Cat Urine Samples Required for Vegan Cat Diet?

Are you feeding your cat a vegan diet?

  • Yes, I've been doing this for more than a year & the vet says the cat has no medical problems.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Yes, I've been doing this for less than a year & the vet says the cat has no medical problems.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Yes, I've been doing this with my cat for some time but encountered medical problems.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • No, I'm feeding my cat a diet with animal products (and causing other animals&environment to suffer)

    Votes: 3 100.0%
  • Yes, I've been feeding my cat a vegan diet but didn't take him to the vet regarding the matter.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • I tried a vegan diet for my cat but had to stop for medical reasons.

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    3

vegan89

Forum Senior
Joined
May 4, 2022
Reaction score
93
Age
33
Location
United States
Lifestyle
  1. Vegan
I read somewhere that if I want to feed a cat vegan cat food, I need to (even if using a nutritionally complete vegan cat food produced by a reputable company):
1) notify the veterinarian
2) Get urine samples every 2 weeks or so for the first several weeks of the diet
3) get urine samples again more intermittently thereafter... like once every 6 months or so, even if the first several weeks of urine samples were OK

Anyone else who has fed or is feeding their cat a vegan diet know something about this? Is it really necessary? Also, how did it go for those of you who tried it? (see poll)

Related: There's no such thing as humane meat or eggs. Stop kidding yourself
 

majorbloodnok

Forum Practitioner
Joined
Jul 27, 2022
Reaction score
194
Location
United Kingdom
Lifestyle
  1. Omnivore
Whereas dogs are to some extent omnivores, cats are obligate carnivores; they have needs that cannot be met by a plant based diet. The items missing from such a diet can be synthesised, but that pushes a higher commercial pressure on the manufacture of pet foods and all but a small part of the veterinary community advise against trying to provide a cat a plant-based diet.

Below is a link to a 2015 study into vegan cat food products, finding that of 25 tested 24 didn't meet regulations in labelling, nutritional requirements or both, so "even if using a nutritionally complete vegan cat food produced by a reputable company" is a questionable comment in itself.

In addition, since plant based diets tend to be alkaline by nature, they increase the risk to the cat of urinary tract infections, hence the advice you've read somewhere about getting a vet involved and providing regular urine samples.

Certainly in the UK, one can be prosecuted for failing to provide an animal with an appropriate diet. I won't go so far as to say it's impossible for a cat to survive on a diet with totally plant-based origins, the overwhelming veterinary opinion is that it is unlikely to thrive. If you don't want animals to be harmed for your cat to eat, the most sensible answer is not to have a cat. If you really do want a cat - or have a cat that needs to be rehomed - then getting a vet closely involved in the process of introducing a plant-based diet (and acting on their advice) is the absolute minimum you should be doing for your cat, not a question of whether the vet is necessary or not.

 
Last edited:

silva

Forum Legend
Supporter
Joined
Jun 3, 2012
Reaction score
16,132
Location
USA
It is speciest to put some animals above others, but when humans have domesticated cats and I feel we have an obligation to them over other animals.
While I am hopeful plant based cat foods become better tested and mainstreamed, for now, most people can only afford what they can afford, and vet bills are astronomical!
It is certainly true that most commercial cat foods are crap, they are cheaper than vegan and their history is known.
I have only ever had adult rescued cats so it would have been so wrong to further traumatize them.
There is really no one solution now
 
  • Like
Reactions: Brian W

VeganRachel

Forum Legend
Joined
Sep 13, 2021
Reaction score
180
Location
florida
Lifestyle
  1. Raw vegan
I have never had a cat. But I do believe they CAN be vegan if fed a high quality food, and some raw food, and a taurine supplement.
If they do not have the taurine, they will go blind. I know that doggies can be vegan if fed a high quality feed and some raw food
(or mostly raw food).
 
  • Like
Reactions: vegan89

majorbloodnok

Forum Practitioner
Joined
Jul 27, 2022
Reaction score
194
Location
United Kingdom
Lifestyle
  1. Omnivore
I have never had a cat. But I do believe they CAN be vegan if fed a high quality food, and some raw food, and a taurine supplement.
If they do not have the taurine, they will go blind. I know that doggies can be vegan if fed a high quality feed and some raw food
(or mostly raw food).
Yes, it is technically possible. However, as you say there are certain amino acids for example (taurine amongst them) that are essential to produce synthetically and add into the food since a plant-based diet cannot provide them. Even then, close supervision by a vet is necessary since the diet is not capable of matching the nuances of what a cat would see as a natural diet, hence the strong likelihood the cat will survive but not necessarily thrive.

If someone can't afford to feed a cat, most people would happily say "well don't get a cat, then". If someone is not in a position to provide a balanced, adequate and appropriate diet for the cat for any other reason (and a vegan lifestyle might fall into this category depending on one's viewpoint) then the same should apply. As @silva says, there is a practical element on how high a vet's bill most people can afford, but if one has the resources to source such a balanced, adequate and appropriate plant-based diet and ensure the animal is monitored regularly enough to ensure it is thriving, then I see no issue with doing so. However, that's the only course of action that's fair to the cat and for most people it's a big ask.

