Nancyeclark's Blog

Eat your vegetables! Or not.

Let me begin by saying I am a vegetarian and have been one since my teens. I am also a cat companion and have been kept by cats for over 40 years. I have never even considered imposing my beliefs or my diet on my cats, and I believe those who do are hurting the ones they love.  Domestic cats are obligate carnivores like all felines; they lack the ability to digest and process plant material as food and to be truly healthy and happy they need animal protein. They need certain nutrients found only in meat, they are not able to get the right amino acid complexes from grains (humans and dogs can mix and match) and they do not do well with a high carbohydrate load. It can lead to obesity and blood sugar issues. I do not impose my anti meat beliefs on  family and friends either. I do not insist on vegetarian meals when I visit…I make do with the vegetarian parts of any meal, as no one I know eats only meat at supper. I talk to my husband, my family and friends  about  animal slaughter and how inhumane and cruel it can be, I cook them delicious meals and try to show them how healthy I am, and happy…but they have their own beliefs and consciences and are carnivores by choice. Cats, unlike people, are carnivores by physiology..and no matter how often they sniff and lick the tofu …they would rather have chicken, tuna, beef…any meat at all…and that is okay with me. I know I cannot make the world vegetarian no matter how much I would like to, so there will be meat for my cats as long as there is meat for the meat eaters. If I wanted a vegetarian pet..I would have adopted a rabbit or a guinea pig or a horse. I knew cats ate meat when I adopted my first one, and I knew that even though I do not agree with the killing of animals for food, there are too many people who do want to for me to change it totally…so I am fine with my cats eating it too. There are a lot of cat foods that list corn, soy and other grains as primary ingredients, but most vets and cat people will tell you that grain free is better for your cat and better for long life and health. Now, I have had cats who actually like vegetables, fruit and other non meat foods…Belle likes rice and peas in the sauce from butter chicken, Ziggy loved cantaloupe, Tucker thinks potato chips are the greatest and Joy goes nuts for doughnuts. And all of them like grass and corn husks…as an emetic. Eating meat keeps my cats healthy and happy and as members of another species they do not have the choice of diet I do. They simply are not physically able to. If you want to follow a vegetarian diet of any stripe or be a vegan…absolutely great!!!  But do not impose your beliefs on your companion animals…it is unfair and unhealthy. Get a pet more suited to your lifestyle.  Or swallow hard, close your eyes,  and feed your cat the meat it must have.

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