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pet food

I'd like to cook a special treat for my 9 month old cat.  Although I feed her meat-based dry and wet food, I can't possibly bring myself to cook with meat in any capacity, as it grosses me out extensively.  Any suggestions? 
Further, has anyone fed their cat a vegetarian or vegan diet?  I've read several articles and books on the topic, and the general consensus seems to be that cats need meat in their diets, for whatever reason.  Has anyone found otherwise? 
Thanks a lot. 

Cats were designed to be predators, so their systems run on large amounts of protein. More so than dogs; my vet told me never to give my small dog catfood (esp the canned kind) as it has too much protien for them. (She was a rescue dog and I was trying to tempt her appetite.) I don't know if trying to make a feline a vegetarian/vegan would be advisable. They are part of Nature's food chain, unlike humans who can pick and choose.
Having said that, I had a friend whose purebred Boxer dog's bloodline was so overbred that his kidneys no longer tolerated protien; the vet had to find him a balanced vegetarian kibble.
Talk to a feline specialist whose opinion you respect (and who wouldn't be likely to just push the latest high-priced petfood at you because he sells it in the clinic.)
As to treats, many cats like cheese or milk-based treats. You might try something along those lines...

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I agree with yabbitgirl, cats are what are called "obligate carnivores" ie: they need meat to survive. If a cat is deprived of the amino acids (especially taurine) present in meat alone, s/he will first go blind in a few weeks and eventually die.  :'(
This is what bothers me..as I'm a cat lover. I've had a cat when I was vegetarian and she ate nothing but steamed fresh fish and rice and she thrived. After she passed on four years ago, I've sorely missed cat-company. Now that I'm vegan for the past 1 year, I do not know whether I'll be able to have a cat again. I've heard of vegan pet food like VeganPet, but I don't know whether the artificial taurine they use is really any good. Don't want to mess around with the health of an animal.
I've read in books like the sourcebook to feed cats vegan food and then let them hunt rodents, birds and the like. But if you're living in the urban jungle, your cat won't have a chance to so ..especially as they lose hunting skills living with humans. 
Sorry, I think I may have confused you more...

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I would think if it was a treat, rather than a total change in diet, your cat wouldn't mind a vegetable based, grain or mixed based treat.  It just depends on your cat's taste.

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Vegan cat food here:
http://www.vegancats.com/pages/1002/Cat_Food_-_Ready_Made.htm

My cats like the original flavor of the Evolution vegan kibble. They did not like the cheese flavor.  ;)  They did like both flavors of the canned cat food & even though you can't buy it in small cans, you don't mind having this stuff in your fridge knowing it's vegan.  ;) The stuff is a little pricy & not convenient. And you have to decide if you think synthetic taurine is an acceptable alternative to natural taurine. They offer a book discussing this issue, but of course they come out in favor of synthetic.

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Lezly...how is your adopted beautiful doggie doing?

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Lezly...how is your adopted beautiful doggie doing?

Ohhhhh, Booyah is wonderful! He's such a love! He will be 7 years old in July. For those who are new here, we adopted him from the local Humane Society in February. He had been there for a month & the two months prior he had been in the Cheyenne shelter! Turns out he had been in & out of the Cheyenne shelter a couple of times. He is very exuberant & definitely needs his exercise! He gets a 3 mile walk every day. He plays towel in the backyard & he is so fun to watch! His antics are silly, like a dog who has never played.

I have loved every dog I have ever had but I absolutely adore this one! He has captured my heart so completely. And yes, his one eye is half blue & half brown.

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I do agree that cats are obligate carnivores however, being vegan, I can't bring myself to support an industry that tortures and kills other animals.  After doing a lot of research, I decided to feed my cat the dry Evolution Pet Food http://www.petfoodshop.com/.  I buy it directly from Evolution.  It is vegan and contains all of the nutrients cats need (including taurine).  They say it's best to wet the food but my cat gets tired of it soggy so we switch off between wetting it and giving it to her dry/crunchy.  My cat did lose a little weight at first, but we increased the serving size a bit (still within the manufacturer's guidelines for her weight) and she's doing just fine.  Check out this website: http://www.dotphoto.com/go.asp?L=vegancats&P=&AID=1422707&G=Y

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Lezly, he's a prince! Thanks for sharing the photo.

