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Adopting a kitten. Any Advice? Natural food/litter recommendations?

So, I may soon be sharing my home with a lovely little female kitten.  Growing up we never had a cat or dog (allergies), so my experience is limited to an iguana, gerbils, chicks and a ferret (all were beautiful creatures, just different from cats and dogs!  I did volunteer at the local shelter in junior/senior high, but still have no experience actually living with a cat).  As such I would like to be prepared before I bring the kitten home, and am hoping you might have a tip or two to share with me.  As it stands I live alone in a smallish one bedroom apartment (approx. 500 square feet), so I may need to get creative with my space, to accommodate things like a scratching post, litter box and eating area.  Please approach your replies as if you are speaking to someone who has NO experience with cats, I'll likely be ignorant to even the most seemingly self-evident detail and would appreciate the sharing of your superior feline knowledge/experiences!  ;)

Thanks in advance!!

PS.  It would be lovely to learn what expenses I should expect to incur as well, if anyone has a figure or two they can lend.
PPS.  I'm excited! ;D

Your kitten is so cute!  I am happy that you adopted.  After doing a lot of research, I decided to feed my cat the dry Evolution Pet Food http://www.petfoodshop.com/ and I buy it directly from Evolution.  While it may seem expensive at first, a 20 pound bag with shipping costs $49.00, one bag lasts me 7 months (I store it in an airtight container) so it works out to be only $7 per month.  We feed our cat the suggested serving size and she has maintained a very healthy weight (with no excess fat and no belly waddle).  Evolution pet food is vegan and contains all of the nutrients cats need (including taurine).  Cats do not need meat to survive.  As long as you feed them a nutritionally dense food that meets all of their dietary requirements (which Evolution does) cats can and will live long lives as vegans.  For some additional perspectives on vegan cat food, you can check out this old vegweb post: 
http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=11916.msg76438#msg76438

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Evolution pet food is vegan and contains all of the nutrients cats need (including taurine).  Cats do not need meat to survive.  As long as you feed them a nutritionally dense food that meets all of their dietary requirements (which Evolution does) cats can and will live long lives as vegans.  For some additional perspectives on vegan cat food, you can check out this old vegweb post: 
http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=11916.msg76438#msg76438

You offered perspectives on this type of diet for a carnivore, but I am genuinely curious as to whether you have found any hard scientific studies to support your statement that "Cats do not need meat to survive... cats can and will live long lives as vegans. "
I'd be very intersted as it is related to another topic under discussion on an animal health list I am on and I have never found any such studies myself.

Thanks!! :)
MD

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Go FUZZ!
http://nippynihon.blogspot.com/
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mahatma Gandhi:
"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." 

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I'm probably a little late in replying to this but I thought I would weigh in about the litter. We found out that the dusty sandish cat litter can get into kitty urinary tracts and crystalize... no fun for the kitten or you when you have to take him to the vet. We use a brand called, Yesterdays News, which is old newspaper pellets. They're hard and look like rabbit food kinda but they work great, there's hardly any smell and you can get them anywhere... even Walmart!

GOOD LUCK

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Idioglossia, your new baby is absolutely beautiful-- what a sweet sentient little face, and what a confident gaze.  I hope you're enjoying one another!

Great advice, everyone.  :)

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Thanks for the info, LittleCrystal.
I had a lengthy discussion with my vet about the dietary needs of cats, diets which still hold some mystery in the scientific world.  She is a major proponent of wet food for cats (she shares her downtown home with seven rescued cats), believes (well, it's more than a belief really, because she thinks this is an indisputable issue) cats are carnivores and require meat to survive--but does not promote a raw food diet, although she does admit that she can see the charm/appeal in this type of diet for cats.  Myself?  I haven't formed any hard and fast opinions yet, but I am leery of feeding kitties a vegan diet (have there even been trials done for vegan cat food?  Studies?  I would also be interested to read these!  It is fine to put forward a philosophical, ordered and seemingly logical argument, but I think we need to remember that even logically this approach can be flawed--because cats have never been exposed to this type of diet).  Vegan and raw food diets do seem philosophically wonderful to me---I study philosophy, so I would enjoy thinking about this.  However I am critical in my approach to both, as I am a student of science as well (preparing for a Naturopathic Doctor degree)... and I know both sound good, but I need to consider the diet of the _domestic_ cat historically, the length of time between their living in the wild and now.  Basically I need more information before I can begin to warm up to either, as right now I do not feel confident in either approach to feline nutrition (do I feel confident in my current cat food, Royal Canin?  I take comfort in the fact that a woman as intelligent and passionate as my vet feeds her own cats this diet, but I am still not convinced.  I monitor Kava's health as best I can, but it is difficult to tell at this stage how her diet is affecting her--especially with the stress she has experienced as a baby, being taken away from her mother so young, dumped on the shelter's doorstep in a box, moved to a big pet store and THEN moved to my home). What also concerns me is what are in the animals that we feed them in raw or cooked form (chemicals, antibiotics, etc.)... but that's another story.

