The following thoughts were posted in the group Healthy Vegan Cats (you need to join to see the posts but if you have cats in your home, it’s worth it) by my friend Peter Csere. He’s an authority on anything Vegan cat-related and a lot of other things about Veganism to boot:
Feeding farmed animal products to domesticated felines is not a humane or vegan option since we are enslaving + murdering one species to feed another which we find prettier and more preferable for companionship.
Letting cats “roam” and “hunt for themselves” is not a humane, vegan, or environmentally sound option since, according to numerous wildlife studies, human-subsidized domestic felines have a HUGE and disastrous impact on local wildlife populations. Domestic felines have singlehandedly caused the extinction of over 33 island species of mammal, reptile, bird, and amphibian, and the number one threat to many endangered songbird and rodent species is the domestic feline. The domestic feline is not even native to North America yet is the most populous feline predator on the continent, numbering over 150 million in the US alone (according to various estimates of “owned” cats and stray cat populations.)
Another important issue is that domestic felines compete for prey with natural/indigenous predator species such as mountain lions, cougars, panthers, and fisher cats. This food competition reduces the possible population of important natural predator species. Even cats that are fed by humans still kill many animals per instinct.
Feeding domestic cats laboratory-grown meat, organs, and bones modeled after their natural prey (insects and rodents) might be an excellent option for the future when laboratory-grown meat becomes economically feasible and in regular production. However, *this option is not currently available.*
I’ve noticed that some people parrot on and on about lab-grown meat but then seem to think that this constant parroting gives them license to continue purchasing real meat to feed to their domesticated cats in the meantime. By all means, donate to lab-grown meat entrepreneurial initiatives, tell your friends, advertise, get the word out and the projects started. But in the meantime, the other arguments regarding humans killing one animal to feed to another animal which they find preferable, still apply.
(Editor’s note: Feeding cats “In Vitro Meat” is a good solution when we’re dealing with the small portion of cats who physically can’t or won’t eat Vegan, this is not meant to endorse In Vitro Meat being fed to *all* cats. I also personally don’t support encouraging In Vitro Meat projects for human consumption whatsoever.)
Feeding cats a plant-based diet which has a sufficient nutritional profile to keep them healthy and happy for a similar lifespan to a domestic cat on a meat-based diet, could be presented as not humane or vegan, since technically it is not “natural” for the cat – but still, *it is the most humane and ethical of all currently available options.*
All these options are side-stepping the real issue, which is that humans are continually unnaturally subsidizing, in-breeding, domesticating, and enslaving an artificial species (the domestic feline) at the cost of much suffering to the cats, the local ecosystems that their inflated population affects, and the animals that they inbreed and enslave to feed the cats. As long as the domestic cat population continues to rise, feeding them vegan diets will help but still will only slow the suffering that results to all involved.
Humans need to learn that when they take an animal with desirable characteristics, and force it to only have sex with another animal with desirable characteristics, and do this generation after generation producing a species with inbred genetic health problems and dependency on humans, much suffering will result. Long-term solutions may or may not include a number of strategies, such as: slowly re-wilding and introducing wild genes back into the domestic cat species, relocating them to their natural habitat, wide-scale spaying and neutering, etc, among others, some of which may be controversial and some not so much.
None of these options can really be considered 100% ethical and humane, but a complete hands-off approach also results in much suffering, so in the meantime, while we struggle to find solutions that best meet the needs of all involved, to this ridiculous problem that only humans are stupid enough to create – we can feed properly-formulated plant foods to domesticated cats and stop enslaving other animals or decimating local ecosystems i.e. making a bad problem worse.
Hope this provides some insight ~ Peter Csere
Here are some more excellent resources on the solutions to the problem of being Vegan and keeping nonhumans in our homes:
If you’re not already Vegan, and you think animals matter morally, then please go Vegan. It’s easy and great for you, incredible for the animals, and wonderful for the planet. If you’re already Vegan, please educate non-Vegans about why they should go Vegan. Please rescue, volunteer, adopt, foster, spay, and neuter the nonhuman refugees of domestication whenever you can. Please feed your nonhuman family Vegan where you can. These things are the most important, morally responsible things to do and are desperately needed by everyone.
To learn more about Abolitionist Veganism and the issues I’ve outlined in this post, check out The Master List Of Vegan Info:
Disclaimer: My only goal with this list is to produce as comprehensive a resource for Vegan information as possible. I am 100% Abolitionist Vegan and 100% against exploitation of nonhuman or human animals, any type of violence against human or nonhuman persons or property, welfare regulation, any form of speciesism, ethnic bigotry, genderism, ableism, heterosexism, etc., any of the large governmental or non-governmental nonhuman animal organizations, “happy meat,” vegetarianism, veg*nism, Meat-Free Mondays, or other forms of reductionism and anything else that makes it seem like any form of violence or exploitation of animals is ok. If any of those positions are endorsed on any site in this list, or any language is used to imply that, it’s not that I included that link because I agree, but simply because I don’t control every bit of information on all of these sites.