Skip to content

Can vegans own pets?

March 18, 2012

cats for adoptionI want a cat. Since I was a very young child, I have always wanted a cat. It sort of morphed into wanting a monkey after reading Curious George and watching Friends, but even during that stage of my life, I would have been quite happy with a cat. My sisters and I had two cats only throughout the course of our childhood. Buckley was, for all intents and purposes, my cat. I was devastated when he died and locked myself in my room to grieve and draw pictures of him to post around my room. I was about seven. While I loved him literally to death, I probably treated him more like Elmyra from Tiny Toons treated kitties. The second cat we had was Lucy. She was the devil incarnate, but again, I loved her dearly and was extremely sad when she passed.

Now that I am older, living on my own and following a vegan lifestyle in which the principles of veganism are highly important to me, I have the opportunity to own a cat myself, but the reality is, I cannot get past my ethical dilemma with such a relationship.

First, let’s deal with the general dilemma of being vegan/vegetarian and wanting to own a pet. Can vegetarians/vegans own pets? Some vegans do not even contemplate the potential moral inconsistencies with “owning an animal”. Even the phrase sounds counter-vegan. If we consider animal rights, then how could owning an animal ever be appropriate? If it weren’t for humans, animals would never have been domesticated. Cats and dogs, for example, would very probably not even exist. To be sure, pet ownership inherently perpetuates the idea that other animals can be “owned” like objects and as such the laws protecting these animals are little more severe than laws protecting physical property. Essentially, while most people seem to believe that domesticated animals are treated with respect and love, the majority of these poor creatures who are lucky enough to live in a home–and are not stray, abandoned, feral, farmed for meat or fur or brought up in a mill–sadly live in a state where their “owners” do not care for their emotional needs and desires. However, even vegan abolitionists agree that owning animals is often the lesser of two evils since there is nothing we can do about their existence at this stage. It would actually be contrary to animal rights to deny domesticated animals the comfort of living in a good home that would care for them, just because we are against owning pets, in principle. Therefore, when there is an animal in need of shelter or a loving home to prevent it from starving or being abused, etc., it behooves us as moral human beings to care for and nurture these animals. This is as much the vegan agenda as it is that of any other animal lover. If you are interested in reading more on the vegan abolitionist perspective on owning pets, I recommend Gary Francione‘s article on the subject, quoted in this blog post, but for the purpose of my blog post, I believe we have an answer to this general question:

In general, vegans and vegetarians can own animals, provided that the animals are adopted or rescued. This excludes buying animals that are sold at pet stores or bred for certain aesthetic characteristics, or from (puppy) mills, etc. The mere fact that these institutions still exist is abhorrent to me, and should be to any vegan, vegetarian, animal lover or owner.

So I’m reassured that in general, vegans can own (or more accurately, adopt) animals. However, I do not believe this applies to all species of animals. Certain animals have no right in a human dwelling (such as non-domesticated animals, exotic animals, birds, and the like) and even if we do consider our acquiring of the animal to be an adoption or rescue, the animal may end up being more miserable than if it were just euthanized or set free. The borderline case that I still do not have an answer for then is whether we, as vegans, can adopt/rescue domesticated carnivorous animals, namely cats, and still stay true to our ethics, principles, and concern for non-human animals.

My sister is a veterinarian. As such, she knows a lot about domestic animal care. She also is a strong advocate for pet adoption and rescuing and is appalled by the lack of care some owners provide for their pets. The grand majority of cat owners feed their cats meat-based food, whether it is from beef, chicken or fish. This is because cats are carnivores and therefore require a meat-based diet. Vegans are, by definition, against buying and consuming animals and animal-based products. This arguably applies to pet food that contains animal. Ethically speaking, I can see no difference in buying meat for my own personal digestion and nutrition and buying meat for that of my furry little friend. At the end of the day, you would still be supporting the factory farming/meat industry or simply condoning the practice of raising and slaughtering animals for meat or other animal products. Often, pet food meat is the byproduct of the meat industry. However, I do not believe this is relevant to the ethical debate. Meat is meat, especially if it comes from the same industry.

It must be noted that there are some websites and (small) pet food operations/companies that seem to indicate that you can ethically feed your feline vegan, plant-based food and that it has all that is required to maintain a healthy pH balance and taurine. All this and you are purchasing cruelty-free pet food! However, my sister, while not against the possibility of raising animals vegan per se, is extremely skeptical of the claims made by these sites and companies with respect to the vegan food being nutritionally complete for the animals and to the lack of evidence that this food is actually appropriate and safe for the animals. Furthermore, she debunked most of the claims made on So it seems for now, there is no ethical alternative to feeding cats meat-based foods.

So then how is this decision complicated? If we believe that buying meat is ethically wrong then shouldn’t the answer be evident? That is, vegans cannot own domesticated carnivorous animals, namely cats?

It’s a much more complex issue than that. In light of what was discussed above regarding the adoption and rescue of animals, we know that there are many cats who need loving homes and without which may continue to live in terrible conditions, possibly squalid or abusive. Shouldn’t we, as vegans and animal lovers, adopt these pets so that they no longer suffer? Isn’t part of being vegan reducing the suffering of animals, including cats?

Hence the Catch-22. On one side, we cannot buy meat because of the implications of supporting the meat industry and thus indirectly causing suffering to animals. On the other, we cannot not adopt a cat, because if we choose not to, we may be indirectly causing suffering to that animal. How do we reconcile our vegan ideology with the beast which is the domesticated carnivorous animal?

Due to this conundrum and my lack of a clear solution, I had abstained from adopting cats, despite my deep-seated love for them. However, recently I was confronted with the dilemma once again. I watched Animal House Calls in which my sister was an invited guest on the show. She introduced Fergie, a rescued cat who needs a home, to the viewers. I somewhat fell for Fergie and wanted to adopt her. I emailed my sister almost humorously alluding to my desire to adopt the cat. It developed into a discussion on the very dilemma above, can I adopt poor Fergie as a vegan?

On “a life equals a life” ethical basis, it appears that more animal suffering would be caused by the adoption of Fergie than by Fergie being euthanized. I know this sounds shocking for cat-lovers, but try to picture it the other way. Say you wanted to adopt a chicken, and in order to adopt that chicken you would have to kill 10 cats. Would you do it? Most likely not. That’s how I feel here. How many animals need to suffer and die so that Fergie can live? Do I want to be responsible for the deaths of those animals?

I’m not even sure this is the most appropriate way of basing the ethical debate and I welcome any arguments or alternatives to help me with this issue. Indeed, I find it a struggle. Nevertheless, presently the above perspective is how I view it and so I cannot realistically adopt a cat–no matter how much I love cats–because I believe that it would be too much of a compromise of my veganism and my commitment to reducing animal suffering.