Maybe it's a good thing that my budget restricts what I can feed Kava (half dry Royal Canin BabyCat and half wet Nutro Natural Choice).  At any rate, I am trying my best, and I will continue to actively research feline nutrition until I can feel at least 85% confident in what I am feeding Kava---studying western philosophy has told me that I can never be 100% certain about anything, and studying eastern philosophy has told me that I can be perfectly happy without any certainty at all---observe, smile and be happy... and stop analyzing everything into obscurity!  This is a hard habit to get out of, but I think I'm getting better at just enjoying life the way it is in the present.

jesstika:  it's never too late!  I just ran out of pine litter and am looking for another natural kitty litter now.. so you're post came just in time.  I think I may have used Yesterday's News before.. when I had a ferret (Josie died young, a testament to our ignorance surrounding exotic animals... her tumors and other medical complications are most certainly to blame on diet and improper breeding).  My vet actually mentioned it to me when Kava and I saw her just a couple of days ago.  I don't like shopping at pet chain stores (for various reasons, cruelty #1--puppy mills, for example) or wal-mart, so hopefully I'll be able to find it somewhere else.  Petcetera may carry it (the first pet chain I've liked!), though... I will have to check it out!  Thanks!

Duckalucky: we are most certainly enjoying one another.  Kava's flattered, what wonderful comments! Thank-you!

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Evolution is also a high supporter of wet food.  They recommend mixing their dry food with water (I don’t use tap water though) until it is fully absorbed (usually 10-15 minutes) and then feeding it to your cat.  Evolution (the food I feed my cat) just celebrated it's 18 year anniversary and they have cats who have lived that entire 18 years on Evolution pet food. 

I highly recommend you read Obligate Carnivore by Jed Gillan.  You can see some of what it's about by checking out his myspace page http://www.myspace.com/obligatecarnivore. 

Another book to read is Vegetarian Cats and Dogs by James Pedden.  You can read more on their website: http://www.vegepet.com/.  Here is a review of Vegetarian Cats and Dogs: "Vegetarian Cats & Dogs is a solid work of ethical integrity and is meritorious as an example of applying scientific information to progressive ends. The scientific rationale is as sound as the moral arguments are incisive and persuasive. The author is sincere in his commitment to a scientifically sound means to feed dogs and cats with superior nourishment (meeting all the known nutritional requirements for different stages of life), while at the same time reducing large scale animal suffering in agribusiness." - David H. Jaggar, MRCVS, DC

PETA also has a factsheet on Meatless Meals for Dogs and Cats:  http://www.peta.org/mc/factsheet_display.asp?ID=34

Your vet says that cats “require meat to survive” but honestly, how many cats would hunt and take down a cow or lamb or go deep sea diving for salmon?  A lot of people say that humans “require meat to survive” but we all know that’s not true either.  As long as we consume a nutritionally adequate diet, we don’t require meat anymore than cats do.  For the error in your vet’s logic, please read the following excerpt from Obligate Carnivore as found on his myspace page:

“Many people (including, unfortunately, some vegans, vegetarians and veterinarians) mistakenly believe that they are following a similar inescapable logic when they reach the conclusion that cats need to be given meat in order to fulfill their taurine requirement.  A deficiency of taurine-- or, as it is often called, "that one thing that cats are supposed to need... you know what I mean..."-- causes blindness and an ultimately fatal enlargement of the heart.  While most humans, dogs, and other mammals can synthesize adequate amounts from methionine (which naturally occurs in beans, seeds and other plants) and cysteine (obtained from oats and broccoli, among other non-meat sources), cats are lacking in this ability and so require a preformed dietary source.  Found in abundance in such appetizing places as organ meats, brains, and eyeballs, taurine is not known to occur in any plant.  Cats need taurine, the reasoning goes, and taurine can be found in meat but not in plants.  Therefore, cats need to eat meat.  (Actually, what people often say is "therefore, cats are obligate carnivores", as if this pseudo-authoritative phrasing automatically trumps "cats can be vegan" by virtue, I am guessing, of its Scrabble value alone).

