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Our veterinarian experts regret that they cannot answer all individual questions. We will post a selection on this page.
NOTE: Please consult your veterinarian if you believe your cat is ill or in need of medical care. This forum is for general information only and should not be considered a substitute for professional veterinary care.
A: Dear Karen,
Q: For health and ethical reasons, I have been a vegan for the last 10 years. I would like feed my 6 year old tuxedo cat Murphy a vegetarian diet too. Should I have any special concerns?
A: Yes, you should be concerned. Unlike dogs, cats are obligate carnivores and can experience severe medical problems on low protein, high carbohydrate diets. Their metabolism is geared toward a meat-based diet, and they derive energy from protein. When cats are fed diets low in protein, they can become obese and develop diabetes. Vegetarian diets are deficient in feline essential nutrients, and a low taurine diet will cause blindness and the fatal heart disease dilated cardiomyopathy. It is best to select high meat diets for cats and canned food generally contains more meat than dry formulas. Look for canned food at least 10% in protein and dry food at least 40% in protein.
Q: The flea drops sold by my veterinarian are so expensive. Can't I just use the ones in the grocery store that are cheaper? Is there really any difference?
A: Yes, there is a great difference. The topical flea products sold by your veterinarian are safe and effective. So far fleas do not seem to be developing resistance to them, and cats tolerate them very well. The cheaper types of spot-on treatments are often related to pyrethrins. This chemical is good for a rapid kill of fleas, but it has no residual effect. Even if applied monthly, they are not working effectively for the entire month. In some instances, there have been reports of issues requiring veterinary assistance after use. It is always best to discuss flea treatment with your veterinarian before undertaking a flea control program of your own.
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This program is supported by
The Cat Fanciers' Association, Inc.
This program is supported by The Cat Fanciers' Association, Inc.