Very few things spur as much controversy as the concept of vegetarian or vegan diet for pets. Those that choose to adapt their pets to this lifestyle are often met with a level of anger and hostility that would make the worlds reaction to the Casey Anthony verdict seem like a premiere of the Muppet Movie.
For all the naysayers and criticizers, there is one important aspect that can't be overlooked, and that is simply that vegan pet owners love animals. Our love for animals naturally transcends to our pets. We want the very best for them regarding nutrition as well as satisfaction. Yes, our pets are healthy and spoiled.
So I don't want any sub par pet owners regurgitating the same old anti-vegan-pet verbiage that is common to this subject. Please don't get me started the typical commercial cat foods ya'all are feeding your pets.
The subject of vegan cats became of interest to me after my cat stopped eating his food. His former food; Newman's Own Organics, is one of the better premium cat foods on the market. Completely organic and free of GMO's, I was completely comfortable giving this to my cat.
Why would feeding my cat meat be of concern? There is more than just the cruelty issue when it comes to wanting to abstain from meat. Thanks to factory farming 99% of meat sold at your local grocery store comes from sickly, genetically modified animals that subsist on a diet of additives, hormones and antibiotics. Man's greed is to blame, but that's another post.
You may be able to locate the one percent of family-run-farm fare, however, this is not so easy when it comes to pet food. The costliest premium cat foods are made with factory farmed meat as well as fillers.
So it is any wonder why more and more folks are choosing a vegan lifestyle for themselves and their pets. The real question is not if cat's can be vegan, but rather can cats obtain the needed nutrients on a vegan diet. So far in my research the answer appears to be yes.
Many people assume because feral cats primarily eat birds, mice and insects that they must retain a carnivorous lifestyle when they are domesticated. The problem with that line of thinking is that cat foods are made primarily with cows, chickens, turkey, and fillers such as corn, rice, etc., not exactly the natural diet of your typical wild cat. Throughout the years domesticated cats have adapted to this very diet. The key word being adapted.
What about certain nutrients that cat's need that is found in meat, such as taurine? During the rendering process meat loses taurine, thus all taurine found in pet food is synthetic. That is, unless you're feeding your cat a raw food diet.
Remember, your typical house cats are not the same as their larger counterparts such as lynx and pumas. They may require more protein in their diet than perhaps dogs or other animals, but who's to say they can't achieve these dietary requirements without meat. This is why the argument that cats are obligate carnivores is weak. Considering where most domesticated cats acquire their protein I feel it's safe to say that a cat's protein requirement can be fulfilled on a meat free diet.
There is, however, a caveat, please note this is not an easy task..and it may not be suitable for all cats. Mainly because this subject is still in its infancy and very few people have taken on this challenge. There are, however, testimonials of folks that have fed their cats a strictly home-made vegan diet for years with great success.
Making your own vegan cat food ain't easy and it's not something I care to take on, thus I have been researching the few vegan cat foods on the market. When I say few I literally mean three.
In my discoveries I have come across a highly reviewed company located in Italy that produces a vegan cat food called Ami Cat. Appropriately named because vegans love their pets and want them to be healthy and happy. Ami Cat has been around for a while and appears to be one of the best vegan cat foods on the market, but I can safely say that any vegan cat food is most likely better for your cat than your average commercial cat food.
I like that Ami Cat is natural and free of GMO's, dyes and artificial preservatives. It is completely balanced to meet all the nutritional needs of cats.
Ami Cat has done their homework and it's no surprise that most cats thrive on this food. From what I understand they are popular in Italy and a few years ago became accessible in the states thanks to Vegan Essentials.com.
I purchased a sample of Ami Cat via Vegan Essentials.com. It was important that my cat like the food, I'm obviously not going to feed my cat something he doesn't like to eat. I am incredibly pleased that he liked Ami Cat. He's not on a complete vegan diet because he also likes wet food and there's no Ami wet food for cats. So he basically will get little family farm white chicken meat, Ami Cat and of course his treats and lets not forget a can of tuna once a week. I realize though his basic nutritional needs are being met by Ami Cat.
I can say that Ami Cat is meeting his nutritional needs because he seems satisfied, content and not constantly crying for food. He's content. The two weeks after he stopped eating his former food, I was basically giving him white chicken meat until I found something suitable. This was a tough period because he was always hungry, now after he eats he is sated and ready for a nap or extremely playful. Most importantly he's not crying for food an hour later. He's thriving and that's the important thing.
It's hyper important that you take cues from your cats, are they happy, healthy? The tell-tale signs will reveal themselves in you pet's health. Perhaps a partial vegan diet may be more beneficial for your pet. Either way Ami Cat Vegan Cat food is fantastic and I am confident that most cats can thrive on Ami Cat.
As far as purchasing Ami, Vegan Essentials is the only place I feel comfortable endorsing. They also offer the best price on Ami Cat cat food and they are working on bringing the price down even more for late 2012.
Ami Cat isn't cheap, but my cat eats less of it than other foods, so it's lasting longer. Also keep in mind that from time to time Vegan Essentials offers discounts or coupons, so it may be a good idea to sign up for their newsletter
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