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Vegan Cat Food?

At the Whole Foods market they have vegan cat food.  Does anybody know how nutritionaly sound this is?  I have a 10 week old kitten and am especially not sure if it is good for her.  Is it good for adult cats?

Hope I don't get flamed for this ... but, it's not good for them at all. Even many vegan websites will say that cats do not do well at all on vegan food, and require lots of supplements to maintain health.

Cats are carnivores. It's one thing for us to consciously choose to avoid dairy and meat. But, it's another to choose for an animal whose natural diet is one that is mainly composed of meat.

Beyond nutrition and health, I just don't think it's fair to the carnivorous kitty to force an unnatural diet on him/her.

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This topic comes up often. 
IMHO, cats are carnivores and should be fed as such.  Cats are not vegans or vegetarians for that matter.  They are true carnivores and need some of the nutrients found in meat. 
I honestly believe it is doing a cat a disservice to feed them a diet that does not meet their dietary needs.
People can be vegetarian or vegan.  Cats can not.
I am sure many will disagree.

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cats need taurine, which comes from meat. else they go blind. (no idea where i read that)

i'm with the above. i would recommend looking into feeding kitty a diet using natural animals foods rather than the "junk food" that is out on the market. i would find a company that doesn't test on animals or use "scraps" to make food. also a company that sources meat from responsible sources would be good to do.

there are also a lot of cookbooks/recipes for cooking for you pet that makes meat/veggie "purees" that are supposed to be really good for their health. i have been looking into this a bit but still am unsure if i want to have all that meatyness in my house without getting a separate set of dishes to prepare it.

I haven't heard the blindness thing but lack of taurine can cause heart disease.  Three of my friends cats died from heart disease due to too low levels of taurine in their food.

I have now home cooked for all my companion critters for about 15 years.  I am lucky though because I do not get grossed out by using my regular pots and pans.  That is what good hot water and soap are for.

People do find it odd to open my freezer and see meat in there.  I hate going to the 'dead chicken place' as I call it and get very upset.  However, I share my life with 4 cats and a dog and I feed them the way they were meant to be fed. 

Davedrum recommended a book in another thread.  It is a great book as is Dr. Pitcairn's book.

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Sorry to repeat myself, but someone must speak up for the animals.

It's not very good for the animals the cat eats to feed him/her other animals.

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I agree with everyone else about the health benefits of feeding a cat a natural diet.  I tried to get my cat (pictured to the left) on ground raw food. I've tried to interest him in chicken, salmon and tuna. He doesn't show an interest.  So (now this will really get some people here excited), I let him go outside in the summer because he likes to catch his supplemental diet. I'm not suggesting people let their cats outside. He was an adult cat already used to hunting when he came to live with me and has never adjusted well to manufactured food.  He seems noticeably healtier during the summer months when he's eating a truly natural diet.

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I too wonder it before.  I decided not to give my cat vegan food instead I bought Petpromise brand organic American grown food for them. 

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Sorry to repeat myself, but someone must speak up for the animals.

It's not very good for the animals the cat eats to feed him/her other animals.

That's the conundrum, though, isn't it? Which animal should suffer - your cat or the animal which your cat eats in his/her food?

And there is no easy solution because humans have domesticated pets who are carnivores. Do we force our diet on an animal whose health and life will suffer because they're not getting what they need? Or do we feed them another animal?

It's a question of priorities. Or what I like to call global ethics versus personal ethics. It's not ethical to feed a cat a vegan diet as it's imposing our own choice on an animal who wouldn't choose it. So, in terms of personal ethics it's right to feed the cat meat. Globally, on the other hand, it's clearly unethical to treat animals the way they have been treated. Avoiding meat is the ethical option.

Hence the conundrum. The question, then, becomes - which is more important, personal or global ethics?

And that decision is individual. In the case of my cat, I choose personal ethics. In the case of myself, I choose global.

I'd let her outside to catch her own diet. But, domesticated cats are one of the worst ecosystem destroyers. It's because they don't hunt just when they're hungry. They hunt for fun, for sport, for kicks. So, they kill more than they can eat, more than the ecosystem can provide.

Plus, I found my cat on the street and she was declawed. So, it's not safe for her to be out.

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My two eat One Earth Adult kibble and Sheba gooshy food.

