When you’re going vegan, it can be more than just a diet change— it can be that start of an ethical life choice. So, of course, you’re going to want to bring your furry family along for the ride! But is it okay for your pets to go vegan as well? Unfortunately, our favorite kitties will have to sit out of the vegan diet.
“Why?” you may ask!
Well, it’s simple: cats can’t be vegans because they need meat in their diets. Cats are “obligate carnivores” which is a fancy nutritional phrase that means they have no choice but to consume meat. They can’t survive without it.
Blame it on Darwin
After years of evolution, a lot of things have changed for cats. Over time, they have slowly turned into the small and cuddly roommates they are today, complete with distinct personalities and camera-ready attitude.
What hasn’t changed over time, though, is their digestive system. To this day, cats can’t create certain necessary amino acids and vitamins they need to survive on their own. So while our kitties have done a lot of evolving from their desert cats ancestors, fundamentally the average house cat isn’t all that different from its distant relative.
[#CalloutBegin#][#PlaceholderBegin#]Like the desert cat, our furbabies will only drink water when they are extremely dehydrated[#PlaceholderEnd#][#TitleBegin#]Water[#TitleEnd#][#BodyBegin#]Another side effect of evolution-- the cats our kitties evolved from often lacked access to nearby, consistent sources of water and thus had to evolve to get their hydration from another source: good old animal meat.[#BodyEnd#][#CalloutEnd#]. They get most of their hydration from the food they eat. Another necessary thing they get from the food they eat?
The amino acids that are critical for their health that can only be found in animal protein.
Their bodies are designed to get the bulk of their hydration and nutritional needs from what they eat when they hunt. While we may think our kitties are super cute when they’re stalking their favorite rubber ball (especially when they do the butt wiggle!), what they’re really showing off to us is their powerful instinct to hunt.
But what about supplements?
It can be tempting to think that with the right supplements and protein sources a vegan diet can imitate a cat's natural high-meat needs, but unfortunately, it's simply impossible. A kitty whose diet isn’t meeting all their nutritional needs can get sick, develop health problems, or even die. And while including supplements in a cat’s diet is a good way to round out their diet, added synthetic supplements ARE NOT a substitute for whole, nutritious foods.
Plant proteins, which are often used as a substitute for meat proteins for vegans, are great sources of protein for humans but [#CalloutBegin#][#PlaceholderBegin#]don't contain the amino acids[#PlaceholderEnd#][#TitleBegin#]Essential Amino Acids[#TitleEnd#][#BodyBegin#]One such amino acid is called Taurine (actually it's more properly known as an amino sulfonic acid), and it's usually found in blood platelets, which is something plants don't have![#BodyEnd#][#CalloutEnd#] that kitties need that can only be found in animal meat. What’s more, is that cats lack the ability to turn plants into the missing pieces they need for a balanced diet. In fact, vegan cat diets supplemented with taurine can be thought of “eating nothing but iceberg lettuce and taking a synthetic multivitamin” to a human. They wouldn’t be enough for people and the same can be said for our cats.
Then what should we feed our cats?
The best food for our feline friend is food that not only contains the meat that they need, but also the quality of meat they deserve. Better quality meats, like the proteins from animal muscles, are easier for the body to digest, absorb, and use properly.
This is where Smalls comes in.
We use human grade protein-- the same kind you get from the grocery store-- in recipes specifically designed by an Animal Nutritionist with your cat’s every nutritional need in mind. Our fresh, human grade cat food gives anyone the ability to give their kitty the best food they can possibly have so they can live their happiest, healthiest nine lives.[#BeginTLDR#]Our baby cats (domestic cats) are evolved from a wild desert cat whose environment forced it to develop a very specific kind of digestive system.[#SplitTLDR#]Because these cats were such skilled hunters, they never needed to develop a system that could make the necessary amino acids needed from their survival from plant protein.[#SplitTLDR#]Their great hunting skills and lack of access to water also made animal meat the main source of their daily hydration.[#SplitTLDR#]As a result, today’s domestic cats are fundamentally unable to get all the vitamins and nutrients they need from a vegan diet alone. The need meat.[#EndTLDR#]