                Socrates' mortality was a rock solid guarantee because the premises given essentially defined a world in which only three sets of characteristics were possible-- "mortal men", "mortal non-men", and "non-mortal non-men"-- and had completely eliminated the possibility of "non-mortal men".  The conclusion that cats need to eat meat in order to obtain dietary taurine, on the other hand, is based on no such logical necessity.  While we are given enough information to narrow down our options somewhat (we know that taurine can't be found in the produce section), we are never told that meat is the only place it can be found.  In other words, "non-meat, plant, containing taurine" has been eliminated as a possibility, but "non-meat, non-plant, containing taurine" has not.

                The mistake is in not recognizing that the world is made up of more than just animals and plants.

                Cows have-- I can't remember the exact number, so let's just say, oh, I don't know-- somewhere between three and seven hundred stomachs, and somewhere in there-- towards the mouth end, I believe-- is a resident population of naturally-occurring gut bacteria that is able to produce all of the vitamin B12 that a cow could ever need.  Other strictly herbivorous animals (e.g., rabbits) may keep their B12-producing microbes in their lower intestinal tract instead-- and so utilize the always pleasant strategy of coprophagy (phagy = the eating of, copro = shit) to get their RDA of this vitamin.

                We, however, have just the one stomach and only consume human excrement when it is covertly slipped to us by disgruntled fast food restaurant employees.  So where is our B12 coming from then?  Many vegans believe that as long as we intentionally do a bad job washing our vegetables, we'll somehow magically obtain enough from the bacteria in the remaining dirt to avoid the devastating mental deterioration that accompanies a deficiency.  Unfortunately, this has never been shown to work out in real life (and, more to the point, have you ever considered that the guy who works in the produce section might pick his nose?).  The fact of the matter is that we need a dietary source of B12 to be healthy, and that B12 is found in meat and other animal products but not reliably in plants-- not even really dirty ones.  In other words-- and try to remember this because it may show up on the SATs-- B12 is to us as taurine is to cats.  So why aren't we resigned to our own status as obligate carnivores (or at least obligate omnivores) as well?

                When it comes to B12, more of us are probably actually guilty of underestimating the difficulty of getting enough in our diets.  Crazier still than the dirt-eaters are the cheek-chewers-- those who somehow believe that we have all the B12 we need inside our own mouths already and that all we need to do to remain healthy is gnaw some off every once in a while.  Even those who are a little bit more cautious find it easy enough to point to such things as fortified soy milks, cereals and nutritional yeasts as easy alternative sources from which this nutrient can be obtained; some may even resort to such extreme measures as taking a daily vitamin pill just to be safe.  Whatever each of us does or does not do in order to ensure that we get enough B12, we all tend to at least have one thing in common: we generally don't worry about it too much.  I'll bet that the first time you heard that B12 wasn't found in plants, you thought one of two things: "So I guess I'll live without B12 then" (which is actually not too smart, although I'll confess it's what I first thought), or "Then I'd better make sure I'm getting some of the synthetic version" (which is the more intelligent, reasonable thing to think).  Either way, I'll bet you didn't think "Sounds like my hands are tied and I have to continue eating meat forever".  The fact that B12 can't be derived from plants doesn't lead any of us to the conclusion that veganism in humans is impossible.

                Compared to some of the other everyday synthetics that we completely take for granted (e.g., hormone and brain chemical analogs like Prozac, Viagra, and birth control pills), creating something as mundane as a simple vitamin from inorganic sources almost sounds like a rainy afternoon project for an eight-year-old with a chemistry set.  It would never even occur to us that it might be beyond our technological grasp.  So why would we ever think that synthetically producing a simple amino acid like taurine would be any more difficult?

