by MPD
Categories: Animals, Eats, Film/TV.


If you happened to have watched Good Morning America earlier today, you probably caught this interesting segment on vegan pets. 

The show posed a question that still creates much controversy throughout the pet world: Can animals be raised vegan? 

One of our favorite green gals, Chloe Jo Berman from Girlie Girl Army appeared on the segment and shared her thoughts on the subject. She said: 

“There’s no reason why I should take a life for another life. I don’t understand. If I wouldn’t put her on a plate as dinner why should I do it to a cow or a lamb or a chicken.”

What do you think? Can cats and dogs be raised vegan? Chime in and share your thoughts!!

Make sure to stop by to watch the full report!

  • Justin

    I personally don’t feel that any dog or cat can ever be vegan, regardless of what I feed my pets. My wife is a vegan, I’m a vegetarian, and my dogs eat a vegetarian dog food. They’re healthy, happy, and herbivorous, but most definitely not vegan. Being vegan or vegetarian is a conscious moral choice that only humans, not dogs, cats, or any other omnivorous animal on the planet has the mental capacity to make. So my dogs are not vegan, they’re omnivores who eat a vegetarian diet.

  • Ashley

    I think someday it’ll be possible, but for now, at least for cats, I’m not going to risk it. One of our cats has chronic renal failure, so feeding him something that has very little research is scary.

  • Tracy Warner

    This is something I really wrestle with. It almost seems MORE cruel to deny a CARNIVORE meat. One of the arguments for veganism is that we don’t HAVE to eat me to live. And cats and dogs eat plants to barf, because they can’t digest them.

    But then again, I’m more uncomfortable with the environmental damage growing animals for food causes.

    If there is a HEALTHY viable option for your pets, I don’t see why not. Otherwise, we should just not have pets.

  • Krystine

    There is a lot of research that dogs can survive and even thrive on a vegan diet.

    For cats, however, this is not the case. They are obligate carnivores, and they need meat to live!

  • Christine

    My dog is a happy & healthy little vegan! She eats V-Dog brand food and I usually mix in things like sweet potatoes and rice.

  • Alex

    Why do vegans continue to perpetuate this as a question instead of just stating the facts?

    Dogs can be vegan, cats cannot. Period.

  • Emily

    Ditto Alex.

    If you have an issue with it, buy a goldfish.

  • Laux

    Or buy a rabbit.

  • carrie

    I have friends who themselves are vegetarians, but make homemade food for their dog and cat using meat from a small, local farmer who humanely treats his animals. They make huge batches at a time, and freeze it for several months.

  • Sonya

    Ditto Alex.

  • VeggieTart

    Ditto Krystine and Alex. This is especially so since my cat was ten when I decided to go veg (I’d lived with her for seven years). Making a drastic dietary change for an older cat is a REALLY bad idea.

    Of course, if she’s such a carnivore, why does she go nuts when my boyfriend eats crackers? And why will she try to lick the frosting off his vegan cupcakes?

  • http://CutermakesRight? Donald

    I can’t believe the majority of the responses here.

    Regardless, you should all read about AMI and how this company started. Inspiring stuff:
    Michele Ghezzo, a professor of University of Padua, who started to rescue animals: feral cats and dogs, long time ago. While feeding them he realized that saving their lives he was taking lives of other animals, who valued their own lives not less than these cats and dogs. He sponsored a cruelty free research on the biological faculty of his University and as a result several years later was produced vegan cat food: AMI.

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  • The Discerning Brute

    I’ve met many healthy vegan cats and dogs. My dog Enzo is thriving on a vegan diet.

  • The Discerning Brute

    ALSO that was a really poorly researched piece of ‘journalism’. Kudos to Chloe and the other, but ABC – what the hell? DO more research, and what was with that botched test with the black lab at the end?

  • kelly

    they need to made vegan cat food that smells and tastes like tofurky because my cat goes nuts for that stuff!

  • Justin

    Kelly, I think the Tofurky Philly-style steak smells like dog food, lol.

