Share your story: Who has a vegan cat? »
Cool “delux starter kit” from vegancats.com
Always a controversial topic, let’s discuss vegan cats. I want to adopt some cats, but I’m torn about what to feed them. I don’t want them to get sick but I don’t want to pay for someone to kill animals so I can feed my animals! And whenever we talk about vegan cats, a million people (generally with no veterinary or nutrition background, of course) say it’s unhealthy. But one reader was like, “um, that’s what everyone says about vegan people, and it’s false.” So maybe it is just ignorance that makes me question the health of feeding a cat vegan food? I mean, they do have vegan cat foods that account for vitamin A and taurine.
I’ve been reading up on vegan cats and PETA had this to say:
Cats are often more finicky than dogs, and their nutritional requirements are more complicated. Cats need a considerable amount of vitamin A, which they cannot biosynthesize from carotene, as dogs and humans do. Insufficient amounts may cause loss of hearing as well as problems with skin, bones, and intestinal and reproductive systems. Cats also need taurine. A feline lacking taurine can lose eyesight and could develop cardiomyopathy. Commercial pet-food companies often add taurine obtained from mollusks. James Peden found vegetarian sources of both taurine and vitamin A, plus arachidonic acid, another essential feline nutrient. He then developed veterinarian-approved supplements Vegecat™ and Vegekit™ to add to his recipes.
Maybe it’s like anything else: You have to be diligent about your pet’s health and make sure they are getting all the proper nutrients. I would do that even if I wasn’t vegan!
My ultimate question: Who has a vegan cat? Can you share your experiences? I also have to admit I’m worried about being bullied by my vet! Has anyone found a supportive vet?
And please hold the “it’s not natural!!!” comments. Going to the grocery store and buying commercial cat food is far from “natural.”
Ask a Vegansaur: Vol. 04 »
This is how I’ve felt for the past week. I pretty much had the plague, yo, but today I finally left the house after about a week in seclusion and had no excuse not to write another edition of Ask a Vegansaur.
Lenore asks: My vet told me that unlike dogs, cats are obligate carnivores and cannot survive or be healthy on a vegan diet. Do you know if this is true? Do most vegans who have cats feed them a vegan diet? Thank you.
Thank YOU, Lenore, for being so polite! This is a controversial subject. For my part, I feed my cat a very fishy diet because that’s precisely what our veterinarian said. Every vegan I know who provides for a cat does the same. According to some sources, a vegetarian or vegan diet fails to provide the nutrients cats need while the makers of vegan cat foods tend to disagree. Interests on the food companies’ side are obvious, and only anecdotal evidence supports the hypothesis that cats can be healthy on veg diets. I suggest following your vet’s instructions to keep your kitty healthy. Although the process of making carnivorous cat food is no better than that of harvesting meat for human consumption, once you sign on to take care of another animal, he or she should be your priority above the other animals in the world. Not to say that anyone should ignore them, but I think you get the point. On the other hand, dogs can be vegetarian, and rabbits, guinea pigs, and the like are veg by nature. If you’re considering adopting a furbaby but don’t want to feed him or her meat, consider these choices.
Nicole asks: I recently transitioned from vegetarian to vegan. I am having trouble finding products other than food that are vegan (i.e., makeup, chapstick, body/face washes) and was wondering if you could lend me a hand? Thanks!
Sure thing, Nicole! Here’s a list of companies that don’t test on animals, and here’s a list of companies that do. Looking for a specific company? Use this tool to search for it. If you’re not sure, take a gander at the list of ingredients on your current products. Watch out for these ingredients. Does that seem overwhelming? Take a deep breath! You’ll be fine! You’re just starting, so you’ll get more practice in identifying vegan and non-vegan items as time goes on. Beauty tip: Dr. Bronner’s Magic All-One soap works for my shower, cleaning, and even (in a pinch) toothbrushing needs, and Tom’s of Maine makes good toothpaste and deodorant. Finally, How It All Vegan! contains a variety of recipes for homemade cruelty-free beauty products.
Amanda asks: I think I accidentally ate meat at a restaurant outside of the U.S. Am I still a vegetarian?
Only if you want to be! Seriously, people should not be punished for true accidents — that is, incidents that result from no fault of their own. You’re away from home, and you’re starving. You do your best to ask what’s in your food, but the local language might not be your native one. You take a bite, you’re not sure, you eat it anyway because it’s food and it’s there. I can’t hate on you for that. Even the purest, most perfect vegans make mistakes. How you recover from them is most important.
Want to Ask a Vegansaur a question? Email me, and try not to be a jerk!
[Photo credit: Rex Features]