04 April 2006

Feline Food Variety

I once knew of a vegetarian dog named Robinhood, and the last time I saw him (3 years ago), he was 14 years old, healthy and happy. You see, Robinhood's mama fed him all whole-foods, all vegetarian foods, and she always cooked him what she cooked for herself. He never ate processed foods. I don't know where he is now, but I will never forget him, his cuteness, or his wonderful lifestyle.

I have always wanted a vegetarian/vegan animal. I have had Killian, my cat for 3.5 years (that's how old he is plus a few weeks) and I know that it is possible, yet difficult and risky for a vegan cat. But, it's safe and healthy for a vegetarian dog, and even a vegetarian cat, if given the right supplements. I don't plan on taking Killian off his meat-filled diet. I have studied up enough to stick with my decision, although I have been slowly incorporating more plant foods in his diet, giving him greens (although my online vet, Dr. Google told me that they don't digest greens, yet I'm skeptic of this).

Killian has had a UTI and was very sick over a year ago. He was in the "hospital" all weekend. From then on he is on "prescription" diet C/D formula and he only drinks the water we drink, from the cooler. I must be speaking for him too, but I sure am sick of feeding him brown, crunchy pellets filled with dead animals. I will keep him on his food, but he does need some color and flavor variety. I'm just too wary to just give him anything (although all-vegan).

I would like some advice or more questions to ponder. I do not plan on "converting" my Killian to a vegetarian diet (although ideally I'd love to, as with the whole world) but I do want to add more healthy foods.

When he was just a tiny-guy he climbed up my body and took a huge dive from my shoulder into my bowl of spaghetti and marinara sauce. He loved the sauce all over him! It was super-cute. I knew he liked that.
Everytime I open the freezer, he comes running. He likes to play with ice cubes (soccer) but I think he really wants ice cream. And let me tell you'all about that... Ray has dairy. I have soy. Killian looovvveeesss soy ice cream and doesn't even care one bit for cow's milk. That makes me happy, but his vet said soy is ok, just in moderation. I don't give him more than once a month or so, and it's just a few licks. He loves Silk Yogurt too. I think it's the cultured bacterias he likes.

Killian likes:
chickpeas (and turned into hummus and falafel)
marinara sauce
soy foods, ice cream, yogurt, milk, cereal, etc...
alfalfa grass
kiwi (if it's not too ripe)

I would like some ideas on good, whole, natural foods to feed Killian. And I would like to make stuff to put into his bowl, even if it is just for him (that's just part of how MUCH I love him).

More importantly, I would like a list of foods/spices that are harmful, poisonous, or not recommended for kitties. What about nuts and seeds? Certain fruits? Anything would be helpful, as I even worry about houseplants and flowers (poinsettas, yeah, I know...).

This is my non-human food post. Well, human-food-goes-feline, rather. I must go tend to the meow now...


Patty said...

I don;t have any cat food advice for you. Our three cats eat that dried cat food too but they all suppliment it with munching stuff from our compost pile. Smokey is 12 years old and a hunter. Brennon is 8 and Aya is just one. All healthy but I suspect they all hunt a lot on the farm here.
BTW we had an Irish Wolf Hound named Killian, named after the beer.

Harmonia said...

My 4 aren't veg either...I don't plan on changing that to be honest but at the same time I have been feeding them fresh/raw veggies in addition to their store bought food. I don't think I am knowledgeable enough to do it successfully. Plus...if they were out in the wild they would certainly go after anything they could get their paws on. But I think people who do fee their pets veg-diets successfully are great and loving pet owners as well!

Mine love just about everything. One doesn't like onions...not that I give them alot but they love when I cook just incase I drop something! The vet told me small baby carrots are good for dogs inplace of dog treats for a healthy snack. Since I have an older dog with less than perfect teeth I tend to cut them in half and then give them to him. He loves carrots! He loves many Veggies but Carrots he LOVES!

I also responded to your comment on my blog! Swing by again when you can!

laura said...

You (and Killian) might also feel better about simply switching his regular kitty food.

When we switched our dogs to the Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul formula, we could see the difference immediately.

This stuff is made with ALL human-grade meats, and has a lot of herbs and good-for-you things like flaxseed, chicory, fruits and vegetables.

When we switched, our dogs' coats got nice and shiny, they didn't shed as much, their pooping activity was more regular (and less bulky with the undigestible fillers that most dog foods add to their formulas, and most incredibly, our Boxer had a complete personality shift.

He had been increasingly grumpy and clingy for months. When we switched to this food (from a high-priced "Natural" food, but one that was pretty heavy on the meat), he became a bouncy happy clown again!

I have no idea about cats or what table food you can safely feed any animal. Our dogs get HORRIBLE gas and indigestion from our people food, so we don't dare. :)

But I highly recommend this pet food - it's fantastic!

EatPeacePlease said...