As for dogs, you're absolutely right. Although they are largely carnivorous, they have adapted in order to take advantage of the leftovers from their human partners' meals - now known to be rather heavier on the plant-based components than the meat. As a result, a dog can thrive on a properly formulated plant-based food containing the supplements now known to be difficult to source without meat. The dog's health still needs to be monitored from time to time especially since home-made vegan dog food is unlikely to be balanced and adequate enough, but such monitoring can comfortably fit in with the dog's routine checkups anyway.
 

Calliegirl

Forum Legend
Joined
Jun 4, 2012
Reaction score
5,812
Lifestyle
  1. Vegan
The poll didn't include my choice - Feeding a cat their natural meat based diet using meat that would normally be thrown away, therefore not causing additional suffering to any animals or damage to the environment, and not risking the health of my pet.

As for all the vets visits...nothing a cat loves more than lots of vet visits and tests. :fp:
 
  • Like
Reactions: Brian W
OP
OP
V

vegan89

Forum Senior
Joined
May 4, 2022
Reaction score
93
Age
33
Location
United States
Lifestyle
  1. Vegan
The poll didn't include my choice - Feeding a cat their natural meat based diet using meat that would normally be thrown away, therefore not causing additional suffering to any animals or damage to the environment, and not risking the health of my pet.

As for all the vets visits...nothing a cat loves more than lots of vet visits and tests. :fp:
That's like saying you might as well buy leather products because if nobody bought them the leather would be thrown away by the meat/slaughter industry.

You are financially supporting an industry that tortures animals in the process of producing your pet food.
 
  • Disagree
Reactions: Brian W

silva

Forum Legend
Supporter
Joined
Jun 3, 2012
Reaction score
16,132
Location
USA
That's like saying you might as well buy leather products because if nobody bought them the leather would be thrown away by the meat/slaughter industry.

You are financially supporting an industry that tortures animals in the process of producing your pet food.
No, it's nothing like leather. If you can obtain meat that would otherwise be thrown away there is no contribution to the industry, and no additional demand. There would be nothing tracked other than the meat was wasted. Waste triggers less production. Leather doesn't go bad.
Humans created the cat problem, and while I am hopeful for better ways of feeding them, and what to do about their waste (which is every bit as bad a problem environmentally speaking) the option of meat scraps is a good choice for many
 

majorbloodnok

Forum Practitioner
Joined
Jul 27, 2022
Reaction score
194
Location
United Kingdom
Lifestyle
  1. Omnivore
No, it's nothing like leather. If you can obtain meat that would otherwise be thrown away there is no contribution to the industry, and no additional demand. There would be nothing tracked other than the meat was wasted. Waste triggers less production. Leather doesn't go bad.
Humans created the cat problem, and while I am hopeful for better ways of feeding them, and what to do about their waste (which is every bit as bad a problem environmentally speaking) the option of meat scraps is a good choice for many
Moreover, leather is not essential to our survival. Even leather substitutes aren’t. Whereas meat or a very close synthetic replica is absolutely fundamental to a cat’s existence.

In the end, if a person chooses to give a home to a cat, they take on the responsibility for providing that cat with what it needs which, in the opinion of all but a handful of vets, means meat. In addition, a cat’s natural instinct is to hunt so unless you’re rehoming a rescue cat and keeping it constantly in your house your choice to have a cat will affect the lives of a lot of wildlife in your area. And if you do try to turn your cat vegan without all the necessary veterinary safeguards and/or try to stifle its urge to go out and hunt you’re mistreating the cat. @Silva’s right; we created the cat problem, but trying to rewrite their physiology and instincts is not the answer.
 
OP
OP
V

vegan89

Forum Senior
Joined
May 4, 2022
Reaction score
93
Age
33
Location
United States
Lifestyle
  1. Vegan
You are financially supporting factory farming, animal slaughter, and all of the cruelty involved there if you buy meat cat food.

If we assume the only meat that goes into cat food is meat that would otherwise be discarded without being sold, that means you are turning a waste product of animal agricultural industries into something that they can sell for money, which increases the profitability of that industry overall.

Imagine a scenario where they can't sell any of that "waste" meat, and it is discarded. The costs of raising those animals who were eventually discarded would in this case be absorbed by that industry, which would raise meat prices... resulting in less meat consumption by the public.
 

majorbloodnok

Forum Practitioner
Joined
Jul 27, 2022
Reaction score
194
Location
United Kingdom
Lifestyle
  1. Omnivore
You are financially supporting factory farming, animal slaughter, and all of the cruelty involved there if you buy meat cat food. .
And yet the cat needs meat. Any financial support doesn’t derive from buying meat cat food, it comes from choosing to have a cat.

Yes, we can argue edge cases about plant based products sold as cat food, consumers who happen to find a vet willing to closely supervise a long term experiment and a cat that manages to both survive and thrive on a diet that only in recent history would have been technically impossible to create, but the fact remains that for the vast majority of cat owners the choice is clear-cut; accept all that goes with buying meat for the cat or be cruel to the cat. You don’t want that choice, you don’t get a cat.