I fear that I can't give my kitties a home cooked diet of cooked meats because I am allergic to it.  Hence if something of mine gets contaminated, I end up sick.  So I choose to offer them as few ingredients as possible in their foods so they are not feed filler crap, but just the good stuff.

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I too wonder it before.  I decided not to give my cat vegan food instead I bought Petpromise brand organic American grown food for them. 

I also feed my cats this food. You can buy it at Whole Foods, and all PetCo stores will be carrying it by the end of the year (some of them already carry it). Here's their website: http://www.petpromiseinc.com/index.htm

They get their meat from small farms where the animals are not given antibiotics or growth hormones and are treated much more humanely than factory farms.  They also don't use any by-products (the "chicken meal" and other animal by-products found in almost every commercial pet food). I don't want my cats eating tumor tissue, tendons, blood, bones, what-have-you. It's all "human-quality" meat. It's not ideal, of course, since livestock are still killed, but it's a much better solution and I feel really good supporting a company that shares my values. There is a store locater on their site so you can find somewhere that carries it near you. My cats love it. I tried feeding them half vegan kibble/half normal kibble, and they would pick out the meaty parts and leave the vegan stuff (which convinced me that cats are carnivores).

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I have also researched this and like most people that responded, DO NOT feed your cat a vegan diet.  It is bad for their urinary tract!  I would stick with some natural cat food.

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this also brings up the whole issue of companion pets in the first place. i think esctatic is right in that there is a much larger issue here beyond just what we eat/what our pets eat.

i do know that if it wasn't for stupid people who didn't fix their pets and let the pet population skyrocket, i wouldn't even have my cats. i don't know how i feel about keeping animals as pets (beyond rescues-- it isn't their fault they are in that system). my biggest worry with veg*ns wanting to put pets on natural diets is that some might not take care to really learn about it and mess their pet up. i believe there are safe ways to do it but i worry also about what is best for the pet.

but, again, what do i know. i feed my cats junk because the healthier stuff gives one of them really bad GI issues.  :'( :'( GURRR

Baypuppy, you are so right.  People who feed a natural diet really have to research it.  Davedrum mentioned a great book and Dr. Pitcairn's book is great.  I have been going to a holistic vet for about 15 years.  It was her that taught me how to feed my pets properly and nutritiously.  As many of my pets have lived long and healthy lives since switching to home cooking, I think I must be doing something right.  At least I hope so! :-)

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Very commonly, cats live in air-conditioned houses, artificially well-protected from predators and the elements; they are given food rather than having to hunt it -- food that is often very different from what the cat would be eating if it did have to hunt; given clean water rather than having to find it; surrounded by plastics and cloths; and often enough some large ape will approach the cat and rub its fingers against the cat's neck, or even wave around a lazer light to entertain the cat.

Bottom line:  housecats do not live in natural environments.  Housecats do not have natural diets (try to find a kibble or some clean, plentiful sources of canned pre-shredded tuna in the wild).  And that's... OK.  ALL that matters is whether the cat is happy and healthy.  Natural and unnatural does not matter to your cat.

In fact, if you are providing a "natural" environment for your cat, you are abusing your cat.

Cats need taurine.  "Normal", carnivorous cat kibbles are supplemented with taurine.  So vegan cat foods do not differ from "normal" cat foods there.  (I get my B12 from supplemented sources, by the way -- I think all healthy vegan humans do -- and that's not a bad thing at all.)  Now, as with any particular food or diet, some cats don't take to it.  My own cat didn't take to vegan food.  I now give her meat.  But I know many (about twenty) healthy, happy vegan cats.  They do not know that they are vegan.  They do not care.  They get taurine.  They are healthy.  Some cats don't take to the diet -- but some do.  Many cats can be healthy and happy with vegan cat food.  And since the health and happiness of one's pet is all that really matters here, please don't discount the idea of giving a cat vegan food out of some vague notion of what's "natural" or the cat's "right" to eat meat.  All that matters is health and happiness.  And many vegan cats are healthy and happy.

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Thanks for the link to Petpromise! I even got a handy dandy $5 off coupon! I can't wait to see how my cat's like this, and I'll feel a lot better about feeding them something natural then the who-know's-what that I get from Iams! I have been feeling quesy about giving them Iams ever since I read a report by PETA about their animal testing practices...*eek*!

Thanks again!