  • erin

    Granted I’m opening to changing my mind on this one; but my understand was always that dogs can be vegan (I know many!) I just fed some dogs sprouts last night (they are vegan!) but cat? they are hunters (dogs hunt but are scavengers too from my understanding) and I don’t see how a cat could go vegan. They could eat meat substitutes but honestly I must say that they would have to have fish and or meat to be truly healthy. I’d love to see what’s in vegan cat food. Anyone have a link?


  • erin

    it’s late. meant to say i’m open to changing my mind. again would love a link to vegan cat food site. humor me :)


  • erin

    Found the ingredients (just look up vegan cat food on google)

    Ingredients: Vegetable Protein Extracts, cereals, oils and fats, derivatives of vegetable origin, yeasts, minerals, vitamin E (preservative), linoleic acid (4.53%), taurine

    I’m not thrilled with giving my cat cereal oils and fats… I’d rather give her fresh organic meat.. Sorry. I do not believe they were meant to be vegan. Humans? Sure. not cats.


  • Donald

    Erin, think about the nonhumans animals in your cat food. What about their pain and suffering? Does Cuter makes Right?

    Regardless, cats can be vegan. You can enter AMI website and read more on this subject.
    Of course cats were not “meant” to be vegans. But they were not “meant” to be at all – humans created this specie.

    • Robin

      Donald, it is completely inaccurate to claim that humans created the cat species; we most certainly did not, any more than we created dinosaurs. There is nothing different about a house cat than a wild cat except their willingness to interact with humans (and this ridiculous idea to force them to be vegan is an argument against the wisdom of associating with humans). Any house cat released outdoors can fend for itself by, yes, hunting and eating other creatures to survive. And if that cat’s offspring have no interaction with humans, they will grow up to be as wild as a wolf or raccoon or any other wild animal. Cats will revert to their original wild state in one generation. All we have done to the cat species over these many years is to breed for certain outward physical characteristics. We have changed their actual nature – and their nutritional need for meat – not one iota.

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  • Whoever…

    I have 2 cats and I feed them regular cat food – Friskies and Whiskas (I don’t know if you have these brands in the USA). However if I had vegan cat food where I live I wouldn’t hesitate in giving it to them instead.

    Actually one of my cats loves potatoes – whether they are fried, mashed, roasted or boiled… :)

    And sometimes I give them a little bit of my special soup (I put everything into it – all sorts of vegetables, spices, apples and nuts… then I mash it and ‘voilà’) and they like it.

    I believe it’s all about changing habits!

    If we can become vegetarians/vegans, why can’t cats?

    I’m just saying :)


    Thanks for all these amazing comments! GirlieGirl Army attacks the vegan pet controversy here: Check it out for recipes and tips on how to veganize your Pup or Kitty.

  • erin

    Hi Donald,

    I don’t eat meat and make sure my cat’s meat is organic and they eat some fish (no not perfect, but better than the store bought brands where they’re doing experimentation on the animals (by the way to the person up above buying Whiskers and brands like that – sadly it includes those)

    I rarely eat fake meat substitutes. If my cat could survive on natural fruits and veggies like I can then I’d go for that, but have a problem with cereals and what not in the food. My cats eat a grain free diet as well (I think most grains are just as bad as meat!)

    When i gave up meat years ago I felt better but when I gave up grains- my body suddenly looked extremely toned, great abs.. the best thing I ever did!

    You’re right. We humans created these little house cats. I’m curious do you think it’s ok for tigers and lions to go vegan?

    I do feed my cat some veggies(they like them as well -especially carrots) but I don’t know if I’m ready to do this canned substitute stuff yet…

    My cats are 13 and 17 years old. A bit difficult to switch when they’re elderly, but I do keep an open mind ;)


  • Donald

    Hi Erin,

    “I’m curious do you think it’s ok for tigers and lions to go vegan?”

    If a human being has a companion domesticated tiger, she/he should not kill any other creature in order to feed the tiger.

    What should he do if the vegan food is not healthy? I don’t know but he should not go and kill anybody else because of that.

  • Get Technical

    Um, Donald, first off dear, humans should not have domesticated tiger companions. They are wild animals and belong in the wild…I’ll leave Erin to finish the rest of this response to you…

  • Sherri

    PErsonally I couldn’t stop my cat. Way to many lil critters for him to catch. And he does quite proficiently. Plus if all the cats are vegan. What happens to the rat population?

