You’ve used up the rest of your eggs, sold your leather shoes, thrown out the meat in your freezer and replaced your makeup products with vegan-friendly, cruelty-free brands. It looks like you’re ready to finally commit to the vegan lifestyle. But there’s still one pesky little issue: that bag of dried cat food sitting in the pantry. Most cat food contains meat by-products made from chicken, lamb, fish, pork and beef.
You know your cat can’t survive on a diet of fruits and vegetables, but you don’t want to compromise your vegan lifestyle, either. And giving your cat up for adoption is out of the question. How can you feed your cat a healthy, balanced diet while still eliminating all the animal products in your household?
Fortunately, a few pet food brands have started manufacturing vegan alternatives. These products are completely free of meat and animal products, but still contain all the nutrients that your pet needs to enjoy a healthy diet. They’re about the same price as regular pet food and can easily be ordered online. So throw out that old bag of dried food in your pantry and get ready to treat your cat to a healthy vegan lifestyle.
Is There Anything I Should Know Before Feeding My Cat Vegan Food?
Always talk to your vet first before making the switch, particularly if your cat has health problems or food allergies. Vegan pet food isn’t going to be the best option for every cat. But if your vet thinks it’s the right option, get ready to start shopping for a healthy vegan alternative.
What is Regular Cat Food Made Of?
Vegan or not, regular cat food isn’t exactly the healthiest food for your pet to begin with. If you look on the list of ingredients, you’ll find that meat usually isn’t even the first ingredient. The first ingredient is typically some kind of filler like corn meal or soybean meal. As you go through the list, you’ll find other ingredients like beef fat, preservatives and meat by-products. In fact, finding cat food made from real meat can be just as challenging as finding vegan cat food.
Meat by-products are made from meat, but it’s not the kind of meat you’re thinking of. Instead of flesh, meat by-products might contain lungs, kidneys, brains, spleens, stomachs, intestines, blood, bone, fatty tissues and other organ products. Yup–that’s what your cat’s been eating. And since the list of ingredients just says “meat by-products,” we really have no idea what we’re giving our pets when we feed them traditional pet food.
Why Should Your Cat Switch Over to Vegan Food?
You might be thinking “Okay, regular cat food isn’t as healthy as I thought it was. But there are plenty of cat food options made from real meat on the market. Humans can live without meat, but most big cats eat meat in the wild. Why should my cat be any different?”
It’s true that big cats eat meat in the wild, but the meat in your cat’s pet food wasn’t captured and killed humanely. In fact, the pet food industry can be just as cruel and heartless as the regular meat industry.
When you see “chicken by-products” on the list of ingredients, you might assume that your pet’s food is made from flesh, organs, brains and other body parts sourced from adult chickens. But the pet food industry is even crueler than that. Have you ever wondered what happens to the male chicks who are born on factory farms but can’t be raised into egg-laying hens? They’re shredded and ground up alive along with elderly female hens and turned into pet food. Millions of chicks and hens are slaughtered alive every year to be ground into pet food, fed alive to reptiles or shipped to factory farms to be used as livestock meal.
And as for the pigs, cows, sheep and other animals that make up your pet’s kibble, their lives are equally miserable. Animals in factory farms are crammed into tiny cages where they’re force-fed and pumped full of hormones until they’re ready to be slaughtered. These animals never see the sunlight or feel the grass beneath their feet. From birth to death, their lives are filled with pain, fear and suffering. And the suffering doesn’t even end when they reach the slaughterhouse, as many animals are slaughtered while they’re still alive.
What About Cruelty-Free Pet Food?
It’s true that there are cruelty-free brands of pet food on the market. But even if the animals lived happily on a farm before they were brought into a barn for slaughter, eating meat is still unethical. When we eat meat, we’re taking the life of an animal that doesn’t want to die. And since humans can enjoy a healthy lifestyle without eating meat, there’s simply no reason for this cruel industry to continue.
What is Vegan Cat Food Made Of?
Unlike dogs and humans, cats are carnivorous animals. They can’t survive without the proteins and nutrients that they get from meat. For this reason, vegan cat food can be challenging to produce. Luckily, a few brands have appeared on the market that give your cat all the necessary vitamins and nutrients without using ingredients that were sourced from the meat industry.
Vegan pet food typically starts with a base of vegan ingredients like brown rice, flaxseed, corn, soybeans and vegetables. To ensure that your pet is getting a healthy diet, the kibble is infused with vitamins, minerals, fats, oils and proteins. Finally, you’ll be able to feed your cat a healthy diet made from naturally-sourced ingredients, just like the meals you prepare for yourself every day.
What About Vegetarian Cat Food?
If your vet doesn’t recommend vegan food, you can try one of the vegetarian cat food brands on the market. Vegetarian cat food is made with fruits, vegetables and grains and completely free of meat by-products. However, the recipe might contain some ingredients or proteins that were sourced from animals.
How Do I Feed My Cat Vegan Pet Food?
Vegan pet food comes in the same form as traditional pet food. You can buy bags of kibble or try the canned wet food varieties. To help your cat get used to the new food, you might want to slowly introduce the vegan food by mixing it with the regular kibble. Over time, you’ll gradually replace their entire meal with vegan kibble until you can finally get rid of the factory farm brand.
Where Can I Find Vegan Pet Food?
You can try your local pet store, but since vegan pet food hasn’t quite hit the mass market, you might have better look searching online. Most vegan pet food brands have online storefronts that allow you to buy the food online and have it shipped to your house. If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve gathered a collection of vegan pet food brands on our website. Try them out with your pet and leave a review to let everybody else know what you think. If you sign up for an account on our website, you can even add your own favorite brands of vegan pet food.