Author Topic: Vegan Cats, diet alkalinity  (Read 9459 times)

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Offline SkepticalVegan

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Vegan Cats, diet alkalinity
« on: March 27, 2011, 07:36:05 PM »
Um this topic seems to be derailing the other thread (http://sguforums.com/index.php/topic,34493.45.html) and i would love to hear some rationalist points of view on it. The basic questions, primarily can cats be feed vegetarian or vegan diets safely and tangentially is it ethical.

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Tatyana - Do you have studies about the medical benefits of a vegan/alkaline diet for cats?

I dont think it is beneficial for cats(though it may be nutritionally adequate), and the alkalinity of plant proteins is the supposed problem....but that contradicts the claims by skeptics that food ph has no health consequences regarding the acid/alkaline diet fad. Thats what Im confused about, I know of folks who like the idea of feeding cats a vegan diet if medically possible but have had issues with certain cats especially male cats and attribute this to the alkalinity of plant proteins versus animal proteins. So does alkalinity matter in your diet or not? Perhaps it is that it does not matter for humans but matters more for cats?

here is a summing up of what maybe a issue w/ vegan diets for cats from by a Vegan veterinarian a good article on http://www.veganhealth.org/articles/vegan_cats 
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Cats on a vegan diet can develop abnormally alkaline (high pH) urine due to the more alkaline pH of plant based proteins in comparison to the acidic pH of meat-based foods which cats have evolved to eat. When the urine pH becomes too alkaline, there is an increased risk of formation of struvite (also known as magnesium ammonium phosphate) bladder crystals and/or stones. Calcium oxalate stones can also occur, but these do not occur if the urine is too alkaline, but rather if it is too acidic. Such stones can create irritation and infection of the urinary tract and require veterinary treatment. In male cats who form such crystals or stones, they can suffer more severe consequences than simply irritation or infection of the urinary tract because the stones can actually cause an obstruction of the urethra so the cat cannot urinate.

but here one study that at least seemed to showed a vegan diet was adequate accordign to a couple measures...i dont think its very robust or thorough
http://www.vegetariancats.com/study.htm

Im not promoting feeding cats a vegan diet, its a question Im still unsure about...but I find some of the claims on both sides questionable, I think it needs more research

I don't think you can just claim that "they have evolved over millions of years as carnivores, and their digestive system is that of a carnivore. " as the reason "a vegan diet is wrong for cats"...naturalistic fallacy? It speaks to the plausibility but the proof would be in actually trying whether it can be done, most of the stuff out there is anecdotal and more research needs to be done, I dont think we have the research to make definitive conclusions in either direction

for more on this topic I really would love to hear folks thoughts on this interview with the author of Obligate Carnivore about vegan cats http://animalvoices.ca/2004/06/22/vegan-cats-and-dogs-with-jed-gillen/

also on the same general topic http://animalvoices.ca/2006/03/21/vegan-pet-food/
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Offline moj

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Re: Vegan Cats, diet alkalinity
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2011, 08:16:10 PM »
why would you do that? Cat's are carnivores. Even if you feed them vegan chow(which is ridiculous) they will still eat birds and mice on there own.

Offline lonely moa

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Re: Vegan Cats, diet alkalinity
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2011, 08:27:44 PM »
Cats kill for a living.  They thrive on meat.  They enjoy killing.  Not letting them express their nature is animal cruelty.  If you don't like it, keep away from cats.
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Offline jwray

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Re: Vegan Cats, diet alkalinity
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2011, 08:36:05 PM »
If they're so concerned about animal rights that they don't want to feed a captive animal what it would ordinarily eat in the wild, then they shouldn't even keep a captive animal.

Offline Broculis

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Re: Vegan Cats, diet alkalinity
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2011, 09:04:55 PM »
why would you do that? Cat's are carnivores.

Cats don't care if we classify them as carnivores or not. The only thing they care about is getting the right amounts of nutrition no matter the source.

If we have the choice of feeding healthy vegan food or healthy not vegan food we should always do the vegan option.

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Even if you feed them vegan chow(which is ridiculous) they will still eat birds and mice on there own.

