Is is telling peple to feed their cats meat?

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Is is telling peple to feed their cats meat?

#1 Postby michaelhobson » Fri Oct 14, 2005 11:16 am

Yes. After much consideration, we have changed our official recommendation and are now advising that female cats be given a 50-100% vegan diet and males a 25-75% vegan diet.

Because vegetable protein is less acidic than meat, a strictly vegan diet can cause a urinary pH imbalance that can lead to crystal formation, "infection" (really inflammation, but usually called by the wrong name, even by vets), and, in males, blockage of the urinary tract.

Although we have always given advice on how the risks of this happening may be mitigated while giving your cats a strictly vegan diet, we have found over the years that many people have not followed our advice very closely, their cats have developed urinary tract problems, and they have ended up switching away from vegan cat food entirely. There are also some cats who are so prone to urinary tract problems that even when all precautions are taken, their pH may still periodically become too high while on a strictly vegan diet.

Our mission as vegans in general, and as a vegan company in specific, is to limit the amount of animal suffering in the world as much as we possibly can. Although it may sound paradoxical, we have come to believe that advising people to feed their cats only a partially vegan diet will have the effect of decreasing the total amount of meat cat food being purchased by the vegan community and therefore the amount of suffering for which we are collectively responsible.

Consider, for example, a case in which a vegan feeds their cat a strictly vegan diet for one year, whereupon they experience a urinary tract incident and switch back to meat for the rest of the cat's life; for simplicity, we'll say nine years. Over the course of that 10 year period, 10% of the food eaten by that cat has been vegan, and 90% meat.

Now consider the difference if this same person had taken a more conservative approach and only attempted to make their cat half vegan in the first place, and the urinary tract problem were avoided entirely. Over the same ten year period, only 50% of the food eaten by this cat would have been meat, a decrease of 40%. Multiply a 40% decrease in meat consumed by the total number of vegans and their total number of cats, and it is easy to see how quickly this benefit would accumulate.

The ranges given (25-75% for males, 50-100% for females) are approximations based upon whether or not a given cat has had urinary tract problems in the past, what food you are giving them, and how vigilent you honestly intend to be about getting their pH checked regularly, etc.

Females-- who, due to anatomical differences, cannot become blocked and to whom urinary tract problems are therefore much less of a serious problem-- can be completely vegan unless they have a history of chronic urinary tract issues. It is strongly recommended, however, that you not feed them an entirely dry food diet if you intend to make them completely vegan (see more recommedations below).

Males who have not had urinary tract problems in the past and who eat mainly wet food (especially Vegecat pH) can probably get by at the top end of the range (50-75% vegan), while males with chronic problems and those who mainly eat kibble should remain at the low end (25-50%).

You may either alternate meat meals with vegan meals, or make every meal a combined part-meat/part-vegan meal as you prefer.

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#2 Postby madcat » Fri Oct 14, 2005 1:48 pm

Has anyone here read the obligate carnivore? Probably. Anyway, great book, written by the guy who owns In it he states the only thing that makes cats an obligate carnivore is the fact that they need taurine. He also says that vets will tell you that cats need meat because that’s what their text books say, but that the text books of feline nutrition are published by a pet food manufacturer (if I remember right). For a while I was feeding my dog their food that I got at Foodfight. One day when I went in to get it the guy who owns the place saw me looking at it and thought that I was checking out the cat food. He told me a customer of his had come in a day or two before saying that his cat had died living off that vegan food. I don’t know the specifics about it, but it came down to the fact that the food was missing something and that cat had died from a deficiency. The foodfight guy said that they were considering pulling the product (which they never did). He also told me he is friends with the vegancat guy and that this food is something that he created by himself with no help from a vet or any other trained professional.

I have a dog and a cat. I feed them regular pet food, and I know that it is made from meat. I don’t like that, but I do want my babies to be healthy. Also pet food doesn’t drive the meat industries; it is just using the leftovers. I hate the fact that it still contributes to death and discomfort of other living things but no one can live a life that doesn’t. If you use film, own a bike or car, or use the street then you are still supporting the meat industries. It makes me sad.

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#3 Postby veggymeggy » Fri Oct 14, 2005 3:20 pm

Topher and I actually had a conversation about exactly this a couple days ago, because I have 2 cats and they both eat regular meaty cat food.
I too have guilt over it, but I can't afford vegan cat food ( I can barely afford food, period, right now) and I'd be concerned for their health if they did eat vegan.
Topher made the point that our goal is to reduce suffering as much as possible, but at some point we have to accept that it's impossible to do 100%. Both of my cats would likely be dead if I hadn't taken them in, and he advised me that with as much as I do everyday to make the world better and reduce suffering that I should not worry about the cat food.
And as madcat points out, it is left overs.
It still doesn't sit well with me, and I hope in the future to have a better solution, but for is what it is.

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#4 Postby Sknydpr » Sat Oct 15, 2005 2:21 am

I would not even attempt to feed a cat a vegan diet. They're carnivores, whatever the nutritional reason for that is and, most importantly, they CANNOT make an ethical decision. So, either give them meat-based food or let them hunt their own (and I hope I don't have to tell you that I'm not condoning the latter).

People make this so complicated. This is just the flipside of the 'if animals can kill animals for food, why can't we' argument. Well, because we can make judgement calls and they can't, stupid. I love animals, but I don't consider myself one, other than biologically.

Boy, does that sound cranky or what? Think I'll go to bed.

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#5 Postby CollegeB » Sat Oct 15, 2005 2:38 am

Maybe that lab grown meat would be a good compromise.

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