TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Nutrition › Moral Dilemma Concerning Pet Foods
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Moral Dilemma Concerning Pet Foods

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Are there any vegetarian protein sources beside corn and wheat gluten meal???

My mother is thinking about owning a cat, but she is Buddhist and so she is vegetarian

How about byproducts??? I know they are not very good for cats....but from a Buddhist standpoint byproducts would almost be vegetarian, since the animal suffered and died for its meat, not for its byproducts.

Buddhists are against meat because animals suffer and die for their meat. So if my mother feed her cats byproducts it would probably be morally acceptable for her since the animals did not suffer and die for their byproducts.

Wouldn't using by-products in cat food be some form of recycling??? Once an animal is sacrificed for humanity, wouldn't it be more noble if the sacrifice is complete??? If all the parts of animal are used and nothing is wasted, would the animal's life had been worth more, and thus the animal would be deemed more noble???

Humans may not regard those lives as noble (but then, humanity is overrated ). That does not change the fact that the life of an animal is often more noble than the life of a human.

I would like a debate on the recycling of animal parts. I think it is not very environmental and compassionate to kill an animal and not use all parts of an animal. Where would those animal parts be without the pet food/farm animal feed industery???

I would also like a discussion on the uses of animal by-products. How would humans be able to use all parts of an animal efficiently without putting animal by-products in pet food??? Personally, I would like them to be recycled back to the earth as fertilizers, but with the low price of organo-phosphate fertilizers it is just not possible in a capitalistic nation, especially with the increase in transportation prices (with gas prices being all-time high ). I would also prefer some animal by-products to be recycled through the glue industery.

In Taiwan, China, Korea,Thailand, and Indonesia people often eat all parts of animals. It is as much utilitanian as according to personal beliefs. The religion and cultural context of those nations would never allow animals to go to waste. In America there seems to be a cultural stigma against people eating all parts of an animal.
post #2 of 19
By-products are not considered desirable ingredients in cat food.
Cat are carnivors so vegetarian diet is not good for them. There are other pets such as parrots that are vegetarians. Maybe your mother should consider getting a parrot as a pet.
post #3 of 19
I would high suggest another pet since cats are obligate(sp?) carnivores... A vegitarian diet could drastically shorten a cats life span , and possibley kill it... The only way I would say you could recyle by products is in my garden... by products are heads feet and internal organs this can include underdeveloped eggs.... I do understand using the whole animals the american indiginous people did just that but they used pelts for clothes / housing bones for housing structure not for animal feed ... Soy is another veggie protein but not a great thing for most cats

Maybe your mother would like a dog they are omnivores like humans can live on veggie matter... and there are several commercial diets avail
post #4 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by elizwithcat
By-products are not considered desirable ingredients in cat food.
Cat are carnivors so vegetarian diet is not good for them. There are other pets such as parrots that are vegetarians. Maybe your mother should consider getting a parrot as a pet.

You can not change the instinct and needs of a cat to fit your moral beliefs.

I think you are going to find in your debate that the views are cultural. A majority of the people here in America, rather a majority of the ones here on TCS, are going to agree that by products are not desired in their pets food. Granted everyone does not have access to ultra premium foods, they would in most cases be the preference. In other countries, depending on where you are, it may be considered ok. It would all depend on your culture. (I am trying my best to phrase this in a way that I am not making generalizations).
Personally, I just want the best for Dori. I drive 45 minutes away in rush hour traffic to buy the food I feel is best for her. Even if I were to decide to become a vegetarian, and I have considered, I would not force my views or beliefs on my cat. I don't feel it is natural to feed my cat a vegetarian diet and I definately don't feel that it is acceptable to feed her a diet that consists entirely of the "leftovers" of animals that are not even acceptable for us to eat.
post #5 of 19
There are two things to consider - the biological needs and the ethical questions. The biological come first - what does your cat need in order to survive, and only once you answer that question satisfactorily can you go on to ask where can you supply those needs in the most morally acceptable way.

I think every study I have ever seen says that cats, unlike dogs, cannot survive on a vegetarian diet as their systems do not process chlorophyll. It is why cats eat grass - in order to help them vomit up hairballs or other unacceptable substances. They also need minerals etc that are only available in animal matter. So if a cat must be a carnivore then you have to decide how to best give it a satisfactory diet. That is an individual question that is influenced by your beliefs and pocket, and the culture in which you live. I know Buddhists who have cats and feed them as most of us would, on cat food or other animal-based materials.
post #6 of 19
Humans can be Buddhists but cats cannot choose to be Buddhist, nor can they practice it, so forcing a cat to conform to the religious beliefs of a human just doesn't make any sense. But treating an animal humanely is both sensible and moral. Depriving a cat of animal protein is a form of animal abuse since the cat's health would suffer greatly. He or she would become blind, and develop heart problems, and in time likely die an early death after much suffering. This sounds anti-thetical to Buddhist beliefs.

If you can even find a cat food that's only animal protein is derived solely from by-products may prove difficult because even the lowest quality cat foods usually have at least some meat that is not "by-product" in nature. But assuming you can find a food so low in quality that it has only by-products, do you really think it is moral to force this on a cat against its will? Your mom isn't buying meat for herself, she would be buying it for an animal that MUST eat it to live, and has NO CHOICE but to eat what's provided. Also, if you find this awful food, it will likely be a dry food, so now she's also going to deprive her cat of the food the cat evolved to eat - namely wet food like mice etc.

