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OVC Researchers First to Study Health Effects of Vegan Diets on Cats

Photo of a cat (IStock credit__DuxX)A small but growing number of cat owners are doing away with traditional cat food and switching their felines to vegan diets, and researchers at the University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College are conducting some of the first studies to see how these animals are faring.

“We know from surveys that about one per cent of cat owners are feeding their cats entirely vegan diets, but the health and wellness of these cats has not been documented,” said lead researcher Dr. Sarah Dodd, a PhD candidate in the Department of Population Medicine at U of G’s Ontario Veterinary College. “So we decided if this is occurring, we should find out how these cats are doing.”

Several recent surveys have shown that many pet owners are interested in “unconventional” diets for their pets, including vegan fare. And while some pet food manufacturers now make such foods commercially available, it isn’t clear what effects they have on animals.

Dodd, Dr. Adronie Verbrugghe of the Department of Clinical Studies and U of G population medicine colleagues Drs. Cate Dewey and Deep Khosa have completed one of the first studies to investigate owners’ perceptions of cat health.

Their findings, recently published in BMC Veterinary Research, offer one of the first snapshots of the health of cats fed vegan diets. The Toronto Sun covered the findings of the research.

Read the entire article on the University of Guelph website.