So if you are vegan or if you are committed to reducing animal suffering, and you are not quite sure if you feel comfortable, ethically-speaking, adopting a cat, I have boiled it down to three conclusions you can make after you have done some soul-searching:

  1. Do not get a cat, because you can never be confident enough that a vegan diet is appropriate for cats. Your morality restricts you to adopting herbivorous pets;
  2. Do more research and if you find a credible trend of evidence that supports vegan diets for cats, then adopt a cat and start her/him on a vegan diet. However, you must be prepared if s/he shows signs of not being healthy, or of even not enjoying the food, to buy meat to feed her/him, because you have taken on the responsibility of care for the animal and it would be even more ethically abhorrent to disown the animal because it can’t follow a vegan diet;
  3. Adopt a cat and find ways of reconciling your veganism (and animal ethics) and owning a pet. (Then let me know about how you did this!)

Presently, I must admit that the only realistic option I see available to us is the first one. And so, I sign off this dreadfully long rumination, as cat-less as I was when I started it.


Check out the follow up post entitled “Follow-up commentary on: Can vegans own pets?” for more discussion on this topic!

63 Comments leave one →
  1. Peter permalink
    March 18, 2012 12:19 pm

    I struggle with this dilemma quite a bit. I got my snake (yep, an exotic) when I was in high school, before I was a vegetarian and before I thought to consider the implications of said pet ownership. Now not only do I feel guilty about owning her – limiting her life to a small glass box – but I can barely stand to feed her. I tell my friends all the time, “I wish she could eat tofu!” But now I struggle with the same moral dilemma that you brought up. As much at it pains me to look at her literal cage every morning, I know that it is now my responsibility to provide her with a healthy living environment, partly out of fear that if I were to allow somebody else to take her, they wouldn’t treat her as well. So for now I simply internalize the guilt I feel day in and day out knowing that a decision I made as a teenager has resulted in something that no longer meshes well with my own morals. It’s a tough situation to be in!

    • Poptart permalink
      June 16, 2012 2:35 pm

      You can feel better knowing your snake is a simple, solitary creature and isn’t even cognitively capable of caring it is in a cage. Snakes in the wild spend most of their time hiding unless they’re basking, looking for food, water or mates. When their needs aren’t being met, reptiles get stressed and ill. If your reptile is healthy, then it is content in its surroundings.

      If keeping a snake in a appropriately sized cage is cruel, then keeping a very active and social animal such as a dog behind a fence is 100x crueler. So you having a snake as a pet isn’t anymore cruel than having a dog for a pet.

      “I’m not sure about your “a life equals a life” reasoning. On that basis, we should be euthanising ALL carnivorous animals, because each of them causes the suffering and deaths of many other animals in their lifetimes.”

      In the wild, the prey has a chance to escape, and many predators are also prey to other animals. In captivity, the prey has no chance to escape from the predator. I’m sure you see a difference between a pack of wolves killing a deer and someone dumping a bunch of kittens into their fenced yard for their dog to shred to pieces.

      • July 8, 2012 11:15 am

        Hello Poptart,

        Thanks for your comment to my blog post! In response to your comment concerning my “life equals a life” reasoning as you call it, check out my follow-up post (last paragraph). It should help to clarify what I intended to mean.

        Regarding snakes in cages, I’m not quite sure your assumption that snakes aren’t “cognitively capable of caring” they’re in a cage is correct. I would love to hear any evidence you might have on the cognitive functioning of snakes and they’re awareness of their surroundings, whether in captivity or not.

        I’d also like to know what would be an “appropriately sized” cage for a snake (of a given size), if we were to put aside the dilemma of snakes as pets in the first place. I wonder if studies have been done to indicate what would be the most ethically sized cage for a snake to live out its life as well as it can, despite its being in captivity. Of course, what is considered “appropriate” according to exotic pet stores is likely not to convince me, unless they happen to have this based on solid ecological evidence.

        Just some food for thought!

    • January 2, 2017 4:50 pm

      I have a snake too and feel the same! I got her about five years ago from a boa constrictor breeder who did seem to actually care somewhat about the welfare of the animals and interviewed me about my resources, reasons for wanting a snake, and preparation. But now feel sad that they are primarily bred in an exploitative way for their color patterns. Worse, I think the standard advice for cage size is wrong. It is thought that a very sterile environment is fine–that a box to hide in, a water dish, and some sort of substrate is all that is needed. The standard advice is that the snake should be shorter than half the perimeter of the cage. Of course, this just doesn’t look right, and doesn’t do the animal justice. Some argue that a bigger cage is actually more stressful. I believe that is BS as long as enough hiding spots are provided.

      I realize that she wants to climb, but the enclosure that I purchased, which is marketed as ideal for her species, does not allow this. So, I have decided to embark on the construction of a bigger, arboreal enclosure with various things to climb on. She does not seem exhibit the known signs of physical or mental stress, such as refusing meals or incomplete sheds. But at the very least, I think the new cage will improve my own experience as her caretaker, and increase my own pride and enjoyment in caring for her in spite of my underlying regret, as she is truly a majestic creature who deserves the best possible simulation of the enrichment provided in nature.

      While I regret acquiring an exotic animal, I use my mistake as an opportunity to educate others about the beauty and cuteness (she yawns, actually has a belly button, and has a very peaceful demeanor) of what is commonly regarded as a dangerous, evil animal to be feared. I also emphasize in conversations with others–in case they want their own snake once they see mine–that snakes are often abandoned by people who acquire one, often a juvenile in a pet store, without understanding their adult size and the long-term commitment.

      I do think there is some truth to the rudimentary nature of snakes. She spends most of her time hiding, and from a limited human perspective it is easy to imagine that she is “depressed.” However, I think it is true that snakes mostly hide when all their needs are fulfilled. It is their way of existence, which is very different from ours. Well, at least I think this is the case, but due to her occasional tendency to climb around, I will test this notion with a more enriching environment that still has ample hiding spots. Although caring for her has led me to become deeply critical of the pet industry, now that she lives with me, she teaches me a lot.

  2. xxxooo permalink
    March 18, 2012 5:22 pm

    jeez….why is life so complicated? :( good blog..

    • August 19, 2014 6:40 am

      Jeez, it is not, we choose to make it complicated. Think about when you were a young kid, you didn’t think twice and you did what you pleased… Then your parents, friends, school, and media, started influencing you… the rest just went downhill, and the free spirit and loving child you were was no more and instead you became tomented wtih thoughts, right, wrong, fair, unfair, etc…

      Life is simple, we make it unnecessarily complex (birth, living, passing away – just 3 stages)

  3. March 18, 2012 9:06 pm

    Another suggestion – foster cats for the humane society or other organizations. They always need people to foster cats that are either too young to be spayed or neutered or have a mild cold. It also gets them used to being with humans and is a lot better for them than being in a cage. So you’re helping animals, get to play with kitties and they provide the food so you don’t have to purchase any meat. We did this for awhile and found it was a great compromise.

  4. Michael permalink
    March 19, 2012 2:39 am

    Interesting post!

    I’m not sure about your “a life equals a life” reasoning. On that basis, we should be euthanising ALL carnivorous animals, because each of them causes the suffering and deaths of many other animals in their lifetimes.

