The suffering and death of the estimated 50 billion animals that meat eaters around the world sacrifice every year for their culinary preferences is certainly a strong argument in favor of vegetarianism. However, if you think about it, do cows, pigs, chickens and fish, from which dog and cat food is made, suffer less? Is killing thousands of large animals justified in order to satisfy the tastes of your beloved cat or dog? Are the remains of such animals “natural” food for our pets? And most importantly, can a dog or cat go vegan without harm – or even with health benefits? Having asked themselves these questions, thousands of people around the world, and primarily in the US and Europe, are trying to switch their four-legged pets – dogs and cats – to vegetarian food. This trend began only thirty or forty years ago, before that the idea of feeding dogs and especially cats non-meat food seemed by definition absurd, and no research was undertaken in this area. However, in the last decade, the situation has changed dramatically – and now balanced, complete, vegan (no animal components at all) food for cats, dogs (and, by the way, for ferrets too) can be bought in the West in any pet store, and even in a large supermarket. In Russia, the situation is still not so rosy, and with rare exceptions, enthusiasts have to order such food with delivery from abroad (primarily from the UK and Italy). However, for many, the main problem is not even the need to find a store with vegan food for the animal on the Internet and order it at home: the process itself takes a few minutes, the prices are reasonable, and delivery to major Russian cities is stable and quite prompt. “Fatal” often turns out to be the inability to break the pattern imposed by society: “How is it, because in nature cats only eat meat, they are predators!” or “Our dog loves “his” food and only eats it. How can I transfer it to another, and even vegan?” “Do not mock the animal, it needs meat!” Basically, such arguments seem convincing only to: a) people who do not have and never had a pet, b) people who themselves cannot imagine life without meat, and c) people who are not really aware of the physiological needs of their pet’s body and they do not know that they can be fully satisfied without resorting to a meat diet. Some suggest that the animal “make its own choice”: they put a bowl of meat food and a plate of vegan food in front of it! This is a deliberately unsuccessful experiment, because under such conditions, the animal always chooses the meat option – and why, we will tell below, in connection with a detailed analysis of the composition of the “meat” feed. As scientific studies made in recent decades and the positive experience of thousands of vegans around the world, both in Russia and abroad, show, in principle, there are no real obstacles to transferring your four-legged companion to a vegetarian diet. In fact, the problem is in outdated ideas about animal nutrition, the problem is in the owners themselves! Vegans, who every time reluctantly put their meat food on their friend, can finally breathe easy: there is a simple, affordable, healthy and 100% vegan alternative. With dogs, in general, everything is more or less simple: by nature, they are omnivorous, which means that their body is able to synthesize all the necessary amino acids and other vital substances from any nutritious diet, including 100% vegan. (By the way, the dogs of the American TV star Alicia Silverstone, “the sexiest vegetarian” according to PETA, have been vegans – like her – for many years). A dog of any gender and any breed will not get sick or live a shorter life if it is fed “from the cradle” or transferred to a vegan food already in adulthood. In practice, veterinarians even note that vegan dogs live longer and get sick less, their coat quality is higher, their activity does not drop, and sometimes it increases – that is, solid advantages. Ready-made vegan dog food is even more affordable than vegan cat food, but you can feed your dog homemade vegan food and it won’t suffer, quite the opposite. It can be harmful and even dangerous for dogs to eat some foods from our table: chocolate, onions, garlic, grapes and raisins, macadamia eyeballs, among others, are toxic to them. The dog is not in the full sense of the word “omnivorous”! It is best to feed a vegan dog a special prepared vegan food, or to add special vitamin supplements to his diet. With cats, things are a little more complicated. Firstly, cats are more capricious in food, and in some (albeit rare) cases they can flatly refuse vegan food they are not used to – they “go on a hunger strike”. Secondly, and this is a more serious problem, the body of cats is generally not able to synthesize some of the necessary substances from a non-meat diet, and when switching to an unbalanced vegan diet, problems with the ureter are very likely, especially for cats. In this case, blockage or (with a decrease in the acidity of the urine) inflammation of the urinary tract can occur. However, all this applies to animals that were simply “planted” on an unbalanced vegetable diet or food from a vegan table, without taking into account the physiological needs of the cat’s body for irreplaceable trace elements. The introduction of special (synthetic, 100% non-animal) additives completely removes this issue. The question of transferring cats (and even, less often) dogs to vegetarianism