Hi Patty, yep, Killian's named after the beer (yet I don't drink, anymore, much). Killian isn't street smart and we live off of 2 busy streets so I love him too much to roam. Plus, he isn't roaming on grass or anything, it's all sidewalks and roads, yuck.

Harmonia, Killian loves to stand and do his "little dance" and nuzzle all around me. He does epecially when I'm cooking (or see an old treat post for a photo of him in his chair). I know he likes carrots and celery and stuff that I mix up small. I'll check your page soon.

Laura, thanks for your nice comments. I have switched Killian's food (not by choice, due to the UTI, but it's been great). I am just concerned with added veggies. His food isn't crap (compared to what I was giving him) and I am going to find out about the meat quality, as I've been wondering about. His food has meat as the number 1 ingredient, plus some other good stuff. And just like yours, his coat is shiny and he is more behaved (if there is such a thing). Maybe I'll check some natural food ingredients and see what herbs/veggies are in them. Thanks for this advice, but any change in his food I haveto discuss with the vet because of his "prescription".

Thanks for the comments, keep them coming please... I STILL NEED HELP AND ADVICE.

jess (of Get Sconed!) said...

I'm sorry about Killian, I send good wishes your way, guys. Let me ask my boyfriend, he has a good deal of experience natural animal nutrition. I will warn you now, it's disgusting but he'll probably recommend frozen 'raw' food. My cats eat Innova or Solid Gold katznfloken.

EatPeacePlease said...

Ask your boyfriend Jess. Isn't he "Thomas"?

I have given Killian raw fish before and it was nasty. I don't think he really liked it either.

Here's the deal: I plan on keeping him on this same Kitty Food. I do need and want to introduce more plant foods. I need some good suggestions on what cats like and what's healthy as well as what is not good for them (so I don't give Killian any). Thanks again.

Vicki said...

Hi Leslie:
There was a discussion recently on VeganLunchBox about this topic - Jennifer's March 23, 2006 post titled "Sticks 'N' Stones. Here is one comment by Anonymous: "Cats can't live on a vegetarian diet. They require meat, because they can't metabolize everything they need from non-meat sources. A vegetarian diet for a cat means eventual blindness and heart failure."

I don't personally have the word for you, but perhaps you could gleen some information there?

Best of luck with your beloved animal companion!

jess (of Get Sconed!) said...

I will definitely ask Thomas after work for ya. I do know that he isn't very comfortable with giving cats soy, I'll find out more.
You know one of my cats, Zelda, loves spinach to pieces too.

jess (of Get Sconed!) said...

I will definitely ask Thomas after work for ya. I do know that he isn't very comfortable with giving cats soy, I'll find out more.
You know one of my cats, Zelda, loves spinach to pieces too.

Harmonia said...

Oh! I have even found my eldest enjoys a little bit of nutritional yeast as well. I found if you sprinkle a teaspoon or less on their food it keep the fleas away! Who would have thunk it? lol

I don't feed him lots of it but if it drops or spills he loves it!

Karen said...

You should be very careful feeding your cat that prescription food. The vets are given kickbacks to force that stuff on their clients. I used to work at a veterinary office. It is still made from horrible rendering plants. To read more about this go to


They have cat and dog food. My dog's health changed dramatically after changing to this food. The public really doesn't know much about rendering plants and what they put into your pet's food.

Karen said...

oops- gave the wrong web site...


Catherine said...

Hm, my kitty (Oliver) doesn't like ANYTHING, except chamomile tea, and his food. (What a weirdo.) He used to like cow's milk (when I bought it,) but only after I had it over cereal and had finished all of the cereal. I feed him "Pet Promise" brand kitty food, although he used to be an IAMS guy. (And Purina Cat Chow before that.) He just had a clean bill of health from the vet, so it seems to be working for him! Good luck with your info gathering.

Amy said...

I grow grass for my cat, Tucker. The first package was strictly oatgrass, the second one (cosmic brand, from the pet store) is a mix of oats, barley, wheat, etc. He seems to like both equally well, and begs for his "salad" twice a day. We grow the grass in peat pots in a sunny windowsill - the roots grow into the peat, so he's less likely to pull the whole rootball out of the pot than when we use terra cotta mini pots.

We have one of the fountains for him to drink from. He definitely drinks more water from that than he did from any dish, which makes me happy. More throughput = less likelihood of a urinary tract infection.

As for people food: he doesn't seem to have much interest. He's more than willing to sniff at it, but he thinks his food is a lot better (Science Diet Hairball Control). We did catch him eating bran flakes one day - between that and the oat spouts he might be a wee bit fiber obsessed. ;-)

Best wishes in finding a food you both can live with, and I hope Killian feels better soon!

Crystal said...

Leslie - I have to share that I printed off your Sloppy Lenties awhile back and finally got around to making them. They...were...fantastic!!! I plan on having these often. My boyfriend made them up for us last night and then we had then again for lunch today. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

Nancy said...

