What's Natural? Comment by Veterinarian Dr. Armaiti May

In her interview Dr. May (DVM) explained that there are many common practices for cats that do not happen in nature.

For example:
> Living in a house or an apartment VS. roaming the wilderness
> Regular eating intervals provided by pet guardians VS. gorging in anticipation of long periods of hunger/starvation in nature
> Eating pre-made dry kibble or wet food in cans VS. hunting mice, lizards, critters etc. in nature
> Health checks at the vet’s office VS. taking care of own wounds/illnesses in nature
> Being spayed or neutered VS. intact cats searching for a mating partner
This list illustrates that although some common practices do not happen in nature, they are are widely used for the benefits they provide. In the examples above, the common practices extend lives of cats.
We do not advocate one practice over the other, rather we illustrate that novel practices can be beneficial.
This list does not automatically make vegan cat food a viable alternative. Rather, it illustrates that we should not worry too much about the notion of what’s natural.
Nevertheless, when a vegan diet is formulated by a qualified nutritionist as balanced and complete, supplemented with Taurine, contains all of the required vitamins and minerals, and is checked by veterinarians, then the vegan diet is a viable alternative with a number of health benefits for cats (easily digestible, less toxins/lower on the bioaccumulation chain, causes fewer allergies, may be suitable for weight management, reduces lethargy and bad odours).
[video transcript]

Now, in terms of what's more natural. If, if the cat himself or herself is allowed to hunt, Mice or lizards or little critters that that would be more in alignment with what's natural compared to a human hunting on behalf of the cat.

I mean, after all cats still, although they, they do have a lot of domestication over the last 10,000 years as do dogs they still have some wildness to them in many cases. And it depends on the individual cat, but some cats do go outside and do some hunting. It would really depend on the individual basis.

If the person wants to raise their cat as a vegan and can manage to get the cats to eat the food is just being habituated. I mean if we have kept them indoors and taking them to the vet and had them spayed and neutered and gotten them other treatments at the veterinary office, those all would not be available to a wild cat.

And yet we recognize that those actions do have preventive health benefits. Spaying of course reduces the risk for mammary cancer in female cats, neutering prevents or reduces the risk for fights that can occur between intact male, Tom cats, who otherwise will have fights with each other and they will get infections and abscesses and everything else, so they can also get hit by the car of course, if they are in search for a mate and that the fact that they, uh, are less prone to those dangerous activities. If they're spayed and neutered, it means that their life span will be extended.

So I think it's worth acknowledging that we do intervene in these animal's lives in ways that nature would not have available to them that extends their life. And so if, if this argument boils down to a question of whether or not something is natural, then it's only fair to recognize that there are other things we do with our animal companions, such as neuter and spay them that are not natural.

About Dr. Armaiti May
Armaiti May, DVM is a dog and cat veterinarian currently practicing in the West Los Angeles area. Dr. May obtained her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in June 2005. She graduated with high honors from the University of California, Berkeley with a Bachelor of Science degree in Bioresource Sciences in May 2001.

1 comment


    This is the perfect summary to my friends who are against spaying , neutering and against keeping these pets at home. Last 10.000 years we are keeping them as pets and they are not belong to 100% wilderness anymore. Thank you.

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