Monday, 28 January 2019 14:48

Porky & Buddy Column: Can Leo the Cat Really Be A Vegetarian?

Written by
Porky and Buddy Porky and Buddy

Dear Porky and Buddy: I have been switching over to a vegan diet, partly because it’s so much healthier, but mostly for ethical reasons.

I feel strongly that industrialized agriculture is inherently cruel to animals and should not be supported. But I’m not writing to lecture you—I’m writing to ask how to feed my cat, Leo. It seems hypocritical for me to change my diet to be more ethical without changing his. But all commercial cat food that I can find contains some sort of meat products. How do I make Leo a vegan? Signed, Sandy

Dear Sandy,

Thanks for not lecturing us. We agree that there are a lot of problems with industrialized agriculture and its treatment of animals that need to be addressed. But that is a different topic altogether.

As to your plans for Leo, here is our lecture. Wait! Stop! Cats do not have ethics. They have dietary needs—one of which is animal protein. While humans and some other mammals (dogs) can get the proteins and other nutrients that they need from a plant-based diet, cats simply cannot. We asked our friends at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University for the details. Substances like the amino acid, taurine, vitamin A, and a type of fat called arachidonic acid are all essential to Leo’s health and none of them can be found in plant-based diets. Cats also need more protein for their weight than other species and animal based foods have much higher protein levels than plant based foods. So as much as Leo probably appreciates your commitment to a healthier and more ethical diet, he would like you to leave his alone. There is a reason that he likes to pretend to kill little furry toys—and it is not to amuse you. He is practicing his survival skills.

### About Oswego County Humane Society

We provide services to promote and strengthen the human-animal bond through fostering-to-adoption programs, spay/neuter clinics, and humane education... Because people and pets are good for each other. The Oswego County Humane Society is designated under IRS code 501(c)3 as a charitable organization: 161586001 and registered with the New York State Charities Bureau: 06-70-81. Our registration number with the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets is RR239.

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