Vegetarian Dog and Cat Food Warnings
Nowadays, vegetarian animal food is more popular than ever. In many vegetarian and vegan households a purely plant-based diet for cats is part of an environmentally conscious lifestyle. That’s one of the reasons why more and more companies develop meat-free feedstuff for our little tigers. Here in our online shop you’ll find high-quality cat food without whey products, fish, meat or wheat. Thanks to added taurine, which is essential for cats, in dry and wet cat food, you’re not only treating your little tiger with healthy food but also with a clear conscience!
In a followup study, Rothgerber compared the individual habits of dog and cat owners. He found that ethically minded dog owners usually assuaged their guilt by feeding diets reduced in animal protein. Cat owners, on the other hand, tended to alter not their feeding behaviors but their perceptions, in that they viewed vegetarian diets as inappropriate for their feline companions. These decisions reflect the consensus among veterinary scientists that vegetarian and vegan pet foods , which can develop serious health problems in the absence of meat-derived nutrients like preformed vitamin A and the amino acid taurine. Whether these and other nutrients can be added to a cat’s vegetarian diet to fill nutritional gaps , though . Supplemented vegetarian diets are thought to be less dangerous for dogs; but the prevailing view is that an ideal diet for both species should contain .
A recent study published in JAVMA (Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association) by Gray, Christina M.; Sellon, Rance K.; Freeman, Lisa M. Nutritional Adequacy of Two Vegan Diets for Cats. J Amer Vet Med Assoc 2004, 225(11):1670-1675 showed two commercially available vegetarian cat foods (Vegecat KibbleMix and Evolution canned diet for adult cats) to be deficient in several key nutrients. The two vegan diets were subjected to nutritional analysis and compared to Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) nutrient profiles for the maintenance of adult cats. The Evolution food was determined to be deficient in protein, methionine, taurine, arachidonic acid, vitamin A, pyroxidine, and niacin. Vegecat KibbleMix was found to be deficient in methionine, taurine, arachidonic acid, and pyroxidine. According to both of these vegan cat food companies, thousands of the cats on their diets are healthy, which raises the question of how this could be if the diets are truly inadequate. Only one sample of each diet was used in this study, so it is entirely possible that the sample represented a rare occurrence of a mixing error at the factory, but this still raises legitimate concerns about the quality control measures (or lack of appropriate quality control measures) at these companies. The maufacturer of Harbingers of a New Age (producer of Vegecat KibbleMix) expressed shock at the results of the study and showed an intent to find and correct the source of the problems in the production of his cat food supplements. In response to the results of the study, Eric Weisman, Evolution Diet CEO (2004) stated, "We have ten to twenty thousand healthy and long living dogs, cats and ferrets living on the Evolution Diet. Major animal sanctuaries use our products and stand behind them. These sanctuaries use our products because they have lower rates of illness and mortality when their animals are placed on our foods." In 2005, responding to a study that found two popular vegan cat foods to be nutritionally deficient, federal veterinary nutrition consultant David Dzanis , "a vegan diet for cats is at least theoretically possible." The real problem with vegetarian cat food is not that it can't be done, it's that it is not natural. Unnatural doesn't mean bad, but it does mean tremendously difficult. And given the state of scientific testing of vegan and vegetarian cat food, none of the experts we spoke to would recommend shifting away from meat. In summary, more studies are needed to document the health of cats on a vegan diet in the scientific literature. More rigorous quality control measures need to be implemented at the factories of vegan pet foods to prevent future mistakes in mixing and consequent inadequate diets. Guardians need to be educated about the potential health benefits and risks associated with meat-based and vegetarian diets, and should demand appropriate quality control assurance from any pet food manufacturer they do business with. It is also crucial that future studies involving nutritional adequacy of a particular diet test many samples of the diet in question rather than just one. Meat contains complete proteins that evolution has primed cats to digest. When shifting to a vegetarian or vegan diet, you'll have to supplement that with synthetics: synthetic taurine, methionine, cysteine, omega fatty acids, the list goes on. Some of those will be chemically identical to non-synthetic versions; synthetic taurine, for example, is usually added to meat-based cat foods and to serve its required purpose. But some may differ. Does methionene and cysteine have to be absorbed in tandem? Does a cat's liver metabolize an omega-3 fatty acid from an avocado the same way it does one from fish oil? We don't know. No conclusive independent long-term studies on vegetarian cat food have been completed. And when we're dealing with something as potentially dangerous as removing meat from an obligate carnivore's diet, we'd prefer to look at some numbers to make sure this won't cause diabetes or heart defects or cancer in five years.