More Tips on Cats (continues from front page)
Tip one: Never hardball a cat. Cats have been known to starve to death rather than eat their new food. Fasting a cat can result in fatty liver disease. (Cats self fast because they are so dead serious about getting their fix) Never do it.
Tip 2: Cats crave salt and fat. You can use this to your advantage by adding plant fats and something salty (nutritional yeast has worked, maybe sea weed or something too)
For cats who won't eat moist food:
calculate the calories your cat needs to eat each day. No longer leave cat food out all day for them to eat, divide it into three meals. Once the cat gets used to meal times replace a meal with moist food, take this slowly, a few weeks at a time. Gradually increase until all meals are moist.
Cats who hate their food:
A cat can be addicted to a certain flavor or even shape of kibble. A cat not eating their food means nothing in terms of how healthy that food is, cat's don't care about health they want tasty. Certainly they are addicted to the load of fat and salt in their diet. A slow decrease of the original food mixed in the new food could help. You could try breaking up the original kibble to try and train them out of that specific mouth feel, then after they adjust you can start mixing in broken up vegan food. Slowly, ever so slowly, increase the amount of vegan food. If the cat is picking out the pieces moistening it and mashing them together will solve the problem, making your cat get used to the taste of less junk.
It can take up to a year to transition your cat!
It seems that ferrets provide a bigger challenge unto veganism, as they require very little fiber (almost all vegetables, fruits, and grains have fiber) and a high amount of fat. For now we are assuming they need all the enzymes a cat does for digesting plant material.
"Because of the short GI tract and the poor absorption of nutrients, ferrets require a diet that is highly concentrated with FAT as the main source of calories "
So far it seems as if a ferret's vegan diet would have to comprise of mostly oil/butter based food to deliver their source of energy. Claims made by vegan cat food ferret feeders:Evolution claims that ferrets have lived longer then average lives on their vegan ferret/cat food.
(edit: in actuality it's probably the same thing for cats too)
Note: Ami Cat food is made of mostly oil (fat).
History of Vegan Ferrets
A vegan has fed Ami's Cat food to his ferret for a long peroid of time, with treats of earth balance, with reported success.
Ferrets require a protein level of 32% to 38%, mid range is best. A protein content of over 38% could prove to be harmful for the kidneys of an older ferret. Ferrets also require a high fat content of 20% to 22%; Ash content should be no more than 7% to avoid the formation of kidney stones. You should also keep the fiber content at 3% or lower
Vegan Companion Foods Composition:
Vegepet has responded that their supplement is not appropiate for ferrets because ferrets need higher protein. (No reason one couldn't supplement with green mush)
Ami Cat Food:
Moisture – 8%
Crude protein – 33%
Crude fats – 14%
Crude fiber – 4%
Crude ash – 5.5%
Evolution Cat Food:
Crude Protein (Minimum)..........30.0%
Crude Fat (Minimum)................14.0%
Crude Fiber (Minimum)...............3.5%
Ash Content (Minimum)..............6.0%
Veggies very low in fiber (there are no vegetables zero in fiber, zero fiber would be found in vegetable oils)1 Gram of Fiber
Bell Pepper, Yellow
Corn, 1 ear
Green Leaf & Butter
Mushrooms, Button & Crimini
Firstly, I'll address the research I've done to accommodate vegan ferret
From my research none of these reach the recommended requirements for a ferret's diet. However you could make some allowances since they purposefully over reach to be "on the safe side".
To reach the recommendations for ferret diet I added "Green Mush", a supplement made for all animals that contains enzymes for even the carnivores to absorb hard to digest cellulose.
Green Mush contains high protein levels from spirulina, the highest known source of protein on earth. As I said, the enzymes included in Green Mush allows carnivores access to this.
I also used coconut oil to make up fat content.
Incidentally, you'll find that in the ferret circles they'll claim that ferrets can in no way can absorb nutrients from ANY plant sources, no exceptions, in the same breath they will praise coconut oil as a superb fat and great for ferrets. This is cognitive dissonance for you. This is Misothery.
In the Ferret Circles (aka, Ferret People) they have a special recipe known as "duck soup". Its basically liquefied animal proteins and fat for the ferret to consume easily. This is meant for sick/underweight ferrets, but the principle is the same. Allowing this as a treat, I mixed oil and green mush together, which the ferrets loved. In my experience, most animals enjoy the taste of chlorophyll.
As the main source of diet I used Ferret Evolution.
Did I have any problems with switching the ferrets over to their new plant based foods?
Absolutely. But only from human error.
Over and over it's stipulated that ferrets should not have dry food, basically they act as if it's a death sentence.
So, I at first attempted to give them wet food. Drenching the food in oil and green mush they were not enthusiastic. They only ate a little at a time.
Since this was new and I was trying to figure things out, I switched it out to moisten the food with just plain water. They hated it. I still offered the oil/mush soup on the side which they went wild for. Of course you can't survive on mush alone.
Alarmingly, they were starting to lose weight. I decided to offer them meat cat food, the canned stuff. The stuff cats would knock me over for. They hated it. Wouldn't touch it.
That's when it clicked. It was a texture issue for them. Ferrets were not cats and were not impressed by that addictive canned meat food smell.
I switched them to plain Evolution food. Success! Now they were eating heartily and dancing when I got the mush soup out for them. They gained their weight back,and more some, since ferrets gain extra weight in the winter.
So that's my testimony on Vegan Ferrets :)
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