Feeding cats a plant-based diet

01 Sep 2019

Fawcett, A.

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The dilemma

During a consultation, a client, who is vegan, reveals she has been following the development of plant-based pet foods and has come across a start-up company that promises to develop a completely feline-friendly diet. She currently feeds her cat a commercial, animal protein-based diet, but says she will transition her cat to this new diet the moment it becomes available. As a vet you’ve been taught that obligate carnivores require animal protein. How might you respond?

Issues to consider

Domestic cats are obligate carnivores, requiring regular intake of amino acids and vitamins not normally found in plants, including taurine, and vitamins A and B12 (cobalamin). The client currently feeds her pet with what you assume is a nutritionally complete diet and will do so until a suitable plant-based alternative becomes available.

She may be motivated by environmental concerns as production of omnivorous and...