The idea that using meat by-products is more moral because "from a Buddhist standpoint byproducts would almost be vegetarian, since the animal suffered and died for its meat, not for its byproducts." is suspect because the animal didn't necessarily die for its meat, it may have died for its by-products which is what the Cheapo Cat food company wants. It's very possible that the animal was raised for human consumption, but was too ill to be put into the food supply and then the entire animal, meat and by-products was sold to the pet food industry. Somehow if the animal suffered and died for its by-products just doesn't sound vegetarian to me.

If you and your mom want to be moral and ethical with respect to the feeding of a cat, I would suggest, and I would hope that Buddhist teachings would agree, that you are obligated to do what's best for the cat. If you don't agree then maybe she should consider an animal more in keeping with her own beliefs.

A bird perhaps.
post #7 of 19
Excellent points have been made. I would only like to add that by-products are not what they sound like..it is not a question of the entire animal being used/recycled, the question is the quality/health of those by-products and how they are obtained. I have no problem when I think of a field mouse and all it's parts, I do have a problem when we are talking body parts chemically rendered, mixed with bloody sawdust etc.

The other point I would make is that it is a simply fact of a cat's chemistry - please click here and read all of this article as it explains some key differences between dogs and cats, carnivore vs omnivore, and some of the chemistry of cats (i.e. "they can not make their own Arachidonic Acid even in the presence of adequate linoleic acid." quote is from this article).
post #8 of 19
Pat, thank you for that article. It was very informative
post #9 of 19
If your mother gets a cat, she can't really avoid feeding meat.

Depending on her budget, she could always make homemade cat food with free-range meat. Those animals are still killed but at least they are treated more humanely before they die.

Or else she could look into getting another type of pet. A rabbit could be an option. They can easily be litter trained and run loose in the house (or part of the house) with proper precautions. And depending on where she is located, she can probably find homeless rabbits at local shelters.
Dogs can do well on a vegetarian diet, I think. That's another option.

Good luck to your mom in her decision.
post #10 of 19
I think most of what has been said is what needed to be said. I agree, perhaps another animal would be the way for your mom to go. Cats are carnivores, not by choice, by nature and by the way they were made. To not allow them what they need by law of nature, is IMO cruel. Humans can choose relgion, food, and so forth..all on their own free will. Cats can not. and its not fair to make them conform.
post #11 of 19
I agree with everything said here already, and really have nothing to add except that birds are not always the best choice, they require a lot more than the average person can give them.
Intellectually, they are like having two and three year old humans around that never grow up, they need the same sort of commitment and stimuli that a two or three year old human needs.

Rabbits are a great choice, care level is about the same as a cat's, personality wise they can be very similar as well.
post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by stephenq
Humans can be Buddhists but cats cannot choose to be Buddhist, nor can they practice it, so forcing a cat to conform to the religious beliefs of a human just doesn't make any sense. But treating an animal humanely is both sensible and moral. Depriving a cat of animal protein is a form of animal abuse since the cat's health would suffer greatly. He or she would become blind, and develop heart problems, and in time likely die an early death after much suffering. This sounds anti-thetical to Buddhist beliefs.
I'm a vegan but there's no way I would force my kitty to eat only plant sources. I want her to be healthy and to live a long time. She's a predator and a carnivore and that can't be changed. I feed her food with no by products because the better the quality, the better the nutrition.
post #13 of 19
If someone refuses to feed their cat(s) the type of food (or as close as possible) that nature intended (definantly NOT veggies, and NOT gluten), then this person has a moral obligation NOT to own any cats. Tell your mother this, she ought to understand.
post #14 of 19
Yes, it has all been said. Cats are carnivores by nature and meat is necessary for their survival. If this bothers your mother, I'd suggest she pick a different animal for a pet.

Hope it all works out!
post #15 of 19
Please tell her to adopt a rabbit or a guinea pig if she would like a vegetarian animal. Cats cannot eat vegetarian diets. Like Consumercity, I used to be a vegan, at no point did I ever force that diet on my cat Abigail. That would have been animal abuse. My rabbit eats hay, hay pellets, lots of greens, fruits, and other veggies. She can't eat meat as she's a herbivore. Guinea pigs and rats are also excellent pets and do not eat meat.
post #16 of 19
i would worry that if i wasnt supplying the meat my cat would get her own fresh supply by hunting which would be worse imho
post #17 of 19
*sigh* This reminds me of the time when my parents where Jehovah's witnesses, and they had been told that they should pick a cat food that didn't contain any blood. I mean, come on! What are you gonna do? Shun lions because they eat a zebra?
post #18 of 19
I have to agree with all the replies, and I hope that you will advise your mom to get some other animal for a pet. Good luck!
post #19 of 19
I totally agree with everything that was said here, all said very well, and was not mean.

I would like to add one small thing, rabbits do sometimes need meat. This is if you have a doe that is pregnant. If she does not eat some form of meat and her diet consists of alfalfa then she cannot produce the right amount of milk for her young. She will eat her babies if she does not have protien. We found this out after a couple of eaten litters (not a pretty thing to see). A slice of bacon every couple of days usually works. This only applies to pregnant or nursing does, which isnt a problem if you are not breeding.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Cat Nutrition
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Nutrition › Moral Dilemma Concerning Pet Foods