    I’m sure that cats in shelters eat cheap, factory-farmed cat food. You could always adopt that cat and feed it cat food like Yarrah, where the meat is sourced from ethical farms, thereby reducing animal suffering.

  5. Lizzie permalink
    June 14, 2012 5:37 pm

    I struggle with this exact same issue so much. I found your blog by searching “vegan” plus “cats” plus “reconcile”! Because that’s what I’m always asking myself and my vegan friends who have cats – how do you reconcile providing for an obligate carnivore with not wanting to support any meat industry in any way? In the same way that you came to the “life for a life” conclusion, I’ve often asked myself, don’t I have the same obligation to the chickens (or cows, or whatever) that are in the cat food as I do to the cat? Our local shelter is OVERRUN with cats, as so many so often are, and the reason there are so many homeless and unwanted cats is because of our humans’ irresponsibility. Which only makes it harder, because I feel even more drawn to helping make up for all the irresponsible idiots out there. It is such a difficult, heartbreaking choice to make, either way. I remain cat-less, though my heart aches for one, because I haven’t yet found a way to make it all line up for me, emotionally, ethically, etc.

    • July 8, 2012 10:58 am

      Man, we are totally in the same boat! I hope my blog post helped in some way, at least letting you know that you are not alone and this is a common vegan dilemma for those who truly believe in the vegan cause and animal ethics.

      If you do have an epiphany in that department, please share with us all, but alas, I am worried that this is the kind of dilemma that takes many brilliant minds studying ethics and morality to truly come to terms with, and there will always be dissonance.

      I’ve always wanted a cat, but my conviction to not cause undue suffering to animals is stronger than my desire to “own” a pet. I am searching for the greater good, and so are you. That in and of itself is commendable and I applaud you for not compromising on your beliefs.

      Thanks for your comment!

      • July 8, 2015 8:03 pm

        I’m a vegan, I rescued a kitten. The way I think about it is that the kitten didn’t ask to be born and didn’t ask to need meat to survive. In the same way that I would eat meat if I needed to to survive I provide for this animal. It is not my place to decide whether or not this animal deserves to live due to things outside of its control. I understand and share the dilemma but I am usually convinced by the idea that it isn’t my place to kill this animal and now that he’s here it is my responsibility to care for him.; All I can do is make sure he is spayed and only adopt kittens who need to be rescued. until the day when lab grown meat is viable this is as morally pure as I can get.

  6. abby permalink
    August 18, 2012 4:54 pm

    I totally agree with adoption versus buying. It’s disgusting how many people buy breeds (especially dogs) just because of their bred qualities. I met a kennel owner with a soft heart who ended up adopting all the unwanted runts who of course had major health issues. Potential buyers should understand that for every perfectly bred animal there are brothers and sisters that no one wants. The only possible exception to this is the work dogs who are bred to do a particular job and really love it. Although many of these jobs are animal-related (eg sheep dogs) so you would probably have the same objections.

    Another interesting issue is bird conservation. Where I live, there are native bird populations, especially kiwis, who are in extreme danger of extinction. It is mainly dogs who kill them, but cats have this potential as well. Until I moved out of the official “Kiwi Zone” I refused to adopt a cat, and even now, I pay close attention that her life doesn’t outweigh others. Unfortunately not everyone takes such great care and the domesticated animals (including humans!) will eventually kill out many native populations.

  7. Joe permalink
    October 25, 2012 4:36 pm

    A vegan owning a pet is a contradiction. If the person in question defends the vegan way of life to death then is even worst, it is complete hypocrisy. There is no need to write such a big blog just to try to explain yourself and have peace of mind to have a pet. And I seriously doubt there is any distinction about the kind of pet you have. Animal is animal.

  8. January 22, 2013 4:39 am

    I’d say adopting from a shelter doesn’t hurt. The shelter would either buy food for the animal (so ethically it is essentially the same if you do it instead) or euthanize the animal because there are too many. So consequentially not getting an animal on the grounds that you wouldn’t want to buy it animal-based foods is the same as killing an animal because it eats meat.

    By adopting, you don’t generate demand for more meat-eating animals being born. Now buying the animal is a completely different story. I have even heard rationalizations for breeding dogs (that would be given away for free) as “but i’m sure i can find enough people who will take them”. So we need to watch out for it.

    Adopting an animal is alright, as long as you make extra sure you are not raising demand. And with most city shelters you don’t, since animals are considered as a problem of society (sadly, almost like litter); so they are unlikely (or even prohibited by law) to breed more animals on the grounds of them having found an owner for the animal or gotten the money (they will probably just fix the shelter or provide what the animals they already have need with that).

  9. Alison permalink
    March 3, 2013 9:02 am

    Thank you so much for writing this article — it helped me a lot to see that someone else was struggling with the exact same problem while all my other friends were all dismissive like, “What’s the big deal, cats are cute so just feed it meat!”

    But I’ve thought about it quite a bit and I decided that it wouldn’t be against my vegan ethics to get a cat. My reasoning goes like this: If I would rather have a predator die than sacrifice the lives of its prey so it could live, it would mean desiring the deaths of all predators on earth in order to preserve prey. But in the wild the predator-prey relationship is beneficial for both parties in getting rid of the weaker members and improving the species as a whole. Yet this is different for cats because they have been domesticated and brought out of that whole predator-prey equation, since most domestic cats would not be able to fend for themselves in the wild. They are like this due to the actions of humans, and I feel that it’s cruel to condemn them to death because of something we have done. I would like for an end to domestication of carnivorous animals but as this would not happen soon, I feel like the best we can do is support the spaying and neutering of animals, refuse to support breeders and care for the domesticated animals who we have caused to be reliant on us. If, for example, I have a kid who has some health condition or allergies that make it absolutely necessary for them to eat meat for survival, I wouldn’t let my child die because of my vegan ethics. In the same way, I wouldn’t condemn cats to death simply because of their biological needs and their situation that is the fault of humans who domesticated them.

    Anyway, that’s the conclusion I reached (although it’s sort of still on probation for me to make sure this is a result of logic and not merely because I really really want to adopt a cat) and I thought it might interest you. :)

    • April 7, 2013 10:06 am

      Thank you for your thoughts Alison! And I’m glad to hear that there are others sorting through my own moral issues with owning a cat and being vegan. It makes me feel a little less crazy. ;)
      As for your logic, I do see your point and agree with what you say in terms of cats being a human responsibility because they are a result of human intervention, but I’m still stuck on the cats being present and the livestock which feeds them being absent. What I mean to say is, it’s almost easier to condemn another being to death if we don’t see it happening. For example, if we had both the cat and the cow present at the same time and had to decide which one we would condemn to death for the survival of the other, I think the choice would be much harder (for me). Note that this artificial scenario is more for purely ethical considerations and not an attempt to equate the real life scenario, in which cats and livestock play very different roles in our society, something that for better or worse cannot be ignored; however, it is useful when trying to rationalize our own ethical belief system. Of course, this is simply food for thought and I wouldn’t want it to deter you from making your decision. I know every day that my not owning a cat could mean that I have sentenced that cat to death. But I cannot take responsibility for that any more than I can take responsibility for the countless other things I could be doing that would be better for this world. We each do what we can in the capacity that we can do it and avoid as much as possible contributing to the evils of this world. I think that’s a good place to start.

