Whether it meets the approval of your vet or not, many caregivers have begun to feed their cats vegetarian food. The purpose of this study was to gather preliminary data for that veterinarians can properly advise clients who want to feed their cats vegetarian food.
Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
July 1, 2006, Vol 229, No. 1, Pages 70-73.
Evaluation of cats fed vegetarian diets and attitudes of their caregivers.
Lorelei A. Wakefield, VMD, Frances S. Shofer, PhD, Kathryn E. Michel, DVM,
DACVN. Department of Clinical Studies, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6010.
With the support of a veterinary student with a research grant from the veterinary company “Nestle Purina Petcare”, based in St Louis, Mo. Dr. Michel is a member of the Advisory Board of Nestlé Nutrition Purin. Presented in part at the “Forum on Nutrition Nestle Purina, St Louis, Mo, October 2004″ and the Symposium of the American Academy of Veterinary Nutrition in 2005, Baltimore, June 2005.
Correspondence: Dr. Michel.
Study objective – To determine the practices and feeding motivation of people who feed their cats vegetarian diets, as well as the level of taurine and cobalamin in cats who eat vegetarian diets.
Design – Cross-sectional study.
Animals – 34 cats that had been fed exclusively a commercial or homemade vegetarian diet and 52 cats that had been fed a conventional diet for ≥ 1 year.
Procedures – Participants were chosen through a website and attendees at a national conference on animal welfare. Cat caretakers in both groups responded to a telephone questionnaire on feeding cats. Blood was obtained from cats that had been fed vegetarian diets. From this, the levels of taurine in blood and plasma and serum cobalamin were measured.
Results – The people who fed their cats vegetarian diets did mostly for ethical reasons and were more likely than people who feed their cats with conventional diets to believe that there are health benefits associated with a vegetarian diet and that commercial foods for cats are not healthy. Both groups were aware of the potential health problems that can arise because of incorrectly formulated vegetarian diets. All cats tested had serum cobalamin in the reference field, and 14 of 17 had levels of taurine in the blood within the reference field.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance – vegetarian diets fed to cats was primarily due to ethical issues. The results of this study should help professionals in communicating with and advising such clients.
Full article courtesy of vegepets.info. For your information: cats with taurine levels below the reference field were not low enough to be considered critically deficient. See Resources page for more information.
This study was funded by a generous donation from Nestle Purina. They support nutrition research on issues relating to the dog and cat. Invasive or terminal research is not funded. The research summer fellowships for veterinary students offered Nestlé Purina, creates an opportunity for these students to participate in research and participate in the advancement of knowledge of canine and feline nutrition and health care.