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Cats are carnivores, and putting them on a vegetarian or vegan diet is dangerous. Simply put: Cats need meat in their diets.
“The key nutrients they need -- such as taurine, arachidonic acid, vitamin A and vitamin B12 -- are found in meat,” explains Dr. Ernie Ward of Seaside Vet Animal Care. “Vitamin B12 can’t be sufficiently obtained from plant-based foods. Without these nutrients, cats can suffer from liver and heart problems, skin irritation and hearing loss.”
Cats have a small, muscular stomach designed for rather miniscule meals. Ideally, it is then wise to feed them several high-protein, small-sized meals throughout the day. And be sure to take into account the optimal daily amount recommended by your pet food manufacturer.
If you’re unable to feed your cat several meals throughout the day, try feeding it two to three times per day, based on your schedule. Programmable automated feeders that dispense a specific amount of dry food four to six times per day are a great alternative for feeding your feline.
Michele C. Hollow is a journalist and an author who specializes in writing about animal welfare. Her blog, Pet News and Views, covers pet care, wildlife, and people who work with and on the behalf of animals.
Cats reach full skeletal development when they are this old: