Categories: conservation

Why vegans must not own cats. Discuss.

There is an article on The Spectator website by Mary Wakefield which, perhaps somewhat tongue in cheek, argues why vegans must not own cats. My initial response was that she is wrong. Why shouldn’t vegans own cats? Lots of them do. Just because you don’t eat meat does not mean that you can’t feed your cat meat.


However, I think I have bumped into the reason why she argued her case. If you are a vegan for environmental reasons and you are concerned about the loss of wildlife because of the change in the environment caused by global warming then there is a conflict of interest in a vegan owning a cat.

This is the argument in very around terms. Cats kill wildlife. We have to admit that even if we are cat lovers. The only question is how much wildlife cats attack and kill. There is a dispute about that.

If you are a vegan for environmental reasons, as stated, you might not eat meat because cows pass wind which contains methane. Methane causes global warming. Global warming changes the environment across the planet which damages wildlife in general. Billions of animals are negatively affected by this and will be in the future. So vegans are concerned about this and about the damage global warming has on wild animals. Vegans want to protect wild animals now and in the future.

However, in keeping a cat a vegan must put aside their concern for wild animals because their cat, if she is an outdoor-indoor cat goes outside to kill animals. Not all domestic cats do and not all domestic cats do the same extent but by and large they do like to attack and kill wildlife.

This conflict of interest between on the one hand accepting the destruction of wildlife by their cat while on the other rejecting it (as caused by animal agriculture and eating meat) makes it, arguably, untenable for a vegan to own a cat. I think that that is the argument.

However, to return to that aspect of veganism which concerns not eating meat and other meat associated products, there is no reason why a vegan cannot feed their cat with meat-based products while themselves not doing so. It’s likely that very many single, intelligent and enlightened women and men living with cats are vegans. I am sure that they do a wonderful job in looking after their cat.

P.S. Animal agriculture and meat consumption are significant contributors to global warming, but far less so than fossil fuel combustion (source: Skeptical

“A cow does on overage release between 70 and 120 kg of Methane per year. Methane is a greenhouse gas like carbon dioxide (CO2). But the negative effect on the climate of Methane is 23 times higher than the effect of CO2. Therefore the release of about 100 kg Methane per year for each cow is equivalent to about 2’300 kg CO2 per year.”

Time for


Source of idea: The Spectator. Thanks

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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.

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