      Thanks again for your input!

      • February 11, 2015 10:00 pm

        As for this, “For example, if we had both the cat and the cow present at the same time and had to decide which one we would condemn to death for the survival of the other, I think the choice would be much harder (for me)” — for most who own cats/dogs, or any animal, the loyalty would lie with the animal — that which is often seen akin to a family member — and for them it would be the cow that would end up being condemned to death. Mine are all ones I have found, strays and my loyalty lies with them. Even though I want to become more vegan, versus vegetarian. I see a lot of comments from people who don’t own pets yet, except the person with the snake. What would you do if you found a stray cat on your porch or outside your home and it’s original home could not be found? Or how about finding a litter of kittens (something which happened to me 2 Winters ago). The weirder thing is, for them, I want to feed them the best and so I have been attempting to afford the grain free foods which is often higher protein content, ie meat and better quality meat used in the foods. I am the type who questions even not eating meat because of the fact that I own cats and have nothing against owning them. Once mine pass, I’ve vowed to adopt more that are in need of homes. I even want to foster and not always does that not mean not providing for them, as one commenter mentioned. Some foster places, you buy the food for the animals.

  10. Mandy permalink
    May 29, 2013 1:59 am

    I think about this ALL the time (which is why I Google it when I get bored). I have four cats, and just transitioned myself to vegan from lacto-ovo about 3 months ago. When it comes down to it, I agree with Alison for the most part, and will add these points.

    First: In my opinion, buying meat for my cats who require it to survive is NOT the same as buying it for myself. A) I do not require meat to survive, whereas my cat does (kind of a big differentiation) and B) eating is social for humans, it is not social for cats. Why does this matter?

    Well, every vegetarian and vegan probably has at least a few converts under their belt–I know I can count at least 4 turned lacto-ovo on account of my influence in the 1.5 years since I myself have given up meat. Vegetarianism/veganism spreads like a (really healthy) disease. :) Individually, the amount of animal products each individual vegan does not buy is negligible. It’s our numbers that make the impact. We teach our friends and family members by our actions. We have veto power when making group restaurant decisions (additionally; adding veg options for people we don’t even know to consider when perusing a menu). We share truth about our animal friends and the horrors they suffer to satisfy human taste preferences through art, film and the written word. These are the things that will, I hope and believe, eventually permanently end animal farming for food.

    Second: I have real reservations about the ideal of zero domesticated animals. Where did we get our passion for helping animals and spreading the message of not eating them? For most of us, it was because we made the connection, because we understood, through our pets or farm animals at places like Farm Sanctuary, that they are our friends. The human-animal relationship is vital for continued compassion, even in an ideal world where people did not eat animals at all. Maybe I’m wrong about this, it’s not a topic with an easy answer; but the idea of doing away with domesticated animals entirely gives me serious reservations.

    Third, I have made peace with the fact that this world is imperfect, and black and white morality just doesn’t work. We are all hypocrites to some extent, it’s impossible not to be on this earth. For example, buying more-expensive organic food or eating at a restaurant while lamenting the plight of those dying of hunger is hypocritical in its own way. The folly comes with wanting to believe you are not a hypocrite. You are. We all are.

    Yes, I believe it is wrong that chickens are farmed and killed to feed my cats, and I also believe it would be wrong to essentially kill off the domesticated cat population for the crime of being ‘helpless predators’ who can’t catch their own prey. (At least mine couldn’t; she bats gently at a cockroach like it’s the most fascinating thing she’s ever seen. I think she wishes she could be vegan! :) I don’t know that owning a cat is technically the “lesser of two evils,” (and fully admit that my selfish desire plays a part). However, modeling responsible pet ownership does provide me with opportunities to talk to others about the importance of adopting, not buying, spay/neutering, etc.

    In sum: I just have to live in this ambiguous world, do my best to show kindness, compassion and non-violence, differentiate between a need and a want, live as simply as I can, and hope for grace to fill in the gaps.

    • Jen permalink
      August 27, 2016 4:04 pm

      I think this is a very good and realistic point of view. I feel that minimizing negative impact on the world is the best way to live rather than following black and white morals and assuming one is a hundred percent ethical and denying any hypocrisy. I, myself, am not vegan and I am a pet owner. I often wonder about the vegan contradiction of owning pets, hence my interest which has caused me to research it. I think I have stumbled on a good post with intelligent comments and views being expressed. As for me, I do minimize my meat consumption and only buy local, ethically sourced meat. I’m not against veganism at all, but I do wonder how having a pet for your own enjoyment aligns with vegan values. I agree with adopting an animal, but some of the views here about one pet causing the deaths of many others makes me think a bit about the natural role of predators, humans aside. If every single animal was spared from predation, there would be an incredible population shift of prey animals and they would die from competition for resources. Prey animals have evolved to have a high number of offspring worth a short gestation period due to the fact they’re prey animals and have a role in the food chain/web. Predators are different. That being said, I understand the pet food industry is different than the wild. But cats and dogs are human creations at this point, just like their food. I think, in my opinion, a true vegan who was very rigid with their morals would only adopt an herbivore because it can thrive on the lifestyle a vegan has chosen without complicating morals or compromising the animals true dietary needs. However, it still challenges the notion that any animals should not be used for human gain. If eating an egg (that wasn’t fertilized) that a chicken lays, or drinking milk from a cow that already exists as a milk cow -and may actually be in distress if not milked regularly from a full udder- is something that makes you uncomfortable (no judgement, just laying out a scenario for rhetoric comparison), than perhaps owning a pet is something you should reconsider if you wish to remain aligned fully to those values.

    • Amanda permalink
      September 24, 2017 6:01 am

      Thank you for this reply. I have been vegan for almost seven years and for the first time I’ve found myself in a position where I could own a pet. I rescued a 2 year old dog and I’ve been having such a crises about feeding him. All of a sudden I’m contributing money to an industry I’ve boycotted for 7 years. I feel as though I’ve completely backflipped on my values, but at the same time I don’t feel that it is okay to feed him an entirely vegan diet. Your very sensible points have made me feel a little better tonight.

  11. July 20, 2013 8:06 pm

    Brilliant and brave post! I just found your blog searching for vegan/ethics/pets — after the death of my cat a few years ago, I wasn’t sure when I’d be ready (emotionally, physically, pragmatically) for another one, or two. Now, I’m emotionally and physically ready (my landlord has given the okay), but I’m getting hung up on the ethics of “owning” pets at all. Can I adopt a cat (older FIV kitty who keeps getting passed over at the shelter) and ensure I can meet her needs? She’ll essentially be a “captive” in this apartment, subject to my whims and schedule. Whenever can you meet a non-human animal’s needs? (How do we really even know what these are?) Then there’s the pet food issue — yeah, I don’t want to buy meat! But I don’t want to force a carnivore to suffer a non-carnivorous diet. What a magnificent ethical question — the 10 cows vs the 1 cat! So complicated. I’m not sure how I’ll resolve this…meanwhile, while I have my ethical debate, this poor cat languishes! I can only say good for all of us for even considering these issues… xo

  12. thereason permalink
    January 8, 2014 4:27 am

    This was a very interesting post,
    but I hard find to believe that you can care so much for an animal or group of animals, and little for people who are dying of starvation, being abused, exploited, or killed.
    How much of your daily time do you spend on thinking about these problems, instead of non-human animal problems?

