popularity worldwide due to its positive impact on the planet.

At the core of veganism lies the belief that animals have their own inherent value and should not be exploited for human consumption or use. This means that vegans avoid consuming meat, dairy products, eggs, honey, and anything else derived from animals. They also steer clear of products made from animal-derived materials such as leather, wool, silk, and fur.

There are many compelling reasons why people choose to adopt a vegan lifestyle. Some do it for ethical reasons, while others are motivated by concerns for the environment or personal health. Animal agriculture is a leading cause of deforestation, water pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions. On the other hand, plant-based diets have been shown to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.

While veganism can be challenging at first, there are many delicious and nutritious plant-based foods that can be enjoyed. These include fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. There are also many vegan alternatives to animal products available on the market today, such as plant-based milks and cheeses.

One common question that arises among vegans is whether or not it is ethical to have a carnivorous pet like a cat. While cats require animal protein to survive, there are ways to ensure that their dietary needs are met while still adhering to a vegan lifestyle. One option is to feed cats a specially formulated vegan diet that uses plant-based protein sources. Another option is to purchase organic or free-range meat for your cat from ethical and sustainable sources.

It is important to note that veganism is not just about what one eats but also extends to what one wears and uses. Vegans avoid products that have been tested on animals and made from animal-derived materials such as leather, wool, silk, and fur. By making conscious choices that minimize harm to animals and the planet, vegans lead a compassionate and sustainable lifestyle.

Cats as Carnivores

As a vegan, you may be considering adopting a feline companion. However, before you make that decision, it’s essential to understand that cats are obligate carnivores. This means that they require a diet high in protein and fat from animal sources, as their digestive systems have evolved to hunt and consume prey.

Unlike dogs and humans, cats cannot produce essential nutrients like taurine and arachidonic acid on their own. These nutrients are crucial to a cat’s overall health and can only be found in animal-based proteins. While there are vegetarian and vegan cat foods available on the market, they may not meet all of a cat’s nutritional needs. These products often rely on synthetic additives to provide essential nutrients, which may not be as easily absorbed or utilized by a cat’s body.

Feeding a cat a vegan diet can lead to serious health problems when not done correctly. Malnourished cats may suffer from muscle wasting, weakness, immune system deficiencies, blindness, and even heart disease due to the lack of taurine.

If you’re thinking of going vegan while owning a cat, it is crucial to discuss your options with a veterinarian knowledgeable about feline nutrition. They can help you determine the best way to meet your cat’s dietary needs while still aligning with your ethical beliefs. Incorporating some animal-based products into your cat’s diet might be necessary to ensure their optimal health and well-being.

Feeding Cats a Vegan Diet

It’s a valid concern, as cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they require animal protein to meet their unique nutritional requirements. While there are vegetarian and vegan cat food options available on the market, it’s crucial to be aware that these diets may not be nutritionally complete for cats.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) strongly advises against feeding cats a vegan diet, as it can result in nutrient deficiencies and serious health problems. Cats require certain essential amino acids, such as taurine and arachidonic acid, which are only found in animal-based protein sources. Without these nutrients, cats can develop heart disease, eye problems, and even reproductive failure.

While some vegan cat owners may argue that their cats have thrived on a plant-based diet, it’s essential to approach this topic with caution and seek advice from a veterinarian before making any dietary changes. It may be possible to supplement a vegan diet with synthetic versions of essential nutrients, but this should only be done under the guidance of a professional.

So what should you feed your cat instead? A balanced diet consisting of high-quality animal-based protein sources like chicken, beef, or fish is recommended by veterinary professionals. It’s also important to note that commercial cat food brands undergo rigorous testing to ensure they meet all of a cat’s nutritional needs.

Controversy Surrounding Vegan Diets for Cats

The controversy surrounding vegan diets for cats has been a hot topic of debate for quite some time. While some vegans believe that they can impose their dietary preferences on their pets, many experts argue that it is not healthy for cats to consume a plant-based diet.

Cats are obligate carnivores, which means that their bodies require certain nutrients that are only found in animal-based foods. Unlike humans and dogs, cats cannot produce certain amino acids like taurine or vitamins like vitamin A on their own. These essential nutrients are found in high amounts in meat and seafood, making it critical for cats to have a diet that includes animal-based protein.

Many vegan cat owners try to compensate for the lack of essential nutrients by feeding their cats commercially available vegan pet food. However, this approach comes with its own set of risks as most vegan pet food lacks the adequate amount of taurine, vitamin A, and other essential nutrients required by cats. This lack of essential nutrients can result in serious health issues such as heart disease, urinary tract infections, and even blindness.

To make matters worse, feeding your cat a vegan diet can also lead to reproductive failure and a weakened immune system. While it may seem appealing to share your plant-based lifestyle with your feline friend, it’s crucial to keep in mind that cats are strict carnivores and require animal protein for optimal health.

Feeding Cats Ethically Sourced Meat

After all, vegans choose to live a compassionate lifestyle and believe in treating animals with kindness and respect. However, cats are obligate carnivores and require meat in their diet to survive. This is where the concept of ethically sourced meat comes in.

