Vegans and pets.

As a vegan, you’ve chosen not to use animal products in any form, and your diet and clothing preferences reflect that so that your life is in harmony with your beliefs. Lately, though, you’ve been thinking about adopting a cat or dog. You’d certainly choose one from a rescue group or no-kill shelter. This aligns with your commitment to reduce animal overpopulation.

However, you also wonder if it’s morally and ethically right for vegans to “own” a pet. There are several aspects to this discussion, and they’re all key considerations in your decision.

Can Vegans Have Pets?

First, think about the nature of the relationship you’ll have with your pet. Many vegans say that “owning” a pet, as if they were a pair of shoes, is wrong. From their perspective, nobody should take ownership of another living creature.

However, inviting an animal (likely a cat or dog) to become your companion is completely different. Chances are that you’ll spoil them rotten. They’ll enjoy a cushy bed, nutritious food, and all the exercise and toys they can handle. You’ll also shower them with love and attention.

Both you and the animal can benefit from your companion pet relationship. You’ll enjoy companionship, exercise (with a dog), and the satisfaction of seeing a beautiful animal thrive in your care. And, treating your pet with compassion and love blends perfectly with your vegan philosophy. It’s a “win-win” for you and your lucky pet.

What Are the Pet’s Alternatives?

When considering whether to adopt a pet, think about the animal’s alternatives. They could be turned loose on the street, relegated to a shelter life, or euthanized. Most vegans agree that given these alternatives, inviting a pet into your life is morally and ethically acceptable.

Should You Feed Your Pet Meat?

Assuming you’re ready to adopt a pet, think about what you’ll feed them. You’re perfectly fine with vegan food, but your pet’s body may be suited to a meat-based diet. In fact, some pets (such as cats) are obligate carnivores. Their digestive system and metabolism are designed for meat. By feeding them a vegan diet, they won’t receive their needed nutrients.

However, if you feed your cat a meat-based diet, does that conflict with your vegan beliefs? In other words, are you still a vegan? This question deserves consideration.

Let’s say you adopt a cat and decide to feed him meat. Think about whether you’ll buy commercially available cat food or prepare your own. Alternatively, you may be able to partner with area restaurants that may have leftover meat available. During your cat’s wellness exam, ask your veterinarian for feline diet recommendations. The vet is also well versed on dogs’ nutritional needs.

Before you visit the shelter and choose your animal companion, decide whether you’re ready for the responsibilities that come with a pet. However, know that sharing your life with a loving pet has amazing rewards. Your Animal Medical Hospital & Urgent Care vet can help you get on the right track. Call today to schedule an appointment.