After people transition to a vegan diet themselves, it’s common that they want to avoid buying animal products in any aspect of their life. This can lead to considering how to make or buy vegan cat food for their beloved pet.
Cats are not naturally vegan. While it is possible for them to be healthy on a vegan diet, this has to be done with care to ensure their nutritional needs are met.
Read below for answers to FAQs about a vegan diet for a cat, and scroll down to find my top picks for the best vegan cat food brands.
Can cats be vegan?
Cats are known to be fussy about their diet preferences! While they naturally eat meat, and it is their instinct to hunt small animals, they can be healthy on a carefully constructed vegan diet WITH SUPPLEMENTS. If cats are only fed plants, they will die… so it is critical that if you want to feed them vegan food you also give them the nutrients they need that are not available in plants.
A cat’s nutritional needs are complex, and it is not straight forward to meet them by providing home made vegan meals. To feed a cat vegan food safely and successfully you will need to either give your cat nutritional supplements or give them a commercial vegan cat food that has the required nutrition in it.
Cats dietary requirements are more complicated than dogs. A dog can eat commercial cat food, but a cat will have serious health issues if only fed commercial dog food. As cats have a shorter gastrointestinal tract, they do not digest food as thoroughly as dogs. They need a higher protein diet, and adequate amounts of the amino acids taurine and arginine. That’s why you’ll need supplements, or a commercial vegan pet food that has been scientifically calculated to provide all the right nutrition for cats.
Some people feel more comfortable in supplementing their cat’s vegan diet with meat products on occasion. After you transition your cat to a vegan diet, watch how it adapts and adjust your approach as needed. At least by feeding your cat vegan food some of the time, you are making some impact.
About vegan cat food
It is not possible to keep your cat healthy using only homemade vegan meals. There are certain nutrients they require that are not available in fruit and vegetables. You can partially feed them home made meals, but you must ensure they are getting the majority of their food from commercial vegan cat food so that they get all the protein, taurine and vitamin A required.
Cats need a considerable amount of vitamin A in their diet, and insufficient quantities lead to problems with hearing, skin, bones, intestines and reproductive systems. Another important nutrient for cats is taurine, and a lack of this can cause eyesight problems. Standard pet food often contains taurine obtained from mollusks, but commercial vegan cat food brands use animal-free sources for any added vitamins and nutrients.
Our pick – Best vegan cat food
Not all products sold as vegan cat food contain what they need to. It is important to get a brand that has adequate protein, taurine and vitamin A. There are very serious consequences of getting an inferior brand that hasn’t got the right nutrients.
This dry kibble comes in pellets about 1/4″ in size and is suitable for cats and dogs.
This cruelty free cat food is rich in micronutrients, nutraceuticals, probiotics, enzymes and omega-3s. It has a very extensive list of ingredients to provide this wide level of nutrition (see below for the full list). It includes the two key nutrients cats can’t synthesize themselves, and therefore need in a vegan pet food – vitamin A and taurine.
Suitable for cats and dogs, which makes it very convenient for households with multiple pets.
The food is made with holistic and natural ingredients and has no artificial nutrients or additives.
Available in bulk volumes for extra savings. (Comes in 5 pound bags or 20 pound bulk buy).
Made in the USA.
There have been mixed reports on whether or not cats like this food. Some owners say their cats loved it and others said their cats didn’t touch it. It might be something you have to try for yourself to see if it suits your cat’s tastes. Your chance of a successful transition increases if you make the change very slowly and gradually.
Brown Rice, Corn, Corn Protein, Soybeans, Wheat, Soybean Oil, Pea Protein, Flaxseeds, Molasses, Peas, Dicalcium Phosphate, Montmorillonite Clay, Potato Protein, Wheat Protein, Salt, Coconut Oil, Taurine, Lysine, DL-Methionine, L-Tryptophan, Choline Chloride, L-Carnitine, Chia Seeds, Sesame Seeds, Rice Bran Oil, Calcium Propionate, Kelp, Organic Barley Grass Powder, Blueberry, Citric Acid, Apple Pectin, Yeast Extract, Mixed Tocopherols, Rosemary Extract, Chicory Root, Hemicellulose Extract, Yeast Culture, Carrots, Celery, Beets, Parsley, Lettuce, Watercress, Spinach, Minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Sulfate, Copper Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Calcium lodate), Vitamins (Ascorbic Acid [source of Vitamin C], Niacin Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex [source of Vitamin K activity]), Dried Bacillus licheniformis Fermentation Product, Dried Aspergillus oryzae Fermentation Product, Dried Aspergillus niger Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus casei Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus subtilis Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus lactis Fermentation Product, Pepper.
This is the most trusted brand of vegan cat food available in the US. It is manufactured in Italy and imported here. It has been very highly reviewed on Amazon. It’s average rating is 4.5 stars… It probably would be higher as the rating has been brought down by people who have an ethical objection to feeding cats plant based food, rather than those who’ve actually used the product. The people who’ve used the product generally report that their cats love it. Sometimes people need to mix in traditional cat food to make it appealing to their cats.
This dry food contains only vegan ingredients, listed on the packet as corn gluten, corn, corn oil, rice protein, whole peas, pea fibre, brewer’s yeast, bicalcium phospate, linseed, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, potato protein, sodium chloride, calcium carbonate, rapeseed oil. It contains synthetic (vegan) taurine.
Make sure to always supply plenty of water when feeding a cat this, or any other, dry food to prevent kidney problems. Some cats don’t drink enough and prefer to get their moisture from food. You can add water to the kibble to make it easier to digest.
Quality product that contains the necessary nutrition, and that cats will eat.
It is more expensive than traditional cat food or inferior brands of vegan cat food.
Cat health – preventing stones in urinary tract
When you transition your cat to a vegan diet, it’s a good idea to regularly check the pH level of your cat’s urine. This is because one possible complication of the diet change is developing stones in their urinary tract as a result of their urine alkalizing. This causes blockage, pain and other serious problems down the line.
There are a variety of options available for checking your cat’s urine pH level, including disposable testing strips with color indicators and cat litter that changes color.