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Hi everyone,
Okay so I have decided on becoming a vegan very soon (I'm a vegetarian at the moment), so I've been starting to research and think about what I'll eat and what I'll have to cut out, etc.
I'm also going to adopt one or two cats soon. I also have one cat that I adopted at the beginning of the year. So I started to research what food to get for them (I get a p good food for my cat right now but I sort of want something better) while also researching veganism. With both of these huge things in my mind, I started to think about how bad I feel that I feed my cat other animals, and I found out that it's actually possible for cats to live off a plant-based diet (which I'm sure most of you already know). Now I have a really big, ongoing debate in my mind, and I really don't know what to do, so I've come to you guys for help. I would really appreciate your advice and such.
Okay so on one hand, I think it would hypocritical for me to become a vegan (or even just stay a vegetarian) so that I don't participate in the suffering and killing of animals and then turn around and feed my cat (to be cats, but I'll refer to my cat(s) as just my one cat b/c I only have her at the moment) animals. And like I said I have been looking for high quality cat food, which often means that the ingredients do not include animal by-products. But this also means that I'll be feeding her food that animals were raised and killed for, for the specific purpose of being her (and other cats') cat food. At the same time, though, it is healthier for her, and I have been researching to try to find the best cat food. I want her to live a long, happy life. I want her to be really healthy in general.
There is security in cats food like Wellness because people have been feeding cats food like that for years and there's like science behind it and stuff. Some people say that cats can survive on a vegan diet, but not necessarily thrive. I really, really to jeopardize my cat's health, but I really, really do not want to kill countless animals for the sake of one.
Okay, so I was really excited when I found out about vegan food for domesticated animals. There's like a common consensus that dogs can have a vegetarian/vegan diet no problem, but obviously there's a huge controversy for cats, what with them being obligate carnivores. There are a lot of people who are saying that cats can do really well on vegan diet, but there are also a lot of people saying that cats shouldn't be and can't. I mean like there's one side of internet comments saying that you're a terrible veg*n/vegan if you feed your pets animals, even going so far as to say that you aren't a real vegan. And then there's the other side saying that you're a terrible pet parent (idk saying "owner" sounds weird and might offend some people?) if you deny your cats food, even going so far as to say that you are forcing your beliefs on your pets and are doing animal cruelty. But there's stories of cats who live completely normal lives and such on vegan diets. And if I could rescue cats and not kill any animals in their name, it just seems like a win-win.
I really want to have vegan cats, but I have serious doubts about it. There's barely any information that I can find. The more videos and articles I do find have me swaying from one side to the other. There's just not enough science for me to be sure that I am not making my cat unhealthy or shortening her life, but I can't stand the thought of all the animals whose deaths and torture I'll be participating in for 15-20 years for 1-3 beings. I really don't know what to do here. I don't want to compromise the health of my cat (and future cats) but I don't want to kill or hurt animals.
If you all could weigh in and things that would be so great.
Please tell me any recommendations you have for vegan and non-vegan cat food, too, if you have a cat, or what you feed your cat.
If you have any articles or reliable sources, that would really help a lot, as well.
*Sigh* It's time like these that I wish I weren't a cat lady but.
So yeah, sorry if this was rambly or came off weird or something, and for the lengthiness and thank you so much for reading and/or responding!! :)
 

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I don't worry too much about those who scream, cats have to eat meat, or compare domestic cats with wild cats. Pet cats have already evolved a long way, and are continuing to evolve in our care. It doesn't matter where it comes from, so long as they get the right nutrition.

I'm going through an adoption process for a kitty, and I plan to try Ami Cat Food. I'm afraid it's rather expensive though, because it's imported. Hopefully, American industry will get the message, there's a need and demand for vegan products. It has a good reputation for providing cats with all the nutrients they need. Taurine, for example- essential for cats- can now be derived from non-animal sources. And it appears many cats prefer vegan food, over traditional cat foods, maybe because its overall quality is better than the trash that goes into those other foods.

I'm going to be looking into making home-made vegan cat food too, if I can find the right ingredients.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you so much for your input! I am still a bit anxious about it, but I think I'm going to try and make my cats vegan. I'm going through an adoption process, too, at the moment! Good luck; I hope you get a really nice kitty. :)
I heard about Ami cat food and it seems really good, but it's way too expensive for me. Do you have any recommendations, besides Ami? I know Evolution and Vegecat are really popular, but wasn't there a study where they were lacking in some nutrients? Also, Evolution is a bit sketchy, right, at least the owner I think. But anyway, as long as my cats are happy and healthy, I think I'm going to give them vegan food.
Again, thank you for your reply.
 

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Cats should not be vegan. Maybe adopt a creature who can easily be vegan. Plenty of those in shelters too. Then you'd only be feeding meat to 1 cat (the one you already have).

