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.
and his thread here:
his videos also contain very useful written info and resources under the "about" link!
veterinarians supportive of a vegcat diet? see this great compilation by peter csere:
some of the text from here is copied below.
In this video I pretend that 'appeal to authority' is not a logical fallacy, and address it thoroughly. ;-)
(Note: There was one doctorate project in Germany on vegan cats, however, I do not have access to the full text and so I do not know what the cats were actually fed - it may be a relevant study, or it may be another Pottenger's Cats. If someone wants to send me the full text so I can include it in the context of the other literature on the subject, that would be great.)
List of veterinarians, authors, researchers who have either explicitly endorsed the practice, or have endorsed books which explicitly endorse the practice:
Dr. David H. Jaggar, DVM
James Peden (Animal Nutritionist)
“Vegetarian Cats and Dogs” (1999)
Dr. Michael Lemmon, DVM
Dr. Andrew Knight, DVM, BSc.. CertAW, MRCVS
Dr. Armaiti May, DVM, CVA
Dr. Richard H. Fried, VMD
http://www.lsvets.com (Lincoln Square Veterinary Hospital, NYC)
Dr. Lorelei Wakefield, VMD (NYC)
Dr. Richard H. Pitcairn, DVM, PhD
Dr. Michael W. Fox, DVM
Dr. David Evans, DVM, CVH, Natural Care Clinic for Pets
Dr. Christina Chambreau, Homeopathic Veterinarian and author of the Healthy Animal's Journal
Dr. Carvel G. Tiekert, DVM, Founder, American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association
Dr. Larry A. Bernstein, VMD
Dr. Lynn S. Peck, DVM, MS Holistic veterinarian and researcher
Dr. Kimberly Henneman, DVM
Jed Gillen (author)
“Obligate Carnivore” (2003)
Peta has a factsheet: http://www.peta.org/living/companion-...
Darwin Brightsman, PhD
Cats: Can They Be Vegan? Debates: http://theveganoption.org/2013/02/01/...
ARA Gary Francione on vegan cats: http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/f...
Vegan Cats group on Facebook for more info: https://www.facebook.com/groups/66959...
and here is a transcript of the video kindly provided by peter as well.
this is useful stuff with sound argumentation!
Today I'm going to talk about quacky veterinarians who support feeding a plant-based diet to a cat. That's right – bad, horrible, unscientific vets who deserve to have their licenses revoked.
But there's a more important point to be taken. Typically when an internet troll makes the appeal-to-authority claim, that no veterinarians support the idea of cats fed a plant-based diet – it quickly turns into a moving-the-goalpost argument. So you provide one or two vets, and they say “Ok, but that's just one or two, they're quacks.” Goalpost moved. So you provide a study and 5 or 10 more vets, and they say “Ok, but that's not science – the vast majority of the literature says that what you're suggesting is bad” (This is untrue, only 1 formal study has ever been done on this specific topic, and 2 informal surveys, and they all support the practice) Then they say “the vast majority of veterinarians do not support this either.” (That's true, but the vast majority of general practitioners give harmful health advice to humans – this is clearly an appeal to authority.) Also, they have successfully “moved the goalpost” so far that the original argument is completely replaced. Since no one argued that the vast majority of scientific literature or the vast majority of veterinarians promote a plant-based diet for cats, their response to your patient humoring of their appeal-to-authority fallacy is a non-sequitur as well as an obvious straw-man.
Remember that an argument that adheres to logic and reason cannot rest solely on appeal to authority, popularity, or novelty – which the aforementioned argument does. It also cannot rely on dishonest tactics such as “moving the goalpost” - in other words, when you satisfy the stated requirement, the requirement then changes, so that it quickly becomes clear that the opponent never had a static position to begin with.
That being said, it is indeed helpful to have professionals in the field of veterinary medicine supporting the practice of feeding a plant-based diet to cats. Until we abolish the human practice of breeding domestic animal species altogether, and until cultured meat becomes a viable alternative to feed the remaining domestic felines, this is, quite simply, the option that best meets the needs of ALL involved – not JUST the cats, but also the chickens in Auschwitz and the humans that attempt to ignore the chickens in Auschwitz because they feel strongly that their Fluffy is so much more important... “because obligate carnivore.”
People like to say “obligate means they don't have a choice.” Indeed, the cats do not have a choice as to their biological makeup. But I have a choice as to whether I want to support the animal holocaust and kill a thousand chickens to feed one cat. Call me logical and ethically consistent, but if you put 1,000 chickens in front of me, and one cat named Fluffy, and asked me to choose whether to personally kill all 1,000 chickens to feed the cat over its lifespan, or kill the cat – Hmmmm... - [[kobayashi maru]] I'd kill neither, I'd take away the cat's bag of Friskies and give him a bag of Ami.