  13. Danny Munoz permalink
    June 1, 2014 3:58 pm

    Sadly, there is another dilemma. Most of the vegetables we eat ( are pollinated by bees that are farmed and go through bad conditions, which kills them by the millions! What can be said about that? We need backyard gardens to atop relying on bad practices from our economy.

  14. Ariva permalink
    June 24, 2014 11:08 pm

    Reblogged this on Power St8 and commented:
    A tricky dilemma

  15. Roch permalink
    September 5, 2014 10:53 am

    I am vegan, and have a cat who was rescued prior to me becoming vegan. I cringe every time he brings home dead animals, even if I know it’s in his nature to do so. Like a lot of people, I define veganism as “doing the least amount of harm”. But by me taking care of and keeping this cat alive, feeding him animal products and letting him hunt everyday, am I not doing more harm by caring for him? So that said, if I were to euthanize the cat in order to save hundreds of mice, squirrels, frogs, snakes, animals in pet food, etc, wouldn’t I then be doing the least amount of harm and fulfilling my vegan obligation? One thing is certain, when my cat dies, I will never own another carnivorous pet.

  16. Rasitha permalink
    January 12, 2015 11:07 pm

    I have a cat and a dog. I see your conundrum. but I like to think that by feeding them fish (they would’ve caught them in the wild) mixed with rice, I atleast don’t support factory farming. and because of rice the amount of fish needed is less.

  17. March 11, 2015 5:39 am

    The problem with the term “vegan” is it is a label, its like saying “humans” and thinking everybody has the same ideas and plans. Labeling yourself anything is limiting your potential and dangerous when you look at extremes. You can call yourself anything you like as long as it sits OK with you then its fine. I teach tai chi and I get people come along and pay for classes and they never show up and I know that they then tell others they do tai chi, they don’t they just want a label.

    I think the label vegan and its borders actually stop others that may like to be more “vegan” but can’t see themselves within the constraints of the label. I fast a lot and friends do not usually see me eat but sometimes I’ll have something and they are like “Oh your eating, whats wrong?” or “can you do that?” ..

    Let others know you by what you do and not by a label, most importantly let you, know you.

  18. April 11, 2015 10:57 am

    It’s an interesting issue, although the idea of forcing a carnivorous animal to be vegan just because of our own personal values does not seem like the right solution to this problem. As we can see from wild feline species, cats, as part of naturally occurring food chains, are meant to eat meat. Although humans can thrive on eating plant based diets, our bodies are not designed for us to be carnivores, so a vegan diet for an animal who is meant to eat meat could cause harm to that animal. But does that mean we should leave all domesticated animals to die, because we are not willing to feed them what they naturally should be eating? Certainly this could not be a positive solution. I don’t think the answer would be found in whether or not to feed cats (or dogs, for that matter) meat or vegan meals, but rather in finding the most ethical way to provide their natural food source, which is meat. Natural food chains in the wild have always consisted of hierarchical food chains where animals consume other animals. This, surely, could not be seen as unethical, since it is what is meant to happen to keep the balance in natural habitats. I think the best way to solve this problem would be to try to mimic the natural food chain in feeding a cat, possibly by giving cats vegan supplements to their diet indoors, then allowing them to go outdoors to catch their own meals. The only issue this would bring up is that keeping pets outdoors increases the amount of risks for your pet, what with larger carnivorous species roaming around in the wild.

  19. Alicia permalink
    April 12, 2015 6:18 pm

    I am vegan. My husband is not. He eats much less meat since we met, and that is progress. We financially support PETA, Farm Sanctuary, and Alley Cat Allies on a regular basis. I believe in what they do. We donate to other animal welfare organizations as well. We adopted/rescued six cats and a dog. Without us, some would be dead, sick, miserable, or have some other awful fate. The ones from shelters might have good homes elsewhere, but with us we know they all have wonderful lives. The ones from the street (our dog was chained up 24/7 for a year before we rescued her) might be dead.

    In my next life I would love to come back as a pet in our home. I am vegan by choice, for ethical and health reasons. Our fur babies did not get to chose the way their lives unfolded. As much as I hate animals suffering, the reality of life is that for some to live, others must die. Wishing lions did not eat meat will not change their nature. Try convincing a wolf to only eat plants. A cat or dog on the street will eat whatever it can, usually some other animal. Like the story about the starfish, I cannot save every animal out there, but I can save some.

    With all this said, I wish there were a clean, comfortable answer to this vegan dilemma. Like many issues in life, sometimes there is not an answer we feel happy or good about. Its called the reality of life. Nature has its own rules and ways. I dont always like them (like when a mother rejects a baby – kitten, puppy, human, pick your species) but they exist. I will not impose veganism on our pets to make me feel like im a “better, more ethical” vegan. I expect non vegans to respect my choices. I will give my pets the same respect. I doubt given the choice they would be vegan. With all due respect for personal choice, how can one be vegan and NOT adopt or rescue an animal? If you dont want to assume personal responsibility by providing one or more with a loving home (which is fine, its not for everyone, or sometimes ones circumstances dont allow it) then put your money where your mouth is and donate some cash to people and organizations who help animals. Love is action. If you truly love animals do something about it. Even for just one. Like the starfish.

    • mike permalink
      March 18, 2016 6:14 pm

      That is a beautiful response.

    • Daisy Bee permalink
      May 9, 2016 10:31 pm

      I love you. Thank you for posting exactly what I couldn’t articulate.

  20. July 13, 2015 11:40 pm

    I used to have cats before I even got involved in the Vegan lifestyle. All were adopted, rescued, or given as gifts. And all were outdoor cats, meaning they fended for themselves & hunted a large portion of their diet. I did feed them dry food occasionally. I didn’t neuter them because I had a set of principles against genital mutilation. But now that I look back, my cats were total neighborhood mack daddies & i should’ve sterilized them. So if I do ever adopt again, they’d be outdoor cats that eat from nature as my previous cats did. I’ll feed them a plant-based diet occasionally to ensure they’re not starving, or during winter months when birds, moles, & tree critters hibernate.

    I’m not sure why we have no issue as caretakers in feeding our children cereal or nuggets (which are not a natural part of human diet), but get stressed over our animals eating food that isn’t natural for them. We have domesticated our own human body to acquire nutrients from all kinds of foods. Biologically speaking we are actually herbivores, but became behavioral/opportunistic omnivores over time. Chimpanzees are also biological herbivores that occasionally eat an omnivore diet. Pandas are backwards, they are biological omnivores that became behavioral herbivores. They just love their bamboo! So I don’t see why animals that have become domesticated can’t obtain nutrients from non-meat foods. There are no nutrients in meat that can’t be obtained elsewhere. However, it’s only because of their complex digestive processes that I’d encourage my animals to hunt their meat & not be completely dependent on plant products.

