Categories: nutrients

Is plant protein the same as animal protein in a cat’s vegetarian diet?

Photo: Pinterest.

It is claimed that a domestic cat can live healthily off a vegetarian diet. There is at least one commercial pet food manufacturer making a vegetarian diet for cats. The concept is counterintuitive. A lot of people including cat owners are probably unaware that plants contain protein.

Can a vegan diet for a cat be acceptable?

The vegetarian cat food’s nutrient content mets the domestic cat’s requirements. Nutrient content is different to ingredient content. As long as the right nutrients are in the food, the claim is that there are no problems.

However, one visitor said that animal protein is different and better than plant protein. Is this true and how does it affect vegetarian cat food?

Well, my research tells me that it is true to the extent that meat proteins contain all the essential amino acids whereas some plant proteins don’t. Other than that ‘in terms of components, there is no difference between animal and plant proteins’ (

What the vegetarian cat food manufacturers will say is that they add the essential amino acids that a cat needs and therefore the food meets all the needs of a domestic cat.

In answer to the question in the title you have to conclude that at a fundamental level plant and animal protein is the same. Further there are some ‘complete vegan proteins’ such as pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds and chia seeds.

I am not endorsing vegetarian cat food. However, a lot of cat owners are unsatisfied with meat based cat food. It can contain a lot of junk. Damn it, it can sometimes contain the remains of someone’s pet cat recycled via mass euthanasia at cat shelters.

Under these circumstances vegetarian cat food looks more attractive.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

View Comments

  • Why complicate your life? Just feed your cat adequate amounts of animal protein as well as kibble. Why the obsession with a vegetarian diet? Simply put, what's the sense in it?

  • What is really needed is more stringent control for makers of pet food. Considering what I pay for that tin of meat or that bag of kibble my cats are indulging in what amounts to prime rib every night in cost.
    If you don't like feeding meat to a meat eating pet get a rabbit.

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