Finally, a detailed success story with as much helpful information as possible to assist those of us wishing to make the transition or who have tried but had difficulty.
Before we start, there are certain claims that need to be addressed:
Cats and dogs should eat commercial supplied raw pet food diets, this is what they are naturally meant to eat in the wild.
Commercially supplied raw pet foods are not the same as the wild foods that the ancestors of our cats and dogs would have eaten. Cats would not eat cows, chicken, rabbits, pigs, bison, or fish in the wild, yet most commercial pet foods, including raw, supply these formats.
Additionally, wild animals would not be fed the same poor diets as the commercial pet food animals are fed, such as GMO corn. Even when "organic", it does not stop the supplier from feeding their livestock incorrect foods, such as grains, corn, or low quality "meals", they also lead unnatural captive lives and are not eating their correct natural diet (ie: cows fed grains or "cow feed" instead of grass). Also consider that most dogs are no longer anywhere near their wild ancestors such as wolves and huskies. They have evolved now with the impact of human breeding, into smaller animals that rarely (if ever) hunt when let outside. When is the last time you saw your dog chase down and eat a wild animal? Cats on the other hand, still have this ability and instinct. For those of you that let your cats outside and live in suitable areas, your cat will be able to eat birds and mice or rats. This is the kind of food they would eat in the wild, but you won't find bird or mice based cat food. So forget about all the hype you hear from commercial pet food suppliers, as it is all marketing and not based on sound scientific evolutionary evidence.
What we should be focused on, is providing our companion animals with the best quality food that will provide them with good health, long lives, and at the same time, eliminate the suffering of other animals and destruction of our planet. Commercial pet foods and raw pet foods do not deal with these issues - animals are still being killed, and by consuming animal products, you are destroying our planet(1). Don't forget, we humans aren't eating whatever we used to eat long ago in the wild either. We too have learned about nutrition and adapted our foods and diets around what promotes optimal health (at least the vegans have =). So the same principle applies for our companion animals. If we can develop foods that provide optimal nutrition and health, and at the same time make them vegan, then why not do so?
Cats cannot be vegan. They need meat.
What cats need are specific nutrients. With careful scientific and evidence based product design, we can formulate a vegan based cat food that meets the dietary needs of cats. There are very few products on the market that have accomplished this, however. AMI, an Italian based company, is the only manufacturer that we have found that has really done their homework and where the results have been proven over time. Their vegan cat food contains the essential nutrients including taurine.
A Success Story - Three Vegan Cats and One Vegan Dog!
Now to the success story... which starts right here at home with the founders of Karmavore and their own three cats and dog. The three cats - one 12 year old male domestic, and two 2 year old female domestics, along with a 14 year old German shepherd husky cross, were all successfully converted to 100% vegan diets including treats!
The Animal Companions
* One 14 year old husky/shepherd with arthritis, Degenerative Myelopathy, bad gums, picky and only wanted to eat tin food, watery stool (diarrhea), and on several veterinary prescribed medicines. He has trouble walking and with strength in the rear legs
* One 12 year old male cat, outdoor, that eats rats/mice/birds
* Two 2 year old female cats, indoor
The cats were previously fed one wet tin of food per day along with dry kibble.
The dog was fed mostly wet food and lots of biscuit treats.
The doggies new diet:
* AMI Dog Vegan Kibble with occasional sprinkles of Nutritional Yeast and/or warm water for a bit of change
* Canned Organic Pumpkin (a few spoons on top of his food)
* Holistic Blend Organic Fruit & Veggies
* Holistic Blend Organic Dog Treats
* Cold Pressed Omega Oil optimized ratio for Dogs
* He even has a new vegan arthritis medicine called RecoverySA. If you get it in the powdered form, it is vegan!
The kitties new diet:
* AMI Cat Vegan Kibble
* Holistic Blend Organic Fruit & Veggies
* Tofurky deli slices (very small amounts and fed as a treat)
* AMI Vegan Dog Kibble (fed as a treat, sprinkled with nutritional yeast)
Problems Encountered and Solutions
Their dog would have diarrhea no matter what veggie food was introduced or how long he was fed it. The solution, organic canned pumpkin OR Holistic Blend Fruit & Veggies tins! They would mix in a few tablespoons with his food and voila - the best dog stool you'll get! Very easy to pickup and no more messy cleanups! He also loves the taste!
At first, one of their cats would not eat the AMI Kibble. The others went for it right away. A couple of days later, she finally went for it and now loves it. It was just a surprise for her not to have her usual food and once she got hungry and tried it, she loved it. In fact, their cats would often get bored of regular dry food so they would have to change the brand/flavor every so often. With the AMI kibble, this is not the case, they absolutely love it and go for it every day, eagerly. It really is amazing!
Cats like treats and wet food, and when you take this away from them, they will give you those "looks", you know the ones! Their solutions were to add warm water to the food, and to give them some of the AMI Vegan Dog kibble as treats, and it worked great! Additionally, they gave them a couple inches each of a tofurky deli slice when they look like they really need something special. Top this off with some organic catnip, and they are your purring babies for life - don't worry - vegan kitties can have fun and enjoy food too =)
How are they doing?
Their doggy is doing very well and loving his new food and treats. His coat is shining and he looks forward to eating. He has not experienced any health symptoms. He's been fully vegan since November 2008, with transitions for several months prior. He no longer has an diarrhea problems.
Their three kitties are all also doing very well! Two out of three of them like the treats and all of them like the Holistic Blend Fruit & Veggies. They have been fully vegan since August 2008.
So there you have it. It CAN be done. You can convert your animal companions to a vegan diet with persistence, love, and patience. And when you have managed to pull it off, you will feel so much better about no longer supporting the unnecessary suffering of slaughterhouse animals and destruction of our precious planet!