Wet, low-carb food is best for cats. Cats typically get most of their water through food and dry food has none obviously.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Okay so after a lot of thought I am actually not going to make my cats vegan. If there was a lot of science and proof that I wouldn't be jeopardizing the health of my cats, I would definitely feed them vegan cat food. There's just too many things that can go wrong, though. I really wanted to stop my participation in the suffering and killing of animals, but I can't take the risk with them as I might end up hurting them when I was supposed to be giving them a loving home.
Thank you to Capstan and Wolfie for your thoughts.
I'll be giving my cats the best for I can for them while limiting the rest of the damage I am causing by buying cruelty-free products and becoming a vegan.
I really wish I were not such a cat lady.
Thank you.
 

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If you want a cruelty free, organic, healthy food for your cat, try Primal Raw. They have wonderful frozen and freeze dried formulas. Limited starches and zero grains provide your cat with the nutrition he needs, naturally acidic stomach for easy digestion, and naturally clean, plaque free teeth (a benefit of raising their PH levels orally by limiting starches). The guy that runs the company is crazy. I've been told he's recalled the entire line a few times simply because he found an organic supplier for some produce, and only wanted the new, organic stuff on the labels and in the foods :p I have my cat on the freeze-dried. He stopped eating the frozen after a few weeks...so now my dogs get it as a dental treat :3 If you decide to try it as a whole food, definitely transition as slowly as possible.

As far as vegan pets go, guinea pigs are the best! I've got a herd of three and we eat vegan meals together...Although theirs is really just the ingredients, and mine is actually prepared...regardless! They have very specific needs that correlate with our own,
 

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I may be late to this thread, but this is a really important topic of conversation! My partner adopted a cat before she went vegan (and before we met!) We've looked into this, just as you have, and have come to the same conclusion. I wrote more about this here:

http://www.youhippies.com/compassion-or-controversy-cats-and-vegans/

This is a heavy weight on our shoulders. Why should we chose cats over the other animals we feed them? I mean, not only are we directly supporting intentional slaughter, but we're also intervening with natural selection by favoring animals that eat other animals. Now, I'm not saying that we should get rid of obligate carnivores, I'm just saying that it may be hypocritical of us to be supporting them.

It's a challenge for us because Mau was adopted prior to these things, and it would also be hypocritical of us to get rid of her because we do wish to care for animals. We try to find as many humanely-raised products as we can, but it is unfortunately a small market.

I'd love to keep this thread alive. We would love to hear how other vegan cat guardians cope with this situation. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
 

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Hello Head and Heart,

I am a bit late to this conversation, but I thought you might find it enlightening to hear a couple of sides to the story. My cat Empress was given to me by a friend - he found himself with too many cats (all rescues) and felt he needed to re-home a couple. He had raised Empress from a kitten and she was 5 when I adopted her. He feeds his cats almost an entirely Vegan diet - they get occasional canned (meat) cat food as a treat, or when he needs to distract them to catch them and put them in carriers for a trip to the vet! He gives them Evolution dry food, and he makes their wet food - a combination of lentils and I think rice (?) plus an added feline supplement that contains all the necessary vitamins and such, taurine, etc. Supposedly the supplement is approved by some cat health association. His cats are all healthy and well-adjusted, at a good weight, etc. So it *can* be done.

I gave it some thought and decided *not* to keep Empress on that diet. First, only one place in town sells Evolution, and I was afraid I would not be able to get there to buy it as often as needed, or the company would go out of business, quit carrying it, etc. Sometimes, transitioning a cat to a different food is hard to do, and I did not want to be faced with doing it in a crisis where it would have to be done abruptly. I was also a bit concerned about the cost because I knew my job might be in jeopardy, so the cost of the food plus the 45 minute drive (one way) to the store to buy the food was a concern. Second, as to making her wet food, it's a wonderful idea - my buddy has a very flexible schedule and he can do that at the drop of a hat. I cannot. I can't let my pet go hungry at times that I just can't make the schedule work to cook her food.

So I transitioned her to Science Diet, which several of my friends use (including my Vegan friends) - their cats are equally happy and healthy going on many years. Last winter, Empress had put on some weight, and the vet recommended I start giving her canned food, to help the weight issue and also to help protect her kidneys, so now I give her ProPlan. She has slimmed down a bit, not as much as I'd like. Ironically, she also doesn't like the canned food as much as I thought she would. She will eat it, but she very seldom just guzzles it down!

So, I think it's possible to have a Vegan cat, but it takes very serious diligence and care. I also think there is a lot of wisdom in sticking with the long-time, "proven" diet, for the sake the animal that you've pledged to care for. Someday, I hope we will have greater availability of well-studied, proven Vegan products for our animals, but we're not there yet.

Good luck with your new animals!
 

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Isn't this such a tricky topic? It seems like vegans are always on one side or the other "you HAVE to feed your cat meat" or "you HAVE to feed your cat vegan," so it was good to read through a couple replies on here and see there were responses where people could see both sides of the issue.

