this thread is to provide a resource for people interested in examining the merits of feeding a veg diet to cats. (it is also an attempt to centralize conversations on the matter which occasionally get sprinkled into other threads.)
while people may want to argue the 'morality' of feeding cats veg based on their subjective notions, there is really no argument from a health perspective. veg cats have been around 'officially' for 2 decades and while there isn't much in the way of actual studies (as there are for veg dogs - neither are 'hot' topics), there is a volume of anecdotal evidence showing that veg cats not only thrive, but in many situations do better than their meat-eating counterparts.
therefore, if you want to talk ethics go ahead. if you want to examine the nutrition and the options presently available (this is an increasing body as people become aware of the benefits of a veg diet), you can do that here too.
a good companion to this thread is here:
as is the comprehensive vegan dogs thread.
i have copied certain items of importance from other threads to this one, giving credit to the contributor.
also see vegan pets.
here are a series of posts by jacob chase from the rawbrahs thread.
If you're interested in feeding your pets a more humane (and nutritionally superior) vegan diet, there's plenty of material on that here at this site.
What they were "designed to eat" is irrelevant, they're not in a situation of wilderness survival anymore and we can feed them whatever. Since plant foods are, by nature of their own composition, easier to break down than animal meat, a veg diet is superior even for so-called "obligate carnivores".
What nature "proposes" is irrelevant. Carnivores and omnivores evolve in the wild in order to make better use of potential food sources (e.g., animals). All physiological attributes designed for the more efficient consumption of meat are adaptations towards digesting something that is in and of itself more difficult to digest. In the wild, these adaptations are necessary. In a domestic environment, cats do just fine on a properly supplemented vegan diet.
There are some nutrients that they've become dependent on through their evolution, but we know what those are and there's no downside to supplementing them. As previously stated, plants are easier to break down into usable fuel no matter what your species is, simply on account of them being lower on the food chain and storing their energy in a more easily assimilated form.
Furthermore, even if a vegan diet was inferior for your cat, how can you ethically justify taking the lives of thousands of animals in order to sustain one cat's life on an all-meat diet?
Please restate Jacob. You are saying that it is optimal for a carnivore, by nature, to be a vegan?
Yes, that is exactly what I'm saying. Evolution is a continual and ongoing process by which organisms adapt towards adverse conditions. It is "unnatural" for human beings to live in temperature-regulated houses, we have evolved to be warm-blooded to resist temperature extremes. But why put your natural evolutionary characteristics to the test when you don't have to? Breaking down meat is in and of itself a much more taxing process than breaking down plants.
Carnivores will always prefer raw meat over plant foods, because that is what they will crave the most.
Anecdotal evidence would seem acceptable here, since your claim encompasses the entire category of carnivores, and so only one example of an exception would be necessary to disprove it. So why does my cat only eat the commercial, meat-based cat food that the shelter gave me grudgingly, but loves the taste of flour tortillas and spaghetti noodles? Why does Dante only eat fruits and vegetables? Why did the Oh-Ohs love the vegetarian cat food that Prad gave them? Clearly, your claim cannot be universally applied amongst all carnivores.
humans havent been adapted to eating cooked food since 10,000 years ago.
Actually, humans have adapted to eating cooked starches such and grains and root vegetables, as made evident by the fact that our saliva contains some 6-8 times as much amylase (the enzyme responsible for breaking down starches) as chimpanzees. But just because we've adapted towards the digestion of something that's inherently harder to break down, obviously does not mean that we have to eat that food.
Saying to "supplement" their food with nutrients that are not essential for them
When did I say that? I said that we ought to supplement the nutrients that they have become dependent on (that are primarily found in meat) through their evolution as carnivores. If we can add all the essential nutrients they need to a more easily-digestible food staple (plants), then our cats can get all the nutrients they need without having to deal with the extra digestive struggle of breaking down animal foods.
you may "totally disagree" and think "This is crazy!", but you haven't provided any rationale for doing so.
humans in many situation have improved on nature - in fact, the 'natural' fruits you are eating aren't natural at all. they are hybridized - many of them by luther burbank back in the 1800s (see natural = good?)
vegans aren't 'designed' to eat anything (the notion that they are naturally frugivore is incorrect), but they have the ability to process certain things better than others. carnivores happen to have tools with which to process meat better than herbivores, but they do very well on plant foods and this has been demonstrated for over 2 decades.
in fact, you are going to see more mainstream companies bringing out vegcat lines: there is presently only one now afaik, royal canin (some cats actually can't process meat properly), though there are plenty of vegdog items already. of course, there are at least 3 non-mainstream companies hoana, ami and evolution which have had a vegcat line for a long time.
this is terri's excellent video counter to cats 'not enjoying' veg.
