Being a Vegan While Feeding Your Cat Meat: Is It Okay?


Once I got my head around some of the basics of veganism, I was left with a dilemma:

How do I feed my 2 cats?

I didn’t love (and still don’t) the idea of feeding them their typical meat-based food. But, it doesn’t seem like cats can be vegan right now either (at least the proof isn’t there).

Which means you have 2 options: give up your cat, or feed it meat.

Well, giving up your cat doesn’t really make sense if you love it, someone else will feed it meat instead, which is the exact same result.

If you agree with my logic so far, I’ll share with you how I justify feeding my cats meat, and hopefully it will help you feel “okay” with the situation.

Why I Think It’s Okay For Vegans to Feed Cats Meat

Once there’s commercial cat food made from lab-grown meat, we can revisit this discussion.

But for now, there are 2 main thoughts that let me sleep at night while feeding my cats meat.

1. An Outdoor Cat Still Causes Suffering (Maybe More)

A third option to the ones I mentioned above is to let your cat be an outdoor cat.

This comes with a new problem: It’s going to kill and eat wild animals.

In my case, there are many birds and mice nearby that I’m sure my cats would kill on a regular basis for food if they were outdoor cats.

Assuming my cats would be good hunters (which I think they would be), that means wild animals would suffer instead of the ones on farms.

Maybe that’s better (at least they lived a “natural” life), or maybe it’s worse (cats might play around with them once injured).

It’s hard to say, but it’s roughly the same either way.

However, my cats are more likely to be hurt or get sick, which means they are at higher risk of suffering as well.

2. Cat Foods Are Mostly Made From Unwanted Meat Byproducts

There’s a lot more to a chicken than breasts or thighs, even though that’s what most people buy and eat.

The leftover animal products after slaughter are either thrown out, or reused in pet/animal food.

What that means is that not many extra animals are being killed for your commercial cat food. Those animals mostly would have been killed anyway because of human consumption.

That does seem like a positive thing, but it also gives extra money to slaughterhouse and factory farm owners, so it’s not as good as it seems.

Still, it’s one more factor that makes me prefer to feed my cats meat directly, rather than letting them loose outdoors.

So Is Feeding Your Cat Meat As a Vegan Okay?

This is something I’ve thought a lot about, and I’ve always come to the same conclusion so far.

I do think it’s okay to feed your cat meat based on the above logic.

However, I don’t speak for any vegan but myself, and I certainly don’t enjoy feeding them meat.

So decide for yourself, and share any thoughts below if you’d like.

Fingers crossed that some lab-grown meat alternatives come out soon, which require next to no animal suffering. That would make this issue a lot easier to deal with.

About the author

Dale Cudmore

Your friendly neighborhood vegan from Toronto. Chemical engineer turned semi-professional soccer player and freelance nutrition writer. I've been vegan for years and try to make life easier for others by sharing what I've learned.

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