Pardon me if there's info readily available on this. I might just be crazy.
(Please note that I am aware of taurine and other nutrient-specific issues, and there is a new guideline so if you want to ridicule me by posting, "lol just feed them meat!" you will get 'taken care of.' as in deleted or spanked or yelled at.)
I know that cats can get diabetes so high-fat high-carb is obviously not an option.
In general, sources (of course I'm talking veg sources here btw) say that cats convert fat and protein to glucose and that is how they get their energy etc. Some other sources say cats only need a tiny amount of carbohydrate. Also, we know that cats, while they do not have salivary amylase, have digestive amylase that their pancreas produces. It would appear that starches, while they can certainly be digested, may not be as ideal as protein... or... simple carbs? Is there something I'm missing?
We know that just because an animal has adapted to eating something, it doesn't magically make it the best thing for them to digest. Protein is hard to break down and convert to energy whether you're a cat or a cow or a dude on the paleo diet or a cat being fed textured soy protein on a vegan diet.
The recipes on Vegepet for cats do not appear to be particularly low-fat, and they have a significant amount of carbs. The protein % ranges from 26-54, and the fat % ranges from 10-20. The carb % ranges from 26% to 63%. So there is not a particular pattern except that fat is between 10 and 20 always and it is either somewhat-high carbs or somewhat-high protein.
The FAQ on vegepet says raw is not a good idea for cats because they "won't get enough nutrients." They don't give any specifics but they do say the cats "won't get enough protein." Would cats need as much protein if they were eating simple carbs like those cats on the youtube videos eating watermelons, rind and all? Do they lack the biochemical pathway to use simple carbs for energy or something? I feel like there's something I'm missing.
Vegepets also says sprouting legumes reduces protein levels so that is why they recommend cooked legumes for protein. Wouldn't the cooking process denature the proteins, so might there be even less available, usable protein for that cat than in a raw sprouted legume? Based on their lack of actual data, I can't figure out whether they know what they're talking about, or they really want to sell their enzyme supplement which of course has to be added to cooked food. Hey, just because they're vegans doesn't mean they are immune to a mild case of David Wolfe Syndrome.
I guess, to boil it all down, my question is: MUST cats receive most of their energy from protein rather than simple carbohydrates? Do they lack the biochemical pathways to make simple sugars fuel their cells?
Dare I ask... can one feed one's cat 80/10/10 (or 70/20/10 even) HCRV with a supplement? I ask for kitty biochemistry to support or disprove this poorly formed "hypothesis." Some of the recipes go as far as 60/25/15 ish.
One more thing I would add, for anyone concerned about the supposed "artificiality" of vegan diets for cats. Originally I was concerned with synthetic supplements, since of course I don't want to poison my cats. Some people don't care about this, as long as they're not murdering other animals, it's worth it to poison the cat, right? Well, I didn't want to make that choice. My legitimate concerns were brushed off and not addressed by "vegan pet circles" in various spots on the internet. I did my homework and discovered that, unlike many nutrients, taurine, even though it is often labelled as such, does NOT have a D- or an L- form. What does this mean? It is a relatively simple amino-sulfonic acid and does not polarize to light - synthetic vitamins often polarize in the opposite direction as their natural equivalents. Any highschool chemistry student will tell you that the synthetic resultant chemical will not be acted upon the same way by the body and is often harmful. So the synthetic taurine really IS the same taurine as the kind found in unground raw meat. Please, if a concerned cat owner mentions the issue of synthetic vitamins, don't brush him/her off with a link to a vegan pet site that also completely ignores the issue. I felt insulted whenever my question was ignored and "answered" with a link to an extruded kibble manufacturer. Answer with legitimate science and your kindness will result in a happy, newly vegan cat.
It seems that gluconeogenesis, is, of course, NOT the only path to glucose, and cats do fine on higher-carbohydrate diets. However, as we see with human studies, the demonization of simple sugars continues. The complex-carb diets are compared to diets with refined sugar, rather than the fiber-sugar combo of fruit.
The author basically says that cats can do fine on either a high-protein or a high-carb diet but not a high-fat diet. The author says that simple sugars are to be avoided because they spike blood sugar, and gives reference to a study where the cats were fed refined sugar. The missing piece of info is how fruit affects the blood sugar of cats.
Am I missing something here? This just seems too easy. Maybe tomorrow I'll go on Cronometer and figure out what a day's food would be like for a raw cat and examine whether or not it's feasible i.e. volume and protein content. I was always amazed at the lack of raw veg cat info out there compared to raw veg dogs. Please, if you have the glaring piece of info I'm missing that proves this all wrong, I beg you to share. Surely fruit is better than cooked starchy carbs.
I dug up some more info, in case anyone is interested in the possibility of a raw vegan cat (plus the appropriate supplement.) In this post I am mainly examining the protein needs of cats and how it is apparently a barrier for raw feeding.
I should first mention that the CPF ratios I gave for the Vegepets recipes were by dry weight, not by calorie, so are a little off. I forgot about that whole conversion thing.
