One Vet's Advice: Don't Force Your Pet to Be Vegan

Is It Ethical?

On the other hand, I understand the predicament any self-respecting vegetarian or vegan faces. Following such a lifestyle is a laudable ethical choice. So I can see why buying standard cat foods, with their reliance on inexpensive meats, might seem anathema to the moral agenda that prompts thoughtful humans to choose the vegetarian or vegan path.

It’s arguable, however, that extending our own moral codes to obligate carnivores is neither fair nor realistic. After all, no cat would choose such an abnormal diet for himself. In fact, cats would never survive such a dietary change without rigorous management of their nutrition. Ironically, feeding cats in this biologically inappropriate way is akin to the way we manage animals under certain agricultural conditions, which is the opposite of what vegans intend.

Viewed in that light, it seems to me that accepting a meat-based diet for a feline could — and should — be considered consistent with a vegan’s values. That is, if they want to keep cats.

A Reasonable Alternative

That doesn’t mean the meats we feed pets have to hail from inhumanely raised factory-farmed food animals whose treatment and unsustainable feeding practices we all abhor. Humanely raised meats are plentiful these days. Sustainably sourced seafood, too. So why not feed those instead?

Not only could doing possibly solve the problem of poor palatability that plagues some vegetarian pet foods, it would address the issue of animal cruelty that arises when it comes to inflicting our human dietary mores on our pets — while correcting the potentially major nutritional downside of feeding them vegan diets.

I believe that forcing carnivores to consume vegan diets because of our philosophical beliefs is tantamount to animal abuse. I mean, if you really want to feed your pet a vegan diet, consider getting a rabbit. Or a goat. But don’t keep a carnivore and think you can subject him to your own dietary choices.

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