Why Do Cats Need Meat in Their Diets?

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Why Do Cats Need Meat in Their Diets?

Unlike dogs, cats’ digestive system has not evolved to accept starchy carbs in their diet. Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they must eat meat to survive, and their digestive systems are adapted particularly for a meat-based diet. You don’t have to provide your cat a piece of raw meat every night for dinner; instead, make sure that meat is included in her diet, whether canned food, dry kibble, or a combination.

In this article, we have got you covered on why cats need meat in their diet and what are the health benefits of a raw meat diet for your cat. So, let’s begin!

Cats Cannot be Vegan!

Cats cannot survive with plant-based food as their body cannot get the proper nutrients. Foods based on the plant either contain too many carbohydrates that feline cats cannot digest or lack the amino acids essential for cats’ health. As obligate carnivores, cats get glucose from the protein they eat, while omnivores get glucose by breaking down carbohydrates. If a cat eats only a veg-based diet, her body breaks down her organs and muscles for energy.

Cats Cannot Produce All Their Nutrients

Meat contains various amino acids and vitamins that cats’ bodies need to survive, as they cannot produce independently. These nutrients are:

Vitamin A

A cat’s body doesn’t contain an enzyme to absorb vitamin A properly. Therefore, supplementation is required. Your cat can become blind without taking an adequate amount of vitamin A, and this vitamin also supports her healthy skin and coat, and the immune system.


Cats cannot produce amino acids and arginine, which are responsible for building blocks for protein on their own. An excessive amount of ammonia is caused due to the deficiency of arginine, which can cause lethargy, drooling, convulsion, and vomiting in cats.


Cats can only get Taurine from the natural source of meat necessary for the proper functioning of the cat’s eyes and heart.

Cats Have Short Digestive Tract

Most plant-eater mammals have a longer digestive tract because the gut bacteria can easily break down the plant food material. But this is not the case with the cats because they can have a shorter digestive tract for the rapid digestion of raw meat. If cats are fed a plant diet in high amounts, they cannot digest these ingredients, leaving them with an upset stomach.

Illustration of raw meats for pets

Benefits of a Raw Meat Diet for Your Cat

Meat is not only necessary for cats’ living, but cats can also benefit from a meat-based diet to improve their health problems. Here are some benefits of a raw meat diet for cats.

  • Meat-based diet improves digestion in cats.
  • The diet significantly reduces volume and stool odor.
  • Cats can have healthy, fewer hairballs and less shedding by eating meat.
  • Raw meats increase the cat’s energy, making them more active and playful.
  • Overweight cats can reduce weight by eating raw meat as it helps in weight loss.
  • Meat improves the cat’s dental health.
  • It improves the cat’s urinary health.

A beautiful black and white cat is eating appetizing meat

So, Yes or No to Meat?

We roughly differentiate between the carnivores and herbivores, meaning meat and plant eaters. Humans, pigs, and bears are omnivores, meaning they can eat both plants and meat. Even though cats and dogs are carnivore animals, some people believe that both of these animals need roughly the same food. Though dogs can accept the plant-based diet, and some are allergic to animal protein, this doesn’t work for a cat. As we said that cats are obligate carnivores; they are true meat-eating species who need meat to stay healthy.

How My Cat is Carnivores?

Our feline friends have typical carnivore characteristics. For instance, the forward pacing of the cat’s eyes helps them localize their prey. Their bodies are made for hunting and possess features like carnassial teeth and fangs that help attack, kill and consume prey.

Vegetarian Cat Food

Many cat food manufacturing companies offer vegetarian cat food containing all the essential nutrients that cats need for their bodies, including vitamins and Taurine. Some cats seem to be doing fine with this type of diet, but there is no scientifically proven evidence for the long-term benefits of these cat veg food. Many cat owners regularly provide vegetarian food to their cats, and their cats are entirely healthy when checked annually.

A cat and some fruits and vegetables

What to Feed Your Cat?

Before bringing any food for your cat, choosing the right cat food based on their age is essential. This is because each stage of a cat’s life comes with a set of dietary needs. Consider your cat’s age and adjust her diet accordingly. For example, a newborn kitten will drink her mother’s milk for the first few weeks. After that, you can slowly start to introduce her to solid food.

Little kitties need a lot of fat and protein in their diet. There are many cat foods available on the market that contain high levels of protein and fat, making them highly appropriate for kittens. Likewise, several types of cat food are available for adult cats. To make the best choice for your cat’s food, you can consider different cat food varieties.

Moreover, senior cats don’t necessarily need different food; yet their dietary needs should be addressed by their parents. Also, older cats become less active; their metabolism becomes slow, leading them to experience dental problems. Due to this reason, older cats require food because it is soft and easy to chew than kibble.

Wrapping Up

Meat-based foods are the natural food for our feline friends, and as obligate carnivores, it is the gold standard of their diet! Make your cat’s tummy happy and provide her with a slice of raw meat as a treat!

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