vegansaurus!

05/10/2012

Follow-up: What should we feed our cats?  »

My cat now eats lots of fish.

A couple months ago, in the wake of a late-night vet visit, I asked what kind of wet food I should be feeding my cat. Fifty-five comments, three emails, and several experiments later, I can report the following:

  1. Vegansaurus readers are awesome! Thanks so much for all your thoughtful, insightful comments. I highly recommend anyone with or considering a cat read the thread.
  2. Zuki is feeling much better.
  3. Boulder, CO, where I am lucky enough to work, has two hippie pet stores in the same shopping center (Only Natural Pets and Whole Pets). Obviously there’s a Whole Foods and a bike shop there as well. It’s ridic, like the town’s trying to make fun of itself. How do these stores not put each other out of business? They’re 100 feet apart!!
  4. My cat doesn’t like nice things. First, she rejected a fancy heated cat bed. Now, she won’t go anywhere near the lovely raindrop water fountain we got her (I think the low hum bugs her?). Luckily, the store has a fantastic return policy. Move four times in a summer and she comes out unfazed, but plug in a trickly water burble that every other pet on the planet goes ga-ga for and it’s like someone turned on a vacuum cleaner or something.
  5. It’s really hard to find solid information about where the meat in pet food is sourced. Can labels? No way. Company websites? As if. The guy at Only Natural Pets (a vet tech at a holistic vet for 6 years, he claimed) was really informative and very nice when I told him I was a vegan on a mission, but I only trust him about 60% of the way. That said, his top brands for conscientious sourcing: Addiction, ZiwiPeak, Evangers.
  6. My husband, my cat, and I have settled on what we think is our best option for feeding the cat wet food: Evangers Whole Mackerel with Gravy. We are now purchasing it by the case, and Zuki is a fishatarian. 

Here’s why we chose the Evangers:

  • It’s all fish, and wild-caught at that (Evangers told me it comes from the Pacific Ocean). Thus the suffering packaged in our 100% recyclable steel cans is much less than say, food with factory-farmed pigs or even cows or chicken. Environmentally, mackerel is a “species of least concern" on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species [Ed note: damn IUCN, you’re cold!].
  • It’s produced in the USA. The foods from New Zealand seem to be the very most sustainable/responsible, but they’re from New Zealand. Not only is that a long-ass way to ship pet food, it makes it really, really expensive.*
  • Zuki likes it. Obviously key. And because it’s whole fish, I like to pretend she’s having a fun cat experience getting to devour something. 
Anyway, there you have it. I still wish I could go back to the easy days of no-mess dry food, but I’m getting used to scooping out little fishes, and the cat seems much happier and healthier. 
Bizarre side effect: Now that she’s more hydrated, she drools when she’s happy. Drip, drip, drip. Weird. But cute. But also gross.
Thanks again to everyone for their thoughts, let me know what you think of our solution!

*Not that Evanger’s is cheap: It’s costing us about $1.13 a day to feed the cat now. It was WAY cheaper with dry food.

01/06/2012

My friend’s cat Romulus likes her heated cat bed.

Vegans love cats, right? And cats love snuggling into warm little balls. So when my cat Zuki met her first Colorado winter and started living next to our radiators like her life depended on it, I began exploring how to keep her warm and happy even when my lap was at work all day. A friend from Chicago recommended a heated cat bed. Kitty bliss! I would be the best cat owner ever!

The nice folks at K&H liked Vegansaurus enough to send me one to try, and thus began my journey of acceptance that my cat is a freak. Because no matter what I tried, be it kibble or cat nip or sweaters, nothing could convince her that the green plush disk with the 4-watt heating pad tucked inside was anything other than a portal to hell. She didn’t just not like it, she hated it with a passion.


"Radiators are far superior to THAT thing!"

Luckily I found another, saner cat to test the bed. My friend Steph reports, with evidence (see video above), that Romulus is a fan.

The bed is somewhat pricey ($40 on Amazon), but it should last for years, and you do want your cat to be happy, don’t you? The heater is pretty mellow—under the bed gets warm, but the surface of the cushioning isn’t actually hot to the touch until the cat’s body helps insulate it. If your cat has a history of nestling in things, she’ll probably like it. If not, don’t bother. But consider moving somewhere with radiators.

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