So without further ado, here are the veterinary doctors who support this terrible quackery that happens to be the only ethically consistent and ecologically sound way to feed a domestic feline, at least until cultured meat becomes commercially viable:
[[[[I'll start with reviews of the book “Vegetarian Cats and Dogs” by animal nutritionist James A. Peden. ]]]]]
British trained veterinarian Dr. David H. Jaggar reviewed the book Vegetarian Cats & Dogs by James A. Peden documenting the research that resulted in Vegepet™ products. He stated:
Vegetarian Cats & Dogs is a solid work of ethical integrity and is meritorious as an example of applying scientific information to progressive ends. The scientific rationale is as sound as the moral arguments are incisive and persuasive. The author is sincere in his commitment to a scientifically sound means to feed dogs and cats with superior nourishment (meeting all the known nutritional requirements for different stages of life), while at the same time [[[[This part's important!]]] reducing large scale animal suffering in agribusiness.
So you see, this veterinarian is able to consider MULTIPLE aspects of the argument SIMULTANEOUSLY. [FLASH CRITICAL THINKING IMAGE.] Almost without fail, the people who tend to argue against this, ONLY consider the fact that cats have fangs. They only consider the cats, never understanding that the large scale animal suffering in agribusiness is not a separate, distinct problem that can be completely ignored “because obligate carnivore.” The one cat is seen as objectively more important than the 1,000 chickens that must be killed to feed it, so much more important that humans, a taxonomically frugivorous species, should actually raise billions of domestically bred animal slaves in captivity, and kill them just to feed precious Fluffy.
Dr. Michael Lemmon, DVM stated:
As a veterinarian being concerned with the animal’s health, it is very encouraging to observe their health improving in many cases after being on the new regimen.
Dr. Andrew Knight, veterinarian, BSc.. CertAW, MRCVS stated:
Hazards posed by meat-based diets
The health hazards of commercial meat-based pet foods are extensive, and difficult to avoid. They may include slaughterhouse waste products; 4-D meat (from dead, dying, diseased or disabled animals); old or spoiled supermarket meat; large numbers of rendered dogs and cats from animal shelters; old restaurant grease, complete with high concentrations of dangerous free radicals and trans fatty acids; damaged or spoiled fish, complete with dangerous levels of mercury, PCBs and other toxins; pathogenic bacteria, protozoa, viruses, fungi and prions, and their associated endotoxins and mycotoxins; hormone and antibiotic residues; and dangerous preservatives. The combined results are rendered so delicious to cats and dogs by the addition of ‘digest’ - a soup of partially dissolved chicken entrails - that more than 95% of companion animals subsist primarily on commercial meat-based diets.
Unsurprisingly, diseases described in the scientific literature following long-term maintenance of cats and dogs on commercial meat-based diets include kidney, liver, heart, neurologic, eye, muscoloskeletal and skin diseases, bleeding disorders, birth defects, immunocompromisation and infectious diseases. As a practicing veterinarian I agree that so-called degenerative diseases such as cancer, kidney, liver and heart failure are far more common than they should be, and that many are likely to be exacerbated or directly caused by the numerous hazardous ingredients of commercial meat-based cat and dog diets.
"I have successfully maintained many dogs and a few cats on a vegan diet. In fact, some of my canine patients who switched to a vegan diet have experienced improvement in their skin allergy symptoms as a result of leaving meat out of their diets."
– Armaiti May, DVM, CVA, Los Angeles
Dr. Richard H. Fried, VMD
http://www.lsvets.com (Lincoln Square Veterinary Hospital, NYC)
“Yes, Dr. Fried has experience with clients feeding cats and dogs a vegan diet. […] [He] is willing to work with pet owners who want to try a vegan diet for their companions.”
Dr. Lorelei Wakefield, VMD (NYC)
-Published a study on cats fed a plant-based diet.
Richard H. Pitcairn, DVM, PhD, Sedona, Arizona
"This is very important work. In our time we cannot sustain the use of animals as a major or primary food source. It is simply not possible considering how very inefficient it is to feed edible grains and other vegetable sources to animals so that they, in turn, will be eaten. Even more important are the very real health effects from feeding at the top of the food chain. We don't know the levels of pollutant accumulation in the tissues of animals, but in people it has been found that well over 100 chemicals are now resident in our tissues especially in those that regularly eat meat. Avoiding animal flesh in our diets very much reduces this toxic accumulation. Lastly, from an ethical standpoint, our food animal industry results in very great suffering for large numbers of animals and it is logically inconsistent to treasure one animal (the one emotionally close to us) at the cost of other animals being treated inhumanely. To find alternative diets for dogs and cats that do not include meat is very important work and needs to be done."
