Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Vegan Cats

Adopting a vegan diet for ourselves turned out to be way easier than I had imagined.
But what to do about feeding our cats, however, has remained an uncomfortable issue. The dogs took to a vegan dog food ( V-dog) right away and have thrived on it for over a year now, and had been eating Nature's Recipe Vegetarian formula ( bought at Pet Smart ) for a year before that.
Sam and Nemo, our basically outdoor cats ( they come in to sleep at night ) were eating various brands of dry cat kibble and way too many wild creatures outside. We took in another kitty last November. He was 12 weeks old then and I knew that I'll always have to keep him inside to keep the birds safe. And what to feed him ? Of course I'd heard scary stories about vegan-fed cats getting sick and dying. That you cannot possibly feed a cat a vegan diet.
And what about imposing my "vegan values, lifestyle" on my poor pets, who cannot choose for themselves ? What about cats killing birds outside ? People tell me it's "natural" , it's what cats do ! But really, there's nothing natural about us humans clearing off land, throwing up houses, roads and parking lots ( with the attendant water run-off....but I digress....) , nothing natural about poisoning the soil with pesticides and fertilizers to grow lawns and ornamental shrubs and then turn out our pets on what's left of the wildlife. Hmmm.
What I came to was this: Standard cat ( and dog ) food is mostly slaughterhouse by-products or fish/seafood products and/or by-products deemed unfit for human consumption. And considering what I know about the state of the oceans and the awful truth of farmed animals' "lifestyles" imposed on them, NOT feeding our pet cats a vegan diet seemed incredibly selfish and cruel. Here's the article that finally got to me : Paul Greenberg's opinion piece in the NY Times . Thank you, Mr. Greenberg, for the wake-up call.

The Evolution Cat food kibbles arrived Monday, and the boys have all accepted it not only without complaint , but actually dove right in ! I had expected there to be a long transition period. Even the 14 year old, Sam, ( hunter extraordinaire, and responsible for the untimely deaths of numerous birds and small rodents over the years) gobbled it up right off the floor when I first opened the package and spilled some. I'm mixing the Evolution cat food with what was left of some Purina catfood kibbles, about half and half. So far, it's just the dry stuff...guess we need to order some canned ! I'll post about the transition now and then as we go, along with pictures of the guys. Featured today is the new guy, Tomsky, aka Mr. Cutey Pants.

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