  • Donald

    Hi Get Technical,
    Of course, sorry if it was understood otherwise. Any use of nonhumans is a no no.

  • erin

    Hi Donald,

    Let me preface this by saying I’ve worked for vegan “green” organizations since I was 17. I don’t buy leather (not even my car – I have the only “green” prius toyota ever put out (year 2004) I only buy organic free range meat for my two old cats. I even just had them on fish for a while (figured that was a little better than killing mammals – the less of two evils) but they were getting issues eating only fish….

    My issue is this. I want to do the natural thing. I believe we’re closely related to the ape (duh) who is vegetarian. That is why I eat a mostly raw vegan diet.

    I would never ever have a pet tiger or lion (I just asked if you felt they should be vegan- not as pets of course) but I think naturally they eat meat.

    Naturally my cats want to eat meat. I rescued both my cats- would never buy one. Saved their lives, they’ve lived to be 13 and 17 and I think NATURALLy they’re supposed to eat meat. Do I feel good about buying organic meat for them? No, I’d rather they could be vegan (and I think dogs can be vegan – my friends’ dogs eat sprouts and veggies all day long) but with cats? I think it’s more difficult. Mine will only eat a little bit of carrots, won’t eat greens and honestly, I think it’s only natural they have some meat. If I were starting with a kitten – say a homeless rescue kitten- maybe I’d try the vegan food. But at this stage I think it’s not natural nor necessarily the healthiest option.

    Cats are different from humans. In nature they are meant to kill other animals. I do my best to only buy organic meat (even local sometimes!) but don’t feel at this point in their lives they can go eat a vegan diet which would have “cereal” and refined oils in the ingredients.

    It’s natural that they eat their organic meat – and honestly they’ve made it into their teen years eating like this… I agree it’s great to save lives. Hence the reason I saved the cats, don’t buy leather, don’t buy meat, run a vegan retreat center… but I’m not ready to feed my cat substitutes which might not be the healthiest option for them when they (unlike humans) are definite carnivores.

    :) Sincerely,


  • Alicia

    My 7 month old lab puppy is vegan and was raised that way. She is very healthy, has the whitest teeth and the best breath and I do believe it is all attributed to her vegan diet. I feed her vegan treats and food! It is very possible for her to be vegan, healthy and happy.

    Also, most dog food is the grounds and bones of sick animals. It is the leftovers, why would you endanger your dog with those terrible and inhumane options?

  • Milo

    I looked into putting my cats on vegan food. Of course I really like the idea because if I don’t believe in killing animals for food it seems quite contradictory to rescue a cat and then feed it with meat from animals that suffered horribly. However my cat had medical issues that required him to be on special food available only from a veterinarian. At any rate, I can’t change his diet or his medical issues will flare up. But in the process of looking into vegan food I found that dogs can be vegan, but cats can’t because they need taurine which can only be found in meat and which their bodies can not synthesize. So I just want to say that if you’re experimenting with your pet’s diet please really do your research. While we can feel what our bodies need, through cravings, etc. our pets can’t tell us what they need or feel they are lacking. Definitely let’s do the best we can to reduce suffering, but don’t jeopardize your pet’s health. What we can’t do through direct action (making our pets vegan) we can hopefully accomplish though other means (e.g. lobbying for better treatment of farmed animals, supporting research in alternatives). I know that Farm Sanctuary feeds all of their animals (and I’m sure they have a cat or two!) vegan food. Hopefully properly formulated, nutritionally complete vegan pet food will soon become mainstream. And hopefully too the various special, veterinarian prescribed pet foods will follow suit.

  • Laura

    There is no difference between killing animals to eat or wear and witholding meat from your animals diet. It is inhumane, torturous, and hypocritical. If you don’t have the balls to feed your animals what they should be eating then you should not have a pet. Period. I am a vegan and you vegan nazis are so ignorant. You give veganism a bad name.

  • Genny

    My personal feeling is that if you can’t handle the ethical issues of owning a carnivore then maybe you shouldn’t own one.

    There are a wide variety of herbivores looking for someone to adopt them. They are not any less deserving of homes and would make an easier fit with the vegan lifestyle.