Leslie - I don't know anything about cats (other than the fact I am allergic to them!), but I can recommend the books from Dr. Pitcairn: http://www.drpitcairn.com/books/pitcairn_book.html
My dogs are not vegetarian but I do cook all their food for them. They love everything! You know how some animals come running when you use the can opener? Ours go nuts when they hear the vegetable peeler! I think you could get some good ideas from the book - good luck to you!

EatPeacePlease said...

To Everyone: Thank you so much for your comments and suggestions. I have a lot (more) research to do now. Thank you all and I will update everyone on my findings, decisions and how Killian feels about all this too.

I haven't been posting much (Midweek Munchies, oops), but I promise to have some good stuff soon. First, I need some food in the house.

Vicki said...

Hey, I found an ad for pet food in my new Veggie Life Mag: http://www.petfoodshop.com/

Also, I attempted your treats this morning & blogged it. :o)

jess (of Get Sconed!) said...

Leslie - my boyfriend recommends garlic (powder, not raw), kelp & a tad of nutritional yeast.

Elizabeth and Miss Candi said...

I have a fur baby that eats fruits and veggies. She will not eat meat. My site is www.turtlelane.blogspot.com. She is a poodle. Candi turns her nose up and refuses to eat meat.She like raw foods. This morning she had cheerios with milk and a bowl of grapefruit. E mail me if you have any questions. My vet is working with us on this. turtlelane@sbcglobal.net.
I do feed her babyfood.
Elizabeth and Miss Candi

Dori said...

This info came from a friend of mine... thought I'd share it with you.

I added Vegekit supplement (http://www.vegancats.com/pages/1003/Cat_Food_-_Home_Cooked.htm) to their food for the first year. Now they hunt, too, and I don't add it. This site has some advice on feeding cats. My cats have never had urinary tract problems, perhaps because they never eat dry food.
Some people object to letting cats hunt, but we live in the country-- it would be near-impossible to keep them inside. At this stage of their lives, I think it would be cruel. I have more problems with feeding them slaughterhouse products than I do with them hunting. They kill far more mice than anything else, and I found out that mouse-meat contains 10 times more tauriine (the amino acid that cats need) than beef does!
They are all healthy, happy, and have beautiful coats, and never need to go to the vet.
My recipe is:
4 cups dry chickpeas, cooked well and mashed (I do this in 3 batches in the food processor-- it can be a bit chunky)
3 cups TVP granules soaked with 3 cups hot water
1 cup torula yeast
3/4 cup oil
1 T. salt
Mix together well. Add some of the chickpea cooking water if it needs more moisture. This makes about 7 pints, or enough for a week for my 3 cats. I freeze most of it and thaw as needed.

EatPeacePlease said...

Wow thanks Dori. Why so much salt, or is it necessary and I just have no clue? And what type of oil do you particularly use?

Again, Everyone, thanks for your comments and time!

Isil S. said...

Our cat, Bibik eats the regular cat food normally but if there's anything she likes she eats some. these are lentil soup, avocado,tahini,chickpeas, potatoes. not too much, just a little bit,i think she's satisfied with her on food.
hugs to you and killian

Virginie said...

Hi Leslie,
I live with a vegan 15 years-old dog and a 95% vegan 7 years-old cat. I give to Sam Yarrah dry food (bags bought in organic shops) and make him vegedog mixture. Piloselle, the cat, is very allergic (even at 3 months, when I took him at an animal shelter). Until 3 years-old, he ate vegekit mixture, then vegecat mixture and Amicat dry food. But as he was still allergic, the vet advised me to give him hypoallergenic dry food (she sells) which is at 95% vegan (rice and soya). And if the vet sells it...
You can find more informations on google for Amicat products. Vegecat and Vegekitten is made by the Harbingers of the New Age in the USA (they wrote a book : Vegetarian Cats and Dogs, in 1995). And you can read some more informations on http://vegechat.org/english.html : it's a french informations site, but I give you the english pages address - and in the photos galerie, you can see Sam and Piloselle !).
Piloselle enjoys more than everything avocados, yeast and seaweed, and like chick peas, apples... nearly everything I eat (Sam too).
You shouldn't give him raw products as cats can't absorb anything from it. For the enzymes, you can give him supplements sold by the Harbingers of a New Age.
Be carefull too with soap, paints, cocoa, oinions, toxic mushrooms, fluor, plomb, BHT, insecticids like DDT, HCH, dieltrin, cresyl and polychlorophenols, aspirin (and surely other medecine...), food with high rate of mercure, fluor, salt, ethylene-glycol, aflatoxine and the following plants : (sorry I give you the french names, hope the english ones is closed) aracées, liliacées, amarallidacées, aucuba, mimosa du Japon, allamanda, dipladénia, auphorbiacées, cyclamen, ficus, houx, rhododendron, azalées, abrus, solanum, pseudo-capsicum, lantana, gui, ipomoéa, chrysanthème, sparmannia.
I hope it will help you. Ask me if you've got other questions. Who knows, maybe I'll can help you. Bye.