Show me a cat that gets excited for a carrot, strawberry or dates and I will feel really different.
Here you go Victor ;-)
Cat Eating Cucumber (he plays with it first, then devours it)
Those cats only treat this stuff as toys and something fun
The cats eating the watermelon and banana are definitely not playing with their food, they're full on eating it. Even the cucumber eating cat during the second half of the video literally devours the cucumber until there's nothing left.
At this pace of eating they would not be able to eat enough calories to survive.
I also disagree. The cat ate a huge slice of watermelon in just over 1 minute. Corn is a grain and can be eaten (and tastes better) raw. In any case, my point in posting the vids were not to show what happens in nature, and obviously these cats are domesticated. Victor asked to show him a cat enjoying fruits/ vegs and thus I responded.
I had to take care of 9 puppies recently.....
That's great! Victor was asking about grown cats, not puppies (big difference ;)
But although these are not wild animals should people go as afar as feeding them watermelons instead of what they used to eat before domestication?
If it's not harming them and they live long, healthy lives by doing so - sure, why not? I don't have any pets so can't answer as fully as others that do, but from what I've read here many pet owners have fed their pets (including cats) vegetarian diets and they were very healthy and happy.
Technically, corn when raw is a FRUIT. (I looked it up). It becomes a “grain” when dried and preserved. Though I would call it a “seed”...
Also, once it is sprouted, even just to a “nub”, it is a plant....just as those allergic to wheat (I am sensitive)...can have bread made from (100%) sprouted wheat, and I am ok...sprouted and “raw”...even better. I drink 8 oz wheat grass juice a day, wheat grass is a plant, no longer a grain.
these are a series of responses to a question on health of our veg cats.
i'll answer your questions, ben and/or tasha.
if you have read the other threads (as you indicate), you have likely come across some of the details anyway.
Here's a few questions I have about these vegan dogs and cats that are 'thriving'.... Hopefully someone here can give some answers.
i think it is peculiar that you put 'thriving' in quotations - almost as though you don't accept the idea.
-What exactly are you feeding them? Is it cooked or raw? How long - The entire life of the animal?
recipes tested over 2 decades - you can find some of them in the vegan pets section of 30badigos.
we do cooked, but there are a few who do veg raw with their dogs on 30bad.
it is for the entire life of the animal (lifespans tend to be better than typical, but what is more important is the usual afflictions associated with meat eating don't happen - if you have read the veg dog thread, you have likely come across the survey demonstrating this).
-How is their dental health?
no issues (bad breath, gingivitis, loose teeth etc) till typically late in years (12+) and even then minor.
-What is their poop like? Does it smell? Is it solid or runny?
solid not runny except for one cat who had some digestive issues as a kitten (as you may have read). he is fine now too though his stool is a bit softer than the others. the stuff doesn't smell nearly as much as when they arrived.
-What is their fur like?
clean. no furballs for the cats.
judging by the comments we've received on a regular basis, people (including the vet office that neuter/spay) conclude that we have remarkably healthy cats and dogs.
-Temperament? (Asta is the greatest. She loves going new places and meeting new people. Completely at ease in a strange house full of strange people and other dogs/cats. How many cats can you say that about?)
i'm not sure what the point of the second question is. each is an individual, therefore their temperaments are understandably different.
again, you can find out more about them in the animals are my friends not food group where their stories appear.
our canines have been very congenial and would not make particularly good guard dogs. 2 cats, superfriendly with everyone; one, a cuddlebug with selected individuals; one, plays favorites with one person and one dog; one suspicious of other cats, but ok with people.
-Do they ever beg for/steal food? (When Asta is eating correctly, she could care less about our food.)
some do, some don't.
the dogs and cats like to eat out of each other's bowls though when they get a chance. it is an interesting phenomenon.
