Can My Cat be Vegetarian?


In short, our answer is no.

Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they need to eat meat to survive. Let’s break it down for you.

Anatomy & Physiology

Just like big cats, domestic cats are built for hunting (small prey).

Short digestive tract - Cats have short digestive tracts built for digesting and expelling food quickly. Herbivores in comparison have long digestive tracts meant to ferment and break down plant materials with longer periods of time.

Teeth & Jaw - Cats have jaws incapable of lateral movement and sharp teeth designed to kill prey, grip and tear meat. Herbivores on the other hand have flat molars with jaws capable of moving sideways to grind plant material effectively.

Tongue - A cat’s tongue contains hook-like spines called papillae meant for stripping meat from bones as well as keeping clean.

Saliva - Unlike most herbivores, cat saliva does not contain amylase, an enzyme that helps initiate the digestion of dietary starches while chewing.

Claws - Cat’s sharp and curved claws are designed for hunting and climbing. They aid in the capturing and securing prey. Their claws are also retractable, decreasing noise while increasing stealth when stalking prey.

So…if cats are carnivores, do they need grains/carbs in their diet?

Some argue that cats need grains/carbohydrates to maintain their blood sugar.

However, cats are able to maintain their blood glucose levels through gluconeogenesis, a process in which the body converts non-sugar sources such as protein into glucose.

Some amino acids (11 to be specific), also known as protein, cannot be synthesised by the cat’s body and must be consumed from their diet. Ideally, these essential amino acids should come from animal/meat sources for optimal bioavailability.

What should my cat eat then?

We don’t have the perfect formula, but their diet should ideally consist of:

  • 90% meat, bone or offal
  • Minimal carbohydrates
  • High moisture content (raw, rehydrated freeze dried, wet food)

If you’ve noticed that your cat doesn’t drink much water, that’s because they get moisture from their prey in the forms of raw meat and blood,

Remember, keeping your cat hydrated will help our little fur pals prevent kidney disease in the future!

Still not sure what’s suitable for your cat? Drop us a message by clicking our little chat box on your right and we will help you select a few brands from our range of curated products!