    The only moral dilemma I’ll have is whether I can feel comfortable messing with their “bits”. I can get a female cat for once, but I’d have to spay her. Some say that spaying is unnatural, but do you know what is natural? Mating. And that’s not something we want. Also, being constantly in heat is very tiresome & unnatural for a cat. Spaying not only helps to avoid pregnancy, but doing so also settles hormonal activity & calms cats down, and it reduces the risk of certain diseases such as mammary & uterine tumors. If spaying is something I don’t feel comfortable imposing on my cat, I can induce ovulation every month or so at the vet (or do it myself, although I doubt I’d want to stimulate my cat lol. I’m close with my animals, just not THAT close). Anywho, this would stop the heat cycle for 35 to 40 days, during which time she won’t be able to become pregnant. Plus female cats do better on a BALANCED (and nutrient-filled) plant diet, but male cats are more irksome in this regard. Regardless, all my cats have been independent hunters. My cats would never have been able to eat cow, pig, or chicken (maybe a fish, though unlikely in a city) on their own, so not sure how buying any of these is “natural”. Birds and rodents are where it’s at, and my cats were perfectly happy allowing their natural instincts to provide the food & exercise that I, as a human, could never give them artificially.

  21. August 18, 2015 7:42 am

    Perhaps humane euthanization of certain animals like cattle and sheep, under certain circumstances, can actually be a kindness to them. Eg. an old cow may experience terrible pain from arthritis, blindness and tumours, etc. Allowing her to suffer through this until the bitter end is pointless and cruel.

    However, euthanizing a cow that has had a good, full life, and doing this as quickly, kindly and as painlessly as possible, prevents her from experienced protracted suffering. It then makes sense to offer the meat to support the life of another animal (eg. cat or dog), rather than burying her body (which would otherwise present problems and safety concerns with such a large animal).

    Under those circumstances, I do think it’s ethically possible to own a cat or dog.

  22. August 27, 2015 2:45 am

    Good article. Lots of vegans point fingers and get on a high horse while, at the same time, consuming meat from the same industries as omnivores. It gives all vegans a bad name, because at the end of the day it’s just hypocrisy (we do not need to own a pet, we just WANT to).
    One thing I thought is that, if you are lucky enough to live in a semi-rural area, you can feed your cat vegan things (like rice) and let him catch things outside. I had a cat that caught birds, snakes, mice and even bugs. But, then again, is this really ethical??

  23. August 27, 2015 10:36 pm

    Really interesting post, and highly relevant to anybody following a vegan diet for ethical reasons.

    In my opinion I think that as long as one does their research; makes or buys a high-quality cat food, and takes their cat for regular health check-ups then a vegan cat is a possibility. As long as you are open to the concept of giving the animal meat / fish should their health deteriorate.

    As a previous commentator has also mentioned, fostering cats is a great way to get the feline contact you desire, whilst also helping out worthwhile animal charities. I have fostered several sets of kittens/mums in the past, and I know how busy the shelters get at ‘kitten season’ time.

    • Andrea permalink
      June 5, 2016 11:36 pm

      Feeding a cat a vegan diet is irresponsible. It will harm the animal’s health and thus goes against the vegan principles.

  24. August 29, 2015 10:52 pm

    Another thing to consider. Being vegan, you save thousands of animals all on your own. And thousands of gallons of water. But at the same time, there is a supply and demand in affect. As long as so many people have pets and the shelters are full, animals will be slaughtered. “Leftovers” from cows (about 50% of the cow according to the FDA) and pigs, and all the baby male chicks are used for pet food. In fact, some shelters that euthanise many animals also send the dead pets to the rendering plant. From my reference at the bottom, “But on the whole, most tend to dump in whatever they receive and start the grinder when it is full: parts from slaughterhouses, whole carcasses of diseased animals, cats and dogs from shelters, zoo animals, road kill and expired meat from grocery store shelves (tossed in fully packaged, complete with plastic wrap and Styrofoam).” And due to just how many people are consuming flesh, pet food is in abundance. Now while what goes into your pets food may seem wrong, is it really? These are all the leftovers that cannot be used, and all the sick animal and carcasses. If they don’t get used, they get wasted, while if a pet is eating high-grade meat, that’s just more animals out to slaughter. What you REALLY have to think about is what else ends up in the “meat and bone meal”. Antibiotics, steroids, and the sodium pentobarbital that was used to euthanise the shelter pets. Sometimes, pet food is recalled because the euthanasia concentration effects live pets. Pet food is largely unregulated.

    My view is, go ahead and adopt pets. But GET THEM NEUTERED. Yes, baby animals are adorable. But if you let that overpower you, you become part of the problem.

    Read this article to learn more, it is VERY well written.

  25. October 14, 2015 10:43 am

    Good article and I empathise with it. We are getting a puppy soon bought from a family nearby. I will try to feed him vegan, although my wife will protest. Having done that i think we will be bringing joy to the dog and to ourselves. I wrestle with the idea of castrating him as that would certainly not be his choice but if his behaviour is bad and the vet recommended it, we probably would. On balance it’s a compromise we would take. If all people thought as carefully about these issues as you do, the world wouldn’t be perfect but would be a much better place.

    • Andrea permalink
      June 5, 2016 11:39 pm

      Neuter your pet, you fool. Otherwise you are part of the problem.

  26. January 22, 2016 2:07 am

    i read the entire thing. i currently care for 2 cats & 2 dogs.. well my parents mostly do, but i mostly show the compassion. im 17 and newly vegan. i completely comprehend your article. but i can’t just throw them out into the streets.. i mean.. im in a bit of a dilemma. i have “owned”, or rather, cared for our cats for over 10 years.. we have gained trust & love for e/o… don’t get me wrong, i understand completely the morality of the situation, but i just can’t let them go, now..

  27. B Sedgwick permalink
    January 23, 2016 10:27 pm

    I struggle with this myself, and although I love animals myself and have had dogs in the past and absolutely love them, it has recently been really weighing on me when I see them as pets, subjectated to fill voids in human lives. Everyone thinks I am crazy, but I can not help my deep feelings. I do not agree with the “they have better lives” rationalization. We have said the same in the past… We have no idea what they are thinking, feeling, etc. They have no choice in the matter, and what is the most important freedom for us, freedom of choice.
    Thank you for this discussion as I have felt very alone in this dilemma and am reassured that others are thinking similar thoughts as well.

  28. Cam permalink
    March 27, 2016 4:24 pm

    There is no reconciliation between the ethics of veganism and owning a carnivorous pet at this time.

    There -will- be one within a decade. Cultured (lab-grown) meat is now technologically possible. It is just commercially unfeasible at this time. Like any technology (e.g., robotics), as it becomes more widespread, its price will drop until it’s a household product.

