Gourmet kitty: Dante the cat turns his nose up at meat or fish and will only eat organic vegetables
When he was found starving in an alleyway, the abandoned kitten clearly needed a square meal.
His rescuer Becky Page took him home and prepared a hearty bowl of chicken - but the black and white bundle of fluff just turned his whiskers up.
A plate of fish prompted the same response.
It was only when the kitten spotted some leftover vegetables by the kitchen bin that he began licking his lips.
He 'wolfed' them down, says Miss Page - and ever since he has stubbornly stuck to a vegetarian diet.
Now aged two, the kitten Miss Page went on to name Dante continues to refuse to eat tinned cat food, and could even be the world's first vegetarian cat.
Instead of meat, he happily feasts on fruit and vegetables his owner grows, such as Brussels sprouts and rhubarb.
He also has a penchant for melon and asparagus and has been known to raid the fruit bowl for bananas.
Dante's eating habits have baffled experts because cats are natural carnivores and unlikely to willingly forgo meat from their diet.
Unlike humans and dogs, they can only derive certain vital nutrients in sufficient quantities from meat.
These include taurine, an amino acid essential for cats but not for other mammals.
In the prolonged absence of taurine, a cat's retina slowly degenerates and it can become irreversibly blind. Others include arachidonic acid - a fatty acid vital for helping wounds heal.
Dante, however, has remained as fit as any puss his age - perhaps because his owner secretly tries to hide scraps of meat in his food.
Owner Becky Page tried to fatten Dante up with tasty treats like chicken and tuna but he opted for leftover vegetables instead
Yesterday Miss Page, 21, a child minder, said: 'Since he had that first plate of veg, he won't go near anything fatty and prefers the things I grow in the garden.'
Maggie Roberts, director of veterinary services at the animal charity Cats Protection, said: 'This is extremely rare, I have never before heard of a cat that will not eat meat.
'We advise that cats be fed a complete cat food, which provides all of the necessary nutrients in the right balance.'
Miss Page is convinced Dante does not supplement his diet by hunting for wild prey.
'He doesn't really like going outside much, he finds it all a bit too scary,' she said.
'I've never seen him chase any birds or small animals. He hunts bits of string around the house instead to fulfil his predatory instincts.
'I have to smuggle bits of meat in among the veggies because I want him to get all the nutrients he needs. But sometimes he spots the meat and will just leave it.'
Miss Page, who lives with her partner Adam Carpenter, 26, also keeps three chickens, a rabbit, two guinea pigs, a rat, a hamster and fish at her home in Tasburgh, near Norwich, but Dante has not been tempted to try to catch any of them either.
A Vegetarian Society spokesman said: 'Although it is possible to keep dogs on a vegetarian diet satisfactorily, cats are more specialised.'
Some vegetarian cat foods are available which include synthesised forms of the nutrients they need from meat.
Meet Dante: Britain's first vegetarian cat who refuses to eat meat or fish | Mail Online