So what? Just because domestic cats still have some traces of predatory instincts and once in a while kill another animal it is OK to raise farm animals for them to eat?

talk about a Non sequitur!

The ridiculous thing is to plant some food, then feed it to an an animal then kill this animal and feed another animal.   
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Offline SkepticalVegan

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Re: Vegan Cats, diet alkalinity
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2011, 09:22:29 PM »
Cats kill for a living.  They thrive on meat.  They enjoy killing.  Not letting them express their nature is animal cruelty.  If you don't like it, keep away from cats.

its not just a choice of "dont have a pet then", many of the folks in the vegan cat movement are cat rescue workers. They arnt just doing it for a pet, they run shelters or feed many ferals. They arnt going out to hold animals captive, they are spending their own time and money to help reduce the population through spay & neuter and provide medical care and sanctuary for sick cats, also many tame cats are found on the streets and can be re homed. they are often concerned about purchasing such large amounts of meat, they feel hypocritical contributing to the breeding, confinement, use, and/or, slaughter of some animals in their effort to help reduce animal suffering through vegan activism and feral cat trap-neuter-release or rescue. A number of the folks also believe in ultimately eliminating the use of cats as pet through birth control. Many ethical vegans spend a good deal of time worrying about the effect for their action, they don't always have the best information on which to make such decision or always weight the options rationally but they do it cause they care.

I would also mention that when vegans let "them express their nature" by allowing them to hunt, they get called hypocrites and murderous enablers by chicken-eating bird watchers and even animal rights groups like PETA (who recommend keeping them indoors)
And when vegans do as PETA suggests to try and reduce bird deaths (which there has been debate about the research being fairly flawed) they get called hypocrites and prison wardens by non-vegans or more likely anti-vegans
I guess the only truly ethical option would be open hunting season on feral...Utah here we come  ::)
« Last Edit: March 27, 2011, 09:26:08 PM by Soymilk_Gun »
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Offline SkepticalVegan

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Re: Vegan Cats, diet alkalinity
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2011, 09:30:18 PM »
For disclosure I work with a feral T-N-R and rescue shelter. We feed them meat based kibble and some tuna or wet food for medications, the food isn't many choice, its up to the boss. Given the choice I would be interested in at least trying out 50/50 mixes but would be too concerned about many of our sick guys to go totally vegan.
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Offline T.A.P.O.R.

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Re: Vegan Cats, diet alkalinity
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2011, 11:36:00 PM »

Can't help myself.


Offline moj

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Re: Vegan Cats, diet alkalinity
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2011, 04:57:08 AM »
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Cats don't care if we classify them as carnivores or not. The only thing they care about is getting the right amounts of nutrition no matter the source.

If we have the choice of feeding healthy vegan food or healthy not vegan food we should always do the vegan option.

its not like you feeding a cat a vegan diet is the cat's choice, its the lack of choice why the cat is eating it. Cat's are carnivores not because "that's what we classify them", it's because they only eat meat. They have evolved to eat meat. They will pass up veggies if given the choice and eat the meat.  If you give them two bowls, one with vegan chow, one with kitteh chow, cat's will pick the kitteh chow every time.

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So what? Just because domestic cats still have some traces of predatory instincts and once in a while kill another animal it is OK to raise farm animals for them to eat?
The point is cat's are never agreeing or consenting to go vegan. They are carnivores by nature and trying to force them other wise is a fruitless dilution.  You are trying to change there nature against there will. Just because they eat vegan food when it's the only option they are given, does not mean they are really vegan.

Offline Skeptress

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Re: Vegan Cats, diet alkalinity
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2011, 06:59:42 AM »
Honestly I find this entire idea ridiculous.  Cats did not evolve to be vegetarian, neither did dogs or humans.  You as a human may use your ethical reasoning to not eat meat but cats do not have this faculty.  I wouldn't force my hamster to eat meat and you shouldn't force your cat to be vegan. 
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Offline lonely moa

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Re: Vegan Cats, diet alkalinity
« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2011, 10:22:35 PM »
Honestly I find this entire idea ridiculous.  Cats did not evolve to be vegetarian, neither did dogs or humans.  You as a human may use your ethical reasoning to not eat meat but cats do not have this faculty.  I wouldn't force my hamster to eat meat and you shouldn't force your cat to be vegan.

nice.  ta.
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Offline Ah.hell

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Re: Vegan Cats, diet alkalinity
« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2011, 10:44:53 PM »
Is there any actual scientific data?  Cats are about as carnivorous as mammals get.  I would be shocked if a cat would actually thrive on a vegan diet.  I'm sure they can survive on but I'm also sure they wouldn't like it and pretty confident they wouldn't be very healthy.  Seriously, a vegan diet for people is debatable but cats, srsly?  If you're worried about the the environmental impact of animal husbandry or the ethics of slaughter, don't own a cat. 

