If you look at Instagram’s top posts for the hashtag #vegancat, it’s not entirely clear what the term really means.
In fact, it looks like a bunch of people tried ‘hijacking’ the hashtag to get traffic to their own posts. Or sometimes graphic images of wild cats hunting down prey:
After digging around the internet, it appears that the term and hashtag originated from a Joe Rogan podcast.
Joe Rogan had quite a bit of fun needling cat owners who feed their cats vegan food. He riffed on this concept a bit, while also discussing the carnivorous requirements of the average feline.
“Cats are not supposed to eat rice. They’re not supposed to eat carrots. Cats eat fish and they eat chicken and they eat beef and they eat liver. They eat animal protein. They’re carnivores. They’re straight carnivores. So for you to be a vegan and have a f*ucking cat living in your house. You’re involved in the killing of animals whether you like it or not. I mean, I guess there is some vegan cat food but…it’s probably not good.” (Source)
You can watch the clip below for some context:
“Vegan Cats” From The Joe Rogan Experience #489
Apparently, this really went viral, was included in his standup routines and produced this #vegan cat merch:
A lot of people had fun with the concept, including one Twitter user who posted this image of what a cat on a vegan diet would look like:
— DREXL (@aintwhiteboyday) January 7, 2019
Some people were offended, however. One YouTuber called ProtoVegan produced a response, which you can watch below:
Joe Rogan on #VeganCats Response
The YouTuber says that he’s offering Joe Rogan an alternative perspective on #VeganCats, which he included in his stand-up comedy routine, “Strange Times.”
But most people within the Joe Rogan community seemed to find the whole episode amusing, with one of the top-trafficked posts in the r/JoeRogan community showcasing a healthy, non-vegan cat:
Can Cats Safely Eat a Vegan Diet?
If you follow a vegan diet, you may be wondering if your cat can follow the same diet and continue to live a healthy and long life. While the vegan diet may benefit you, it is not ideal for cats and should be avoided.
There are a few different reasons why cats need to have some meat included in their diet. Without consuming meat, a cat may become sickly thin and unhealthy, which could quickly lead to medical conditions and possibly even death.
Why Doesn’t the Vegan Diet Work for Cats?
Since the beginning of time, cats have been carnivores. Long before they were domesticated and considered house pets, they were roaming around in the wild while hunting down their food, often feasting on mice, rats, squirrels, and other types of rodents.
Now that many cats are domesticated and live in homes with their owners, they are still eating meat, but they are usually getting that source of meat from commercial cat food products that are sold in pet stores. The food that you are currently serving to your cat may contain several different cuts of meat as well as some types of fish, such as salmon and tuna.
The reason cats need meat is because it provides a source of protein for these animals that vegetables simply cannot offer. Cats also need to get plenty of taurine, which is a type of amino acid that is commonly found in different cuts of meat. Unfortunately, taurine is not found in vegetables or other types of plants, so there is no way to substitute the meat for something else that contains taurine because it does not exist. Because cats need this to remain healthy, there is simply no way to get a cat to stick with a vegan diet without compromising its health and putting the animal at serious risk. There are other animals that can follow vegan diets, but it is not the right diet for any feline.
What Is the Right Diet for a Cat?
If you want your cat to remain healthy, you need to continue feeding the animal the types of foods that your cat would eat if it were not domesticated. It helps to provide a combination of both wet and dry food for your pet to enjoy. You should always read the ingredients on the back of any food packages for cats to make sure the ingredients are wholesome and nutritious because you do want your cat to stay healthy and live a long life.
Even if you are currently following a vegan diet, you should not force your cat to follow the same diet because the vegan diet is not good for these animals. Your cat needs certain things that are only found in meat and depriving your pet of what it needs could cause the animal to become unhealthy in a matter of weeks. Play it safe and always provide your pet with healthy food options that are made specifically for domesticated felines.
It appears there’s a fair bit of debate regarding the health benefits and detriments of feeding pets a vegan diet.
According to Lew Olson, PhD, author of Raw and Natural Nutrition for Dogs, it’s analogous to: “Trying to feed a cat a vegan diet would be like me feeding my horses meat. You’re taking a whole species of animal and trying to force it to eat something that it isn’t designed to handle.”
It only makes sense that Joe Rogan, a comedian and raconteur, would offer his own take on the matter.
It definitely became a viral moment and seems like vegan cats and veganism, in general, was worked into his standup material.
Overall, it’s interesting to chart how these viral movements gain momentum and ripple out across different platforms.
The initial ripple emanated from Joe Rogan’s podcast and gained momentum from his fans on different social media platforms. There was a bit of a contrasting response from other social media personalities, and finally Joe Rogan himself responded from an even larger platform- his Netflix special