Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of when he was at his worst, but this is my mom’s 11 year old Maine Coon mix, Rabbie. Rabbie, like most cats of the Maine Coon heritage, has a genetic predisposition to a disease called Feline Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The lining of his intestines are much thicker than in other cats, and when stressed, this causes him to throw up and in extreme cases, have severe diarrhea. Shortly after my brother brought home our third cat (a year following my adoption of Ziggy) we began remodeling my mother’s room, which is where Rabbie would go to hide when he was fed up with the younger cats. He had always thrown up very liquidy barf with no hair in it on a biweekly basis, but with the added stress of being pestered by two “alpha” personality young males and having no safe space caused him to quickly degrade into a mess. His hair was greasy and falling out (you can see the bald patches on his leg in the second picture), he was crying regularly, his nose got very dark, and he became highly lethargic. Instead of playing and running around, claiming territory with his trademark scratching move, he just laid around all day, only getting up to try to eat or use the bathroom.
Before this incident, we were feeding all three cats plain old dry Science Diet. That food has a lot of basic meaty animal by-products in it, but it also has corn and other vegetables normally used as feed for herbivores. It worked fine for the younger cats, who weren’t stressed and don’t have thick intestines, but the extra vegetable matter only served to worsen Rabbie’s condition. After careful consideration with our vet, we purchased a high protein dry food consisting only of chicken, chicken by-products and brown rice, for general consumption by all three cats, and Beechnut brand chicken baby food, which is the only brand of baby food that does not mix cornstarch into the meat. This insanely high protein diet, free of vegetables and only containing one very healthy grain, brought Rabbie back from the brink of death, and he hasn’t had diarrhea since. He’s active again, his fur has grown back, his eyes are bright and his nose is normal colored, and while he still throws up, he only does it when he’s mad at us for not paying attention and not because he is in physical pain. He now regularly fights and wins versus the other two cats, and he seems happier than ever. There is no cure for FIBS, but the high protein diet makes it much more manageable and Rabbie much happier.
Cats are obligate carnivores. While many can handle the processed vegetables in dry food as long as there’s enough meat in the food, many breeds of cats can’t handle any vegetables and only a few grains. If you feed your cat a diet with no animal by-products whatsoever, you’re trading the death of an animal with very little in the way of sentience to the very real physical and mental abuse of a creature that has the intelligence and sentience of a human toddler. You are literally condemning your cat to a slow, incredibly painful death, even more painful if it’s a breed like the Maine Coon. If you are a vegan, and can’t handle the idea of an animal eating another animal, you should not own cats or dogs. If you already own one and have been trying to feed it a vegan diet, take it to the nearest no-kill shelter, leave it there, and never think about it again. Want to stand up for the creatures of the planet? Start by stopping the abuse you’re heaping on your own pets, and let people like my mom care for them instead.
Anonymous asked: Why exactly can't you feed cats or dogs on a vegan diet?
HOKAY. And I say this as someone who is getting her PhD in animal nutrition, and who has taken specific cat/dog nutrition classes: their bodies aren’t built for it, especially in cats. Dogs will be malnourished and unhappy on vegan diets, but cats will outright die of malnutrition.
In the wild, while dogs are more omnivorous than cats, the majority of the canine diet came from meat (fun fact: in dogs, the molars are shaped to allow for crushing and grinding, primarily of not plant material like ours, but of bone/cartilage/viscera. When a dog chews a bone, it’s the molars it chews with). Cats? Plant matter comes in the form of whatever their prey had in its belly. Cats and dogs will self-medicate with plants, but that’s mainly to induce vomiting/calm upset stomachs.
In addition to teeth, look at the intestine:body length ratio. The larger that ratio, the more herbivorous the diet is. (Longer intestine -> larger space for complex carbohydrates to be digested/carbohydrate-digesting bacteria to camp out in).This has been shown across taxa, from mammals to birds to fish (sample reference: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2435.2009.01589.x/pdf ) Cats = 2.5:1, dogs = 3-4:1, depending on breed (source: http://www.amazon.com/Nutrient-Requirements-Dogs-Domestic-Animals/dp/0309086280/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1389829146&sr=1-1&keywords=0309086280) Humans? 10:1. Ruminants and horses have even higher ratios (see http://www.ag.auburn.edu/~chibale/an02physiology.pdf ) Cows, for example, have a 30:1 ratio. Horses are 15:1.