I wish that there was better research about, and more availability of vegan cat food. I really applaud people who have healthy cats on vegan diets, but I'm not against cats eating meat, either. I feed my cat meat. It's what I can trust with what I can afford. I feed a diet of all canned food, plus regular dry cat food instead of treats. He also sometimes gets table scraps if my boyfriend is cooking with meat, although that isn't very often.

I think it is always an interesting issue when vegans have pets that are either typically fed meat (like cats, dogs, or fish), or pretty much NEED to be fed meat (like snakes). I'm interested in seeing what others do as well.
 

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I wish that there was better research about, and more availability of vegan cat food. I really applaud people who have healthy cats on vegan diets, but I'm not against cats eating meat, either.
There are studies that conclude that particular products are not nutritionally adequate. "theheadandtheheart" even mentioned them in once of their posts above. Cats are considered "obligate carnivores," so they should be classified along with the snake (in your comparison). I talked a bit more about why science currently requires cats to consume meat in the link I shared above.

As for the people with healthy cats on vegan diets, there are reasons to be skeptical with any anecdotal evidence. Some believe that cats may be predating outdoors to get their dietary requirements. I think this is an interesting topic itself: Should we give cats the freedom and responsibility to feed themselves? Basically, I have not witnessed anyone who claims their cat is healthy on a vegan diet give appropriate/satisfactory evidence to support it. Of course, I wish it to be true!!!

Do you know of any good sources of evidence that cats may, in fact, thrive on an exclusively plant-based diet? Thanks for contributing to the conversation!
 

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:(

Hello! I've been vegan for 22 years and I beg you please don't feed your cat a vegan diet. We lost a cat at 10 years old because we fed her Ami cat food (evolution prior to that), but vegan her whole life. I feel so guilty for putting my morals on our sweet little cat, makes me cry just thinking about it. Our vet is vegan as well and she convinced us to try grain-free food for our other 3 cats after losing our beloved kitty. They are now SO healthy on a grain free meat diet. They don't throw-up anymore, yay! And their bodies have changed tremendously and one has reversed her renal kidney issues!!! I hate feeding them meat, but I know they will slowly die if I feed them vegan food. It's a battle you can't win unfortunately. Dogs can live on a vegetarian diet, cats cannot. :( I wish this weren't true! Best of luck to all of you.
 

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Isn't this such a tricky topic? It seems like vegans are always on one side or the other "you HAVE to feed your cat meat" or "you HAVE to feed your cat vegan," so it was good to read through a couple replies on here and see there were responses where people could see both sides of the issue.
If I had a cat, the only "side" I would be on would be that of the cat, in other words "what is unequivically best for the cat?" My own personal philosophy of veganism doesn't enter the equation. If I'm not prepared to feed a naturally carnivorous animal under my care and protection, a "carnivorous diet", then I shouldn't have got the cat. Trying to feed it a total plant food diet because that's what I (an omnivore) eat as a vegan, seems rather selfish to me. Sorry if I seem blunt but projecting my philosophy/my diet, onto a cat seems neither healthy nor respectful for the cat. :(
 

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Cats need meat. Biologically they must eat meat. Your cat is under your care and you should put his needs before your own diet/ethics. He is a carnivore it is natural for him to eat meat. Please don't feed your cat a vegan diet it is not right!
 

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I just give my cat his usual dry food....

And when I make a salad for myself I leave a little bit of greens on the side for him because I know he likes to steal from my bowl lol.
 

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I just give my cat his usual dry food....

And when I make a salad for myself I leave a little bit of greens on the side for him because I know he likes to steal from my bowl lol.
Haha, no way! Mau shows absolutely no interest in our food, ever. Although, she has nibbled on some lettuce before :)

 

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Cats eat grass when feeling unwell to vomit: It's because cats' systems do not have the correct enzymes to digest plant matter. By regurgitating grass, the cat also expels other indigestible items she may have eaten — which could include fur balls from grooming, or feathers and bones from any prey she has consumed.

Cats are obligate carnivores. Predators. end of.
 

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We lost a cat at 10 years old because we fed her Ami cat food (evolution prior to that), but vegan her whole life.
LovesAmes, I am so sorry to hear this about your cat. Thanks for sharing your experience. I have not know very many people who had their cats on a Vegan diet, and yours is the first negative experience (and also, I think yours is probably the longest-term experience, at 10 years). Maybe there *is* a way cats can be Vegan, but I don't think it's been found yet. Until then, Empress will be getting meat, and so will any other cat I have in my home.
 

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Get rabbits, they are vegetarians. ^.^


But on the topic of cats, I'd say read the studies and make a decision based on those. Don't listen to manufacturer websites, they will only promote what they sell regardless of it being safe or not.
 

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I have a friend who's been vegan for years (maybe more than 10 at this point) and she's a vet surgical tech. She makes food at home for her cats and dog, and she puts meat in all their foods. I think she gets the meat from a local farm her company services.

I will give a +1 for guinea pigs as vegan pets. I had two really wonderful ones for over 5 years.
 
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