I've been wondering the same thing! Sorry I don't have the answer for you, I'm just second-ing your question. I have 2 young cats (8 mos. old) and feed them Nutro/Max Cat food. It seemed healthier than the run-of-the-mill cheap catfood. I'm actually new to cats (these are my first, on my own anyway). I've always had dogs. But while I bought vegetarian dogfood for my dog, I didn't see any such options for catfood.
i read dogs can happily be vegan but cats can't.. i feed both mine Blue organic cat food. it's the only thing we buy thats not vegan but i don't want my babies to be unhappy! : ) it just seems to me that cats are made to be carnivores. it's what they would choose to eat. just feed them the kindest food you can find. no by-products, fillers and such.
I have not converted my two dogs or my two cats to a vegan diet. I did seek out the most natural food I could find (same as Ashley) and now shop at a specialty pet food store instead of the big chains. My cats eat Wellness and Evolve can food and my dogs eat Prairie.
Cats are not meant to be vegans! At all! Your information is right, cats canNOT process vegan food into full nutrition like dogs and people. Cats are carnivores and do not digest grains very well. They are also meant to get most of their moisture from their food, not from drinking water.
The best thing you can do for your cat is feed him a 100% wet food diet that contains no meat by-products(and preferably no grains, but that's not always possible). The first three ingredients should be primary meat ingredients(i.e. chicken, turkey, salmon, NOT chicken by-products, etc). Food should not be left out all day for your cat, it's more ideal to feed your kitty twice or three times a day, and only enough that he will eat that meal. For example, I feed my kitty three times a day - breakfast when I wake up in the morning, an early dinner(4~5pm) and once before bed(10~11pm). She eats about a heaping teaspoonful each meal; the better quality the food, the less you can expect kitty to eat, because she is actually able use the nutrients.
Dry food is not very good for cats because the protein quality is inferior, and dry food is made up of a lot of filler grains. Cats can't digest grains very well in the first place, but grains and dry food are also very high in sugar and salt, which are addictive! There are actually cases of cats where they are ADDICTED to the sugar in dry food, and absolutely won't eat wet food because of it! (My mom's kitty is an example of this!)
I have had more than one vet say that vegan cats ARE healthier and live longer!!!! They just have to be properly supplemented. My cats started on the Evolution cat food a couple of weeks ago. I bought it when my cats started grazing in the vegetarian dog food. So I took that as permission from them to try it. Also one of my cat's gets diarrhea if he eats a high protein food. So I ordered the 2 lb. sample kit ans they love it and gobbled it up. They even liked the canned food. So after transitioning them they are on 100% Evolution cat food. I even ordered the 20 lb. bag. What cat' are getting in a bag of meat based cat food isn't "natural" for them either. There are no rats or mice or small birds like robins or blue jays in there either.
I totally agree that you should not base this on MY opinion. But what I am telling you is not my opinion. MY VET told me that all of the vegan cats he has treated have been healthier and acted much younger for their age even when they were as much as 18 years old. And that they live longer and are healthy for longer than non-vegan cats. He also said that you have to make sure they get taurine and L-carnitine because there are no vegetarian sources for these but that they have to be supplemented. But if you look at ANY cat food bag they have to supplement them for them to have everything they need to have too.
I would not base my decision on research that has tested expecting a certain outcome because this is pseudo-science and not based on the scientific method.
I also wouldn't listen to a vet who has never even treated a vegan cat because they get kickbacks for recommending certain foods nor can they base their opinion on experience. The vet I go to does not get a kickback for recommending vegan food. In fact they don't even sell it. So the only reason he had for telling me this is because this is his ACTUAL EXPERIECE within his practice.
I also had another vet concur with him. I asked because I was wary too. But like I said once my cats acted receptive to it on their own ,I went for it.
Ah! I am so torn on this issue!! I just went to the pet store today to buy food for my cat and I was looking for a vegan alternative to the "chicken by-product meal" food she had been eating *blush*. I spoke to the clerk and, because there was no vegan option for cats in that store, she recommended a kibble with out any by-product.
I really do understand that cats are most likely not meant to be vegan, but I still feel sad and sick when I think of the animals that are being raised and killed just to be turned into cat food. Is that not just as wrong as supporting the use of animals for human consumption? I have such a hard time with this.
I wish that my cat could go out and hunt and be sustained that way, but of course, that isn't possible. She is an urban kitty.
Are people torn on this issue for the same reason as me, or am I on my own? And if I'm not, how are you wrapping your head around it??