Cats and dogs also have much more concentrated acids in their stomach, and a higher amount of proteases (enzymes designed to cleave proteins apart so that they can be absorbed) and a lot less of the amylases needed to break down carbohydrates. Because of the short intestines relative to body length, cats and dogs have a higher passage rate (ie, food stays in the gut a lot shorter) - this means that their diets favor highly digestible foodstuffs like proteins, as opposed to complex carbohydrates, which take longer to digest and absorb. Many plant proteins are also bound up in complexes that require specific enzymes that cats and dogs don’t have. (Look up phytate/phytase sometimes and why that’s a big problem for high-soy diets). So high-carbohydrate diets pass through the intestines too quickly for the carbohydrates to be properly broken down and absorbed, and basically result in a lot of poop, but not much nutrition.
Now let’s look at where we get energy - everything has the same basic requirements for protein, glucose, water, minerals, vitamins, etc etc etc, just in varying amounts. But every species is different in its preferred form - some animals preferably use carbohydrates for glucose (horses/rabbits/guinea pigs). Most carnivores, however, prefer protein, and their bodies are optimized for it. In carnivores like cats and ferrets, their main source of energy (glucose) is gluconeogenesis, that is, making new glucose from non-glucose substrates. Obligate carnivores like cats and ferrets are VERY efficient at this, and their ability to digest carbohydrates and get glucose that way is really quite limited (cats aren’t eating much carbohydrates in the wild, so cats that couldn’t digest carbohydrates well but did digest protein well and had good gluconeogenesis survived to reproduce).
In humans, the gluconeogenic cycle can be turned on and off in the liver, depending on energy levels and our diet - in cats, it’s always on. Because of this, their body preferentially burns protein for fuel - and it needs to be easily digestible protein (like in meat). If they don’t get enough easily digestible protein, the body will start burning its own muscle protein for energy. Dogs are not quite as bad as this, but they still have incredibly high levels of gluconeogenic activity compared to humans.
There’s also the problem of essential nutrients - essential nutrients are nutrients the body cannot synthesize from other substrates. For example, humans (and guinea pigs!) have vitamin C as an essential nutrient - we lack the L-gulonolactone oxidase enzyme needed to synthesize it. While humans only have 10 essential amino acids that we must get from our diet, cats require an eleventh: taurine. Taurine in cats is needed for proper heart/eye/digestive function. Without it, cats will die (in a very painful manner), and it is found only in animal proteins. If a vegan cat food has taurine, it’s not vegan - that taurine was isolated from animal protein.
Cats also need arachidonic acid, which is only found in animal products. Most animals can synthesize it from linoleic acid, but because cats in the wild get such high dietary levels of arachidonic acid, cats that couldn’t synthesize it were still able to survive and reproduce successfully. Without arachidonic acid, cats suffer from painful skin/gastrointestinal/blood diseases, and will die.
Dogs and cats also have an absolute vitamin D requirement - they cannot synthesize it in their skin like humans. The most bioavailable form, D3, only comes from animal sources. Dogs can use D2, but it’s very inefficient and can lead to vitamin D deficiencies. Cats cannot use D2 and have an absolute requirement for D3.
A dog on a vegan diet will most likely suffer from a lack of protein and essential vitamins. A cat on a vegan diet will die. For the best health outcomes, you should feed your cats and dogs a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet. Taste of the Wild, Blue Buffalo, Nature’s Variety Instinct, and Back to Basics (dog food only) are brands I personally recommend (as did my professors at ISU)
I have no problem with humans being vegans, as long as they’re making sure to get a good balance of nutrients. It’s not for me (violent soy allergy, for one), but if it makes you happy, that’s fine. Humans are omnivores - we can do fine on plant-based diets. Dogs and cats can’t. Don’t adopt a carnivore and try to force it to be a herbivore - do your pet a favor and get one of the many cute herbivores (rabbits, guinea pigs, a lot of birds, most rodents) that do just fine on a vegan diet.
I hope that answered your question, anon.
There is nothing sweet or savory about the rotting carcass of a chicken twisted and crushed with cruelty. There is nothing delicious about bloodmouth carnist food. How does it feel knowing your stomach is a graveyard?
I’m sorry, but you just inadvertently wrote the most METAL description of eating a chicken sandwich in the history of mankind.
MY STOMACH IS A GRAVEYARD
NO LIVING BEING CAN QUENCH MY BLOODTHIRST
I SWALLOW MY ENEMIES WHOLE
ESPECIALLY IF THEY’RE KENTUCKY FRIED
Shit, I just _had_ dinner and now I want a chicken sammich as described by Nathan Explosion.