                If Theodore Roosevelt had told you that taurine could only be derived from meat, he'd have been right-- but that's only because he died in 1919.  As long ago as the 1920's, the old method of isolating taurine from ox bile or abalone was already outdated, having been replaced by the more efficient process of creating it synthetically.  Those with more intelligence and/or chemistry background than I have may find it instructive to hear the most common method of taurine synthesis described as the result of synthesis by sodium sulfite sulfonation of ethylene chloride followed by ammonolysis with anhydrous NH3 (ammonia without water) or with aqueous NH3 (ammonia with water) and ammonium carbonate.  Blah, blah, blah.  I suspect that most people will agree with me in preferring the following dumbed down version instead: stuff goes in, chemical changes occur as if by magic, taurine comes out. 

                Today, taurine is a popular ingredient in energy drinks and bodybuilding supplements, and-- despite the nasty rumor that "Red Bull" got its name because its taurine is derived from bull testicles-- it should be unsurprising that most companies use the cheaper and more readily available synthetic form.  (Actually, the word "taurine" means "of or like a bull"-- just as "bovine" means "of or like a cow"-- so the brand name makes a lot of sense even without resorting to the bizarre testicle theory).  Of course, taurine is a nonessential amino acid for humans and there are varying opinions on what it actually does for us (ranging from "miraculously curing all cardiovascular problems, alcoholism, and diabetes", to "possible mild placebo effect among certain highly suggestible individuals").  I'm not an expert, but the only noticeable effect on humans I've ever observed is its remarkable ability to make them spend way too much on teeny tiny cans of crappy-tasting soda.  Nonetheless, I hope the availability of synthetic taurine since the Woodrow Wilson administration, coupled with the ubiquity of products containing it on store shelves all around us today, is sufficient to erase any lingering "taurine can only be found in meat" nonsense.  But I have to concede that none of this is a guarantee that the synthetic form will be metabolized by cats as efficiently as that which naturally occurs.

                Many vets-- those that are even aware that synthetic taurine exists at all, that is (and many do not, which is a scary thing)-- will raise this as an objection.  To be able to say with confidence that synthetic taurine is adequate we'd want to be able to look at a large number of cats that have been fed synthetic taurine over a lifetime.  Which is an easier sample to come by than they might imagine:

                The greatest irony in this whole foolish taurine issue is the simple fact that most cats living today have been relying on synthetic taurine all of their lives anyway!

                In the late 1980's, tens of thousands of regular old meat-eating cats were dying mysteriously each year from dilated cardiomyopathy (enlargement of the heart).  Although these cats were far from vegan-- they were being given a variety of popular brands of meat-based cat food, including many whose commercials you have seen and probably know by (enlarged?) heart-- it was ultimately traced to a deficiency of taurine.  At first glance, this seems counterintuitive: taurine, after all, is supposed to be found in meat-- in fact, isn't that the whole reason why cats aren't supposed to be vegan in the first place?

                The problem is that while historically, in nature, cats had no trouble deriving plenty of taurine from meat, historically, in nature, the "meat" they were eating was the whole bodies of raw, freshly-killed rodents, birds and insects with bellies full of enzymes.  Whereas now "meat" refers to the byproducts of the animal slaughter industry, along with other assorted odds and ends, that have been mixed together and rendered at an extremely high temperature.  Just as how soaking your laundry in hot water instead of cold causes blood stains to set, the high temperature of the rendering process was causing whatever taurine was present at the outset to denature. 

                These days, most manufacturers of meat brands are aware of this potential deficiency, and compensate by adding taurine supplements after rendering is complete.  These are the same companies that save money by supplementing their products with old, moldy grains and spoiled supermarket meats still in their Styrofoam packaging (and these are probably some of the least disturbing ingredients they use; I'm saving the truly shocking ones for later on)-- would it be reasonable to suppose that they've revived the more expensive, less efficient old ox bile/abalone method of taurine extraction for this purpose?  Just as you'd expect, they make use of the cheapest and most readily available form-- the synthetic one-- which is exactly the same taurine that the vegan cat food manufacturers use.”

I wish you all the best with your new kitty and hope that you find peace with whatever you decide to feed her.

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Unfortunately,  I'm not finding any evidence that Jed Gileen is a veterinary or medical doctor.  Nor does it appear that he has any scientific degree to back his statements.  Like the Socrates reference, this appears to be more of a  philisophically based comment.

