Vegan cats live long and healthy lives - preliminary study results

A recent study from the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph investigated owner-reported health and well-being of cats fed plant-based or animal-based diets. This study was conducted by Dr. Sarah Dodd, a practicing veterinarian and a PhD student specializing in plant-based nutrition for companion animals from University of Guelph.

Quick Facts about the Study

  • Self-reported data collected through an online survey
  • 1325 responses
  • Companion animals examined in the study - Cats and Dogs
  • Dr. Sarah Dodd lead researcher
  • 2 diets compared - plant-based diets vs. meat-based diets

Summary of Results for Cats

  • Lifespan of cats fed a vegan diet is about the same as of cats fed a meat-based diet
    • the study found no statically significant differences in the life-span
  • % of cat guardians who reported their cats in very good health
    • 82% plant-based diet vs. 65% meat-based diet
  • body condition score
    • 68% plant-based diet vs. 54% meat-based diet
  • most health conditions were less common in cats fed a plant-based diet (see table 1 below)
  • urinary tract condition was as common in cats fed a plant-based diet as in cats fed a meat-based diet

Results Summary for Dogs (pending)

  • data for dogs has been collected and is currently being analyzed


The study was based on a survey, distributed to cat guardians in Canada and the USA. Through this survey, data was collected about demographics, cat diet, cat health and well-being. 1,325 responses were collected, about cats fed meat-based and plant-based diets.

Details for Cats

Longevity of cats on plant-based diet has been a topic of debate in vegan and non-vegan communities. Can cats thrive on plant-based diet? This is the first known research study which compared lifespan of cats fed plant-based and conventional diets.

This study found NO DIFFERENCE IN LONGEVITY among the two groups. These results clearly show that well-balanced diet with no animal products has no negative impacts on lifespan of cats (see table below).

Overall Health - an impressive 82% of cat guardians who feed plant-based diet to their cats reported their cats to be in very good health. In contrast, 65% of cats fed meat-based diet were reported to be in very good health.

Body condition score, based on visual examination of cats, was recorded for the cats. Ideal body condition score was observed for 68% of cats fed plant-based diet, compared to only 54% of cats fed meat-based diet.

Health Conditions and Diseases were also reported by cat guardians in this study. Cats fed plant-based diets had significantly lower prevalence of gastrointestinal diseases, renal diseases and diabetes. As Table 1 below shows, prevalence of diseases in cats fed plant-based diets were comparable or lower than those in cats fed animal-based diets



These are the preliminary study results and the link to the full study will soon be available.



  • Stevan Harnad

    I’d like to believe it, but I have some questions about methodology. (1) How were the respondents sampled? (2) Was there a bias such that the plant-based respondents were more attentive to the needs of their cats? (3) Why was health status based only on self-report rather than medical evaluation? (4) Was this based on anyone reporting that they feed their cat a plant-based diet or was there a specific diet or criteria? (5) Was there any correlation between the kind of plant-based diet and the reported longevity? (6) Will a controlled study be done ( on the most medically conscientious plant-based and comparable meat-based diet), to make sure like is compared with like? (7) For the 20+ aged cats, is there any verification that they were fed the plant-based diet all their lives.

  • Teddi

    Thank you for this!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published