-Ever breed any of these vegan animals?
never. responsible guardians spay/neuter. they do not breed.
I want to know about the health of it. I know there are some here who feed vegan diets, and I would love it if I could get some answers.
i hope the above has answered your questions sufficiently.
i know very well you don't agree with the veg idea. whatever made you think i didn't?
that is why you put 'thriving' in quotes, i assume.
and your 2nd reply "Nothing still? Somehow I'm not shocked...", indicates that you didn't think vegpet people were going to answer. however, they have, so the question is "are you shocked now?" :D
however, we will accept you at your word that you are "open and willing to have my mind changed". you have not stated that anywhere though (from what i recall) nor have you stated the criteria required to have your mind changed. the other thing to keep on the table, is that i'm not in the business of getting people to change their minds about this, so there are no worries on that count at all.
however, if you want info, i'll try to provide it as best as i can. if you want to debate the issue, it's really too late for that (as you may have read in my post to jacob in his ethics of veg for pets thread).
i find your post above to be quite sincere - for you have provided good rationale for some of your questions, so i hope the following is helpful.
asta sounds like a really fun individual. her rambunctious behavior was likely, as you surmised, due to strange things that are put into some commercial foods (i presume that's what she was eating before? don't recall details). interestingly, we have never had such issues with any of our cats - though opi, who wakes me practically each night to snuggle at 3am, does like to go after the toilet paper. she doesn't shred it though. she seems much more interested in unraveling it - quite scientific attitude actually.
i don't know if the study (pottenger's right?) would pass peer review these days (i read that somewhere, but i can't recall if the accusation is valid). in any case, i haven't looked at it so i'm no one to comment. the problem with it is also that it seems to be extrapolated more to humans than cats which is also another bit of bizarreness. one would have to look at the details in order to determine which factors came into play affecting reproductive issues. it may have been the cooked part, but there may have been other things too.
sorry i'm not much help there, but your point is quite possibly a good one to the extent that poor diets would cause reproductive problems. however, remember that you can have such difficulties even in the wild where people have this idea that the diet is optimal. so it may be problematic to put too much emphasis on a controlled experimental situation and make too many decisive conclusions - even though, i generally do agree with you.
different cat poo smells different. since we have had five we've generally been able to tell who's done what. the smell was much reduced though for all of them since going on the veg diet. the other very notable matter was that people with cat allergies (like my son) didn't have issues with the cleaner diet (same with his music teacher who i hear tried this for a while).
no we don't bathe dogs though in the summer we'd hose them every few weeks (especially on hot days). none of this dog shampoo stuff ever though! for our guys, it was important to do the hosing gently (one of them in particular didn't like the hiss), though some dogs may like fighting with the water for fun.
no brushing either except a bit in the spring to get the extra shedding hair off - and may be once in a while because one of them seemed to enjoy the grooming (the other sort of grudgingly tolerates it as though he is doing us a favor). no fleas either, btw, which surprises some people - a bit of garlic, seems to have worked over the years, though much of it also attributable to an overall high level of health.
in any case, my experience is only with cooked, veg that is properly supplemented. if you want info on raw veg, you can talk to some of the others who have knowledge in that area.
if you have any other questions, i'll do what i can to get answers for you.
btw, i usually refer to people by name when replying (saves confusion on these ning dating service forum discussion setups), but i don't know what to call you and ben&tasha seems inconclusive - unless you are ok with that, in which case that is what i will use.
this is from a thread to solve a cat's dietary and other issues.
B just informed me of your problem. i concur with him regarding diet and meds (that vet must be a psychiatrist as well) assuming the overall health of your cat is good. cats do throw up from time to time. however, if it is a regular thing (daily as you say), then something isn't going right between her digestive system and her food.