Also, David Haggar is a Doctor of Chiropractic.  I'm not finding any work by him on digestion, evolution/dometication, internal structures that would give him a legitimate stance for advocating vegan diets for carnivorous animals.  Combining the DC and MCRVS makes me suspect that he is involved in animal strutural issues not visceral studies.

Below is an excerpt from the FML archives from Bob Church, zooarcheologist:
Looking at studies of zoo carnivores, especially those zoos where the
predators have a successful breeding record, you find the diet is as close
to the wild diet as possible, and it is varied.  The point here is the
feeding of a natural diet to carnivores is not only evolutionarily sensible,
but it has a proven track record.  More, many natural foods people,
including nationally known vegetarians, have realized vegetarianism is
possible for herbivores and some omnivores, but it is *unhealthy* for
carnivores.
...  Forcing a carnivore to
become a vegetarian is no different than forcing a vegetarian into
carnivory; its unfair, it ignores the unique dietary needs of a diet
speciality, and it the animal has no voice in the matter.  As animal
caretakers, we have to advocate their unspoken position, and I honestly
doubt *ANY* carnivore would choose a herbivorus diet. 

In regards to nutrients: cats and all carnivores in general, receive far more that just taurine from a natural diet.  And also to keep in mind is that though you may be able to artificially replace these nutrients, that does not mean that the animal's digestive system can utlize them.  (Similar to the differences in the human utilization of iron coming from plant sources versus animal sources.)

Take for instance, the ferret.  You can feed the ferret a vegan diet where the protein is soy based or the diet is natural, coming from prey animals.  Both contain protein.  The difference is that the protein coming from soy is COMPLETELY undigestible and therefore of no nutrional benefit to the ferret.  This results in nutritional deficiency and sickness in the long-term. 

Also, bear in mind that animal illnesses are much like human illnesses in that genetics plays a large part.  Just becasue a cat or ferret survives on a vegan diet for sometime does not prove the diet is well-balanced and healthy.  This is just a stunning example of strong genetics.  Studies over the long-term and within large populations of animals have proven that a vegan diet is not appropriate for carnivorous animals. 

Regards,
MD

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Go FUZZ!
http://nippynihon.blogspot.com/
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mahatma Gandhi:
"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." 

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This is difficult to respond to!!
One thing I neglected to mention about diet that my vet brought up in our conversation is cats and carbohydrates.  In feline nutrition there is no place for them, in other words they are indigestible and thereby cannot be utilized by the cat for pretty much anything.  This is why so many vets and cat nutritionists are adamant about staying away from filler diets---those cat foods (ie. grocery store/no name brands) that contain corn or wheat as the first ingredient.  Sure, this food is supplemented with taurine (all cat food is required to be), but while this fulfills one important dietary requirement, it does not fulfill all the others (instead the cat fills up on unnecessary carbs and has  little room left for essential dietary needs).  I'm not sure I like the B12 comparison for one, because human and animal diets differ immensely (you can tell by doing a visual comparison that this would be the case) and two, we can actually get the full spectrum of vitamins and nutrients, carbs and so forth from an entirely vegan diet.  Some people store B12 better than others and yes most of us have to supplement, but it is microorganisms which produce the B12 in the first place---not plants and animals.  Also, vitamin B12 is just that, a vitamin, not an amino acid like taurine. 

Thank-you both for the informative feedback on diet.  I am still leery of philosophically based arguments such as Jed Gileen's and I appreciate the informed response you made, yogaferret.  Philosophical arguments can be accurate sometimes too, but there are countless instances in history where scientific discovery totally debunked philosophical theory--for instance, Descartes was a scientist, mathematician and philosopher (as so many were--I believe as a philosopher it is important to receive a varied education including areas of science and the arts, it's why I started with a philosophy degree, am heading into a doctor of naturopathy program and will return to philosophy following it).  In his time Descartes was one of the few practicing a sort of neuropsychology (psychology is a relatively new discipline and did not exist in name in the 17th century), he thought that the pineal gland was the "seat of the soul" and was the place where all our thoughts are formed.  His basic reasoning for this was that when he opened up a cadaver, he found that the only thing in the brain that there was not two of was the pineal gland, and as such, it must be connected to mind and the soul.  Why?  Because we have only one mind, one soul.  Now his argument was accompanied by a huge commentary on how exactly this whole system worked... it involves air flowing through nerves with animal spirits and incorrect speculation on  what the pineal gland is actually physically connected to... but on the whole, for the 17th century, it sounds fairly logical... and could convince many people.  Now we know that the pineal gland is not responsible for mental imagery (ie. it is not the seat of the soul) but rather it is part of the endocrine system and responsible for the production of the hormone melatonin.  Pretty drastic contrast between his theory and today's scientifically based one, huh?  Very much so... and there are many instances in philosophy similar to this one (luckily on the whole most steer in the right direction, but there are always certain flaws in their conjectures and systems).  This is a very whittled down bit of Descartes, but for argument sake we need very little.