Veterinarians on Dr. Pitcairn's book:
"Pets have never had it so good!"-Michael W. Fox, former vice president of the Humane Society
For many of my clients, Dr. Pitcairn's book is their trusted holistic health guide for their canine and feline companions needs, full of practical pointers for the concerned caregiver”a must read for those embarking on the worthwhile journey towards restoration of their pets' health and happiness. This new edition is a must-have for the pet care library. --David Evans, DVM, CVH, Natural Care Clinic for Pets
"Would you like your dog and cat to live a longer healthier life? This easy to use and well researched book is a must for you. Every one of my holistic clients has Dr. Pitcairn's book and many have told me how frequently they read it for treatment of minor problems, nutritional information and how to make lifestyle choices to improve health for themselves, their animals and our planet." --Dr. Christina Chambreau, Homeopathic Veterinarian and author of the Healthy Animal's Journal
"The third edition of this "landmark" text is welcome, and will take up space on my bookshelf, as well as the bookshelves of many of my colleagues and clients." --Carvel G. Tiekert, DVM, Founder, American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association
"Dr. Richard Pitcairn again demonstrates why he is so respected in his field. This book should be required reading for anyone seeking true, lasting health for their animals and will continue to be a must-read for my clients." -- Larry A. Bernstein, VMD
[[[[[["I anticipated that this 3rd edition would be a thorough and thoughtfully-written guide to natural health care for animals, packed full of useful information and practical tips. My expectations were exceeded! Dr. Pitcairn has a wonderful way of making both basic principles and complex topics fresh and reader-friendly, all the while gently raising questions that encourage thinking and re-thinking conventional "wisdom" in companion animal care. Who should read this book? Those just embarking on the path of natural health for their pets, those who have been on this path for years, and every holistically-minded veterinarian who wants to understand root causes of disease and expand his or her repertoire of treatments that truly support and help restore health. ]]]]]
Although I have used and recommended the earlier edition of this book in my practice for years, I plan to make this new edition required reading for my clients --Lynn S. Peck, DVM, MS Holistic veterinarian and researcher
"Once again Dr. Pitcairn has given animal caretakers the definitive how-to for a healthier, more natural and holistic approach to animal health. This up-dated edition, in his easy-to-read, story-telling style, has added information on diet and vaccinations based on recent research. The results achieved in animal well-being by incorporating the dietary, herbal and homeopathic information provided in previous editions have spoken for themselves. The new information contained in this new edition will raise the quality of our companion animal health just that much higher."[[[positive review given by]]] --Dr. Kimberly Henneman, DVM
Dr. Richard Pitcairn: Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats (Over 400,000 copies sold)
Animal nutritionist James Peden
“Vegetarian Cats and Dogs” (1999)
Jed Gillen (author)
“Obligate Carnivore” (2003)
Peta has a factsheet: http://www.peta.org/living/companion-animals/vegetarian-cats-dogs/
Dr. Andrew M. Knight, DVM
While attending veterinary school, he was the first veterinary student in Australia to be allowed a conscientious exception in the policy requiring terminal surgeries for animal research.
Article: http://www.andrewknight.info/resources/Publications/Vegetarianism/A... (read an excerpt – the part about the studies)
Darwin Brightsman, PhD
Formulated the Evolution Diet vegan pet foods
Dr. Lorelei Wakefield
In 2006 veterinarians Dr Lorelei Wakefield and colleagues published the following study comparing the health status of 34 cats maintained on vegetarian diets, and 52 maintained on conventional diets, for at least one year. No significant differences existed in age, sex, body condition, housing, or perceived health status between the two groups. Most of the caregivers in both groups described their cats as healthy or generally healthy. To my knowledge, this is the only study published to date of the health status of cats maintained on nutritionally sound vegetarian diets.
Wakefield LA, Shofer FS, MIchel KE. Evaluation of
cats fed vegetarian diets and attitudes of their caregivers.
J Amer Vet Med Assoc 2006; 229(1): 70-73.
In conclusion, anyone making the following statements:
“There are no veterinarians, or there is not a significant number of veterinarians, who support feeding a nutritionally complete plant-based diet to domestic felines.”
“Feeding a plant-based diet to a domestic feline is impossible. It is not safe.”
“Science clearly shows that this is not healthy.”