[edit: laurie's idea about a fast is likely a good start (though if the cat were really sick there wouldn't be any eating - which suggests your cat isn't sick) - another thing is to slow down the food consumption rate ... feed smaller amounts and with pauses so the cat is forced to eat slower, it may help.]
i appreciate your parents concern regarding the rugs, but they can be cleaned. euthansized cats can't be brought back to life. if they are in montreal, i have a friend who helps rescue cats there who might be able to take your cat off their hands if worse came to worse.
vegan diets are good for cats. we've had 5 of them each coming from some form of meat based diet. we've fed them evolution kibbles (soaked) as well as hoana homemade items. we've done this for years and not only are our cats in superb health, they don't get hairballs and they don't affect people with cat allergies. both my son and his music teacher have reactions to cats fed meat-based food and none to cats on veg diets.
you can read about our cats here:
there are recipes listed in the discussions (some of which contain grains which are not the problem though oats are sometimes considered a good choice due to higher acidity).
on occasion a cat will not be able to digest animal protein and there is actually a mainstream cat food ROYAL CANIN HP Soy Hydrolized Protein that does not contain meat. it is not vegan because there is some fish oil and chicken fat, but it is designed for cats who are having difficulties with 'normal' cat diets. of course, rather than go this route you can simply go to a veg diet from hoana or evolution.
if you go hoana, i'm sure james peden will be able to offer you some specific advice as well. he is very knowledgeable and we've found him to be extremely helpful for more than a decade (our veg dogs have been that way for about 11 yrs).
you can find the links to both hoana and evolution in the discussions that follow the oh-ohs along with the recipes we use.
and of course you are welcome to email me anytime too.
here are some posts about cats getting into veg foods.
(these are not to be considered to be a replacement for a properly supplemented veg diet.)
I've read stuff like this:
"Avocado contains a toxin known as persin. It is found in all parts of the avocado & is toxic to most domestic animals.
The symptoms include gastrointestinal irritation, vomiting, diarrhea, respiratory distress, congestion, fluid accumulation around the tissues of the heart and even death. "
Although the below is a little suspect; cats live off animal fats.. I've read that cats have taste buds for fat like we have taste buds for sweet. I think it just means don't set out a plate of fat, since whole foods are best for them too.
While fat isn't toxic to cats per se, it's not healthy to routinely feed your cat a diet high in animal fats as it will lead to obesity. Large amounts of fat can also cause pancreatitis.
Thanks for the links.
I feed my cat whole raw unprocessed foods, as fresh and ecologic/organic as possible.
So, no processed/dehydrated stuff...
However, following her interest in vegetarian foods, I consider increasing the veg part of her diet, therefore I'm thinking of some high quality-biovailability grade supplementation, not synthetic...
Have you any concrete advice?
Also, what other fruits are there that cat's show interest in?
We had a kitty who would devour raw fruit & veggies, but we had a petsitting business and she would go into the other pet foods too, mostly she would eat anything, but she really seemed to prefer fruit & veggies and we were eating cooked grains a good deal at the time too so she'd eat that as well. Our deal was mostly to feed her what we ate, but she took care of her own food needs if she wanted otherwise.
since the thread is here I just want to make one comment in regards to apparent poisonous effects of avocado.
I am taking care of a dog and not long ago I was also taking care of 9 puppies. There is an avocado tree in the garden and it is now in season.
They ALL eat avocados and then play with seeds. The mature dog can eat even 2-3 avocados at once and the pups usually share.They are all alive and healthy so I don't know why people say avocados are poisonous for them.
i don't know about avocados and dogs, but i appreciate your post fruitman.
however, i have had experience with grapes and dogs. our dogs (particularly jumpr) like grapes and has eaten them for years. yet some people seem to think that grapes (particular grape seeds) are poisonous to dogs. may be they are forgetting aesop's fox and the sour grape story.
i think what sometimes happens is that a rumor spreads or a highly controlled experiment is done and conclusions are drawn from it which have little to do with reality. possibly these may be the source of the avocado and grape issues.
same with garlic and onions which are a common dog food ingredients yet "they say" they are poisonous to dogs. When the bitch was pregnant her vet prescribed some vitamin pills. They contained extracts of garlic..,
and i'm sorry for hijacking the cat thread but you did not make one for dogs, did you? ;)
I will stay quiet now.
no problem fruitman. you and i seem to have become hijackers extraordinaire!
i'm particularly bad since i'm hijacking my own thread. :D
next think you know we'll start talking about the rawbrahs here. :D :D
(ooops i just did)
if you read the op, you'll find the link to the vegan dogs thread. feel free to post these items there, if you wish to.
don't know about onions, but certainly we've found that garlic does do the job for keeping fleas away.