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I remember I read an article back when I researched if I should give my cat vegan food.  It is from one of the cat vegan food company, I think it is a disclaimer that they say some cats (especially male cats)  will develop urinary tract problem.  I think it is a personal choice and how much risk you want to take to give your cat vegan food.  I do believe there are many healthy vegan cats too. 

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I feed my cat some (pretty pricey) dehydrated raw food that I reconstitute with warm water. He loves it! I don't believe you should keep a carnivore as a companion animal if you're not willing to feed it a balanced diet. I would not want to put my cat at risk for any possible complications that could arise from switching to a vegan diet for him. I am vegan. He is not.

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I wouldn't feed a cat a vegan diet. Cats have trouble digesting plant matter (Something to do with breaking down the cellular walls in their digestive tract). Or so I've heard.

I feed my cats Innova EVO (Or maybe it's called EVO now? I dunno). It doesn't contain any grain, corn, rice, or animal by-products. My cats have done very well on it. They're trim, energetic (maybe too energetic), their coats look great, and they really like the stuff. They get their meat from regional suppliers, but I suppose that doesn't mean that the animals were necessarily treated well...

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Yep, as an earlier poster said, this comes up often.
Here's an easy list of previous threads on t his topic.

Feeding Your Animal Companions:
http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=14065.msg88035
http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=13588.msg83914
http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=15330.msg98039#msg98039 
http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=14623.msg92542#msg92542
http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=14595.msg91908#msg91908
http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=13452.msg83903#msg83903
http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=16940.msg116352#msg116352
http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=16301.msg108274#msg108274

My point stated in the above several times - beyond the purely scientific facts of why you don't want to feed vegan - is always if you can't feed a carnivore appropriately because of your personal  beliefs, don't get one.  There are plenty of homeless, abandoned HERBIVORES too.  :(

2 natural foods I use are WYSONG and AFS. 
http://www.animalfood.com/
http://www.wysong.net/

Dave can give you the name of another good company too.  Actually, he mentions it several times in the above previous posts.

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PetPromise tests on animals.  I wrote to them and asked specifically.  They told me they have a kennel and treat the animals humanely by only testing through feeding the product but they do test on animals.  I have not seen the kennel's conditions and so can not verify their claim.

I second Ecstatic's comment that cats do great damage to your backyard habitat.  In addition, domestic cats often don't even know what to do with the bird or chipmunk once they've caught it and tortured it to death.  Not my idea of a pleasant death.

No sufficient data (meaning scientific studies) available to verify whether or not cats can live healthy life on vegan diet. I have looked for studies.  All I've ever heard of is anecdotal evidence.  

GotSkates:  Please read the previously mentioned Pitcairn book,  then look at the Fancy Feast you're feeding your cat.

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I second Ecstatic's comment that cats do great damage to your backyard habitat.  In addition, domestic cats often don't even know what to do with the bird or chipmunk once they've caught it and tortured it to death.  Not my idea of a pleasant death.

Like I said earlier, my cat was a ferral adult used to hunting for food and living outside before he voluntarily moved himself in at my place.  He hunts because that is the food to which he is accustomed.  If he never lived outside it would be different, I suppose - but he certainly knows what to do with the gophers he catches.  He eats them on the carpet inside my back door.  If the police ever examine my house for blood, I'll have a lot of explaining to do.  My question is:  if my cat prefers catching his own organic food to rendered, processed dry food (he won't eat processed moist), then how are animals any more or less dead?  Just because it's organic cat food, doesn't mean the animals were killed humanely.

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Honey:

I'm not judging your decision.  You know what is best for your companion animal.

I have read that to put a healthy, well fed, regularly medically attended house cat against a wild animal is not a fair fight.  The domestic pet is in top fighting form and often up against an unaware wild animal who's living on the edge.  My cat frequently brings animals into the house where they are trapped and therefore more easily finished off.  I am constantly running her down to extricate her most recent victim from her jaws.  The most unfair situation for wild backyard animals are those were the homeowner lures the animals to their deaths with an outdoor feeding station.  I also do this, but at least I have a collar with bells on my cat for warning. 

Joanne Stepaniak has stated that vegans who choose to feed their companion animals omnivore diets can do so without too much guilt as companion animal food is a byproduct of the livestock industry.  Because cattle and chickens are not slaughtered specifically for animal food but for human food no extra lives are lost to feed your companion animal its preferred diet.

I agree that death in a slaughterhouse would be a horrific way to go.

As stated by the many previous posters, this is a very complex ethical issue. 

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