Offline SacredCaramel

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Re: Vegan Cats, diet alkalinity
« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2011, 10:58:38 PM »
AFAIK, cats can't survive without taurine, an amino acid abundant in animal proteins, but lacking in vegetable matter.  One assumes that another one could feed a cat a completely vegan diet with enhanced taurine, but supplements are never as good as the natural source.  Essentially, a vegan diet can radically alter their urine pH, leading to urinary tract issues and kidney failure (which cats are prone to anyway).  And no, this isn't the same argument that pH dieters use; they're claiming that pH in your diet will directly affect the pH of your cells.  It sounds like a vegan diet will force a cat's urinary tract to work overtime to void the excess crap they can't use.

I'm with funda62.  Why would you do this?  The only argument for this that I've ever heard came from someone who "just couldn't stand the karmic burden her cats assumed by eating another living creature."

It always seems that we humans try to separate ourselves from nature and then pass some sort of judgment on nature.  Animals don't work that way.  What is death for one means life for another.

ETA: I knew I came across something similar.  Even some humans find that they can't thrive on a vegan diet: http://voraciouseats.com/2010/11/19/a-vegan-no-more/
« Last Edit: March 28, 2011, 11:01:53 PM by SacredCaramel »
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Offline SkepticalVegan

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Re: Vegan Cats, diet alkalinity
« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2011, 11:09:27 PM »
Seriously listen to yourselves (or read yourselves): "_______ is wrong because it didn't evolve to ______"
Can some one name that logical fallacy...?

can we get past the naturalistic fallacy and address specifically why it may or may not be an nutritionally adequate diet, which is a fact independent of what you consider "natural" for domestic felines.

as long as we are on whats natural or not for cats...keep in mind that the majority of species of animals that are fed to cats are ones their ancestors would not have eaten, cow, lamb, tuna (Id love to see a cat try to take down a huge friggin tuna). Before you say "meat is meat" that beef allergies are one of the most common food allergies in dogs (followed by dairy and some other meats) in supposedly higher prevalence than wheat and soy allergies, not sure about rates in cats but its simply an example of how the body can react differently to different meats. Another bit to consider in that a large amount to majority of protein in many commercial pet foods is plant based (for economic reasons I believe), I don't think cats naturally eat corn, soy, or wheat  such as in kibble but it still seems to nourish their body all the same. Go figure

I mean its a domestic species, that we get vaccinated, have living indoors, eating cans or dried pellets of rendered carcasses of animal it would never encounter in nature. yeah, whats natural is real important  ::)


BTW how do folks feel about what is often advertised as a good thing, despite it being the feeding of a vegetarian diet to a animal that in its ancestral setting would eat some meat, "vegetarian fed" chicken or eggs?
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Offline SkepticalVegan

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Re: Vegan Cats, diet alkalinity
« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2011, 11:16:09 PM »
If you're worried about the the environmental impact of animal husbandry or the ethics of slaughter, don't own a cat.

again many of the folk curious about or into the vegan cat movement are cat TNR, shelter, and rescue workers who take care of dozens of cats. They are going out of their way to help reduce the issues of suffering associated with domestic cats, especially throug hhelpign control the population. These arnt just a bunch of hippy dippy individuals who have a cat for pleasure, they take on the responsibility the city and others often shirk of helping to reduce a horrible problem, they are simply concerned about themselves contributing to more suffering of farm animals raised for pet food. Its an issue of speciesism for them, valuing one species (cats) over others (cows or chicken) that they wish to minimize.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2011, 11:35:04 PM by Soymilk_Gun »
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