LC and Lezly, thanks for the info on Evolution. I think I'm going to try some for my cats.

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Thanks for all the responses about vegan/vegetarian versus omnivore cats.  You've really cleared it up for me on that front.  I was wondering if anyone had a specific vegan recipe to make as a one-time treat for my kitten, just for fun.  Any suggestions would be appreciated!
Thanks again. 

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I am new to the vegetarian diet.  My fiance and I have been vegetarians for only 1 month.  We have two cats that eat meat.  Although it seems contradictory that we feed them meat, we decided it was the natural food chain and healthiest for them.  What I plan to do is research pet food companies to find out more about their manufacturing processes. I saw someone posted Evolution.  I took a look at the site and the food is somewhat pricey, so I am hoping it is possible to find out  more about companies/brands that you find at a local pet store..i.e.petsmart..
Any suggestion...

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This issue is one that each person has to visit for her/himself.  I think we left nature a long time ago in relation to companion animals. It isn't natural that humans domesticated animals, but we did.  And now we bear a responsibility because of that.

And it isn't natural that one animal (a human one) will pay to have many other animals brutally raised and slaughtered to feed another animal.  I do believe that humans owe care to companion animals, but I cannot agree (my opinion - not a pronouncement for all) that it is morally acceptable to daily participate in the horrific meat industry because a cat would kill and eat meat in the wild.

The closest one could get to nature here is to go out and hunt down the animals that a cat would kill to eat and then give them to the cat.  And if we're leaving nature, I'd say let's just admit it and give companion animals the best vegan food available for them and not arbitrarily choose the life of one or two animals over countless others.

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Good info!  Thanks for the links to Evolution, I will check them out.

My kitten (2 1/2 years old now) loves steamed brocolli.  Why? We dont know, but he does.  So its a tiny bit of a treat for him to get a smidge when I am cooking.

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My cat loves fruit, esp. if it's sour. If I'm eating fresh strawberries, peaches or pineapple I always have to break off a little piece and hold it for him to snack on. Give it a try!

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I don't have a suggestion for a kitty treat, but I need to reply to this.  Everyone on this post should read Obligate Carnivore.  I have no companion animals and it was a captivating read even for me.

One of the main points is that, yes, cats require taurine, but the taurine found in most cat food is synthesized anyway.  This is the one amino acid that is essential for cats and only found from animal sources or in synthesized forms.  Other than taurine, there's no reason a cat can't be vegan and healthy and happy.  And since it's synthesized anyway in most brands of meat cat food... I think the choice is even easier.

Also, for dogs, some dogs shouldn't eat meat.  Dalmatians for instance are prone to kidney stones due to inbreeding and should be fed vegetarian diets.

Just my 2 cents.  Thanks for listening.

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Thanks for the veggie tips...my cat adores lettuce, which I never would have known without your suggestions!

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Lezly, your dog is beautiful. If you ever listen to Warren Ekstein on The Pet Show (on the radio) he always says that a dog you rescue will love you forever and will repay you a million times over in its lifetime. Having adopted my Olive just over a year ago, I totally agree. As he explains it, a rescued dog feels like they are in heaven. I just love her to pieces and she is totally devoted to me. Now, if only I could break her of her habit of digging up my backyard!

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According to a lot of stuff that I've read, female cats do much better on a vegan diet than male cats do. Male cats can have a lot of problems with severe urinary tract infections, and it is not recommended that they be on an all-vegan diet. It is unfortunate, but I am just not willing to sacrifice the health of my kitten for my beliefs.
That said, I do take care to not buy any brands that use meat by-products (chicken feet, beaks, brains, etc), rendered companion animals (yes, surprising enough...that is in a LOT of pet foods. gross) or any type of by-product of the rendering process. Also that they do not test on animals. You can go to Peta's website for some really disturbing info regarding Iams petfood, and animal testing.
Anyway, I find this to be a good balance between my lifestyle and the health of my kitties.

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