Is categorically incorrect. Those are, quite simply, false statements. They do not hold up to scrutiny and are not scientifically valid. They are also contrary to direct experience of thousands of pet owners who have been doing this collectively for over 3 decades, since it was first made possible in the 1980s. It is not an experiment, it is not a fringe science. It works, people do it, and there are at least 6-7 companies who have been producing nutritionally complete plant-based cat food for years. Perhaps in the future we will have other options, and eventually we will no longer have human-bred domestic species, but right now, this solution best meets the need of all involved. If your proposed solution considers Fluffy but ignores the chickens in Auchwitz, then it is, by definition, speciesist.
Below I have linked to the relevant websites and publications for your review. If you like this video and want to see more, remember to like, share, and subscribe.
a great place to get vegan pet food is
they not only provide the stuff, they also are uptodate on the info.
here is an example:
text quoted below.
Oct 28, 2019
The number of veterinarians knowledgeable and supportive of plant-based diets for cats and dogs is growing daily. These dedicated professionals have created a strong community advising a responsible approach to a vegan diet. They urge dog and cat guardians to choose quality, well-balanced plant-based products, and educate community on benefits of healthy plant-based nutrition. They base their opinions and recommendations on a growing body of research studies as well as their personal experiences from their practices. Here is what they say:
Armaiti May is a practicing veterinarian and an outspoken vegan advocate, living in Santa Monica, California. Dr. Armaiti May is knowledgeable in plant-based nutrition of dogs and cats believes that if a healthful vegan diet can be provided, it should be.
"What we feed our companion animals is an ethical dilemma," she says, referring to the inconsistency between loving some animals and consuming others. Luckily, healthy, cruelty-free options are available for our pets.
"Animals do have requirements for nutrients, but not necessarily ingredients." Dr. May recommends choosing products formulated in accordance with AAFCO standards, to ensure that nutrient guidelines are met.
“What are health benefits of plant-based diet for cats and dogs?”
“The health benefits of a vegan diet are tremendous… meat products like chicken and beef are common allergens, causing a host of skin issues in dogs. Not to mention that the “meat” found in commercial pet foods contains byproducts like diseased animal parts, beaks, and bones -- all junk deemed unfit for human consumption -- and even euthanized dogs and cats. Bacterial contamination and degenerative diseases like cancer and arthritis are also a concern.”
“Can cats be vegan?”
“Although cats are biologically carnivores, they can be successfully maintained on a vegan diet as long as it meets all of the nutritional requirements specific to cats. Cats require the same nine essential amino acids that are needed in the diet of all mammals. However, in addition, cats also require arginine and taurine. Taurine is found naturally in meat but can be supplied in synthetic form.”
“Isn’t it unnatural?”
“Well...maybe it is. But so is having pets in the first place, bringing them into your home, and providing them with veterinary attention like surgeries, vaccines, and medication. Dogs and cats may hunt in the wild, but they aren't exactly taking down a cow or a tuna. The point is, we as a society reevaluate our way of living given the current circumstances, and ‘natural’ is a subjective term. We have to look at the whole picture. What are we doing to this planet? How much water does it take to produce meat? It's astronomical. We don't want to have to continue to support this practice that involves taking the lives of animals to feed our own animals."
"This is absurd. What's cruel is what is happening to factory farmed animals. Given that billions of animals are raised, confined, and slaughtered each year for our consumption, providing our pets with a balanced plant-based diet is a win-win.”
Dr. Dodd is a vegan veterinarian and a PhD student at the University of Guelph in Canada, specializing in animal nutrition. She is presently conducting a research study on caregiver’s attitudes toward plant-based diets. This study has found that 35% of pet owners (vegan and non-vegan) have thought about switching their pet's diet to a more vegetable-based diet.
“Nutrients matter, not ingredients.”
“In accordance with the current understanding of pet nutrition, the importance of nutrients, not ingredients, is emphasized. A diet that can supply all required nutrients in accordance with current nutritional standards (AAFCO) – plant- or meat- based – should be sufficient for health maintenance of cats and dogs.”
“Both animal- and plant-based diets rely on supplementation of minerals to be nutritionally complete and balanced. As long as diets are supplemented with appropriate amounts of minerals, the provision of adequate quantities of minerals without the use of animal products is not a concern.”
Here is are some other names of vegan veterinarians knowledgeable in plant-based diets of cats and dogs: Dr. Rob Spooner, Dr. Kathy Kramer, Dr. Shulamit Krakauer, Dr. Moira Drosdovech, Dr. Radica Raj, Dr. Manju Arora, Dr. Gavin Myers, Dr. Pitcairn, Dr. Wagner, Dr. Carolynn Ross … etc. etc. Check the Vegan Veterinarian Network and other online communities to find a vegan vet in your area!