    Such meat is identical in every way to “natural” meat, and will satisfy our carnivorous pets and your longings to adopt them — provided they can eat already “dead” flesh. Pet snakes raised to eat live prey, for example, are still a moral travesty.

    As for the “life equals life” argument, I of course whole-heartedly agree. Who wouldn’t? To do otherwise would be to embrace a bigoted position that arbitrarily reduces non-humans to a status without rights (which has been done many times before in history, always abhorrently, such as the argument for slavery because black people are “sub-human”). OR to advocate for an amoral position, in which might makes right — a vaunted principle to assume when one can hide behind armed police men and soldiers that protect the laws one arbitrarily erects to shield them from the -real- consequences of an amoral ethical position (e.g., the fact that if humans were as amoral as the “laws of the jungle”, we’d simply kill each other and take each others’ things on whim).

  29. Pattey permalink
    March 30, 2016 2:00 pm

    I understand where you’re coming from and I totally support your decision to not adopt. My family had cats and dogs growing up, but I’ve only ever felt a truly strong connection to cats as a domesticated animal, and have cared for 2 rescues on my own.

    I personally,100% support spay and neutering ONLY because besides boycotting breeders, there is no other way to stop their proliferation without just euthanizing all of them, which I feel is worse than just caring for them until it’s time for them to pass on, because quite frankly, it is still going to take some time for people to empathize with the animals they eat. So chickens are still going to die whether one cares for an orphaned/abused animal or not. Even if we all stopped adopting, that isn’t going to stop breeders from existing or stop people from dumping animals. We are only at the beginning of a mass shift…it’s frustrating, I know!

    I’m vegan and I have a cat now whom I rescued as a kitten behind a dumpster, she was sick and covered in fleas. When I saw this kitten, how could I morally leave her to get more sick and die, or run over, or worse, torn to pieces by a dog (which happens more than people might be aware of in an urban neighborhood where people dump dogs!!!) so I did not at all hesitate at taking her in! And to this day I do not regret it. Chances are when she passes and maybe another cat/kitten crosses my path in the urban-wild, I will care for them too. It wasn’t their choice to be born, but they’re here.

    I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to rescue cows, or any animal from factory farms so they can live their lives out peacefully. But I live in an urban environment and have no means by which to do this. All I can do is help the living animals that ARE around me who need saving, along with not using animals products for my needs. The only part of reality I can actively affect is my own!!! Not helping them and ignoring them is what goes against my moral beliefs as a compassionate being. Getting feral colonies of cats spayed/neutered is part of that too which I have also been a part of.

    We’re all doing the best we can to help this planet. The most important thing is to support each other in whatever stage of “veganism” we might be in, because it’s a long process that we’re all destined for…if we don’t support each other, real progress will never be made. So I will never tell another vegan or potential vegan they are wrong for doing this, or not doing that…there are many paths to leading a compassionate life.

    Peace and Love to all…

  30. April 3, 2016 9:39 pm

    If you choose to have a pet, vegan or not, rescued or not, you should take responsibility for the animal and give it the things it needs in life to live happily around people. If a child is not trained around others it won’t know how to behave, in my opinion the same applies to pets. In the wild dogs for example have rules or behaviors which are accepted in doing otherwise has consequences. If your a vegan and your worried about this issue too much I fear you need counseling.

  31. Maria permalink
    May 2, 2016 8:13 pm

    As a vegan, i agree with you that exotic animals should not be kept as pets. But I simply cannot agree with you trying to feed a cat a vegan diet. Cats are carnivores; if you don’t feed them meat, they’re gonna get really sick. Not giving a carnivorous animal the food it needs to be healthy due to your own personal convictions is animal abuse. Granted, commercially sold cat food isn’t the best option, I believe going to a farmers market where you know the animals are treated well, buying meat, researching how to make cat food and doing so would be the most ideal way to feed your cat. Don’t feel guilty of you do it that way; cats need meat to live, you’re not taking anything a hungry cat wouldn’t. Telling people not to get a cat isn’t good either; there are lots of cats in shelters that have been abused and abandoned, and they need loving homes. If you want and can afford a cat you should get one from a shelter, you’ll be giving an animal a good life. The fact that you would even suggest feeding a cat a vegan/vegetarian diet is alarming, and I strongly urge you to educate yourself on a matter such as a pets’ diet before making any claims about what to feed them. If somebody reads this and thinks it’s the right way to go, they’ll end up killing their cat.

  32. Gene permalink
    May 28, 2016 7:02 pm

    what if you purchased free range chicken? The reason i am not vegan or vegetarian is simply because I buy from small places that give the animal a good life before they become food for others and slaughter them in a very humane manner (a far more humane manner than any wild carnivores would) chickens that actually have a life before they go and then feed your cat those. Then you can know your cat is healthy, this chicken didn’t suffer, or die painfully as opposed to being in the wild where when it aged, it would be torn apart and eaten alive by a predator. You can contribute to a small farm, even organic. Not contribute to the huge meat companies…all the while enjoying the companionship (NOT ownership, trust me lol, you just can’t own a cat!!! They won’t let you haha) of an animal that you can know is happy and healthy. So that being in my opinion, the best way to have your cake and eat it too…while respecting that while you yourself may be happily vegan (and good for you! Genuinely) but a carnivorous animal NEEDS meat for proper health…it is no option (looking into it, I found a few vegan cat foods to have some seriously nasty things added and looked in my opinion to be something to cause a lot of health issues down the road so I agree with you on the vegan cat food front) anyways. Good article, I respect your decision to be vegan and I hope you respect mine not to be. I am against unethical treatment of all living creatures, but I am fine eating them. I will hunt and fish for my own as often as I can (i don’t waste either) for the simple reason of, they have had a real life…I am a predator, and I hunt for eating them, not sport (I seek out animals with lots of meat, not the buck with the biggest rack). We are different in some ways but similar in others and I just wanted to offer my opinion on the matter.

  33. Geoff permalink
    June 6, 2016 8:10 pm

    You have to question due to it being part of animal welfare and ethics, as well as being common sense you feed an animal the diet and nutrition it requires, if a cat was free to live in the wild it would choose to hunt and feed on other animals, this is because it is first and foremost a carnivore and so their natural diet is some kind of meat… not a substitute. How about if you buy a pet be it carnivorous or not, you act on itsale basic requirements, you wouldn’t feed a shark a salad because its a predator, so why feed your cat a meat substitute or a vegan diet? There is no need to have this debate because in having it, you can clearly see that you don’t grasp the absurdity of being vegan, you could say that for your salad or vegetables to grow the farmer has probably used a pesticide on the crop to make sure it doesn’t get eaten by insects therefore you are promoting the mass euthanasia of animals, on the other hand animal carcasses as well as other plant matter has decomposed to give the plants the very nutrition it needs to grow… and anyone who argues against this, tell me ever since you turned vegan have you ever taken or bought paracetamol or other forms of medication if so you cannot be vegan because multiple animals have been euthanised to get that drug on the market. This is why the very nature of a vegan is absurd to me, you would have to be a hermit that grows your own food and does very little to be a true vegan, therefore in today’s day and age it is virtually impossible to be vegan…
    P.s. I am pro medical research, I do work for a medical company and yes that means I know about animal welfare…

  34. Mike permalink
    July 9, 2016 6:16 pm

    I’m in the same moral dilemma. I want a pet dog, but I’m a vegan. I detest the idea of buying meat, eggs or fish for my pet, but there is no way I would feed a dog or cat a vegan diet – that’s messing with Mother Nature. After some hand-wringing (for about 3 years) I came up with a justifying argument. Here it is.
    1. I am an outspoken vegan. I am part of a growing cacophony and that is good for the World, and bad for factory farming.
    2. Pets improve our health. Pets make us better people, better at communicating, more social. More empathetic. Pets reduce stress and promote a healthier lifestyle.
    3. A pet will likely help me live longer and have more influence fighting for what’s right. So I might buy meat, but I can also put pressure on the entire food industry to reform.