So.  Feline nutrition?  I'm learning.  Thanks to both of you for keeping me active in my pursuit of a proper kitty diet. 

In other news, I found a corn kernel based litter!!  Hurray!  Kava hasn't exactly tested it yet (although she did try to eat it... I sprinkled urine saturated saw dust over it which solved the problem right away), but I am crossing my fingers that this is the one.  It looks very promising.  Wish me luck!

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Yoga Ferret, you claim that cats and other carnivores need a “natural diet” and that even though you may be able to artificially replace these nutrients does not mean the animal’s digestive system can utilize then.  All of the commercial pet food I’ve seen is so far removed from a cat’s “natural diet” and contains many artificial nutrients and additives.  Just because a pet food has chicken-by-products, thereby giving the carnivore a source of “meat” for its “natural diet,” doesn’t make it any more suitable or appropriate than vegan pet food.

New York veterinarian Harold Zweighaft recommends Purina and Hills Science Diet to his customers.  Does this make Purina and Hills Science Diet good?  No.  Why does Dr. Zweighaft recommend them?  Because Purina and Hills give incentives to veterinarians so they will recommend their foods.  The pet food manufacturers have targeted veterinarians as the perfect vessel for their gigantic marketing budgets.

Most veterinarians have very little understanding of pet nutrition and dietary requirements.  They simply regurgitate back what they were taught in the one required nutrition class most likely sponsored or funded by Colgate Palmolive (makers of Hills Science Diet). 

By that same argument, just because someone is a doctor does not mean their recommendation is necessarily the right thing to do. If we were to follow the advice of Dr. Atkins, we would all be eating diets low in carbohydrates and high in animal protein.

Idioglossa, you mentioned that your vet doesn’t believe that carbohydrates have any place in a cat’s diet, yet she also recommended you feed your cat Royal Canin BabyCat.  The second and third ingredients are rice and brown rice.  Other carbohydrates in that food are wheat gluten and corn.

According to Bob Church, zooarcheologist, (from YogaFerret’s previous post) we should be providing a “diet as close to the wild diet as possible.”  I don’t think that cats would naturally eat any of ingredients found in the Royal Canin food (including some of my favorite ingredients: dried egg powder, beet pulp, salmon oil, cellulose, or pea fiber).

If we really wanted to provide cats with a “natural wild diet”, we would be providing them with live rodents, birds, baby rabbits, and bugs to hunt, kill, and eat raw.  We would not be feeding them the convenient by-products of factory farming.  However, comparing them to wild or zoo animals is not even appropriate because cats have been domesticated for thousands of years.

There are many cats that have been fed Evolution their entire lives and have so far lived 18 years (and counting).  I’m sure that these cats are not all superior specimens that defy genetics. 

Our cat is 6 years old and has thrived on Evolution vegan pet food.  Our veterinarian, who is not a vegan, always says our cat is very healthy.  She has never had any health problems and has the energy of a kitten.  Her weight remains very consistent and she is not overweight nor does she have the unhealthy belly waddle.  Before we switched her to Evolution, she used to regularly throw up every other “high quality” meat based pet food we gave her.  Today, her fur is soft and silky, her breath is better and her stools are regular.  She is always very excited about meal times and eagerly eats the Evolution food.

We want the companionship of cats and continue to breed them solely for our enjoyment but we force them to live unnaturally, far removed from their pre-domesticated wild lives.  Humans are very selfish creatures.  Is it right that we commission the deaths of cows, pigs, lambs, and chickens so that we may serve our own interests and have a cute cat to cuddle?  At least with Evolution, the life of one animal is not given priority over another. 

