HEALTH AND WELLNESS
It's never too late to paws and breathe.
THE influential Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), the largest animal welfare charity in the United Kingdom, is warning cat owners against feeding their cats solely vegetables.
Unlike dogs which are omnivores that can eat food of plant and meat origins, cats are carnivores and need more meat protein than dogs. However, there seems to be a growing trend that turns cats into vegans, which prompts the RSPCA to remind cat owners that such is deemed illegal under UK's Animal Welfare Act which requires owners to ensure that all their pet’s needs are met, including species-appropriate diet.
Cats are strict carnivores and depend on some very specific nutrients that are found in meat including taurine, vitamin A and arachidonic acid. Forcing cats to become vegetarian could make them seriously ill in the long run.
“Owners could be slapped with a huge fine or even a jail sentence if convicted under the Animal Welfare Act if the animal is very malnourished,” an RSPCA spokesman said.
Despite the health and legal warnings, the number of pet food companies that develop and sell vegan pet food and non-meat alternatives products seem to be growing. They make pet food derived from soya, wheat, maize, rice and beet pulp with synthetic vitamins and amino acids naturally found in meat.
Pet owners are advised not to extend their personal views on ethical diets onto their pets' food. Animal nutrition experts say a cat's diet must include at least 20 percent meat protein, oherwise feeding an inappropriate or incomplete diet becomes a welfare issue, said the RSPCA. -- MetroPets
* Cats as vegetarians? Animal group says it's bad idea