Namely, cats won’t receive adequate amounts of vitamins A, B12, and D, taurine, and arachidonic acid. Without these, your cat runs the risk of becoming deficient in any of these vitamins and nutrients that they need to survive. The most common issue that cats run into with a vegan diet is a taurine deficiency. These are especially dangerous because they can lead to blindness and cardiomyopathy. Cats with cardiomyopathy have a very high mortality rate because their heart basically becomes too weak to function.
So, if you are a vegan or vegetarian, but don’t want to feed your cat meat, what can you do? While your ethical beliefs go against harm to animals, the root of veganism and vegetarianism is wanting care for all animals, and this includes your cat. Instead of feeding your cat canned wet food or dry kibble, you might consider finding meat that is locally sourced to feed your cat instead. Find farmers who raise their livestock in a humane manner, or brands that label their food as “pasture-raised” or “free-range.” While these don’t fall in line with vegan or vegetarian diets, they do express better care for animals, and it’s as close as you can get while still keeping your cat healthy.
Remember that your beliefs are personal choices that don’t extend to your cat, and while they are in your care, you shouldn’t deny them the essential foods they need to survive. If you still have questions, talk to your vet about what’s best to feed your cat. They might even have recommendations for where you can find locally-sourced or organic pet foods.