  • herwin

    it seems from the posts above that more than a few people feed their cats a vegan diet with good results. the reasons from other people NOT to give vegan cat food seems to be that its not the “natural” diet of cats, because they are carnivorous.
    regular supermarket cat food (and dog food) is so poor quality made from waiste products (unfit and unhealthy for human consumption) that that hardly could be considered a “natural” (healthy) diet.
    and giving your pets quality meat from “organic” animals, seems a sad thing to do, i think. I mean, these animals are raised and killed in a slaughterhouse just to feed a pet that is living indoors..

  • erin

    I don’t feed my cat supermarket food and agree all of them are awful (and sometimes poisonous as found out two years ago)

    And Herwin while I think your posts are funny (the Obama one was great) I don’t know that I agree with you on this one.

    I also wonder where my vegan comrades are when I’m left alone (often times on here) defending threads where people say veganism is BS and eating meat is great. Seems like no one chimes in on many of those thread.

    But I’m glad you’re all here to lambaste me for feeding my 17 year old rescue cat organic meat.

    She’s only 6 lbs. She eats very little. I also give her carrots coconut (organic) and a little bit of greens when I can get her to take them.

    I think it’s better to concentrate on the HUMANS out there who eat more meat in a day than my 6 lb kitty eats in a week. Oh and the meat they eat is not local or organic.

    I’m curious- if she hunted outside on my property (I have little rabbits field mice etc and a good sized property) would that be ok with everyone? Or, since you don’t like that I get her meat raised in slaugterhouses would it be ok if I killed the animal myself? I’m vegan, my house is vegan , my car is vegan, but sorry I cannot make my elderly cat go vegan at this stage in life. No way.

    Also I never use this argument but if you read “The Secret Life of Plants” you do know plants have feelings too, some believe they can read minds, hear you (the reason we talk nicely to our plants for those with green thumbs ;) Shall I lambaste the folks who kill plants? Seriously?

    Also, I didn’t ask for this elderly kitty. My family could no longer care for her when she was 2. Now I have her full time. I believe apes, humans can be vegetarians and I am proudly one myself, but cats? I do my best to do fish or organic meat in small quantities but kitty is not going to eat some soy cereal oil laden unhealthy substitute. bottom line. I work in the nutrition field and know that is not healthy.


  • hil

    I agree with Erin fully on her choice to feed her cat organic meat. I think that is a responsible alternative to store bought food and much healthier that a synthetic food that may serve to ease ones cognitive dissonance about feeding their carnivore pet a meat based diet but may not be what’s best for the cat.

    Also an important difference between cats and dogs is that dogs have evolved to be scavengers, this has led them to become more omnivorous over time and why they can become vegetarian so easily. Cats did not evolve this way, they need taurine without it they can start having severe liver problems in a short amount of time. That is why it is recommended not to drastically change your cat’s food, a cat will not eat whatever is available just because they get hungry enough like dogs do. Also while vegan cat food is enriched with taurine it has to be a synthetic form since taurine in its natural form comes from meat and that wouldn’t be vegan. Synthetic nutrients that are added to human food that is processed is rarely used by our bodies in the same way as the nutrients we consume directly from food sources so why would fortified pet food be any different?

    Besides, I may not know Erin personally but I have visited her website and read most of her comments on this site and feel from that information it is safe to say that she is a strong advocate for the vegan and animal rights movements, and has taken steps to minimalize her eco-footprint that many other people have not even considered. I think it is the constant nitpicking among those of us that are trying to move toward a more sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle for ourselves and for people as a whole that keep people from taking that important first step. Why would anyone want to join a movement where the people that are in it are constantly calling their allies hypocrite’s because they aren’t feeding their cat crappy oily fortified cereal?! I mean seriously! How are we going to get a majority of people to change their over consuming ways if we keep tearing down our own allies?!