    You can shop for your pet sensibly. Buy raw meat from local butchers with reliable sources, and never buy package pet food, which is obscene.

  35. Katie permalink
    September 9, 2016 11:39 am

    Adopt a rabbit! They can be litter-trained, friendly, and very social. I have one that lives in the house with me but sleeps in his cage overnight or he’d eat the carpet (bad for my wallet and his digestion). Anyways, he eats veggies, hay, and pellets that are made from veggies and hay. It may not fix your desire for a cat but rabbits are severely under-rated pets and vegan by nature. I adopted my rabbit 3 years ago and it took about a year of talking calmly and treats to get him to trust me (since he’s a prey animal) but once he did he gives me kisses, begs for treats, and loves being pet.

  36. Sarah permalink
    October 29, 2016 7:55 am

    Hi, I just want to say you have made the right decision. One forgotten thing in your argument and of many other people’s on this subject seems to be that cats are hunters and kill wildlife. Given how many cats are in the world, this is a lot of wildlife. This killing is indiscriminate, birds as well as rodents etc. If cats are let out, they will kill, that’s what they are designed to do, whether or not they are hungry.

  37. Stefania permalink
    December 19, 2016 9:07 am

    I have another question.I believe the world will transition to a vegan era,in a million years,and we are in the transitioning era.In this prospective,should we have cats with us and help them transition to a vegan future with the risk to have to feed them a non-100% vegan diet if they have health problems,or should we just avoid them?

  38. January 4, 2017 11:55 am

    What annoys me about this is how much overthinking is going on here. If you have to continually rationalize and justify, etc. you spend more time thinking than doing. I see this in vegans too often because they always feel judged, thus having to spew out their logic ALL the time, etc. Just be who you are, and as someone mentioned earlier, no labels necessary – you are the ones labeling yourselves, and it honestly comes off like a cult to others and can be very off-putting. Regarding the animals, if you have to think that hard about whether to have a pet and whether to spay/neuter – PLEASE don’t get a pet. Dogs and cats are domesticated animals, unless feral, so they need love, care, and YES ownership. What is so wrong with that word? i know an animal group that always corrects you with that word by saying “we are guardians, NOT owners”. Okay, whatever, guardian, owner, caretaker….again with the labeling! The animals DO NOT care, they just want love, food, medical care when needed and a warm place to lay their head. They will end up “owning” and “guarding” you, I promise. But for goodness sake, listen to the animal experts and feed them what they need and give them the medical procedures they need, or else all you are doing is contributing to the already huge animal welfare issues. And do NOT throw your cats outside subsidizing with plants while they are “hunting” – I have never heard of something so insane. There are so many factors as to why this would not work, I couldn’t possibly even know where to start.

    I personally respect vegans and how difficult and sacrificing that lifestyle can be, but the fact that when someone announces they are vegan now and it automatically makes others cringe, well, that is on you guys, not everyone else. It’s kind of like someone having to let people know they are “Christian” – just live your life in your belief system and others will be more likely to follow.

  39. Marina Morgan permalink
    February 20, 2017 7:38 pm

    I love your arguement. However dogs and cats naturally eat meat it is our choice to be vegan or vegetarian and we should not push this onto our pets. They are carnivours and need the vitamins from meat to survive. I recently read a story on the internet about two lesbians that owned a cat it got so sick that they took it to the vet, when asked about its diet they proudly announced that they were vegan and feeding the cat on a vegan diet the vet went balastic and told them off for animal abuse and cruelty as the cat was dying from the lack of taurine and a balaced diet. We humans can go over the top with our principals and values we have choices in life animals dont! DONT PUSH YOUR VALUES AND ETHICS or a choosen way of life onto pets that cannot speak up for themselves!!! In my view it is okay to keep a cat or dog and maybe both as long as you look after them properly and realise yes they are naturally meat eaters and a balanced diet is required regardless of how you feel. Emotions and ethics should not cloud your judgement about what a cat or dog should or should not eat if you dont like the fact that you will have to buy meat then get a rabbit for a pet. Problem solved:)

  40. Suzanne Darroch permalink
    June 28, 2017 10:44 am

    Does being a vegan really mean you love animals? I have dogs, they are inherently carnivores. I do not “own” them per se, they enrich my life by being here. I had to have an 18 year old put to sleep last week. Lost a member of the family. I can’t make the decision for them to change from carnivores to veganism. Perhaps we should just euthanise all carnivores, or accept that some animals are not vegan or even vegitarian. I was advised by a vegan, because I eat eggs from my chickens and do not eat my chickens as they are pets and treated as such, that I can feed the eggs to the dogs but not myself. I do not force my chickens to lay – it is a normal part of their lives. Should I just throw the eggs away or destroy all my chickens so that they no longer lay eggs? It can all be a little confusing.

  41. Anna permalink
    July 11, 2017 1:50 pm

    Dogs are carnivorous and vets have shown that they are healthier with a meat-based, protein-free, diet. So no dogs either?

    • Anna permalink
      July 11, 2017 1:51 pm

      I meant better off with a grain- free dowt

  42. Rane permalink
    September 23, 2017 9:50 pm

    So, maybe the solution is an insect-based diet, assuming you are not opposed to killing insects. There are some companies exploring this option. It’s certainly more sustainable. If you eat vegetables, you already support the killing of insects. Even organic vegetables are grown with pesticides, just natural ones.

  43. October 14, 2017 10:39 am

    Why do you say “How many animals need to suffer and die so that Fergie can live?”

    Why not say “How many animals need to thrive and live so that Fergie can live?

    There is pet food which consists of animals who live fulfilling lives for sole purpose of nourishing cats. This is a worthy purpose. We need more ethically minded pet owners to influence the industry such that this type pet food becomes the norm, not the exception.

    Please join us and help make the world a better place.


  1. Follow up commentary on: Can vegans own pets? « Salad in a Steakhouse
  2. Can Vegans Own Pets? | Power St8 Blog
  3. Can vegans own pets? | Salad in a Steakhouse – Ethical Koala
  4. My Pets at Home – Bloody Crops: Unmasking the Meat Industry

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: