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Frequently Asked Questions About VeganCats Ordering Shipping Information Can Cats and Dogs be Vegan? Contact Us

Frequently Asked Questions

My cat has had a health problem with ___. Can you tell me how to correct this?
Being as we're not veterinarians, we cannot offer any sort of medical advice regarding your cat's health. We are only retailers of the products we sell, and due to this we are not any more qualified to give advice on health issues for cats or dogs than we are for humans. Your veterinarian who is familiar with the cat or dog you're concerned about is the best resource for recommendations regarding health issues and how to treat them. If you do not find a vet who is willing to work with you having a cat or dog on a vegan diet, then look for another who will until you find one you're comfortable with having take care of your companion animal. Again, we cannot offer medical advice or recommendations, so please do not ask us to assist in this manner - we can help with any questions regarding the items we sell based on what the manufacturer states, but that is all we're able to do at this time.
Don’t cats need a dietary source of Taurine?
Yes- and the vegan cat foods we carry contain adequate amounts. Although Taurine naturally occurs only in animal tissue, synthetic Taurine has been produced on a large scale since about 1930. In fact, many meat-based pet foods utilize synthetic Taurine to meet nutritional requirements as well (most naturally-occurring Taurine is washed away during the rendering process)!
Is it true that vegancats.com is telling some people to feed their cats meat?
Yes. After much soul-searching, we have decided to change our official recommedations for certain cats.

Urinary tract problems are fairly common in cats, and because of the relative acidity of meat to vegetable protein, some vegan cats suffer from them.

Although we have been giving advice for some time on how these problems can be minimized while still feeding a completely vegan diet, we have found that many of our customers have not been following this advice. It is imperitive to feed your cat a vegan diet properly for optimal health, as not doing so may jeopardize your cat's well-being (as is the case with improper feeding on any other diet - ideal nutrition is a necessity for optimal health!)

Unless you are very committed to following the advice outlined on our site by feeding your cat a properly balanced diet as per the information below, we recommend that you mitigate the risk of urinary tract problems by feeding males cats only a 25-75% vegan diet and females a 50-100% vegan diet. Of course, many cats (both make and female) will thrive on a simple vegan diet and never have any complicatons from urinary tract infections or crystal formations, you need to be prepared to adjust the diet accordingly for cats who may be prone to such issues.

Our mission is to reduce suffering as much as possible through reducing dependancy on meat products for your companion animals, but at the same time, we also have great concern for the overall health and well-being of cats who are prone to urinary tract problems. We do not believe in making companion animals suffer through recurring health complications simply because we'd like to feed them an exclusively vegan diet; rather, we believe that people should do the best they can to find a balance that keeps their companions healthy while reducing dependancy on meat products to the greatest extent.
I don't want to feed my cat ANY meat; what steps can I take to accomplish this?
Because of anatomical differences, the risk of urinary tract problems is much less in females than in males. Although both can develop crystals in their bladders that can cause discomfort, females cannot become completely blocked by an aggregation of these crystals; therefore, urinary tract problems in females are easier and less expensive to fix and are not as painful and potentially dangerous as they are in males.

For this reason, we recommend that all female cats be given a 100% vegan diet unless they display a tendency for chronic urinary tract problems that cannot be controlled through the basic preventative methods outlined below. In those relatively rare instances, giving some canned meat food along with the vegan food may be a necessary step to normalize pH.

Because of the greater risk to males, you may want to give your cat some canned meat-based foods (a veternarian-prescribed pH balancing formula is ideal) be given along with vegan food, particularly if they have had any past history of urinary tract issues or crystal formation. Cats who have never displayed any tendencies to develop urinary tract problems can often get by with a fully vegan or nearly all-vegan diet, but you must be vigilant with males due to the urgency of needing proper care if there is blockage due to the formation of crystals in the urinary tract. Those who have had problems in the past may need as much as 1/2 to 3/4 of their food consist of meat in order to completely mitigate this risk. Urinary tract issues and crystal formations tend to come back often after the first occurrence, and as the health of your cat is our top concern, anyone whose cat has had a past history of these issues should be feeding their cat some meat to reduce the risk of future complications. While we wish that there were another way, some cats who have had problems with this will continue to have them with all-vegan diets, and it is better for the cat to be healthy and happy with a partially vegan diet than to subject them to recurring painful health problems. While we wish that every cat could be completely vegan without any potential for complications, some cats have systems that just do not mesh well with 100% vegan diets, and they will need special consideration to keep them healthy and happy.

For all cats of both sexes, the following basic rules of prevention ought to be followed as much as possible:
  1. make sure your cat is getting as much water in their meals as possible. Wet or canned food is preferable to dry; if your cat will only eat kibble, consider soaking it in water for a few minutes prior to serving. No cat-- particularly males-- should be eating a diet of just kibble or dry food as it increases the risk of UTI issues.
  2. add a digestive enzyme product to every meal (any of the brands we offer will do well for this). Enzymes are a good idea anyway, as they aid digestion and reduce metabolic tax on the body. You may also want to consider the Cranimals supplements as well, as cranberry extract helps acidify the urine and soothe the urinary tract simultaneously.
  3. have your vet check your cat's urine pH and make sure it remains in the range of 6.0-6.5. We also offer pH testing strips so that you may check at home as well, but if you cannot get an accurate reading, then you NEED to have your vet check to make sure that things are in balance. This is the step that most people seem inclined to skip, but it is the number one diagnostic method by which you can head off a problem before it starts. This test will probably only run you in the neighborhood of $20-30, and can pick up a risk before it becomes a serious issue. Treatment for a blocked male cat who requires hospitalization and catheterization, on the other hand, may run you $1000 or more (and this is not even taking into consideration the effect on your cat). It is WELL worth taking the time to get this test done within the first few weeks of introducing a vegan diet to your male cats.
You're not listening to me. I don't want my cats to eat ANY meat. Is such a thing possible?
Yes, of course it is. There are literally thousands of 100% vegan cats out there and most of them do fine. Females, as mentioned above, can usually be given a 100% vegan diet with no problem. And so can many males. However, we really need to stress that if you want to make your males completely vegan, you need to be very dedicated and vigilant when it comes to maintaining their urinary tract health. It is not compassionate to be concerned only with your cat's food being vegan if it sacrifices the health of you cat!

NEVER feed a male a strictly kibble diet. Most vegan male cats will do best on NO kibble whatsoever (we recommend making them meals using Vegecat pH ideally or by feeding them the Evolution Diet canned wet food).

Have their urine pH checked by a veterinarian or with your own testing strips, as outlined above, not just once but periodically. If the pH is over 6.5, or if crystals are detected in the urine, you may need to introduce a methionine supplement into the diet and then get another pH reading done to make sure the supplement has been effective.
Isn't it hypocritical and non-vegan to recommend that people give their cats meat?
No, we don't think so. As vegans personally, and as a vegan company, our goal is to reduce animal suffering and death by as much as we possibly can.

Although we believe that the majority of cats can do fine on an entirely or mostly vegan diet as long as proper precautions are taken, we have come to realize that many people find the steps outlined above to be daunting or confusing, and choose to ignore them and feed their cats vegan anyway (which may lead to urinary tract problems and ultimate disillusionment with the idea of vegan cat food altogether) or decide that feeding their cats a vegan diet is too difficult or risky and so continue to feed them meat.

We hope that everyone with the time, dedication and resources to carefully monitor their cat's urinary tract health and take all reasonable precautions to maintain it-- as outlined above-- will continue to do so. Our intention is not to scare anyone who has completely vegan cats and seems to be doing fine with them into going back to meat. We simply want it known that some cats may need adjustments made to ensure that they remain as healthy as possible, and that even a partially vegan diet for cats makes an impact by reducing consumption of meat by-products.

What we hope to do is encourage people who are nervous about giving their cats vegan food, whether because their cat experienced a urinary tract incident while on vegan food in the past or for some other reason, that they do not necessarily have to choose between a 100% vegan diet and a 100% meat one. A fifty/fifty split, for example, can decrease their contribution to the animal slaughter industry by a significant amount while at the same time mitigating their cats' risk of developing urinary tract problems.

If all the vegans out there who are worried about feeding their cats a vegan diet would instead strive to feed them a partially vegan diet, the collective benefit to animals would be tremendous. For this reason we believe that advising people to give their cats a mix of vegan and meat food is not only not hypocritical and anti-vegan, it is actually the most moral, ethically consistent, vegan position that we can possibly hold at the present time.
Are there any other health concerns I ought to worry about with my vegan cats, other than urinary tract issues?
Nope. None. Although veterinarians often attempt to blame any health problem that a vegan cat may develop on the diet, nothing other than the aforementioned appears to show up any more often in vegan cats than it does in non-vegans.
Should I also consider feeding some meat to my dogs?
No. Dogs are natural omnivores much like ourselves and adapt as easily to a vegan diet as we do. They do not have the same tendency to develop urinary tract problems that cats do, and so none of the precautions listed for cats applies to them.
Which food should I be buying for my cats and dogs?
The best food for cats is Vegecat (pH is recommended for most-- see above), which is a supplement that comes with recipes that you can use to make food at home. If you don't have time to cook for your cat, Evolution and Ami foods are also nutritionally complete but for those, we suggest additional supplementation with enzymes and possibly the Cranimals supplements as noted above. If you are going to be also giving your cat some meat food, we don't particularly endorse any brand over any other; it mat be a good idea to use a special "prescription" pH formula (available through vets) though, as this will allow you to use the least meat possible.