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Briefly, to get it cleared up and out of the way, you seem to be interpreting my "natural diet" as using standard kibbled cat food?  That's pretty far from natural--between the cooking, the cow meat, and the additives.  I'm refering to natural food, ie birds, fish, mice.  :)

Others...
Most veterinarians have very little understanding of pet nutrition and dietary requirements.
-->Actually, they do understand.  That's what makes them veterinarians.  What they are faced with, however, is endless varieties of the exact same food item -- processed kibble.  When they advocate a kibbled food, it's the equivalent of suggesting the lesser of 2 evils.  There's very little else for a vet to suggest to the average owner.

However, comparing them to wild or zoo animals is not even appropriate because cats have been domesticated for thousands of years.--> Actually it is appropriate.  Domestication to this degree has minimal effect on altering a cat's nutrional needs nor their digestive system.  Refer to the link below.

There are many cats that have been fed Evolution their entire lives and have so far lived 18 years (and counting).  I’m sure that these cats are not all superior specimens that defy genetics. 
-->Genetics can go a long way.  But more importantly, I'm still not seeing any hard evidence couterproving the ideal diet for a carnivore is a carnivorous diet.

Please understand my position.  I am speaking from the scientific, proven basis of why cats need meat.  In your first post concerning this you were trying to prove the position of vegen diets are adequate, but without any hard evidence.  The hard evidence proves otherwise.  If you want to feed vegan, that is a belief choice, a philosophical choice.  That is a personal choice that should be made while being aware of all the *facts*.

You can advocate a vegan diet for cats.  Thats' fine; it's still a free country.  But spreading misinformation disguised with  psuedo-science does a disservice to everyone.

Be aware of your chioces and their repercussions.  As you aptly said, "and may you be at peace with the choice you make".  I fully agree.  I would only add that one just be sure their choice is an informed choice.

regards!
MD

Another referencefor those interested.  It's from Debra Zoran, DVM, PhD, DACVIM in  the JAVMA, VOL 221, NO. 11, December 1, 2002 enttitled, THE CARNIVORE CONNECTION TO NUTRITION IN CATS.  You can find it online at
http://www.catinfo.org/zorans_article.pdf
I'll have some more once I download them from the AVMA database.

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Incidentally, this is one of the main links I was looking for:

The founder of Evolution vegan pet food has been discredited.  The following is some highlights from the legal document.

FINDINGS OF FACT

1.                Eric Weisman (“the Applicant”) graduated from the Northwestern College of Chiropractic in 1979.  He received acupuncture and acupressure certification in 1979.  Weisman attended hypnosis programs from 1978 through 1981.  From 1979 to November 2002, he has engaged in the practice of chiropractic, acupuncture, and acupressure under a license obtained from the Minnesota Board of Chiropractic Examiners (MBCE).

2.                Weisman has also engaged in the practice of diet therapy and hypnosis since 1980.  As part of his diet therapy practice, Weisman operates a vegetarian pet food company, named Evolution Foods.  Evolution Foods operates from 287 East Sixth Street in downtown Saint Paul.

7.                In November 2000, MBCE received a complaint against Weisman.  MBCE discovered that Weisman was advertising treatments for humans and animals for heart, kidney, and liver disease, cancer, and other conditions, some of which were life-threatening matters for humans.  In the course of the investigation, MBCE discovered that Weisman was making claims regarding the health effects of his treatments that were false and misleading.

9.              January 2001, MCBE informed Weisman that he had been performing veterinary medicine under his chiropractic license and that disciplinary action would be taken.  Weisman appealed the action and a contested case proceeding was initiated by MBCE on September 10, 2001.  Summary disposition in that matter was granted on August 7, 2002, since the ALJ determined that no genuine issues of material fact remained for hearing.  The ALJ recommended that Weisman’s chiropractic license be revoked due to his departures from the usual and customary standards of chiropractic practice, engaging in false or misleading advertising, and violating the terms of the 1997 MCBE Order.

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I'm a big fan of Feline Pine litter, since it's one of the easiest to clean up.  Just be careful not to step on one of the pellets in the middle of the night, or you'll jump sky high like I do from time to time.