The guy from Vegepets says
On a dry weight basis adult cats require a minimum of 26% protein, but the amino acid requirement is the critical component of protein. Fat requirement is 9%, with a minimum requirement of .5% of linoleic acid and .02% arachidonate.
I think you can imagine how it would be nearly impossible to reach 26% protein by dry weight unless you fed them exclusively sprouted beans. Which is why the recipes on the site include soy protein. I thought about using a "raw" protein source such as hemp, but then I did some further reading.
I came across some studies of cats on low-protein diets. Cats with CRF (chronic renal failure) are often put on low-protein diets. This is controversial, but mainly because high-protein diets did not cause the chronic renal failure, not necessarily because a low-protein diet is bad for cats. The way that a LP diet addresses CRF in cats is that it reduces the metabolic waste (from protein catabolism) that the kidneys have to deal with. Less protein = less waste. Now, the issue with low-protein for cats is that hepatic enzymes in the liver responsible for protein catablization aren't regulated very well in felines - so they will continue catabolizing proteins at nearly the same rate even if the cat isn't eating protein. This would cause muscle loss, weakness, and eventually death since the enzymes would start consuming the cat's own muscles due to the lack of dietary protein.
26% by dry weight is an interesting number - here's why - I only read a handful of abstracts, but none of them mentioned muscle loss or other adverse health effects from a low-protein diet. Many commercially available low-protein diets (specifically for cats with CRF but can supposedly be fed to all cats according to one vet) have far less protein. Hi-tor Low-protein CRF Kidney formula cat food has about 8% protein by weight (16.4% calories from protein.) Royal Canin Low-protein has 7.2% protein by weight. Purina NF Kidney Function (these are all canned btw) has 7% protein by weight. One abstract mentioned not to go below 20-22g per 400 kcal of food. These are all pretty low numbers compared to the 26%. However... I'm not really sure if I'm doing these calculations right... if dry weight means all moisture removed and these canned foods give wet weight in their crude analysis, I might be messing the numbers up. Oh well, I'll check it out another day.
Basically, it appears to me that there is no danger in feeding a cat a low-protein diet, seeing as it is normally done with cats to manage the symptoms of CRF, and the studies (done on both CRF cats and control cats) revealed no deleterious effects from an LP diet.
It is unfortunate that I am using animal studies for this research, yes.
Hmm, I guess I did do the conversions wrong. The low-protein foods tend to have around 25-35% protein by dry weight. I calculated this to be 15-25% calories from protein. 15% might be possible to do raw. That seems to be the lower limit in terms of the LP diet cats are fed in clinical studies.
cats do seem to need a higher protein content than say a rabbit (eg 16-18%).
i don't think hc makes much sense for cats.
(thx for always reminding people of the new guideline)
I am debating whether to switch my kitty over, but like you, concerned about any deficiencies
there are no deficiencies, carly.
these vegan preparations have been around for more than 2 decades. we've had several veg cats for 12+ yrs now. you can read about some of them here: The Oh-Ohs.
however, you do need be aware of a certain issues as with any 'prepared' items veg or otherwise, for animals or humans.
if you do things right you'll have a very healthy cat - in many cases, as we've repeatedly found, considerably healthier than those fed commercial meat-based cat foods.
you can find several resources here eventually:
meantime, you may want to look here:
as well as the vegan cats thread:
:D you two must be very simpatico carly! :D
here's a post by terri you and your cat may enjoy then:
Cat Eating Cucumber (he plays with it first, then devours it)
My cats are very happy vegans and supplement their own diet (vegan pellets) by eating whatever fruits and vegetables they fancy. They like watermelon, dates, tomatoes, seaweed, persimmons, mangoes, mangosteens, spinach and potatoes. They love potatoes just steamed and served cold and plain. The place that delivers their cat litter etc, gave us a free can of food as it was a promotional giveaway. It was actually a meat product and I wasn't sure at first if I should throw it away, but then I thought let me just see what they do. If they go crazy for it then I guess I'll know that I have been depriving them. So I gave it to them. They smelled it, had a small taste and then walked away. It sat there in their bowl all night and they ignored it completely. They look beautiful and their weight is perfect and they are extremely happy.
I was informed by my vet that especially in male cats you should never feed them a vegan diet because males are prone to urinary problems quite often.
your vet is right about males being more prone to flutd/fus due to their physiology.
however, he/she is wrong about thinking vegan diets are the source of evil.
urinary problems are caused by various things like obesity, high urinary ph, low urinary ph, stress ...
one of my cats always eats wheatgrass, papaya, coconut, avocado, durian and tomatoes. both of them love durian and coconut, actually. i have videos :D anyways, maybe carnivores don't exist. maybe it's just that some animals have more/different parasites than others, which is why some are more drawn to dead animals than others. humans get torn away from fruit when heavily infested with parasites and start believing that a carnivorous diet will work for them for whatever reason. yeah, smell a cat's breath and tell me if it smells healthy. there's stuff rotting in there. is it because the food most often given to cats is cooked and has stuff other than meat, or is it the meat itself. do lions in the wild have stinky breath? do apes in the wild have stinky breath? my mind is asking so many questions today. i kind of love it :) <3