Vegedog is also very good for dogs, but in terms of prepared foods, we recommend Ami, Evolution, PetGuard and Natural Life for most dogs, and Natural Balance for those who have food allergies. For dogs with no particular health concerns, it may be the best idea to try a small bag of each different kind and see what they like the best, or to rotate several different brands in order to give your dog more variety.
Do you offer free samples?
No, but we sell in small quantities (1 lb. of kibble, single cans) and have specially discounted "starter packs" available that make sampling as simple and inexpensive as possible.
My veterinarian / some website / etc. says that cats and dogs can't possibly be vegan and be healthy. Are they right?
The answer is, no. If we hadn't had experience in working with thousands of people over the years who have had lifelong vegan cats and dogs that are happy and healthy, we'd be inclined to agree. However, the proof lies in the fact that many, many people have successfully transitioned their companion animals to vegan diets without ANY negative health complications, proving the statement "cats and dogs can't be vegan" quite untrue. Of course, as we state above, some cats may have difficulties on a 100% vegan diet if they are prone to urinary tract issues, but that is not the case with every animal and cats should be treated as individuals. When a proper diet and supplementation regimen is given, most cats and dogs will be able to go fully vegan without any health issues. But, as the concept of vegan companion animals is still quite new (only a bit over 20 years since the first nutritionally complete foods became available), many people still look at it as a dangerous attempt at feeding, mostly due to lack of knowledge, or trusting their information from a source who does not have all the facts. Remember, there are still plenty of "experts" who to this day insist that a vegan diet for humans is somehow dangerous and unhealthy; you can only expect that many people who consider themselves qualified to give advice on diets for cats and dogs will insist a vegan diet is terrible for animals as well. We keep our fingers crossed that in due time, it will become accepted fact that a vegan diet can be very healthy for many animals, but as of now, there's still plenty of misinformation running rampant that is put out as fact.
I live in _____. Is there a store in my area that carries your products?
Most likely not. If you live in the Milwaukee area, you can pick up all of the products on this site at the VeganEssentials store we own and operate. It's pretty much hit or miss anywhere else as many of these items are not very easy to find in stores, particularly the Ami, Hoana and Evolution product lines. In most areas our flat rate shipping is going to be in the range of the sales tax you'd be paying if you bought locally anyway, so it generally works out okay to do your ordering online. We recommend that once you find a brand that your cat or dog likes, stock up and save so that you can keep your costs down and not have to worry about ordering frequently or running out without an ample supply to cover the shipping transit period of the next order you place with us.

Also, we are authorized distributors for the Ami brand cat and dog foods and products, so if you'd like to have your local store carry any of their items, please have them email us at orders@vegancats.com and we will get them details to see if the products are something they may want to bring into their store.
I think that it's wrong to make cats or dogs vegan. You're cruel - It's not natural - Etc...
Everyone is entitled to their opinion. However, we have witnessed countless success stories of people who have changed their cats and dogs to vegan diets over the years, so it can be done safely when the diet is done correctly. Again, we recommend following the dietary guidelines for your chosen food brands exactly as they are listed by the manufacturer, and that you make sure your companion animals get regular veterinary checkups. When done safely, there is no more risk in a vegan diet for cats or dogs than a non-vegan one, and it in turn helps reduce suffering as it removes or reduces dependency on meat-based foods. Most people do not realize how little “quality” meat goes into their cat and dog food (they don’t know about the filthy renderings, diseased parts and tumors, unnatural fillers and other junk that goes into common foods), and they seem to think that most foods contain pure meat. Well, folks, that’s not the case, and you’d probably be quite surprised how little “good” meat goes into most mainstream brands, and how much of them consist primarily of the kinds of things you wouldn’t want to feed your beloved companions if you really knew what was inside. It should become more obvious in time that a vegan diet is far cleaner overall for ingredient quality, and without the use of contaminated fillers that caused thousands of animals to die in late 2006 with the melamine scare, it should be more convincing that a vegan diet is healthy in more ways than just being animal-free. For those who say a vegan diet is “not natural”, please let us know what’s natural about a cat eating parts of cow, turkey, salmon or other such creatures that they’d never catch in the wild. When there is finally a can with a full dead squirrel, mouse, mole, etc. inside, then there will finally be a “natural” cat food, but as this time, such a thing does not exist and all food we give to companion animals is very different from what they’d eat in nature.

We are always open to discussing the ethics of a vegan diet for cats and dogs to those who are seriously considering it for their companion animals, but if you’re writing or calling simply to give us your opinion on why you think it’s not a good idea, please do not bother to write or call with angry rants, your philosophies on why veganism is stupid, etc. We answer all serious inquiries on products and are always happy to assist when people are genuinely interested in the diet, but we will simply delete messages from those who want to try and tell us what we’re doing is wrong. We love all animals, and we would not be offering such products if they were not safe and had not been proven for over 2 decades, so please, only contact us with serious inquiries or concerns. We have replied to numerous people over the years who thought that they could find a hole in the safety of feeding cats and dogs a vegan diet, but oddly enough, when we supplied the info to prove the safety or were able to refute their claims, we never heard back from them (it seems most people don’t like to admit when they’re wrong!) So, if you’ve got a genuine question, comment or concern, please write or call, but to those who insist on trying to prove that there’s no way a cat or dog can safely go vegan, please, do not waste your time as we have better things to do than argue (such as getting orders out to all of our satisfied customers with happy, healthy animals!)


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