Michelle, kitties are as individual as people and yours may very well enjoy vegan food, and that's fine! I believe Cayce is just referring to all of us including herself when she says don't base it on "someone's" opinion. I don't think any of us are pet nutritionists, or if some of us are, maybe we could get your opinions on this! The best way to figure out what to do is to do the research yourself. Forums are a good way to brainstorm, but I wouldn't ever base anything on forum comments. I received information on pet nutrition here as well, and immediately followed it with a LOT of personal research(having access to a university library is great!).
Personally, I don't really trust veterinarians(or doctors, for that matter), especially when it comes to nutritional matters. Like Katie said, it's more about studying nature. Also, with your vet, looking at it critically, what kind of test was it? Was it superb quality vegan cat food vs. "average" quality non-vegan cat food? The opposite? Superb quality vs superb quality? I'm not trying to undermine your vet's claims, but it IS important to look at research this way, ALL research. I look at research into human vegan diets the same way. Most scientists are honest and do not mean to mislead, but when research is being published, the circumstances of the research aren't necessarily clear right off the bat. Just a thought.
Bean - whether your kitty goes outside and hunts her own food or you buy her food, what's the difference? Some animal(chickens, ducks, neighbourhood birds, mice..) will still die so that your kitty can live. Ever seen a kitty hunt? It's not very pretty, and you can be guaranteed the animal it kills will have also suffered and died a long and painful death after being played with for hours, for kitty's own amusement. This is the circle of life, and it is how nature works. If you're up for it, you could try to find organic or free-range cat food for reduced suffering and peace of mind?
Bethany - "whether your kitty goes outside and hunts her own food or you buy her food, what's the difference?" The difference is that the cat hunting and catching a bird IS a natural part of the circle of life, and that the mass farming and slaughtering of animals for human and domestic pet consumption is NOT. As I stated above, I have purchased 'kindest' food I could find, but it still contains animal meat, which I am still struggling with ethically. I was looking to connect with anyone else who might be struggling at the same level. (I "flagged" and "liked" both by accident. Sorry!)
I totally agree with Bean JM. My question was coming more from the unnatural and maybe unhealthy food my cat is eating... not that I would ever expect a vegan world... That is not my aim, even if it would be in my power ;) I am not against eating meat in a natural way, I believe in the cirkel of life as it is natural. Mostly predators eat the weak, sick and old thus saving them agony or starvation. In turn when a lion dies he turns for food for other animals and goes to "dust" thus feeding the plants in turn... Beautiful isn't it? If you think about it like this, even plants eat some "meat" :) But the meat my cat is having is far from natural and the conditions the animals had before turning into his food also... So in that light I was thinking if - like for me - it would be more healthy to turn my cat vegan... I still haven't figured it out....
Axa Axa - we are on the same page. I've decided I'm going to look into Evolution food (Evolution.com) and try to bring a list of its contents to my vet and talk to him about it. I think it's the only way I will be able to decide. I am leaning toward believing that some cats can live without meat, since I have heard this from a couple different sources now ... I just want to make sure it is a responsible decision as a pet owner. I will keep you posted :)
Bean JM- totally agree with you about the hunting thing. It is totally different!!! For one thing your cat will be getting something fresh that it was intended to eat that is not processed in any way and we are not supporting a horrendous industry because even ORGANIC meat is still killed in a horrendous manner due to the demand for it. It just doesn't have added chemicals.
An update...my cats are still vegan and are doing amazing!!!!! I will NEVER believe ANYONE who tries to tell me differently ever again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I once read a story about a Indian Yogi who transformed his tiger into a total vegetarian, pretty amazing, if its true of course! They ate vegetables together and nothing bad happened to either the tiger or the yogi. To try this scenario on our own small cat seems to me the less risky (and more practicle) way - all to avoid the problem of buying meat as a vegetarian, which is quite confronting, even for the sake of our pet. I can't say much about the healthrisks for the cat, though. Maybe he is not too happy about the diet-change....
Axa Axa and Bean -- If you are looking for the most humanely produced food that also offers the highest quality nutrition for your cat, check out Orijen food. Especially if you plan to only feed dry food (although Bethany is right that cats should get most of their moisture from their food and so canned is best, Orijen has the highest moisture content of any dry food, and so is the best option if that is how you intend to go). Orijen is produced at a facility in Canada that does not follow the standard "factory farm" methods. All of their food is human quality; many of their foods are produced using meat obtained from the wild during controlled hunts meant to keep the population in check. Canada has had many issues with overpopulation of grazing species due to past mismanagement of predator species (such as wolves). They are now aware of the issues they caused and are trying to fix the problem. In the meantime, however, they have to do controlled hunts to keep their cities from being overrun. The hunters bring the animals to the Orijen plant, and high quality pet food is produced.
For canned foods, some of the best foods come from the Fromm family of foods. High protein, low fat, high moisture; all things your kitty needs.
Michelle, I'm glad your cats appear to be thriving on their vegan diet, but please be aware this is the exception rather than the rule. Most cats can do well for a short period of time on a vegan diet, because even a vegan cat diet is nutritionally better than your "average" cat food (Iams, Hill's, Purina, etc. are all crap!). But cats will eventually sicken and die if kept on such a diet for too long. I, too, would love to see a world where nothing suffers. But at this time that is not possible. Cats are carnivores, and something must die for them to be healthy. My responsibility is first to any animals in my care, then to the rest of the world. In this world, that means feeding my cat a meat-based diet.
Definitely look, as well, at the site Bethany posted http://catinfo.org . It is written by an extremely knowledgeable vet who has clearly done extensive research on the subject. It has very clear details regarding a cat's anatomy and nutritional needs.