still raises – even among vegetarians and vegans themselves! – some embarrassment. “Force” your pet to eat vegan food – which, however, the owner himself reasonably prefers meat! – seems to be a kind of violence against the “predatory” animal. However, it is worth considering that domestic dogs and cats are no longer predators, they are torn out of their natural environment, where they would hunt small rodents, frogs and lizards, insects in the wild, and sometimes would not disdain (in the case of dogs) carrion and even the excrement of their relatives. City dogs and cats cannot be left on their own, they cannot be allowed to hunt “in the yard” – because. they can die a painful death by eating a rodent in whose stomach a special poison has entered, or by mistake be caught and “euthanized” by the veterinary service. On the other hand, if you look, the usual “meat” food for dogs and cats is below all criticism. Not all owners know that the vast majority of “meat” feeds are made on the basis of very low quality products, primarily substandard meat (abroad this is called “category 4-D”). What it is? This is the flesh of animals that were brought to the slaughterhouse already dead or dying, either sick or maimed; expired or spoiled (rotten!) meat from the distribution network falls into the same category. Secondly, and this is no less terrible from the point of view of a vegan – the remains of cats and dogs legally killed in special institutions (collectors and shelters) are mixed into the feed, while the final feed may even contain substances with which euthanasia was done! Third, meat scraps and used restaurant fat, which has been cooked many times, are added to animal feed; such fat is full of so-called. “free radicals” that cause cancer; and very harmful trans fats. The fourth component of any “normal” feed is defective fish that the customer did not accept (rotten, or lost its presentation, or did not pass the chemical control according to the standards). In such fish, levels of harmful substances dangerous to animal health can often be found: primarily (but not only), mercury and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) are both toxic. Finally, the last The key ingredient in cat and dog food is a special “miracle broth”, in the West it is called “digest”. This is a decoction obtained by hydrolysis of undifferentiated meat products, primarily the same substandard meat of all stripes and types, which “died” by its own death (including from infectious diseases) or was otherwise defective. Only the corpses of captured or poisoned rats and animals that have become victims of road accidents (such meat is disposed of) can NOT get into such an “appetizing” broth (at least by European and American standards). Surprisingly, it is a fact that it is the “digest”, or in Russian speaking, “miracle broth” (which, by the way, is a “novelty”, an invention of recent years), strongly attracts animals, makes food “tasty” for them and, accordingly, raises sales. Have you noticed how a cat “drug-like” demands “its own” food or greedily, purring, eats it almost from a jar? She reacts to the “miracle soup”! Cats are especially fond of food with “miracle broth”, dogs are attracted to this “miracle of science” to a much lesser extent. Another fun fact: “chicken” cat food does not contain a gram or a fraction of chicken components, but it contains “chicken digest” – which is also far from being made from chicken, it just has a “chicken” taste due to special processing. According to veterinarians, despite harsh thermal and chemical treatment, commercial meat animal feed contains pathogenic bacteria, unicellular protozoa, fungi, viruses, prions (microscopic pathogens of infectious diseases), endo – and mycotoxins, hormones, antibiotic residues that were used on ” fodder and slaughtered animals, as well as preservatives harmful to the health of four-legged pets. Is it really possible for someone to call such food for cats and dogs “natural”, “natural”? According to studies conducted in the United States in the early 2000s, about 95% of American pets (cats and dogs) eat prepared food. This industry brings in more than 11 billion dollars in profit annually! It has been proven that meat foods for cats and dogs cause diseases of the kidneys, liver, heart, central nervous system, eyes, as well as muscle disorders, skin diseases, bleeding, fetal defects, infectious diseases, and immunodeficiency. Kidney diseases are especially frequent, tk. commercial meat food is usually low quality and too high in protein: in the long run, the kidneys are “doomed”, they simply cannot cope with such a situation. It’s understandable why vegans strive to provide their pets with a decent non-meat diet! However, even now there are many myths on this topic: there is an “urban legend” that thoroughbred cats cannot be converted to veganism, another one is just the opposite! – says that, on the contrary, it is dangerous for cats. There is also a banal prejudice that vegan nutrition, according to species characteristics, is “not suitable” for our pets, especially cats. All this, of course, does not contribute to the speedy transition of our four-legged friends to a healthy and safe vegan diet. At the same time, we must agree – to transfer a living person to veganism “at random” can really be extremely dangerous for his health! But this danger is not greater than the one posed by an unbalanced meat diet: if there are shortcomings in the animal’s diet, sooner or later they will manifest themselves in the form of certain diseases … Therefore, the vegetarian animal nutrition enthusiast must first arm himself with the knowledge of what makes a vegetarian diet for four-legged pets complete. On this score, there are reliable scientific data from laboratories and institutes; this knowledge is already being taught (at least in the West) at the university level. What does a cat need for a full, healthy life? What irreplaceable elements is she used to getting from meat, “killer” food? We list these substances: taurine, arachnidic acid, vitamin A, vitamin B12, niacin and thiamine; this is the complete list. A cat cannot get all these substances simply from homemade vegan food – from the notorious “food from our table.” In addition, cat food should contain at least 25% protein. Therefore, the logical and natural way out is to feed the cat with special, ready-made vegan food, which already includes all the necessary elements (listed above), only synthesized – and is made from 100% non-animal products. Or add appropriate nutritional supplements to her diet, again making up for the lack of these substances. Western scientists have developed and tested to synthesize in the laboratory all the elements, without exception, that are missing in the “home” vegan food for cats! Claims that such substances are somehow “worse” than those obtained from meat have no scientific basis. Mass production of such a balanced micronutrient and therefore complete food for cats has been established, it is affordable. But of course, so far this production is far from being as massive as the generally accepted production of “miracle soup” “from an ax”! It has been proven that the transition to a vegetarian diet in cats and dogs increases life expectancy, improves their overall health, and in some cases increases activity. Four-legged vegan animals are less likely to get cancer, infectious diseases, hypothyroidism (a severe hormonal disease), they have fewer cases of infection with ectoparasites (fleas, lice, various ticks), the condition and appearance of the coat improves, and fewer cases of allergies. In addition, cats and dogs that are fed vegan food are much less likely to suffer from obesity, arthritis, diabetes, and cataracts than their meat-eating counterparts. In a word, veterinarians definitely give the green light to the transition of four-legged pets to vegan food! There are now a range of prepared foods (dry and canned) and nutritional supplements (for those who feed their pet vegan food prepared by themselves). These are, first of all, AMI products (veggiepets.com) and Evolution food (petfoodshop.com), supplement for the prevention of urinary tract diseases in cats Cranimals (cranimal.com), etc. Sometimes transitioning a pet to a vegan diet can be tricky. However, veterinarians have already gained some experience in this area, and you can even give some useful “doctor’s advice” (thanks to the Internet!): 1. A capricious cat should be transferred to a new food gradually: for the first time, mixing 10% of the new food with 90% of the old one. For a day or two, you need to give food in this proportion, then change it to 2080, and so on. Sometimes such a transition takes a week, sometimes – several weeks, a month. But this method works flawlessly. 2. Even if at first the cat “eats away” the usual food, leaving the new one untouched, do not despair: it means that your pet needs time to psychologically accept the new food as “edible”. The very fact that an unusual food is in the same bowl as a “favorite” one works for you. 3. Do not forget to remove the “new” food that has not been eaten by the animal so that it does not deteriorate in the bowl; always apply only fresh, from a can or bag. 4. In the most “severe” cases of stubbornness of capricious animals, one-day fasting on the water is used. The animal is deprived of food for a day, while providing water in excess. Such “starvation” is not harmful to the body of an adult animal. 5. Sometimes you just need to slightly warm the food so that the cat agrees to eat it. 6. Don’t make a lot of noise about “switching” to a vegetarian diet, don’t show your animal that something has changed! Don’t “celebrate” your first vegan bowl of food! The animal may refuse to feed if it feels that your feeding behavior is unusual. And finally, the last tip: vegetarian food (Vegecat, etc.) usually comes with simple recipes that will not take much time, but will allow you to make vegan food really tasty and attractive to your pet. Animals also love tasty, and not just nutritious, food! Do not neglect such recipes, especially if the “conversion” of your four-legged friend to a seasoned vegan is not as easy and fast as we would like. Be sure to periodically do all the tests (blood composition and urine acidity) to your cat or cat to keep the situation under control. Cats with acidic urine need to take a special (100% vegan) supplement – Cranimals or similar. Good vegan health to you and your pets! Vegan Recipe for Cats: Soy Rice Dinner: 1 2/3 cups cooked white rice (385ml/260g); 1 cup soy “meat” (textured soy protein), pre-soaked (225/95); 1/4 cup nutritional brewer’s yeast (60/40); 4 teaspoons of oil (20/18); 1/8 teaspoon salt (1/2/1); Spices; + 3 1/2 teaspoons (18/15) vegan food (Vegecat or others). Mix. Sprinkle each serving with a little nutritional yeast.