Ethically sourced meat refers to animal products that have been raised and processed in humane conditions, without being subjected to cruel practices such as factory farming or excessive use of antibiotics. This can also include wild-caught or hunted meat, which aligns with some vegans’ priorities for sustainability and environmental responsibility.

When selecting ethically sourced meat for your cat, it’s important to consider the nutritional content of the food. Cats require high levels of protein and other essential nutrients to thrive. Some options for ethically sourced meat include commercially available cat food brands that use free-range or grass-fed animals as ingredients. Alternatively, preparing homemade meals using organic meats and wholesome ingredients can give you greater control over your cat’s nutrition.

If you’re comfortable with it, hunting or fishing for your cat’s food can be a truly sustainable and environmentally responsible option. However, this may not be for everyone.

Pros and Cons of Feeding Cats Animal-Based Protein

While some argue that cats can thrive on plant-based diets, experts suggest that animal-based protein is necessary for their health. Let’s delve into the pros and cons of feeding cats animal-based protein.


  • Essential Amino Acids: Animal-based proteins contain all of the essential amino acids that cats need to survive. These amino acids are crucial for muscle tissue development, hormone production, and enzyme production.
  • Necessary Nutrients: Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they require nutrients like taurine, vitamin A, and arachidonic acid that are only found in animal-based protein sources. Feeding them a diet without these nutrients can lead to serious health issues.
  • Balanced Diet: Most experts agree that a balanced diet that includes meat is the best way to ensure that cats receive all of the necessary nutrients they need to thrive.


  • Environmental Impact: Meat production contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation, which may conflict with some vegans’ beliefs.
  • Ethical Concerns: Many vegans believe it is wrong to exploit animals for human consumption, and feeding cats meat-based diets requires the slaughter of other animals.
  • Availability of Vegan Options: While some vegan cat foods are available on the market, it is important to consult with a veterinarian and do thorough research to ensure that your cat’s nutritional needs are being met.

Ultimately, a balanced diet that includes meat is widely considered the best option for cats’ health. However, for those who choose to feed their cats a vegan diet, it is essential to ensure their nutritional needs are met through proper research and consultation with a veterinarian.

Considerations for Vegans with Pets

As a vegan, owning a pet can be a complex issue, particularly when it comes to cats. While cats are beloved for their independent nature and cuddly ways, their dietary requirements as obligate carnivores can pose a challenge for vegan owners.

One consideration for vegans with cats is the ethical implications of feeding them animal products. While some may argue that a plant-based diet can suffice, experts strongly advise against it due to the potential health risks. To ensure the health and wellbeing of their feline friends, vegans should consider carefully sourcing high-quality meat-based foods.

In addition to dietary considerations, owning a cat as a vegan raises environmental concerns. All animals require resources such as food and water to live, and this can have an impact on the planet. To minimize this impact, environmentally-conscious products and supplies should be purchased for feline friends.

When it comes to adoption, vegans should also consider the ethical implications of their choices. Adopting from a shelter can be seen as a more ethical choice than buying from a breeder. However, it is important to research the shelter’s policies to ensure they align with your values. Similarly, when adopting from a breeder, it is crucial to research their practices and ensure they are ethical and responsible.

Alternatives to Pet Ownership for Vegans

As a vegan, owning a pet can be a tough decision. While the companionship and love a furry friend can provide is undeniable, the thought of supporting an industry that harms animals can be overwhelming. Fortunately, there are several alternatives to pet ownership that can still bring joy and companionship into your life while staying true to your beliefs.

Volunteering at an animal sanctuary or shelter is an excellent option for those who want to interact with animals without contributing to the pet industry. These organizations are always looking for volunteers to help with tasks such as feeding, cleaning, and walking the animals. Not only will you get to spend time with animals, but you’ll also be helping out a good cause.

Another great alternative is fostering. Fostering involves temporarily taking in an animal until it can find a permanent home. This way, you can provide a safe and loving environment for animals in need without committing to pet ownership long-term. It’s a great way to make a positive impact on an animal’s life without the long-term commitment.

For those who still want animal companionship in their homes, there are non-traditional pets that may be more suitable for vegans. Fish tanks can provide a calming and beautiful addition to any home without supporting the pet industry. Small pets such as hamsters or guinea pigs can also be kept in cages and require minimal care compared to cats or dogs.


In conclusion, the question of whether vegans can have cats is a complex issue that requires careful consideration. Despite being obligate carnivores, cats’ nutritional needs can still be met while adhering to a vegan lifestyle. One way to achieve this is by feeding them a specially formulated vegan diet that uses plant-based protein sources. However, it’s crucial to seek professional guidance before making any dietary changes for your feline friend.

Another option is to purchase ethically sourced meat from sustainable and humane sources for your cat. It’s important for vegans who own pets to reflect on the ethical implications of their choices, including adoption from shelters or breeders and environmentally conscious products and supplies.

For those who prefer not to own pets, volunteering at animal sanctuaries or fostering animals can provide companionship without long-term commitment. Ultimately, it’s up to each individual vegan to decide whether owning a cat aligns with their personal beliefs and values.

By prioritizing the health and well-being of both animals and the planet through informed decisions, vegans can lead compassionate and sustainable lifestyles while still enjoying the love and companionship of furry friends.