WINCHESTER, ENGLAND, Sep 15, 2023 – (ACN Newswire) – Cats may not be quite as carnivorous as once thought. Whilst biologically carnivorous, cats are increasingly being fed vegan diets – and thriving! In fact, a ground-breaking new study has just found that cats are healthier, when fed vegan diets. The study, just published in leading scientific journal PLOS ONE, is the largest such study to date. It resulted from an international collaboration led by veterinary Professor Andrew Knight (UK) and co-authored by statisticians Dr Alexander Bauer (Germany) and Hazel Brown (UK). It studied 1,369 cats fed vegan or meat-based pet food, for at least one year. Cats fed vegan diets had better health outcomes for each of seven general health indicators studied.
Average cats fed vegan diets had a 15% lowered risk of needing medication, and were 7% less likely to visit vets more often, which could indicate illness. Forty two percent of cats fed meat suffered from at least one health disorder, whereas this fell to 37% amongst vegan cats. Of the 22 most common health disorders, 15 were most common in cats fed meat, and seven most common in those fed vegan diets. Although these reductions were not statistically significant, collectively they reveal a strong trend. They also translate into cost savings for pet guardians, which may be considerable over the lifetime of a cat, given the costs of illness and veterinary care. Vegan pet foods also offer significant environmental benefits.
Stated Andrew Knight, a Veterinary Professor of Animal Welfare and the study leader:
“For every single general health indicator studied, these cats had better health outcomes when fed vegan diets. This represents a strong and consistent trend. It indicates that pet food manufacturers are now designing and creating vegan pet foods to include all necessary nutrients, but with fewer of the dietary hazards that are prevalent within meat-based pet foods. Cats consuming vegan diets have better health outcomes, as a result.”
These results concur with those of other, recent studies. In 2021, leading veterinary nutritionist Dr Sarah Dodd and colleagues published a study of 1,026 cats, of whom 187 were fed vegan diets. Cats fed vegan diets were more frequently reported by their guardians to be in very good health. They had more ideal body condition scores, and were less likely to suffer from gastrointestinal and liver disorders, than cats fed meat. No health disorders were more likely, for cats fed vegan diets. These studies are available via www.SustainablePetFood.info > health.
Prof. Knight stated:
“This offers exciting potential to improve not only feline health, but also to address the very significant environmental impacts of the livestock sector created through pet food production. However, to safeguard the health of our feline friends, it is important that pet guardians feed only commercial vegan pet foods labelled as nutritionally complete, produced by reputable companies with good standards.”
Veterinary Professor of Animal Welfare
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