Friday, April 20, 2007

Vegan Principles and Cats

I once had a good friend question my commitment to veganism because I had, and still have, six cats. He told me that just having cats would cause massive bird deaths in the neighborhood, and the food I would be purchasing would contribute to more animal suffering. Perhaps he had some points, but before I get into my cats, I would point out that the same argument could be made in befriending the typical human, who causes massive animal suffering. First of all, all of our cats, who are all females, were rescued. Two, Prissy and Calypso, came from a horrible looking pregnant cat in our neighborhood who came to us for help. The poor cats' mother, who we called Zingara (Gypsy in Italian), had exposed ribs, patches of missing fur and a dull color to the fur. After a week of feeding that long-haired cat, she looked healthy as could be. The she had a litter of five kittens. We kept two, and the three others ended up in good homes, all spayed and neutered, thank you very much. Zingara unfortunately left one evening, and we never saw her again. We looked for her and put up signs to no avail. Our next cat, Chelsea, came from the local kill shelter. Some evil person took this cute tortoise shell kitten to the kill shelter and gave her bad marks, saying she was a wild cat who caused lots of destruction. Whoever did this also chopped off her nails until they were bloody stumps. We adopted Chelsea because we knew no one else would. She is our most affectionate cat. Her nails, and that of our other cats, are all healthy and unclipped. Our next came to me when I was visiting a friend's house. This poor kitten was so hungry I felt I had to go to the store to get some food to feed her. She knew a good thing when she saw it and was insistent that I take her with me. This tuxedo cat, we called Calzetta (Socks in Italian. Get it? Chelsea Clinton had a cat named Socks.) When we took her to the vet to get looked at, she had all sorts of issues, from fleas to tape worms to ear mites. Our last two kittens came from a local wild cat who decided to give birth in our bushes. We suspect the mother of these kittens was related to Zingara. We called the two Tinker Bell and Snow Bell (I'm holding her in the picture). They have the sweetest meows. As for our vegan principles, all of our cats stay indoors, so no wild birds are killed. Unfortunately, we do not buy vegan cat food, even though we could order it through the mail. I understand cats need to be closely monitored when on that diet because of being natural carnivores. The vegan food costs three times as much as we currently pay for, and we buy among the most expensive cat foods in the pet supply store. We get Science Diet Nature's Best food because it is full of whole grains and doesn't have any of those horrible meat byproducts. There is a vegan reason to buy that cat food, as well. The first two ingredients are brewers rice and corn gluten meal, not animal products. So fewer animals are slaughtered to feed these cats, and interestingly enough, our cats eat less of it than other cat foods, and they seem healthier. Also, a gross point, but their litter boxes smell less with this food. So, it is tough in a way to have cat friends and be vegan, but we alleviated a lot of suffering when we adopted them and try to keep their impact to a minimum. They are our meat-eating friends, but we forgive them for it.


  1. You guys are great! I commend you for rescuing your cats (I have 6 too! all rescued), and for caring about their needs, as well as other animals.
    As the founder/director of a no-kill animal rescue, I'm so glad to hear about such caring people in our area!


  2. Thanks for keeping your cats indoors!