  • Whoever…


    Please let me just add a few things…

    First I don’t understand why all this fuss about Erin’s cats!
    I mean, I also have 2 cats and I’m a vegetarian and an environmentalist but I wouldn’t jeopardize their health in the name of my beliefs. Where I live there is no vegan pet food nor organic meat – not everyone has access to such things! Therefore I feed them regular pet food – the only thing I could do was send an email to the company that produces the brand I usually buy – Friskies; they assured me they didn’t perform any cruel tests on the animals that try the food. Regarding Whiskas, I’m not so sure and so I avoid buying it. I am aware of the suffering of the animals that were killed to feed my cats though; but I ask all of you the following – is it right for us to impose our ideals on animals, even if they are pets? I mean, should we for instance demand that zoos or natural parks feed their animals vegan food? Should we ‘condemn’ the wild carnivores because they feed on other animals? It’s their nature and they really don’t have a choice.
    And those who have cats know very well that no matter how much domestic a cat is, (s)he still has the natural instincts highly ‘intact’.

    It’s very easy to point fingers! The day I can buy healthy cat vegan food where I live, knowing that it will not harm ‘my’ babies, I will do it. Until then I will continue to feed ‘my’ beloved cats with regular pet food. I rescued them from the street (the oldest was injured and I treated him until he was all fine – in the meantime I fell ‘in love’ with him and didn’t have the heart to give him away; he is now happily 10), so it was them who ‘adopted’ me :)

    What if Erin radically changed the diet of her cats and they became seriously ill (since they are a bit ‘old’)? What then? She would be killing 2 creatures she loves and to whom she has a bond in order to save other animals… what would you do?

    Look, instead of fighting among ourselves (which I believe it’s ridiculous) maybe we should concentrate on trying to do our best to educate people who don’t even care if a cat is skinned alive somewhere in china (they kill 2 million cats and dogs every year!) so that someone can eat his/her meat and wear his/her fur, ok? [Oh and BTW I refuse to refer myself to animals as ‘IT’] ;)

    Is it so hard to do that?

    How can we expect to fight for animals and for the environment if we lose time accusing each other of not being perfect? I mean, we’re trying our best (at least I am) and no one is perfect here!
    What would people that don’t care about animals say if they read some of these comments…? How can we expect to enlighten people or make people listen to us if we behave like this!?

    So please let’s focus on the main issues shall we?

    Thank you! ;)

  • Ashley

    I’m totally with you, Erin. My husband and I are both vegans, and as much as we hate it, we feed our cats raw organic free range meat. Like I said in an earlier post, our boy has CRF, and there is no way I am going to clog up his kidneys with carbohydrates(like you’ll find in vegan food), when he only has 20% kidney function anyway! As cruel as it is to use animals for meat, fur, entertainment, whatever, when you don’t need to, it’s equally as cruel to give them a diet that has very little scientific evidence to back it up. I hope like hell that one day vegan cat food is freely available and as healthy as raw meat, but until then I’m not willing to sacrifice my cats’ health…how would that be different than hurting any animal?

  • erin

    Hil, Whoever and Ashley

    Wow thanks guys for the support. You all said it better than I did anyway.

    Ashley my 17 year old cat has CRF as well. She also has a heart murmur and tritrichomonas (an “incurable” parasite that has gotten better with holistic health care and her diet) The raw food is good for this and there are a few organic store bought brands that are good too. She did well most of her life but she’s practically 100 in people years so now her organs aren’t what they used to be.

    Whoever, not sure where you live but if you have the net and can any deliveries out there you can order from one of these guys. I like Petguard’s organic food or Organix neither of which do animal experimentation. Sadly PETA says Friskies and Whiskas do, but it may just be to test the food on the pets, not lab experiments.. But so long as you have an address you should be able to have one of these guys deliver to you… You can find Petguard Organic or Organix on online or one of these other brands as well. I used to give my cats Eagle Pack (it used to be organic but now they just used free range/no hormones but it’s not certified…

    There’s Peta’s list of cruelty free brands.

    Petfooddirect oftentimes doesn’t charge shipping. I’ve found some good organic brands there too. But I trust PETA’s list. I mean they’re pretty uh… extreme so they’re not going to put a brand on that list unless they’re really good!

    Hope that helps. Again you three said it so well. I’d be willing to try a better more natural organic vegan alternative if my cats weren’t teenagers but instead I try to incorporate some veggies and vegan supplements into their diet (greens, probiotics, etc) but I’m afraid vegan is not an option for me or many other pet owners. Hil said it best. Why feed your cat some crappy oily fortified cereal if it’s not the best for your pet? And it’s not like any of us are buying our pets. Sounds like most are rescued! We’re just trying to give them the best lives. I’ll be sure to adopt that bunny rabbit next time too. lol. One was on my porch this afternoon actually (thought it funny having a bunny there on Easter!) but I didn’t let my kitty use her natural instincts and go get him. I made sure bunny went back to nature to live out a nice vegan lifestyle :)

    Have a good Easter everyone.

