Cat owners tend to treat their pets as they would a close friend or relative – cuddling them, showering them with gifts, and feeding them the same diet as themselves. Now it seems that a vegan diet could be good for felines, according to the findings of a new study.
Researchers in the United Kingdom and Germany set out to investigate whether a plant-based diet might be good for cats. To do this, they questioned 1,369 owners about their cats’ diet and health over a one-year period.
Only 9% of them fed their pets a vegan diet; the rest fed them meat.
This analysis showed that “vegan” cats made fewer visits to the vet than those following a more conventional diet. They also tended to take less medication than their carnivorous counterparts, even if they were of a certain age or neutered.
Spayed or neutered cats must follow a special diet to prevent them from becoming overweight and forming bladder stones.
The scientists also examined the prevalence of 22 specific health disorders in meat-eating and vegan cats. They found that 37% of felines on vegan diets suffered from at least one of these conditions, compared with 42% of those on meat-based diets.
Of these 20 pathologies, 15 were more frequent in cats eating a traditional diet, and 7 in those eating a plant-based diet.
These results enabled the academics to conclude that a vegan diet may have health benefits for cats. “The overall trend was clear and consistent: cats fed vegan diets had better health outcomes than those fed meat,” the scientists wrote in their paper, published in the journal “PLOS One”.
However, these conclusions should be treated with caution, as it is difficult to know whether cats are really eating a 100% meat diet or a 100% vegan diet. Furthermore, the findings are based on statements made by the cats’ owners, which does not guarantee their reliability.
In any case, this study is consistent with previous research highlighting the virtues of a vegan diet for cats. Still, owners who are considering putting their cats on this kind of diet should consult a veterinarian to ensure the regimen meets all of their pet’s nutritional needs.