Are plant proteins as good as animal proteins for cats?

The answer to the question in the title is YES but please read the article and feel free to chip in especially if you are an expert nutritionist. Comments are welcome.

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Compared to animal proteins, it is said that some plant proteins are incomplete in terms of amino acids and when we talk about proteins were are referring to the cat’s dietary need for amino acids. However, experts say that humans can get all the essential amino acids that they need from plant proteins as long as they eat a variety of them or focus on certain plants containing the full range of amino acids.

In other words, plant proteins are as good as animal proteins at a fundamental level and a lot of people think that they are better because “diets that rely mostly on plants for protein have been linked to a lower risk of stroke, heart disease and early death” in people according to the Web MD website.

The National Institutes of Health states that animal protein is considered to be better than plant protein for building muscle mass. And the Healthline website states that animal protein has all the amino acids that you need but they’re more likely to contain unhealthy fats and they don’t have any fibre whereas eating a variety of plants means that you get all 20 amino acids. However, you will need to consume more plants pound for pound in order to get the same amount of protein.

The conclusion from this brief research is that plant protein is as good as animal protein for cats although there will need to be some minor adjustments as has no doubt occurred for commercially prepared vegan, dry cat food which must contain the addition of certain essential nutrients such as arginine and taurine. And it does.

The point that I have consistently made is that domestic cats can eat a vegan diet as prepared commercially because it can be made to be complete and balanced. The turning point is on the type of amino acids derived from eating plant and animal proteins and as explained above there is no difference or if there is a difference plant protein is superior which, by the way, supports a recent study about the superiority of a vegan diet for cats according to a questionnaire given to cat owners.

I have gently criticised that study but the study’s conclusion has found favour with the news media because they are reporting on it quite extensively. Please see the warning I have provided at the base of the article.

A lot of cat owners have been programmed to believe that the domestic cat companions must eat meat because they are obligate carnivores. And when we think of carnivores, we automatically think of predators killing prey animals. That’s what predators do and that is what the domestic cat has evolved to do over eons.

Strictly in terms of nutrients, commercially prepared cat food is not as good as a prey animal (mouse). It is highly artificial and based on unhealthy livestock carcasses and even euthanised shelter animals rendered down into a form of cardboard and then made tasty by spraying fats on it.

Some more on plant protein focusing on commercially available vegan cat food

Sources of plant proteins include: soy products, beans, lentils, whole grains, nuts and seeds. The number one vegan food in Britain and I guess elsewhere currently is called Benevo and, without wishing to promote it, it has been formulated by nutrition experts and the primary source of protein as I understand it is soya, which is made from soyabeans. Soy is a high-quality protein and it is one of the few known plant foods to contain all the essential amino acids such as found in meat.

Benevo ingredients.
Benevo ingredients.

I think this should categorically reassure cat owners that the type of protein in vegan cat food is as good as the protein found in conventional meat-based cat food. In short, soy contains the full range of amino acids and therefore does not fall short in that regard. And there appears to be beneficial spin-offs in terms of health in using this source of amino acids compared to those from meats.

I think that the next dry food purchased that I make will be of some vegan cat food.

An important point to note is that a vegan cat owner does not have the means to make homemade vegan cat food and it should not be attempted. There are some stories of some cat owners trying. Sorry this is dangerous.

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