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Vegetarian Kitty

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I live a vegan lifestyle, and would like to switch my girls to a vegetarian lifestyle, too, but have heard that it is hard to have cats on a veggie diet. Can anyone give me information on where I can get adequate food for them and what I should do to make the switch successful? One of my babies (two live with me) has a very sensitive tummy.
P.S. I wrote in Feb about Delph and Josie being very sick - they are very healthy again and have been, so thanks to all of you who responded.
post #2 of 14
disclaimer-I am not a vet, nor pretend to be-disclaimer.

I remember reading a book written by a cat vet about some of the more interesting cases he'd handled, and one was a vegetarian cat. Though I can't remember all of the details, it came down to the fact that a vegetarian diet is deadly for cats. Their bodies are unable to make certain amino acids, and these are found in meat and not veggies. Plus, cats are carnivores, and have evolved to eat meat, with an occasional veggie treat.

I'm sure that others here have much more information and experience, but I would seriously research this before putting your cat on a vegetarian diet.
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
thanks for your reply. i've heard the same thing, which is why i'm asking around. i've also heard, though, that i could purchase something to add to their food that would supply them with the necessary things to keep them healthy. thanks.
post #4 of 14
Is taurine the additive you were thinking of? I believe that's the one cat's can't make on their own. I know Ivo's kitty milk advertises that it has taurine added.
post #5 of 14
Cats need a considerable amount of vitamin A, which is important in the production of carotene. 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 molluscs. Arachidonic acid, another essential feline nutrient.
post #6 of 14
PS: Also might want to give this site a look see

post #7 of 14
Cats cannot live a healthy life as vegetarians. Vegetarian diets cannot provide cats with vitamin a, fatty acids, taurine and niacin, all things a cat needs to be healthy. If a cat seems fine on a vegetarian diet there is no way of knowing the long term health effects will be.

As far as I know there isn't a supplement on the market that can supply your cat with his nutrient needs. Seeing as the things your cat needs come from animals it would be kind of silly to put him on a vegetarian diet and then to supplement him with nutrients from animals...

I'm glad you decided to ask about this type of diet before putting your cat on it.
post #8 of 14
I can understand your wish to not buy meat to support the industry, because I'm a vegetarian myself (not a vegan, though). I have two dogs and two cats, and since they are all carnivores, I wouldn't consider feeding them a vegetarian diet. It's just not fair to impose my views on animals who are meant to eat meat, not vegetables, fruits or grains, to make them sick or unhealthy because of my ethics or whatever you wish to call it. In taking a carnivore as a pet, I have accepted that he/she will eat meat, no matter what my views on eating meat are. There are some recipies etc for vegetarian diets for cats and dogs, but no matter what they say, these are not proper nutrition for carnivores, and never will be.

If it makes it any easier on you, you can make your cat's food yourself, this way you can make sure that the meat is organic, the animals raised in proper circumstances and treated humanely. The commercial foods available use very questionable ingredients, but I won't say any more about that since it is a very controversial topic. You will find lots of information on the net about it if you are interested.
post #9 of 14
You might try finding info on a holistic vet, and see what they have to say.

My cat is recently diagnosed with Diabetes, and all the info I have gotten is that we must switch to a high protein, low carb diet (which means more meat, less grains and by-products found in most commercial food). There are some brands like Wellness, Innova and PetGuard that even use human-grade ingredients, not the "beaks and feet" you hear about in other food.

post #10 of 14
Originally posted by EDDorsey
My cat is recently diagnosed with Diabetes, and all the info I have gotten is that we must switch to a high protein, low carb diet ...
ED, my response to you has nothing to do with the topic of this thread, so I apologize in advance, but I felt I must address your comment above ...

Make sure you get a clean bill of health on your diabetic cat's kidney function BEFORE you switch to a higher protein diet. Protein is harder to process than excess glucose and if your kitty's kidneys are in any way compromised, this may not be the best advice for you.

There was a study done sometime back about high protein diets, but after reading it for myself, I found the evidence to be inconclusive at best. I tried the high-quality protein diet (homemade and commercial) for a while with my own diabetic cat, and found that higher ~fiber~ intake actually decreased the glucose levels better than higher protein in my cat. I do agree that lower carbs is the way to go, as most of the carbs used in cat food rate extremely high on the glycemic index.

I realize you didn't ask for it and that it is extremely off-topic here, but my advice to anyone with a newly diagnosed diabetic feline is always to learn ALL you can about the disease. Question everything and everybody who gives you advice - like me - because what works for one diabetic cat may not always work for others.

My best to you in treating your sugar-cat,

Gaye Flagg
post #11 of 14

Thanks for the info. I have found an excellent website for diabetic cats, especially the message board at felinediabetes.com. Please check it out, your input would be greatly welcomed!!!!

post #12 of 14
something like this came up in my biology class abouta month ago. My teacher said that carnivorous animals, like cats, have a less complex digestive system than herbivores and omnivores. As a result, they can't break down plants and veggies. Just thought I'd mention that.
post #13 of 14
Nathalie, that is true. In order to get nutrients from plants, the cell walls need to be broken down. These cell walls that are made of cellulose can be broken down in two ways. The first way is to chew well, with molars such as we humans have, and with a lower jaw that moves from side to side. Cats (or dogs)do not have these kind of teeth or jaws, they have pointy molars that are made for cutting off a piece of meat to swallow. The second way to break down molars is by cellulase, an enzyme (I think) that breaks down the cellulose of plants' cell walls. Cats do not have this either (nor do people). Thus cats are unable to get many nutrients from plants or vegetables, if they are served in pieces. They can get some nutrition from them if the vegetables are cooked, which of course in itself destroys many nutrients. The vegetables can also be made into a mush, not just grated, but pureed, which makes the nutrients available. However, since we know that cats cannot get nutrition from vegetables as is, it is quite clear that this is not what they were meant to eat, and thus a diet consisting of plants and vegetables is not an optimal diet for them.
post #14 of 14
You cannot go against nature. Cats are carnivores and thus they need meat to have optimum health. Unlike humans who can adapt to a meatless diet your cat should stay on a regular meal plan that includes cat food both dry and wet. To try anything else, is taking quite a risk IMO.
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