    I’m having a salad with lots of carrots (bunny food for easter ;) which I’ll share with my cats!


  • erin

    ps and to “whoever” just wanted to let you know it was just a suggestion with the other brands. feel no guilt my friend if you can’t order/afford/get them delivered etc.. i wouldn’t ever try to force any brands foods on anyone (or their pets! :)



  • pleinelune

    Quoting Genny’s post: “My personal feeling is that if you can’t handle the ethical issues of owning a carnivore then maybe you shouldn’t own one.”
    There are a wide variety of herbivores looking for someone to adopt them. They are not any less deserving of homes and would make an easier fit with the vegan lifestyle.”

    I have to agree with this.
    Dogs are omnivores and while some can be vegan, far from all dogs can. Most dogs shouldn’t eat grains for example.
    Cats are carnivores, simple as that.
    Choosing cruelty free pet food, holistic/organic food (human quality meat/vegetables), organic meat, etc, is in my opinion much better than imposing a vegan lifestyle on a creature that basically needs meat to thrive. There are many choices out there! Just never buy your pet food in the supermarket, it’s basically all grain based…
    If your dog/cat is vegan and doing well, all the better, but like said not all of them will be happy and healthy on a vegan diet… Another option would be adopting a guinea pig – the ultimate vegan cool pet :-)

  • Whoever…

    I know Erin… Don’t worry ;)

    In my country there is no vegan or organic pet food (at least that I’m aware of) for sale…

    And I can’t buy it on-line because I don’t have a credit card (I don’t think payment on delivery is available on these sites). And even if I did have a credit card, the food would have to come from another country which means it could arrive in poor condition!

    So, unfortunately I’m stuck with the regular pet food for now :(

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  • Suzy

    This is absolutely ridiculous. I think it is more cruel to force a carnivorous animal to eat a vegan diet than it is to allow that animal to eat meat. Carnivorous animals (such as cats) cannot live on anything BUT meat; it is just the way that they are biologically made. If you tried to feed a cat a diet exclusively comprised of beans, for instance, it would get very sick and eventually die. This is because cats are obligate carnivores and cannot thrive on vegetarian or vegan foods. They cannot digest carbohydrates, and they need the important amino acids that meat provides, especially Taurine.

    I think us humans need to accept the fact that there is always going to be some forms of evil in the world that we have no control over, because it’s just the way things are. For instance, carnivores need to kill other animals to survive. We might consider the act of an animal being killed for food as evil, but we can’t control it because then the carnivorous animal would die as well (or become severely sick) from lack of food.

    Also, we cannot control the evil fact that one day a living thing will die from old age. It’s just a fact of life: we will all die one day! So should we now try to concoct some medicine to prevent living things from dieing? No, of course not. So I don’t understand why we should try to change the biological diet of carnivorous animals. We might consider it to be evil that carnivores must kill other animals to live, but that’s a fact of life, just as dieing of old age is a fact of life.

    • Robin Hart

      You are 100% right Suzy. It’s insane and arrogant to try to force a carnivore to subsist on vegetables. These poor cats will surely sicken and die young because they cannot maintain their health without eating meat, and how can that be called “cruelty-free?” They’d be better off set free outdoors where at least they can attempt to hunt for food, as they are built to do.

  • Samantha

    Erin, on a side note here – you keep referencing feeding your cats fish, as a more humane alternative, and I’m just curious as to how fish is “the lesser of 2 evils,” when it comes to animal flesh?

    Fish feel pain, are curious, form bonds with families and of course have their own interests in living.

    “Fish are more intelligent than they appear. In many areas, such as memory, their cognitive powers match or exceed those of ‘higher’ vertebrates, including non-human primates.”

  • iveggy

    My 5 cats are vegan and are doing great! For years! Try with your pets and you will see how great you all will feel to have a cruelty free home.