At the Feline Advisory Bureau’s annual
meeting 2004, Dr. Kit Sturgess, a veterinary nutritionist
from Surrey, talked about the dangers of feeding vegetarian
and vegan diets to cats.
He believes it is nearly impossible to provide
a suitable vegetarian or vegan diet with adequate nutrition
for cats. Amongst other nutrients, a cat has a limited capacity
to produce the amino acid, Taurine. It is found in animal
tissues but is not in plant material, therefore vegetarian
diets fail to provide sufficient amounts of this nutrient.
A deficiency can lead to visual impairment which may cause
the cat to bump into things, failure to reproduce successfully
and heart disease.
Commercial vegetarian and vegan diets use
synthetic Taurine, however Dr. Sturgess believes that synthetic
compounds may not be as easily utilised by the cat and that
a cat on these diets will probably not be as healthy.
In his words: ‘If you want to feed your
pet a vegetarian diet, have you thought about owning a rabbit?’