I hope you enjoy the kitty!

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So, idioglossia, how are you and Kava doing? I'm sure she's been adorable. Hopefully, everything has settled down (decisions about food and litter, etc.) and you have been able just to enjoy her and develop a wonderful relationship.

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YogaFerret, do you have the link to the full legal document you posted regarding Eric Weisman?  I'd like to read the document in its entirety as well as the footnotes that are indicated in your post.  Thanks!

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YogaFerret, do you have the link to the full legal document you posted regarding Eric Weisman?  I'd like to read the document in its entirety as well as the footnotes that are indicated in your post.  Thanks!

I apologize.  I thought I had put it in.
Anyway, here it is:

http://www.oah.state.mn.us/aljBase/602015383.FDG.htm

Also, in general, you can always check if your own vet has a valid license through your local government.  (Doctors have a national db, but veterinarians are by-state only.)

MD

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This is a little off topic, but I thought I would get some replys from cat experts here. My damn cat keeps pooping on my new carpet. She has pooped in each room once, and now KEEPS pooping in the same room over and over. Luckily, its just a left over piece that I put down in an uncarpeted room- but still. How can I deter this behavior? Are cats trainable? We thought she was doing it when her bowl was empty, but now she had done it several times with a full bowl. At least its not pee. It is cleaning up easily, but I am so frustrated! 

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LITTLE2ANT: Defecating in each room sounds like an extreme form of territorial marking (well, she's a female, she can't spray). There is also usually an element of anger/punishment in "inappropriate defecation" as my vet calls it. My cat used to do this, I was a temp worker (seasonal) and when he thought I was abandoning him too much, he would cr*p on things like the quilt I was working on, my shoe, etc. Have you changed your routine/hours lately? Is it a new house? Cats are v. territorial so if it's a new place she would first mark it as hers, and then maybe complain about it this way.
The repeated defecation in one spot may be, because she can smell the leavings, which remain perceptible to them for a long time in spite of cleaning. If you can get a new piece of carpet, do so, and chuck the other. Vets often know of sprays or drops that you can put down to discourage this sort of thing--just a tiny touch will do it. Back in the 70's when I lived in the States there was one called Dogzoff, etc.
Training a cat...well, if she chooses to learn the behaviour, maybe!  ;DMaybe! She is hoping to train *you* by doing this. Good luck

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Little2ant,
Cats are very particular about the condition of their litterboxes. I would start from there and do a little investigation. Is it covered? What type of litter are you using? How often is it cleaned? How full is the litter level? Is the box in a quiet, safe area? Has she ever been disturbed by other pets/children while using the box? Do you clean/disenfect the box weekly? What type of cleaner are you using? You may have to adjust some things to make the litterbox acceptable for kitty. If those aren't the causes, you may be looking at a medical issue and should speak with your vet, there are also products you can sprinkle in the litter that make it more attractive to kitty. Dig around on: http://www.indoorcat.org/index.php
It is an excellent website with great resources.
Good luck

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PLEASE! read Dr. Martin Goldstein's DVM.  book "The Nature of Animal Healing"! It has everything you could ever want to learn about food...vaccinations, etc. for dogs and cats. This book changed my life. It is what started me on my path to becoming vegan (in a long roundabout way). Just Google him and read some of his articles and interviews online. It is my bible for proper animal care.  :)

As a matter of fact I would glad to buy it for you!

That is an open offer for anyone on this site that is interested! I WILL buy you this book if you are truly interested in reading it. Just ask...... what is money for anyway? I would be happy to buy anyone the book that is interested in it.
My email address is on my profile  :)

(this is how strongly I believe in this book).

-dave

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How I taught my cat to come when called...

She was a little kitten and so thin, so she was given a good canned food because she needed it.  Anyway, I would give her a couple of tablespoons every 3 hours or so when she was little.  She was always all over me then and I'd grab her and take her to the food, saying "kitty kitty kitty" the whole way to the kitchen and put her in front of the food.  Before long, it only took one "kitty" and she was there in a shot.  She was called Nish (don't ask) and after she came for kitty kitty, I could call Nishy kitty and there she was.  She would sleep with me and I only had to call her once for bed.  She is the same garlicky gassy kitty I have talked about before. 

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